story | Pertina Seah, contributing reporter
photo | Paul Jerusalem
As part of the Sexuality and Gender (SG) Month, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) interest groups from three UTown colleges; Yale-NUS College’s The G spot, Cinnamon College’s Gender Collective and Tembusu College’s tFreedom have organized a series of events related to gender and sexuality. Although there have been similar events in the past like Ally Week in 2014 and “Doing it Right” in 2015, this is the first time a month long event focusing on sexuality and gender issues has been organized.
SG Month aims to promote sex-positivity and increase awareness regarding gender, sexual diversity and sexual health. Daryl Yang ’18, coordinator of The G Spot and organizer of SG Month said, “We organized SG Month really with two main thrusts. First, to destigmatize sex, sexuality and sexual health, and second, to broaden our conceptions of gender, not just in terms of challenging the gender binary but also to consider different issues that relate to gender.”
One of the highlights of SG Month was the free HIV testing at Utown which attracted almost 200 participants. Yang expressed his joy at the larger than expected turnout rate, saying that “it is very encouraging that many students are […]taking care of their own sexual health, given that sexual education in MOE schools was highly inadequate.”
There were, however, students who expressed their discomfort with HIV testing on campus on the NUS Whispers Facebook page. A student commented that “having [the HIV test] in school is inappropriate” and expressed their fear of being seen queueing by the van.
Kink 101 was another event designed to destigmatize sexuality through the sharing of personal experiences with BDSM and exploration of the topic of consent and safe sexOne of the participants, Leon Han ’20, shared his main takeaway from the workshop: “BDSM is not some kind of deviant or scary sexual activity but an exploration of one’s boundaries when it comes to sex. [Kink 101] really helped dispel my misconceptions of BDSM and I left with a positive view of this oft-misunderstood subculture.”
The debate on gender in sports was organized as the opening event for SG Month and was open to all. Queer Conference invited participants to discuss and explore issues faced by queer youth communities today. Feeling Myself: Closed-Door Dialogue on Women’s Sexuality encouraged females to come forward to discuss their sexuality in a safe environment.
The last week of SG Month will feature Human Library where participants can “borrow” a human book who will share their experiences of being in a polyamorous relationship, or being asexual or identifying as gender non-conforming. The event aims to destigmatize sexual diversity and challenge discrimination through conversations that will inspire people to be more accepting.