‘We are all well,’ say LGBT rights defenders nabbed for MOE protest

The protesters from left to right: Lune Loh, Kokila Annamalai, Elijah Tay, Averyn Thng and Ng Yi-Sheng. Photo: Kokila Annamalai/Facebook
The protesters from left to right: Lune Loh, Kokila Annamalai, Elijah Tay, Averyn Thng and Ng Yi-Sheng. Photo: Kokila Annamalai/Facebook

The three protestors arrested for protesting the Ministry of Education broke their silence late last night to say they are well and will keep fighting against transphobia in schools. 

Currently free on bail, activists Kokila Annamalai, Elijah Tay, and Lune Loh at around midnight posted photos taken with two other protesters who left before being arrested.

All five drew police outside the Education Ministry’s headquarters in Buona Vista on Tuesday by holding placards as part of a peaceful but illegal protest. 

“Just wanted to update that we be safe!! And caring for each other!!” Loh wrote.

They said they have received an outpouring of public support.

“We are all well, spending time together, and taking care of each other. We’re moved by all the concern and kindness we’ve received in the last two days from friends and strangers alike, and we’re grateful to everyone who has stood with us against transphobia,” Kokila said.

“Our hearts are warmed by all your solidarity, love and support for us and the trans+ community – thank you. We also appreciate all your concern for us and would like to reassure you that we are taking care of one another,” Tay said.

The other two not arrested on the scene, writer Ng Yi-Sheng and activist Averyn Thng, were later summoned by the police for questioning. 

The group conducted its protest, which lasted less than 30 minutes, in reaction to accusations the Education Ministry had denied a trans student’s hormone treatment despite it being approved by her doctor and parents. The ministry has since left the decision to her parents and suggested she should resume her studies from home. 

Tuesday’s protest gained nationwide attention with several pictures and videos of the incident circulating online and trended hashtag #FixSchoolsNotStudents on social media. Kokila and Tay said they won’t stop standing by Singapore’s trans students. 

“I will continue to advocate in any and every way I can to make sure that fellow queer students will not have to be hurt and left unprotected and unsupported by the systems and adults that were meant to provide them with a safe learning environment,” Tay said. 

“We must rally together, both to challenge harmful policies and to model the transformative practices we are urging the state to adopt,” Kokila added.

Correction: We’ve corrected the misattribution in the last two quotes of this story.

Other stories you should check out:

LGBT rights defenders arrested protesting Education Ministry’s treatment of trans student

Writer, ‘ally’ to Singapore’s trans youth, on why he protested the MOE

Singapore’s ed ministry suggests trans student learn at home, not school

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