We talk to the everyday heroes who make Singapore a better place person by person, day after day. These LGBT support groups will also have a booth (or a picnic mat) at Pink Dot 2011, so come by and say hi!

Who They Are: Founded by six women in 2006, Sayoni is a volunteer-run social organisation for women in Singapore. Currently, they have about 50 to 70 volunteers.

What They Do: They organise public forums, educational talks, dinners, parties, focus groups, advocacy projects, sporting activities, yearly self-development camps overseas for queer women, dialogue sessions, newbie gatherings, training workshops and more.

How To Get In Touch: Website www.sayoni.com

A volunteer-run women’s group in Singapore, Sayoni regularly organises events like forums, talks, focus groups, newbie gathering and dinners for queer women in Singapore. They recently released a Coming Out guide, “What If I’m Gay?” and gather data on the queer survey in their biennial Sayoni survey.


We catch up with Sayoni leader Jean Chong:

Why do you think it’s important to have an organisation like Sayoni?

I think there is a dearth of women leaders and representation in society, particularly in the area of LGBT rights. This stemmed from a wider need for empowering communities for women and LGBT people. Thus, Sayoni was formed to fulfil this need.

What Sayoni product are you most proud of?

Our contributions to the UPR (Universal Periodic Report) and CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) from the United Nations. The Coming Out Guide ‘What if I’m gay?’, our biennial survey to collect data on queer women in Singapore and our yearly self-development camps. Most importantly we’re very proud of our volunteers and the dedication they put in to make things happen.

What do you hope Sayoni will grow into?

Within Sayoni we have this shared philosophy that if the day comes when a group like Sayoni is no longer necessary, it’ll also be a day when we can all rejoice and just concentrate on the art of doing nothing. I mean to say that it’s not about what we want to grow into, it’s more of a journey and destination with each other down the road less travelled. At the end of the day, it’s not the group that matters. It’s the people that we care about.

For now, in order to reach that goal of being unnecessary, I hope Sayoni will grow in maturity and strength to effect change for the community.

What are you wearing to Pink Dot?

Anything pink I can find!

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TV host and writer Anita Kapoor, shot to fame as the clear favourite winner of a Discovery travel host search and has not looked back since. Insatiably curious and possessing a natural wit, this former magazine editor has explored the world for Discovery TLC, AXN, Lonely Planet, Channel News Asia and OKTO, and Starwood Asia Pacific channels, forever on a quest to pioneer the non-conformist stories and locations, especially to connect with the provocateurs who move their worlds.

She is an ambassador for the Singapore chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and her advocacies include Willing Hearts which feeds Singapore’s marginalised, Magic Bus which empowers childrens’ lives in India through sports, and A Single Love which supports single parents. She has also spoken at TEDx Singapore Women 2012 on ‘Female to Female Misogyny in the First World’.

As a Pink Dot ambassador this year, Anita hopes to extend her voice on issues of equality as she firmly believes that everyone deserves equal rights, regardless of the hand they have been dealt in life.

“I see the rights of LGBT people as human rights, really. Everyone deserves to be treated equally – in society, in employment and in the eyes of the law. I believe that as fellow human beings, it’s important to stand together – to speak up for one another when we have the ability and opportunity to do so.”

Anita continues: “There’s a lot of work to be done, a lot of people we need to reach out to. Every one of us has the capacity to be a hero to someone else. I hope more Singaporeans will join us at this year’s Pink Dot. Because together, we can make this a more inclusive society for everyone.”