Thursday, 28 September 2023

We are shifting our daily news to Gutzy.Asia Support us there!

S’pore govt has accepted gender transitioning since the 1970s, says writer Ng Yi-Sheng

The Singapore government has accepted gender transitioning since the 1970s, says writer, poet and playwright Ng Yi-Sheng.

Mr Ng, who was one of the five people who took part in the assembly on Tuesday (26 January) in front of the Ministry of Education (MOE) building against anti-LGBT discrimination, said today that the first gender-affirming surgery in Singapore was carried out in 1971 by a renowned obstetrics and gynaecology specialist, Shan S. Ratnam.

Dr Ratnam, born Shanmugaratnam s/o Sittampalam, spent thirty years researching “sex reassignment surgery”, and was an expert in the matter, according to the National Library Board’s Infopedia.

“In other words, we’ve had official gov acceptance of transitioning for ALMOST HALF A CENTURY. There is no excuse for any gov body to still be ignorant or discriminatory towards trans people today,” said Mr Ng.

Mr Ng also stressed that the protest yesterday was not only about and for transgender youth, but for students of all genders and sexual orientations, including cisgender students who are non-conforming in their gender expression.

Even some straight cisgender friends, he said, have “suffered bullying & shaming in school” due to rigid ideas of “masculinity” & “femininity”.

“Better acceptance of transgender folks *also* helps cisgender folks,” said Mr Ng.

In his critique of MOE’s slogan “Moulding the Future of Our Nation”, Mr Ng said that the Ministry has been failing transgender Singaporeans for generations.

“Friends tell me it’s routine for trans girls to drop out early because of bullying & become sex workers cos they have few other options,” he said, adding that while sex work is “valid work”, it should not be done as a result of having few to no other means to earn a living as a result of systemic discrimination.

The placards held by the individuals, some of which read “#FIX SCHOOLS NOT STUDENTS” and “trans students will not be erased”, are made in connection to the recent saga involving the MOE, in which a transgender student named Ashlee alleged that the Ministry had interfered with her hormone replacement therapy.

The #fixschoolsnotstudents movement, said Mr Ng, is not just about Ashlee — rather, he believes that “we need to do better by *all* trans youth in the system”.

Recognising his gender and socioeconomic privilege, Mr Ng said that notwithstanding such privilege in society, he “felt the same kind of fears as anyone would, & only agreed when I realised I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I refused”.

“If trans youth want me to stand up as an ally—if they’re willing to accommodate my fears enough to let me leave as soon as trouble arrives—then how can I say no?” He said.

Mr Ng also said that police have summoned him to have his statement taken at the Clementi Police Division Headquarters at 3pm today, adding that he will disclose more updates on the matter at a later time.

Mr Ng was one of two individuals who left the assembly early yesterday.

Three other individuals were arrested outside of the MOE building at Buona Vista at about 5.30 pm yesterday for holding and participating in a public assembly without a permit.

They were led away by female police officers and placed in a police van before being ferried away from the location. The individuals were not handcuffed by police at the time of their arrest.

Hong Lim Park or Speakers’ Corner — the only venue in Singapore where citizens are allowed to hold public assemblies often of a political nature without applying for a police permit beforehand — is currently closed due to safety measures taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journalist Kirsten Han noted yesterday that according to sources close to the individuals, the three arrested individuals — two of whom are students while one is not — were held in “lock-up” at the police headquarters at Cantonment Complex.

The three arrested protesters have been bailed out, Ms Han said in a subsequent update.

MOE subsequently denied the allegations made by the student and issued a follow-up statement on the matter, saying that it is “not in a position to interfere with any medical treatment, which is a matter for the family to decide on”.

Clinicians at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), said MOE in a joint statement with IMH last week, will often consult “a wide range of stakeholders” in the process of treating individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

The final decisions on the use of HRT “rest with clinicians and their patients”, said MOE and IMH, adding that in cases where patients are minors, such treatments will require their parents’ written consent.

The students and supporters who assembled outside MOE said in a statement yesterday that discrimination and harassment against LGBT students “is a long-standing issue in our schools which damages their wellbeing and denies access to safe and supportive education”.

“Students themselves, human rights and civil society groups, as well as educators, counsellors and other professionals working with young people, have raised concerns about discriminatory and intrusive practices by schools, which hurt both LGBTQ+ students, as well as heterosexual and cisgender students, by undermining privacy, bodily autonomy and well-being,” they said.

The students and supporters also urged MOE to acknowledge and apologise for the harm done by schools to LGBT students through their schools’ discriminatory practices, and to clearly and explicitly commit to end such discrimination in the education environment.

“This must include working closely with students themselves and LGBTQ+ groups to understand their concerns, and to draw on and implement their existing concrete ideas and expertise,” they said.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest posts

Election surprises and certainties: Dissecting Tharman’s presidential win

In the 2023 Presidential Election, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam secured a stunning 70.4% landslide victory, surprising many, including himself. Despite expectations that TKL would win the opposition votes, voters from both camps showed a preference for Tharman's charisma and perceived competency. As Singapore reflects on the outcome, questions arise about the election's fairness and the real implications of Tharman's dominant win.

Volunteer as a Polling and Counting Agent for Singapore’s 2023 Presidential Election

For the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election on 1st September, members of the civil society have spearheaded an initiative to strengthen our democratic fabric. We invite committed individuals to join us as Polling and Counting Agents, standing together for a transparent, fair, and just election. This vote counting exercise, organized by members of civil society, is not specifically in support of Mr Tan Kin Lian, a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election. It's an exercise in active citizenry. Nonetheless, Mr Tan endorses this initiative, which hinges on his candidacy, championing transparency, and has given permission for the results to be shared publicly.

Reflections from the Centenary: The Legacy of LKY and Singapore’s Future

Gilbert Goh reflects on the LKY centenary event: an inspiring showcase of a leader's global legacy juxtaposed against current challenges, urging Singapore to continue its path of progress.

Lim Tean advocates for Tan Kin Lian: A visionary leader for Singapore’s Presidency

In his speech at Mr Tan Kin Lian's launch of his presidential bid, Mr Lim Tean passionately championed the need for a truly Independent President. Highlighting Mr Tan Kin Lian's unique credentials and genuine concern for the wellbeing of Singaporeans, the Peoples Voice leader emphasized the pressing challenges of rising living costs and job insecurities faced by the public. Mr Lim depicted Mr Tan Kin Lian as a beacon of hope for the nation, advocating for a leader who genuinely understands and represents the people’s aspirations.

Tan Jee Say endorses Tan Kin Lian for President: A courageous, genuine, and humble...

In advocating for a truly representative leader, Tan Jee Say underscored Tan Kin Lian's humility, courage, and genuine dedication. Highlighting the pressing need for restored public trust and effective independence, Tan Jee Say emphasized that Tan Kin Lian, as the 'People's President', would bring back hope to Singaporeans and champion true democracy

Tan Kin Lian’s pledge: Rekindling unity and charting a vigorous future for Singapore

In the press conference to announce his bid for the Singapore presidency, Tan Kin Lian emphasizes safeguarding Singapore's reserves and strengthening public service integrity. Drawing on his 30-year leadership at NTUC Income, he envisions a future with affordable living, accessible housing, and job stability, pledging collaboration with the government for a united nation.

Strengthening Singapore’s political foundations: A call to action by Leong Mun Wai on Singapore’s...

Leong Mun Wai urges Singaporeans to strengthen political checks and balances, emphasizing, 'The best is yet to be for Singapore if we dare to make the right decision in upcoming elections.

Trending posts