this is a blog post with a point
I think I was expecting more kids. But turns out the people performing and attending weren’t ///actually minors, so I was probably the only one in the room still with acne problems.
Last night was the closing event for Indignation 2014, which, if you didn’t know, is Singapore’s pride month! It was a poetry event showcasing young(ish) queer writers, organised by Stephanie Dogfoot (who is super cute like what even, her knees) and Vanessa Victoria (with rad pink hair). Ng Yi-Sheng was also there, in a Singapore Airlines (?) uniform dress and a penguin head. I shit you not. The gay penguin opened our show.
There were a bunch of really, really cool people performing, like Marylyn (@blowjobartist), who did one called First Day of Sexual Orientation and another one full of food innuendos (“these lady(’s)fingers are going to be the only ones going up you”) while looking super hot in a corset and stealing everyone’s hearts, probably. Kay (@in__flux) did a poem for baby queers and they were angry and magnificent. Muslim Sahib imagined the gay past of Lawrence Khong, which was more heartbreaking than it had any right to be, really. Fuck. Christopher Kay (@reassembly) wore a Wonder Woman shirt and sang, and you should really check him out because he’s doing a transgender documentary called Some Reassembly Required (@SRR_documentary) and is such a lovely person, what even. There was one other teenage performer called Daniel, who’s eighteen and started with an adaptation of Jeanann Verlee’s The Session. Raksha (from Sekaliwags, the all-woman spoken word group you will fall madly in love with) just. Just blew it away she was that amazing. And then Lavanya (@readmysoul) read her story about having a hypothetical adopted son named Dylan with her partner. Almost cried, Jesus. Not cool. Everything was filmed so fret not you will be able to cyber-bask in the awesomeness of all that transpired. And all that transpired was just really cool, man, everything and everyone was just really cool (Cool Older Queers) and went for an after party we didn’t go to because we’re underage and have curfew. Also. Amanda Tee is our senior, you guys.
So two things struck me about the queer community. The first is that everyone knows everyone. Like, shit you not. The feminist, spoken word and queer scenes are closely related, and people just know one another and stuff. Makes me think of that Mal Blum song about how you can never cheat on each other because the community is small and you’ll always find out. Alternatively, the queer ladies chart in the L Word.
The second thing is that everyone is incredibly warm. Before and after the show and during the break, people just mingle around and shake hands and talk to the few people (okay for me it was everyone) they didn’t already know, and did I mention they were incredibly warm? Plus, we are proof that twitter is an unstoppable force when it comes to networking. I met a few people irl for the first time where it was just like, hi! I’m Melissa. Eightmileswide? We’ve talked on twitter. I was really scared before I went on (probably because they introduced me with a scarring profile I wrote as a joke) that the teenage perspective of my stuff wouldn’t click in the room, but it turned out more than all right, and people who came up to me afterwards threw at me the most generous words I’ve ever received. I met Victoria, also from Sekaliwags, Tania de Rosario, who has a cool as heck tattoo; they both performed at Contradiction and [turns away to fangirl]. Also Leow Yangfa (whom I’ve met before at the BooksActually event), the editor of I Will Survive. These are all people you should check out like now because they’re hella rad and stuff.
The thing is, when you first come to terms with your identity and everything, you feel alone. I felt alone. I was frightened and had only one friend whom I knew was gay at the time, and felt like I had nowhere to go. The first glimpse I caught of a future for a queer girl like myself came in the form of Adrianna Tan’s Medium piece; a while after that, I think, I came out on the nebula and a queer community started to form in our midst and I had the safety of knowing that not only was I not alone, but I also had the ability to help many other queer kids, some younger, by being open and trying to create a safe space for all of us. That’s important and will never cease to be important. Then I started getting to know about people like Steph Dogfoot(knowing she was queer was what gave me the courage to perform Mom Dad at YAWP in the first place), queer Singaporean poets who assured me that I actually existed, and queer events like the IDAHOT thing, like Contradiction and now Minor Contradiction, and now I know for a fact that no one here will be lost, because these are people and places and things that you can turn to with the knowledge that you can belong somewhere, should you be looking for it.
Queer role models are important. Getting kids to think and talk openly about queerness and gender and identities, the way more and more are doing today, is important. Being someone for them to turn to is important and potentially life-saving. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, about how we’re all just one huge chain reaction of one another, and how helping and being helped are conditions of cause and effect in both directions. And that has been another teenage perspective!
All in all, last night was unbelievable.