Only a month prior to attending Women's Nite, I arrived in Singapore as an exchange student. Coming from the U.S. I began my research on Singapore gay life only to be disappointed with the information I found. Most sites scared me into thinking that there were no gay people, or if there were, they would be hard to find.
I spent the major part of the first month keeping my eyes peeled for Lesbians. Anyone with short hair was fair game. As you can imagine this proved to be ineffective. Being new to the culture I assumed my ignorance was preventing me from seeing "the signs." So, like most of us I turned to the net.
Ah-ha! Turns out that I am not the only one confused about how to identify a lesbian in Singapore, and more importantly not the only one who wants to give up a Saturday night to talk about it!
The 25th of August was my first Women's Nite and it will not be my last. Although this night's topic was particularly helpful for me, I found that many women found solace in finding other women in the community, regardless of the topic. The atmosphere was comfortable and inviting.
I was greeted at the door and then directed to all the yummy food! For the first 20 minutes or so we all just sat on the floor and got to know each other, and soon after we were lead in a focus discussion by the two moderators. We talked amongst ourselves about the questions provided and then shared with the group. Some of us had the same opinions and some of us didn't, but all opinions were respected. The discussion was guided just enough to keep it going but the majority of time was devoted to open discussion - women talking to other women about issues that are important to us.
It is very valuable to hear the perspectives of other women in the community, not to mention nice for me to finally be able to find you all! :) I know that many topics brought up made us think about why we actually dress the way we do, and what this might say about us. We attempted to answer these questions but also touched on many other topics as we explored relevant tangents.
All in all it was a good experience and I made a few new friends and contacts. Whether you are new to the country or local, I would definitely recommend coming.
Kudos to the organisers and participants of Women's Nite, for creating a fun, cosy environment for casual interaction among women, whom like myself, love women.
I remember almost backing out in front of the unlatched gate, and it took me a while longer to climb that flight of stairs as I was feeling a bit apprehensive. To my surprise, I settled down instantly, because everyone was warm and friendly and made it a point to make everyone feel comfortable.
We started out offering each other food, that was the major ice-breaker for the night. It gradually progressed to friendly handshakes and "so what're you doing?" to get things started.
We were split into three groups to discuss a few sets of questions, allowing closer and more personal interaction. Those questions were later discussed together. Responses were open and frank and it ranged from the creative and intriguing, to the funny and, well, unexpected. This resulted in uproarious laughter, and I could feel that everyone was really having a good time, and being just themselves.
The questions posted were interactive, and they set me deep in thought. I discovered totally different perspectives. I never knew that white singlets had a significance, or "librarian glasses" would mean that the person could be a lesbian.
Experiences were shared, and the older participants (okay, regulars) passed some advice to the younger ones. It was as if they were telling me: "Hey, you're not alone." It was really heartwarming to see everyone - being part of this minority community - being so friendly and supportive of one another, and being willing to take some time out on a Saturday evening to bond, share experiences and encourage one another. The evening was filled with fun and laughter. Although I haven't really figured how gay women in Singapore really look like, I found my sense of belonging.
It took me while longer to walk down that flight of steps, because I know I'll have to wait till next month, before I can be just totally at ease again.
This was my first time at Women's Nite, and it won't be my last.