🏳️🌈 Pride Month: Celebrating Diversity with Pink Dot SG and The Greenhouse
Pink Dot SG's Deryne Sim returns to this virtual session with Proudflare, with a guest! The Greenhouse is a substance addiction recovery centre in Singapore for marginalised communities. Dr Rayner Tan, director of The Greenhouse will be sharing about the center's work, stories of recovery that they have seen, enlighten us on some challenges of the marginalised community in Singapore.
Deryne Sim will also share with us on preparing for Pink Dot 13 virtually in view of the movement restrictions in Singapore, and the team's recent battles.
Thank you everyone for joining here for Pride Month from live from APAC. I'm Yun and I'm Cloudflare's APAC chapter lead and I'm based here in Singapore office.
So I'm here with Deryne and Rayner who has kindly joined us today.
All right let's give people a little bit of time to stream in but if not we'll get started.
So you see our topic today and it's celebrating diversity.
We want to listen to a little bit sort of non-mainstream information.
Some information today you may not be able to you know get if you just read through on like what's happening in Singapore.
So I think for our purpose of inclusivity we should highlight and bring these topics to the light essentially.
So Cloudflare is a Cloudflare ERG group so employee resource group and we support the LGBTQIA plus community within Cloudflare.
So Cloudflare employees can join in the ERG group and get some support.
So allies are very welcome as well.
I'm personally an ally so I'm a cisgender female and I think so I should have put my pronoun here but I'm really not familiar with how we do edited on zoom.
All right so let's get started and we have Deryne and Dr. Rayner here and I'll let them self-introduce themselves.
Hi Yun. Hi everyone. My name is Deryne and my pronouns are she and her.
So I always like to say that I have a day job and a gay job.
My day job is being a media and entertainment lawyer and as for my gay job I am involved in various LGBTQ NGOs such as Ping.sg, the Ready for Repeal movement and the same but different legal guidebook.
So that's me. Okay thanks Deryne.
So you can just call me Rayner. Please don't call me Dr. Rayner because yes it makes things very I feel very awkward around it but anyway.
You earned the title.
It's still new. We'll sink in. No I personally like my philosophy is like you know I spent four years doing this to get a doctorate you know but people spend four years doing the things that they do also but they don't get a title for it.
So you know like I feel that you know everyone's a doctor in some way and you know like because you know you earn what you're doing so I feel like it's a privilege in a way but that's a whole like combination different combination altogether but yeah I have I mean I'm here you know in my capacity of one of the directors of the Greenhouse and I hope to share a little bit more about what the Greenhouse does.
I mean in short we're a substance abuse recovery center. I actually also you know get involved in other community aspects as well.
I'm part of the board of Project X which looks at the health and social needs of sex workers in Singapore but in my day job I am a public health researcher at the Saucy Hall School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore.
Thank you. All right and so not to lose time we'll jump straight in maybe just relate that one.
I'm aside from Proffler chapter lead I'm also here in Proffler Singapore as a customer success manager with the APAC success team.
So that's my day job and Proffler is my little side job not not very big part yet.
We do hope to get more members joining Proffler APAC so hopefully if you're listening in and you're you know based in APAC feel free to join or reach out to me but we'll get started right now.
So we'll go first with Ping Dot and Ping Dot like Doreen you joined us last year doing the pride celebration from Proffler Global.
So this year we don't have a specific kickoff day but we're welcome to we're definitely very happy that you're back here with us.
For those that missed out on the session last year would you be able to share a little bit on like what is Ping Dot and what do you do?
Yep sure. Let me figure out my share screen but before I do that can I just say that Proffler and Cloudflares are really like mouthful.
You say it 10 times really fast I think. Yes I probably will stumble.
Yeah okay can you see my screen? Yeah I'll start off first with an overview of the sexual orientation laws around the world.
So this beautiful map is created by ILGA the International Lesbian and Gay Association and what it does is chart out and color code the sexual orientation laws of the countries around the world and obviously blue is good.
So blue are the countries in which sexual orientation is protected under the constitution of those countries and I think for dark blue is even better.
Those countries go even further by legalizing same-sex marriage and red is no good.
So red are the countries in which homosexuality is criminalized and so if we take a microscope and we zoom into Asia where we operate what you see is that this region generally is colored neutral or red with the exception of several countries such as Australia and New Zealand where same-sex marriage is recognized.
In the other countries you will see that it's either neutral so like there is no criminalization like China and India which recently read down section 377 but you will also see reds and in these reds that's where homosexuality is criminalized and the penalties for homosexuality in those countries can range from prison time to whipping and sometimes even death.
So that's not a very pretty picture and to zoom in even further we're going to look at Singapore specifically.
Sorry it goes a little bit mad all the time. So for Singapore the main obstacle that we face here is section 377a of the penal code.
So this is a piece of legacy that we inherited from the British when back when we were a colony and what section 377a does is that it criminalizes acts of intimacy between men.
So we have tried to get rid of this law and we've gone through several different ways to try to get rid of it.
In 2007, a nominated member of parliament tried to get it repealed via the parliamentary route so he filed an application for a debate and what happened in 2007 was there was a very robust debate in parliament but eventually the members of parliament voted to retain the law and what the prime minister then said was this law will not be actively enforced and then in 2014 and 2019 various men tried to file constitutional challenges in the courts to strike down this law to try and get the courts the judiciary instead to strike down the law.
In 2014, it failed at both levels at a high court level and the court of appeal level.
In 2019, it failed at the high court level so the case has gone on now to the court of appeal and we are waiting for the verdict on that constitutional challenge.
So I'd like to rewind a bit and remember what I said earlier that the prime minister said section 377a will not be actively enforced but this doesn't mean even though no one is getting prosecuted under section 377a, it doesn't mean that LGBT people are free to live their lives in Singapore.
There are very many and very real knock-on effects of section 377a.
So just one example is media censorship.
Sorry, I don't know what is happening. Go back out. Yeah, so in Singapore, we have very strict media censorship laws and what happens is in the TV, the radio and the advertising courts, it specifically says that the asset owners, so the TV operators, the radio operators or the advertisers cannot promote the so-called homosexual lifestyle and what you get when you have regulations like that is the TV channels will then either totally censor all portrayals of LGBT characters or they will go the other way and they will only feature negative portrayals.
So this is very damaging for the community because then what the average Singaporean sees is either no portrayals, so they think that LGBT people don't exist or they see negative portrayals and they think poorly of LGBT people.
Just to give an example, so in 2020, Channel 8 is a Chinese-language state broadcaster and it produced a drama series and in that series, it featured a effeminate gay basketball coach who had sexually transmitted diseases and was convicted and jailed for molesting teenage boys.
So that's a really terrible package. You have someone who is a pedophile, a pervert and has STDs but we were very heartened actually when the public spoke up and said that it's not okay to portray LGBT people this way anymore.
So it wasn't an initiative that was led by Ping Dodd. I mean, Ping Dodd had always raised these issues to the government and at the United Nations but for this particular drama, the issue was raised by the members of the public in Singapore and eventually the state broadcaster apologized for putting out such a negative portrayal.
But really, the damage has been done. There is a lot of fear and ignorance about LGBT people in Singapore, especially among the older generation of Singaporeans.
So I will go into the next challenge that we face and I can expect my slides to skip ahead by three.
So the next challenge that we face is really under the Public Order Act and in Singapore, you can't have...
I'm just going to put it on this page because it looks like it likes to stay on this page.
In Singapore, organizing a public assembly is only allowed if you either have A, a police permit or B, you do it in this particular place.
So this place is special because it was specially designated by the government for free speech, for speeches, for protests, for demonstrations and assemblies.
It was set aside in about the year 2000 but back then, it was so restrictive that nobody used it.
So in 2009, the government actually changed the law such that you no longer had to apply for a permit in order to do something at this place.
It's called the speaker's corner. In 2009, the law was relaxed such that you only needed to make sure that you adhere to certain restrictions such as you don't talk about race or religion and you will automatically be granted an exemption to have your event there.
So when that happened, the police commissioner even said that, oh if you want, you can have a gay pride parade there and then that's when a couple of us got together and decided that, oh okay, since the police commissioner said something so specific, then we are going to make use of it.
So what happened was then we decided that we had to do something but the question was exactly what should we do.
So we looked towards the western forms of pride and we decided that that was not something that could be done in Singapore just because of our particular circumstances.
So if you look at this place, it's a kind of small park and pride parades are generally processions.
So you walk from point A to point B, you dress up, you have a float, you march and you walk.
But if you're in a park, you can't do that because if you end up marching in a park, you end up marching in circles because it's so small.
So then that idea was thrown out of the door and so we thought best then, okay maybe we'll pick a colour first and the colour that we chose is pink and then we needed an activity.
So the activity had to be really simple and that's where we decided, okay all you need to do is to wear a pink shirt and come down to the park and take a photograph.
So we have pink, you wear a pink shirt, come down at a particular time and you let us shout at you and you'll huddle together and you will take a photograph of the dot.
And the idea was that the growing size of the dot over the years will symbolise the growing acceptance of LGBT people in Singapore.
And then this is what happened the first year.
So the first year we had about 2,500 people come and sorry, I think maybe we cut to the greenhouse first, I'm so sorry.
Yeah sure, no worries.
Actually what I could do maybe is to play our video first and then I can cut what we want and then we get back to this slide.
Yeah sure, that would be great.
Yeah so the video will be something relating on the pink dot this year. Yes, so every year what we do is we produce a campaign video and that will kind of inform people about the message that we want to put out that year.
So this year our campaign video, you will see actually that it focuses on stories of discrimination.
These stories are real and is what was experienced over the past year.
And then you will see our call to action which is for people to light up their homes in pink as a show of solidarity.
So here's the video. What are you wearing?
This year, it's more crucial than ever to let every LGBTQ person in this country know they are not alone.
While we are not able to get together to show our love and support, we can still declare our solidarity by turning the lights in our homes and workplaces pink.
While the journey ahead may prove long and arduous, we can still make a stand today for what we know is right.
Let's bring out the pink lights this June.
Let's light the way to a more open-minded, more inclusive Singapore.
So going back to our beginning and our story, so that's really how we began.
In the first year, we had 2,500 people come and form the dot.
So we know that actually the number was bigger because afterwards, people wrote in to us and said that they were wearing pink but they didn't come and form the dot because they were scared of being arrested.
So that's really a testament to how revolutionary and groundbreaking we are because back then, LGBT had never been even written in the newspaper or it always had been written about very negatively and people were always very fearful about showing their support because they feared the repercussions or any ramifications of showing such support.
And all these people who wrote in to us, they said that actually they were there but they were hiding across the road in the buildings nearby and peeping in to see if the police would come in and crack down on the event.
So when nothing happened, then people started to feel a bit more brave and they kept coming year on year.
So you'll see that the dot grew and grew and grew and in the year 2012, we decided that it was really just too hot.
And so what we did was to change it to a night dot. And then from then on, we totally filled the park and we made things even more complicated for ourselves.
We started to form messages and words in the dot. So we started off with forming really warm and fuzzy messages like a heart and the word L-O-V -E, love.
But later when we got a bit frustrated because the government kept telling us that there was no discrimination in Singapore and Singapore fully welcomes LGBT people and LGBT people are free to live their lives in Singapore.
So one year, what we did was, last year actually, if you look at my Zoom background, it says repeal 377-A.
So there was a very marked shift in the tone and the language that Ping got was using because actually what happened that year was the government said that Singapore is not ready for the repeal of 377-A but yet still said that there's no discrimination.
So we felt really aggrieved about it and that's when we decided to change the messaging up a bit and to press on the urgency of this issue.
So that's when we did that message, repeal 377-A. And also after 2015, one major milestone was that the government changed the laws to the Public Order Act.
So that is the act which governs the holding of events at the Speaker's Corner.
So remember earlier I said that the only restrictions were you can't talk about race and religion and then the government introduced more guidelines.
So now an additional restriction was that only Singapore citizens and permanent residents could come and join the assembly or the demonstration and only local companies could sponsor an event in the park.
And we were really worried because then what it meant was we lost 13 out of 15 of our corporate sponsors and we weren't sure if the event could go on the next year.
But we were very fortunate, a local entrepreneur stepped up and what he did was to help us create this platform for local companies to come on board.
And every year since then, since 2017, we've had about a hundred local companies sponsor the event to keep it alive and to keep it running.
Then another major milestone which took place recently is of course the pandemic.
And that's when we had to put the change up the event format and that's when we changed it to a virtual event.
We got people to light up their homes in pink which is what you saw in the video and the pink light up is really for others who are living in hostile environments to know that there are people out there who stand in solidarity with them.
So that's the of the pink lights. And then we also got people to sign up on the digital dot and they can leave messages of support when they drop a pin.
And lastly, instead of a physical event, we now had a virtual concert.
So I'm just gonna stop here right now so that I can go off the call and I'll let Rainier take over.
Okay, over to you Rainier. Okay, thank you.
Let's see, I'm gonna share some slides here. I promise it won't be too much like slide, like too academic because that's something that I always accidentally move towards because occupational hazard.
So yeah, I think, you know, the Greenhouse I mentioned earlier is a substance addiction recovery center.
So my pronouns are he, him.
You know, you can find me on Twitter as well. My handle is over there.
I'm the director of research at the Greenhouse. So I do like lead quite a few projects.
And, you know, actually, we try and be more evidence -based because we roll out services at the Greenhouse.
And our, you know, raison d 'etre is really to serve marginalized and vulnerable communities, you know.
And, you know, I think it helps that, you know, we have a few of our directors who are, you know, specialized in different areas.
So I won't go too much into that, but I'll talk a little bit about, you know, what the Greenhouse does.
Just some disclaimers. So one thing that I would like to note also is that the Greenhouse has a certain history which, you know, involved, you know, a group of us who are cisgender gay men, you know, coming together to, you know, serve some of the needs of the community.
And therefore, you know, a lot of our programs currently are framed towards cisgender gay men.
But, you know, what we envision and aspire to be would be, you know, like a center for LGBTQ plus individuals in Singapore who are facing, you know, maybe like substance dependence issues.
So some of the findings that I'll present, you know, are based on what we have done so far, you know, but doesn't reflect our aspirations for the future, which I hope to talk more about.
So information presented here, you know, might be a trigger.
So there are some content warnings, trigger warnings, you know, we've talked a little bit about suicide, drug use, you know, conversion therapy.
Very briefly, not in detail, but, you know, I think if you experience any, you know, challenges or difficulties, you know, like post-presentation, you know, you can get in touch with me.
You've got my Twitter handle and all that, you know, I can link you up with resources as well.
So this video was actually, you know, thanks to PinkDot, you know, we actually got to show this video at PinkDot this year.
So it's nice to be presenting alongside PinkDot actually, because it really ties in with that presentation.
So this video is about our founder.
Our founder, his name is Alaric, and you'll find out a little bit more about his story here.
I'm 42 years old, Singaporean, gay male.
From a very young age, I felt like I was living a double life, and I needed my parents to know who I am.
And when I told my parents, my dad was in shock.
They were really hurt, they were very disappointed. And after a while, they decided that, oh, let's help him to get better by having his sexual orientation changed.
They sent me for conversion therapy, where I was told that it's not okay to And I started developing, like, clinical depression.
I have attempted suicide before.
I tried overdosing on medications. And after a few years of that, I started using drugs.
I wanted other people who were in my position to have this opportunity to recover as well.
There's still a lot of stigma and discrimination out there. So it felt like the right thing to do.
25 years after the conversion therapy, for the first time in my life, I told my mother what she did was not okay.
I told her that the people that she sent me to were not good people, and that what they did to me caused a lot of harm.
And it took me so long just to speak up for myself, that this thing that you did hurt me.
And my mom let me know that she's sorry, and that she knows that I'm in a lot of pain.
My dad passed away quite a few years ago.
He didn't live long enough to see me recover, but he worked very hard to support us, which is why we could take this risk to invest in this place.
The caregivers group was here, mainly mothers of people struggling with drug use.
I told my mom during the celebrations, look at what we built together.
Don't you think that dad would be so happy? I wanted her to feel like she was a part of not just mine, but the family's healing.
I realized that I'm not a victim, that I'm actually a trauma survivor.
I'm way more resilient than I ever imagined.
The work that I do is meaningful. Just seeing somebody who came to our center feeling very broken, have the light come on in their eyes again.
We can love and accept and support each other, even if we don't always understand.
That was a video that was presented at Pink Dot. We really, really thank Pink Dot for the opportunity to showcase some of the work that we've been doing.
I'll go into very brief detail of how the greenhouse came about. This would be what I will be covering today, a little bit about demographics.
Maybe before you start, I'll just remind folks that if they have questions that they should submit it to us.
The email would be livestudio at clockfare.tv. If you have questions and you're listening in, send your questions there at livestudio at clockfare.tv.
Then we'll be able to address it here.
Right over to you. Thank you. I'll do a very quick coverage on what the recovery process looks like for substance use, at least at our center.
What can we do together? Maybe some calls to action. So actually the greenhouse was founded almost three and a half years ago, but we only recently started operating as a charity just about half a year back.
So far, we've seen about, I think it's the number has surpassed like 200 people at this point at our center.
And actually most of our beneficiaries include sexual minorities, racial minorities, those who are HIV positive.
A lot of our beneficiaries include formerly incarcerated individuals because of the severe penalties associated with drug use in Singapore.
And definitely trauma survivors as well. Those who have experienced physical or sexual abuse or assaults.
So I think that generally more recently, because we take a very systems approach, where we look at the context people are in, that leads to we have been seeing caregivers of people who use drugs as well, partners of people who use drugs, like family members and so on.
So we do have a caregiver support group that you actually saw in the video.
So I think that we're slowly but surely growing a community of people who are caring for people who use drugs and want to recover.
So I think one thing that I would like to point out also is that, why does a greenhouse exist?
Because one thing that we saw earlier on was that a lot of people who wanted to recover didn't really have a place to go to recover.
And I think that was reflected in our own experiences. So I'm also a beneficiary of the greenhouse and I've got my own history with substance use and I went to rehab, but it was all outside of Singapore and I had to find recovery outside of Singapore.
And I think my experiences are also reflected in this Venn diagram here.
So there is 377A, where there's this fear of disclosing your own sexual orientation, even though it's not enforced.
Basically, a lot of our beneficiaries learn from young that this is something that is not right.
That symbolism is enough to turn people away from healthcare, or even if we present healthcare because there are objectively no barriers to healthcare, that internalised homophobia and internalised shame is a barrier to actually getting there for a lot of people.
Drug use in itself is also perceived to be very, very much involving severe penalties, which is actually true.
So there's a huge opaqueness around what happens if I seek a doctor's help, if I'm struggling with substance use, will they report me to the police?
Will they report me to the drug enforcement agency?
So a lot of people, including myself, that's why I went overseas, don't really present the care.
But not everyone has the privilege of actually going overseas for treatment.
And I think one last thing is that HIV, a lot of our beneficiaries are also HIV positive.
So I think there is a fear of being discriminated because of one HIV status.
There is a small group of individuals who are HIV positive, but are also seeking treatment overseas.
Because in Singapore, recently you might have seen the news that there was a data leak for HIV registry a couple of years back.
And I think this really struck fear in a lot of people.
I think it impacted the mental health of those who were on the registry, those who have been already registered as being HIV positive in Singapore, because it's one of Singapore's notifiable diseases.
But I think it really underscores that stigma that's been attached to HIV.
So these are a lot of barriers to even getting to substance use treatment in the first place, that overlap with each other and really compound the negative experiences that people have.
So based on our client profile so far, we're overwhelmingly homosexual male at this point.
We do see other individuals who identify with other parts of the LGBTQ plus spectrum.
But for us, the reason why we initiated and had a bit more of a reach to the homosexual male community would be because of how we started.
So we actually started off from a group called Lifeline.
I think a group of us got together to start this peer support program called Lifeline, which involved gay, bisexual and queer men seeking recovery from substance use.
And this was set up because I think early on in 2015, 2016, you start to see some articles in the news talking about this phenomenon like chemsex, which is sexualized substance use.
And they were starting to pair it up with HIV, a lot of pathology involved in it.
And actually, it was something that we started to see in the community itself.
People were... It's this confluence of technology, like dating apps, the availability of drugs, I think increased isolation and increased negative affective states or emotional states.
The confluence of these things create this perfect storm where it privileges substance use as a way of coping for a lot of people in the community.
We started to see that, but there was no way out. The only way out was jails.
I think that was the very grim kind of situation that we were seeing.
So we wanted to start something from the community. Actually, based on our clients, I told you we had about 180 clients at the point where this slide that was made, actually 62.5% of our clients are HIV positive.
So you can see an overwhelming prevalence of people living with HIV amongst our clients.
And I was talking about how substance use actually is a risk factor for HIV acquisition.
And therefore, we actually include a lot of HIV prevention efforts inside our own programs as well.
Definitely, I think studies have found that if you have a substance use disorder, you are more likely to also have a mental health comorbidity.
So actually, about 32 .8% of our clients have been diagnosed with a mental health condition by their psychiatric service providers alongside their substance use disorders.
I mean, substance use disorders, substance dependency is also a diagnosis which can or cannot...
Sometimes it's not officially diagnosed.
But we just assume that those who seek help, 32.8% of them have co -occurring mental health comorbidities as well.
So this is something that we do in terms of our intake assessment.
So we do an intake assessment at the start to really ask people about their experiences, even what are their religious experiences and all that because we want to tailor care and a care plan that is suited to each individual.
You can see over here, these are a lot of the different types of traumatic experiences that people would have experienced in their lives.
And some of them are specific to the LGBT community because it's associated with homophobia or stigma that's associated with one sexual orientation.
So I have one very quick question that I'll answer myself because this isn't that interactive.
But what percentage of the greenhouse clients had traumatic experiences?
It's a quick pause. And the answer is actually 100% of our clients present with one or more traumatic experiences.
So we've done 70 intake assessments. Previously, the 180 individuals are in for different types of programs.
But when we do individual counseling and the intake assessment, actually 100% of those we have seen present with at least one or more traumatic experiences, most present with at least three.
So actually the big question is, so is the Greenhouse a substance addiction recovery center or are we a trauma recovery center?
I think we see that this is a very big co-occurring issue with addiction.
There's some food for thought at this point.
Did we hold any assumptions previously about those engaged in sexualized drug use?
How does this information shape the way that we provide care to people living with HIV presenting substance addiction?
How does this information shape the way that we help those who are using drugs remain HIV negative?
And these are some questions that we usually pose because a lot of people might at this point point out that, people who use drugs have all these co -occurring issues.
I think we want to really change the way that care providers in the landscape look at some of these issues here in Singapore.
One thing that we know from our clients and we learn from our clients also is that addiction doesn't happen in a vacuum.
It's often a sign of trauma and other mental health conditions. Addiction, we often see it as the tip of the iceberg.
It's where it presents to you, it manifests.
It signifies trauma and other co-occurring issues. Usually when our programs treat what is underlying, we actually don't treat the addiction or the substance use disorders themselves.
When we treat the underlying issues, the substance use disorders tend to fall by the side.
There are physical, mental, and social dimensions to addiction and all these co-occurring issues need to be addressed in order to recover.
One thing I would say at this point also is that we see that segment in the middle, that earlier Venn diagram.
I would say that not all substance use needs to be pathological.
We don't have a stigmatized substance use.
It's just that in Singapore, substance use has a heavy penalty associated with it.
I might be having a different conversation elsewhere where I would actually say that, yeah, I think some people do benefit from substance use.
There are different social constructions of the ways in which we view substances, but within our context and amongst the clients that we see, this is what we see happening that really underpins the disorders associated with substance use.
This is the last two slides. I won't go so much into detail, but I just want to say that substance use recovery is complex.
When we do intake assessment, we don't have all the tools at our disposal.
What we do is we are experts in trying to figure out what a person needs.
We have done studies on what a trauma-informed care framework looks like, especially for LGBTQ plus individuals.
From there, we do different levels of interventions.
If you need help physically, if you need help in terms of sexual health, go here.
If you need help dealing with trauma, we recommend that you visit these support groups.
If you have issues with codependency, sex and love addiction, we have certain support groups that might not be in-house, but they are LGBTQ identifying individuals who run support groups in these areas.
We are a central resource to ensure that people have holistic and comprehensive care.
I think I will skip this one because I think I am almost at my time.
One thing we are doing now is fundraising. At this point in time, we do have some fun matching.
One of our directors is matching donations up to $25,000, dollar to dollar.
Try and give him a run for his money. This is where you can find our link to donate.
You can scan the QR code here as well to get to that page.
That is it from me. Sorry, I promised not to make it too academic, but I think it went a little bit there.
I think we deserve some education as well. That is really interesting.
I think for the folks that are probably not familiar with Singapore regulations, your Venn diagram has three parts.
Drug use, we understand that it is illegal in some parts, especially in Asia.
Being LGBTQ, I think Ping got covered a little bit on why it is prosecuted in Singapore.
Can you explain a little bit why is there a shame to being HIV positive in Singapore?
Okay. I think Doreen shared that little comic on the censorship issues in Singapore for LGBT issues.
I think the same holds true for HIV also. That is one of the issues. I think that there is no real censorship laws around HIV, but I think the portrayals of HIV are very much limited as well.
It is very interesting because recently, I am doing some studies on HIV stigma.
One thing that one of my participants told me is that, actually, if I grew up as a heterosexual individual, I did not...
Because being in the LGBTQ community, there is always this word HIV floating around because there is a lot of association of sexual minorities with pathology and HIV.
We do get a lot of education around HIV in the community. As a heterosexual person, this participant said, the only times I hear about HIV are in secondary school, sexuality education.
If you anyhow go around having promiscuous sex, you will get HIV.
Do not do it. The second time I hear about HIV is when I am watching all my Chinese dramas at home.
Then, they say that, this person is HIV -positive.
Society shuns him or her. No one wants to care for such people. I think recently, someone even told me that they watched a short video on how they had portrayed an HIV-positive woman and the struggles that she went through.
The key message of the video was not, do not discriminate people living with HIV.
The key message of the video was, do not have sex outside of your relationships.
I think this is the way that HIV is portrayed.
Given all these portrayals, it is really understandable and logical why people feel that there is so much stigma associated with HIV.
It really trickles down into the care experiences of those who are at risk of HIV or living with HIV.
Thank you, Reyna.
Doreen, are you feeling much better? I am sorry we have to take this.
I hope so. I would just like to make a comment on Reyna's presentation, which was excellent.
I love hearing Reyna speak because his slides are so beautiful and all the data is presented so nicely.
Mine are just plain words on text. It is really interesting because a lot of times in Singapore, the perceptions that we have had to overcome is that gay equals to pedophile, drug user, STD-positive, HIV -positive.
Pink Dot has to work a lot to overcome that kind of negative perceptions.
Reyna has really broken it down and explained that it does not mean gay equals to HIV-positive or gay equals to substance abuse.
It means that the trauma that gay people face has driven them to use substances as a coping mechanism.
I think it is really great that we are having these conversations and that members of the Proud Flare or Cloudflare community can tune in and learn about these nuances because that is not how the community is portrayed in mainstream media.
We actually have two questions and I think it would be good to answer them before we maybe get on.
First question would be for Devine. This is great. How does the Pink Dot get the word out about your events and activities?
I think because it is very tough to get the message across.
How do you do that? We need to split this into BC and AC before COVID and after COVID.
Before COVID, we used to have an on-ground event which is what you see behind me in my Zoom background.
Back when it was an on-ground event, what we did was we would engage ambassadors.
These are all volunteers and our ambassadors are leaders in their own profession.
Typically, they are entertainers or celebrities or we have also had sports stars and celebrities as well.
They have a huge following and generally, most of them are straight allies.
They help us to amplify our voice and spread the message to the general population in Singapore that, hey look, Pink Dot is happening on this particular date.
It is a very family-friendly event and you can just come down or tune in to our online social media.
We also replicated that kind of ambassadorship concept to Red Dot for Pink Dot which is our corporate crowdfunding campaign.
There, we made use of people we call business leaders.
Again, leaders in their own industries or sectors to help us spread the word about fundraising.
Combined, our ambassadors plus our business leaders really do help amplify our message.
That is before COVID. After COVID, it really did not make sense for us to have ambassadors anymore because we could not go out and do that kind of face -to-face public engagements.
What we did after COVID was to push out a lot more digital content and also to boost it.
Really, that is why you have the Light Up Your Homes to tell people that Pride Month is happening.
Then, we have the specific link to the message that you dropped.
You can share that link on your socials to tell people, hey, there is this map.
Anybody anywhere in the world can drop a message on this map and see the message that you have dropped.
Then, during the event itself, we did a virtual light up where we press the button and then you could zoom in.
We highlighted the various messages that were really nice and heartwarming.
People could just see around their neighborhood or wherever in Singapore where all these messages were popping up.
That is really how we get our message out.
I would like to say that if you notice, it is not through mainstream media because of censorship.
It is always through new media or allies and supporters.
Thank you, Doreen. We have one question for Rainier as well. Does Rainier recommend any films or books or resources for someone who is working through their trauma but is not ready to join a program or a support group?
Oh, okay. Thanks for the question.
Maybe the first thing I want to say to Doreen is that I did not make the slides.
I do not take any credit. I need to find out who did. Then, I can give the right credit to the right people.
I think one thing is that this is something that we have been doing.
We have been trying to figure out our clients' own brand of trauma.
Actually, we do not have that many studies concentrated on Singapore experiences.
If you hear about the context that we are in from Doreen and myself, there is a certain intersection and confluence of different forms of stigma and trauma that could take place.
We have been trying to do that. One thing that I have recently heard about is this film called The Wisdom of Trauma.
I think you can go search for it on Google.
What I have been hearing, I have not had time to watch it, but especially among my own colleagues and people in the community, the substance use recovery community, what I hear is that it really speaks to their experiences.
It helps to explain a lot about different forms of trauma. We hear the word trauma and we think about post -traumatic stress disorder.
We think about it as encountering a very acute type of event such as abuse, violence, and so on.
One thing that we know about trauma is that it can be complex as well.
What we mean by complex trauma is constant neglect, constant messages about one's own body image, constant messages about you not belonging to a certain society, like internalized homophobia.
These are all, it can appear as microaggressions along five to ten years.
And microaggressions are small little invalidations, things that signal that you are not a part of, you are in fact apart from our society.
These things build up and they can manifest as trauma as well.
This film does cover some of those aspects.
From secondhand experience, I would recommend it because I trust all the people who have recommended it to me.
Thank you, Rainer. I think we have six minutes left on the clock.
Do we have time for us to circle back on the pink dot?
Maybe this year's celebration, Doreen, do you want to run through that a little bit?
Sorry, pink dot celebration this year? Yeah, yeah. Is the highlight video, how many minutes is that highlight video if we have the time to show that?
The whole highlight video is about two minutes, but the whole show was about one hour and a half.
Maybe I will show you our drag queen video. It's really cool.
I can't believe that it's produced in Singapore. That's so amazing. The drag queen video was so epic.
Even though I'm in the committee, I didn't see it until almost the final cut.
When I saw it, I was like, what is this? Who are the talents that got the producers or the directors of those clips?
That's really good quality. It was outsourced.
The director is a guy called Martin and he's famous for making a very, very high quality content.
Let me share my screen now. Just a little evening.
I guess if you're tuning in from the US, it's evening entertainment for you.
If you're tuning in in Singapore, it's a nice morning entertainment for you.
Let me know if you cannot hear the song. Here we go. Nama masuk di seluruh dunia Lihatlah bila malam Jaya terang serta berwarna -warni Oh Singapura jaya All your children in the house think you're a fiend Why you think you're a fiend?
Cause you pay ten dollars to get the boys in my clothes Some queen asked me the other day, was it?
Told me it's true, you think you're a fiend? Queen, can you hear that? Drama Queen, can you hear that?
Drama Wow I'm giving you pose, contour nose I'm giving you it, I'm giving you life I'm giving you shade, I'm giving you tint I'm giving you face, I'm giving you lace Front I'm giving you pose, contour nose I'm giving you it, I'm giving you life Lovely I'm giving you shade, I'm giving you tint I'm giving you face, I'm giving you lace I think I'm fierce, this thing I am Honey, I'm Vanessa Williams, Captain and Jessica Rabbit Roll this one, boy Touch this skin, darling Touch this skin, honey Touch all of this skin, okay?
Now, hit me like I asked Come on, bitch, keep up with me Ladies with an attitude Now, vote Fellas that were in the mood Now, rap Now, rap Now, rap I'm giving you pose, contour, nose I'm giving you hits, I'm giving you life You just can't take it I'm giving you shade, I'm giving you tint I'm giving you face, I'm giving you lace Fronts down Now, please, why can you hear that?
Drama, life My eyes pressed for the double stack lashes Can you hear that?
Life, drama To the bartenders who know exactly what I want Can you hear that so much?
Drama, with a taste of pineapple It's fresh, you're giving me life Can you hear that, friends?
Drama, you're giving me life There's some lag there, but we can hear the song Yeah, when we had the whole concert, we had this thing called tip jar Oops, sorry, it's continuing in my background And we had a tip jar open for people to tip the performers And the drag queen tip jar was just overflowing And also anything with a cat So another performer had a cat And the moment the cat appeared, people started tipping as well It's a really strange phenomenon when a dog or a cat walks across the screen when you're having a Zoom meeting I think people just like that All right, thank you so much for sharing that We have lost one minute to go I think we just thank you so much for both of your time here Is there any last words you want to share with the audience?
Oh, it's not the film I was talking about The Wisdom of Trauma, it's by Dr.
Gabor Mati Yeah, so you can go search for it All right, thank you very much Now, have a great day, everyone who is tuning in in Singapore And have a great evening if you're tuning in in the US The real privilege of working at Mozilla is that we're a mission-driven organization And what that means is that before we do things, we ask what's good for the users as opposed to what's going to make the most money Mozilla's values are similar to Cloudflare's They care about enabling the web for everybody in a way that is secure in a way that is private, and in a way that is trustworthy We've been collaborating on improving the protocols that help secure connections between browsers and websites Mozilla and Cloudflare collaborate on a wide range of technologies The first place we really collaborated was the new TLS 1.3 protocol And then we followed that up with QUIC and DNS server HTTPS And most recently, the new Firefox private network DNS is core to the way that everything on the Internet works It's a very old protocol, and it's also in plain text, meaning that it's not encrypted And this is something that a lot of people don't realize You can be using SSL and connecting securely to websites But your DNS traffic may still be unencrypted When Mozilla was looking for a partner for providing encrypted DNS Cloudflare was a natural fit The idea was that Cloudflare would run the server piece of it And Mozilla would run the client piece of it And the consequence would be that we'd protect DNS traffic for anybody who used Firefox Cloudflare was a great partner with this Because they were really willing early on to implement the protocol Stand up a trusted recursive resolver And create this experience for users They were strong supporters of it One of the great things about working with Cloudflare Is their engineers are crazy fast So the time between we decide to do something And we write down the barest protocol sketch And they have it running in their infrastructure Is a matter of days to weeks, not a matter of months to years There's a difference between standing up a service that one person can use Or ten people can use And a service that everybody on the Internet can use When we talk about bringing new protocols to the web We're talking about bringing it not to millions, not to tens of millions We're talking about hundreds of millions to billions of people Cloudflare's been an amazing partner in the privacy front They've been willing to be extremely transparent About the data that they are collecting And why they're using it And they've also been willing to throw those logs away Really, users are getting two classes of benefits Out of our partnership with Cloudflare The first is direct benefits That is, we're offering services to the user that make them more secure And we're offering them via Cloudflare So that's like an immediate benefit that users are getting The indirect benefit that users are getting Is that we're developing the next generation of security and privacy technology And Cloudflare's helping us do it And that will ultimately benefit every user Both Firefox users and every user of the Internet We're really excited to work with an organization like Mozilla That is aligned with the user's interests And in taking the Internet and moving it in a direction That is more private, more secure And is aligned with what we think the Internet should be