Today I shared a link on Facebook about the Malaysian Education Ministry issuing guidelines for parents “to help parents to identify gay and lesbian ‘symptoms’ in their children so they can take early corrective measurements.”
Most comments on my wall were expressing disappointment, incredulity or ridicule at the guidelines. But in discussing the issue with a friend I went to secondary school with, she reminded me of what went on in Singapore, in our school. The following account is for the period of 2002 – 2004:
on a serious note, take yourself back 10 years ago to our time in St Marg’s. you witnessed 1 of the worst discrimination against lesbians. In a school. In Singapore. 3 years of my life, i lived with being ridiculed not by my peers, but by our educators.
We were shamed in public – had our names read out and made to stand in front of everyone during Assembly and called Sinners.
Had teachers feel us up to check if we were wearing “the correct bra”.
We were stripped of our right to wear the school uniform because our hair was “too short”. I spent 1 term in “t-shirt and knee length skirt” along with other lesbians so that we can “grow feminine”.
I was made to read the bible in the General Office even though I was not a Christian. When I protested, they told me that I had to respect Christianity and its teachings.
I had to attend counselling sessions with the school counsellor to correct my “deviant behavior” – she made me draw shapes with crayons and tried to analyze them.
Also, they assumed I was gay because I was raped. The school told my parents to go through my personal belongings at home to search for signs of sexual abuse. -_-
It was something I had been aware of while in school, but hadn’t known the full details of. It’s something that I’ve often thought about, even though it’s been eight years since I’ve graduated from secondary school. And now, upon hearing this friend’s experience, it makes me wonder how many LGBT teenagers in Singapore have been put through such discrimination.
There’s no excuse for it. It’s a disgrace. It needs to stop.
Did you have/hear of similar treatment when you were in school? Share your story. This needs to be highlighted and talked about. This behaviour is simply unacceptable, and until it stops all talk of an “inclusive society” is meaningless.