Sayoni’s 2017 CEDAW Oral Statement

Oral Statement for Sayoni, Singapore

Delivered by Alina on 23 October 2017 in Geneva

Concerning equality for LBTQ women in Singapore

Thank you, Madam Chair. We are part of the women’s NGO coalition.

Sayoni’s research found three pressing issues affecting lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, or LBTQ women:

1. Discriminatory stereotypes reinforce violence

It was highlighted at the previous CEDAW session that the State should eliminate discriminatory stereotypes of LBTQ women from the media. However, the State has failed to act. Positive depictions of LBTQ characters continue to be barred. This promotes prejudice and deprives LBTQ persons of positive role models, affecting self-esteem and normalising rights abuses.

2. Promoting violence in education

State schools lack affirmative education and assistance for LBTQ women. Sex education is abstinence-based, giving inadequate information about consent and diverse sexualities. Educators fail to help LBTQ youth due to institutionalised homophobia. For example, a 15-year-old girl was sexually and psychologically abused by her girlfriend, but she did not recognise the violence, and her school counsellor put the blame on her instead.

3. State-sanctioned domestic violence

Family members frequently use psychological and physical violence on LBTQ persons. For instance, a lesbian was punched, slapped and kicked by her father until she urinated, fainted and sustained a concussion. Criminalisation in Penal Code Section 377A and social stigma prevent LBTQ persons from accessing protection and justice from violence by public and private actors. They also continue to be excluded from state policies.

Thank you.