Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, 8 November 08: Documentaries Screening - "The Celluloid Closet" and "Sex Change Soldier"

8 of November 2008 @ PELANGI PRIDE CENTRE


Date: 8 November (Sat)
Time: 4pm
Venue: Pelangi Pride Centre

Cost: $6 (cost of 2 soft drinks and finger food)

RSVP - This event is by invitation only.
LIMITED to only 30 pax, prior registration is required.
For an invite - please email [pelangipridecentre at yahoo dot com] with your name (in full), contact number, the name/s of your guests.

1) The Celluloid Closet

The film is based on the 1981 (revised 1987) book of the same name written by Vito Russo, and on previous lecture and film clip presentations given in person by Russo 1972-82. Russo researched the history of how motion pictures, especially Hollywood films, had portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters. It was given a limited release in select theatres, including the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in April 1996, and then shown on cable channel HBO.

The documentary interviews various men and women connected to the Hollywood industry to comment on various film clips and their own personal experiences with the treatment of LGBT characters in film. From the sissy characters, to the censorship of the Hollywood Production Code, the coded gay characters and cruel stereotypes to the progress made in the early 1990s.

Vito Russo wanted his book to be transformed into a documentary film and helped out on the project until he died in 1990. Some critics of the documentary noted that it was less political than the book and ended on a more positive note. However, Russo had wanted the documentary to be entertaining and to reflect the positive changes that had occurred up to 1990.

Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Produced by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Written by Vito Russo, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Sharon Wood, Armistead Maupin
Starring Lily Tomlin (narrator)
Music by Carter Burwell
Running time 107 min.
Subtitles - Yes

2) Sex Change Soldier
C4's sex change soldier
Published: 06 Mar 2008

THE story of the first ever Para to have a sex change is to be told in a Channel 4 documentary.
Sex Change Soldier tells the story of Parachute Regiment Captain Ian Hamilton, 43, who last year had sex change surgery and is now known as Jan.

Before the op Ian was one of the British Army's most decorated officers following service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

A C4 spokesman said: "The documentary is an intimate and raw portrait of a remarkable year as the alpha male Para transforms into an ultra-feminine woman.

"He has a more feminine face thanks to facial feminisation surgery, breasts have replaced his pecs and he's had sexual reassignment surgery to become a complete woman.

"Now Jan has more battles to face - to be accepted by her friends and family and the Army - she was not allowed to take up a posting as an Army Media Liaison Officer in Gibraltar and is now taking the Army to an industrial tribunal."

The programme reveals how Ian fought to suppress his feminine side by joining the Army at 18 doing officer training at Sandhurst.

He took a career break to train as a cameraman working in war zones covering the first Gulf War and the Bosnian conflict.

He then rejoined the Paras as a captain fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pelangi Pride Centre Needs Volunteers!

Hi there!

Pelangi Pride Centre needs your help!

If you have always wanted to do your bit for the community, how about considering volunteering a Saturday (for four hours and a bit) every month at Pelangi Pride Centre?

With on-going events as well as a library that needs continual upkeep, we need your hands, legs and brain cells!

Your time commitment: A Saturday a Month, from 3:30-8pm at PPC@DYMK (9 Kreta Ayer Rd)

Don't worry, training will be provided and you will always be paired with a "veteran" volunteer so there's plenty of available help if you're new to all of

If you would like more information or to volunteer, please email us at pelangipridecentre at yahoo dot com,stating your full name and contact number.

Eileena, Nam Khim and Charm
Pelangi Pride Centre Team

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reflections III: "I Am" by Leona Lo

Leona Lo from -
by Julianne Seah

I met Leona Lo yesterday at this completely new lesbian and gay bar/cafe DYKM (Does Your Mama Know). It is also occupied by the Pelangi Pride Library where it moved since The Mox Cafe at Tanjong Pagar. I jumped immediately at the chance of RedQuEEn!’s email to meet Leona Lo as she would be giving a motivational talk and RSVP-ed our names (Spearmints and I) to Eileena Lee who is the founder of RedQuEEn! I was and still am exciting having to meet Leona and met her.

Leona wrote an inspirational book on her journey to womanhood - From Leonard to Leona. If you still do not have any idea, she is the first transgendered woman to come out aggressively to the public voicing her anger and bitterness since the Pump Room incident where she was singled out and denied entry to the Pump Room as reason given: “We don’t welcome Ladyboys.”

From Leonard to Leona - I must have read about 10 times all over and raved a million. Every single read, I discovered new feelings and new perspectives that I have missed out from the last read. It never failed to capture my attention time and time again because all of her words felt so real and there was pain in this book. I think she deserved all of the fairness and the good because she took a leap of faith to write this journey recollecting agonizing memories and for all I know, this might not be all.

At this point of time, you will think probably I have thoughts of changing my gender since I am so into stuffs like this. Shame on you shallow pigs. Yes I would love to have a sex change to a woman. I need to like do something about my very manly features. Get it? Ok never mind. But whoever said that you have to be one of them to understand what they feel and desire?

So I met Leona Lo. Lo and Behold (No pun intended), wah she is beautiful and she is really captivating. Honestly, she is attractive and wow charismatic and she looks SO much better in person than her pictures which made her look trannish (no offence!) Her skin is flawless, her body is tone, her legs are long - damn it all in all, all biological women should be ashamed! SHAME ON US!

There are quite a number of participants from all walks of life, from all orientations - straights, gays, lesbians and transgenders. One of them captured my attention - Fanny whom appeared in the Straits’ Time with a whole section dedicated to transgenders. Fanny is the main character of the section “When Papa become Mama” - even my father is reading it. Fanny, an divorcee, brought her daughter along whom told her then-father that it will be okay to be mother because she gets to enjoy both papa and mama’s love. I was like wow…

Another interesting participant would be this single mother whom came because of her son who wishes to go through the transition and she was here to find out more. I was in awe. Mother fucking hell! She is really cool and understanding towards her 19 year old NS-exempted boy’s desire to transit into a woman. I honestly thought she is the best mom in the world to be able to accept this wholesome deal.

Leona began talking and she is really witty. Talking about life before transition, her anger/bitterness, her career and etc. I was really into her. I mean her words, she is well-articulated, intelligent and she really packs a punch. She is the kind of model that young transgenders should look up to and never to end up being streetwalkers. Maybe I don’t exactly have the right to say that because all are circumstantial and maybe Leona is lucky and she is blessed with brains and opportunities but of course, all these came with a price that she have fully paid since young.

The talk lasted for slightly above 2 hours with all sorts of questions being thrown onto the floor. We were in close proximity with her. I was in close proximity, like 1 step in front, and I was totally mesmerized. I wanted to ask if lesbians hit on her.

She shared one story which she read in literature (She was invited to University of York to read English Literature on scholarship). Back in US, where African American Civil Rights war was going on, the blacks were ostracized and all those things about slavery and zero equal rights. They even had rules on the bus, where it is divided into two sections.

The first four rows of bus seats were reserved for white people. Buses had “colored” sections for black people—who made up more than 75% of the bus system’s riders—generally in the rear of the bus. These sections were not fixed in size but were determined by the placement of a movable sign. Black people also could sit in the middle rows, until the white section was full. Then they had to move to seats in the rear, stand, or, if there was no room, leave the bus.

Black people were not allowed to sit across the aisle from white people. The driver also could move the “colored” section sign, or remove it altogether. If white people were already sitting in the front, black people could board to pay the fare, but then had to disembark and reenter through the rear door. There were times when the bus departed before the black customers who had paid made it to the back entrance.

So there was this lady Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) made history and this was the strength that gave Leona.

Rosa Parks was in the bus, which later on filled with the white people. The bus driver came around and asked those African Americans (AA) to give up their seats to the white people. There were 4 AA and 3 gave up their seats except for Rosa. The bus driver motioned her and asked her to move.

Bus Driver: Let me have these seats
She never budged.
Bus Driver: Why don’t you stand up?
Rosa Parks: I am not giving up my seat.
Bus Driver: Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.
Rosa Parks: You may do that.

Rosa Parks was arrested that fateful night.
Quoting Rosa Parks:

I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became

It became apparent to Leona, that it is time to take her stand in to be treated as equal as a real woman. Rosa Parks’s spirit is very much present in Leona Lo.

Today we are seeing many news with regards to the LGBT. We are finally reaching the 21st century and more milestones for LGBT. Like what Leona says, it is time.

P.s. Do not attempt Rosa Parks spirit in Singapore buses or trains. Please do give up seats for elderly, pregnant women and .. tired looking nurses..

P.p.s I managed to talk to Leona for good 15minutes. GOD AMAZING..

Reflections II: "I Am" by Leona Lo

"I had attended the "I Am - Motivational Talk” by Ms Leona Lo at PPC on 11 Oct 08 with my daughter. Beside giving us the information on Transsexual issue, she also gave us the opportunity to ask her questions during the Q&A session. Even my daughter also listening to her talk as it was quite interesting and she also mentioned about her past events. She brought books which are interesting too. Ms Leona said something about IPL which she did was cost about $100 only but as many people were talking to her after her Talk, I got no chance to find out more information on where she had done her IPL. I intend to email her and ask her about it and hope that she will reply me (as I know she is very busy) and let me know the information so that I can post in Sgbutterfly website to share this information. Cheers. "

by Fanny Ler - hyperlinked to -

Reflections I: "I Am" by Leona Lo

Eye- (and Mind) Opening Session with Leona Lo by Bian Tan

Yesterday, I went to hear Leona Lo speak. I had heard of her through the local GLBTQ internet postings, and since I have a few friends who are transgender, I attended the event to learn more and to show support for the transgender community. The event was held at the Pelangi Pride Centre , now at its new location in DYMK Café (Does Your Mother Know) on Kreta Ayer Street.

There were about 38 people who attended Leona’s informal sharing, which I thought was quite encouraging. Leona spoke about her experiences growing up in Singapore and facing discrimination in subtle and not so subtle ways. And also receiving understanding, acceptance, and help from unlikely people. What struck me was how different the gay and lesbian experience is from the transgender experience, and how much more difficult it has been for the latter to overcome emotional, psychological, and medical problems, while at the same time trying to find a safe space within their own social community to be who they are.

From the general discussion between the audience and Leona, I learned about the small but positive changes that appear to be happening in Singapore , about how different sexual ways of being in people are becoming more accepted, and especially how the government may be viewing the GLBTQ community in a more positive light. Especially insightful were observations made about how we can all affect positive change in social attitudes towards GLBTQ people by not hiding ourselves from our own friends and family. I also realized that I had my own misconceptions about transgender people, and that it is incorrect to lump transgender people with gay and lesbian people.

It was inspiring to hear Leona speak in a candid way about her feelings regarding discrimination. She related to us about having a lot of anger when faced with discrimination, but has now come to understand that the discrimination or negative reaction from people is only a result of their upbringing, fear, and ignorance, and that they really cannot help it. She is now very zen about it and shakes off such incidents as water from a duck’s back. At the end of the session, my heart was full of respect and admiration for Leona. She has gone through a huge amount of pain and struggle, experienced vast personal growth, and emerged radiant, strong, and wise. I was touched by her beautiful human spirit, as I’m sure many in the audience were as well.

I would like to thank the Pelangi Pride Centre for organizing and hosting Leona’s sharing session, and applaud its efforts to bring us together to better understand ourselves. I wish more people realized how wonderful a resource the PPC is. It is a safe space for GLBTQ people to socialize, make friends, look up resources in the Library, and interact face-to-face in a non-scene, non-sexual environment. Congratulations Pelangi, and heartfelt thanks for a great session with Leona!