A year ago, we committed to a range that celebrates multiple sizes and we asked our #mattertribe to be a part of a community shoot. One of the questions that often surface up for brands is how involved should we get in politics? As a team and brand grounded on the pillars of social change and equality, we felt we wanted to do our part in becoming more involved and vocal in the existing conversations of our community. June was Pride Month, a time to celebrate the impact the LGBTQIA+ community has had on the world and to commemorate the ones before who’ve fought hard for the progress today. Which is why for this year’s community shoot, we wanted to celebrate people who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community in Singapore, to celebrate their stories and spotlight the existing conversations here.
What’s your “story”? What do you need the world to know about you?
Just a young Singaporean who believes in our potential to treat all members of society with respect and dignity.
What was a pivoting point in your journey to self acceptance and celebration?
There was no watershed moment — only years of unlearning internalised homophobia. For instance, I came so close to believing people when they dismissed my attraction to women as a “phase”, or a temporary consequence of being hurt by male figures in my life. When I began questioning and rejecting these assumptions, I found the space to accept who I was.
That being said, the journey has been a non-linear one. There were times when I thought I had fully embraced who I was, but later entertained the idea of suppressing my sexuality. I guess I was terrified and felt like I could spare myself the weight of societal and familial judgment if I just tried to live as a straight person. When I look back on that now, I realise that would have been a great disservice to myself.
Section 377A is an unjust law that punishes the LGBTQIA+ community, and it is an extension of all other forms of discrimination the community faces in Singapore. In your words, why should the Parliament hold themselves accountable in repealing this law?
It would be irresponsible of them not to. We are promised a society based on justice and equality. There is nothing just or equal about the way our community is treated. Organisations providing vital services to our community are deemed contrary to national interests. Kids face rejection and ridicule in their schools and at home. The media is free to perpetuate damaging stereotypes about us while positive portrayals are punished. We don’t enjoy the same housing rights as heterosexual couples. If they think not enforcing 377A is enough, I suggest they hold themselves to a higher standard.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Being cognizant of how one’s choices have an effect on our collective futures.
What is the relationship you have with your clothes?
It’s evolving. I used to make silly choices… I would buy things that looked good on others/ on the rack but didn’t make sense for me. I recognise now that I’m not experimental and that’s okay. Now I’m more mindful of how something fits into my wardrobe and my life.
Knowing that the choices you make with your clothes have an impact far beyond what you can see!
What’s your advice to ____? Fill in that blank, and then fill in your advice.
My advice to allies of the LGBTQIA+ community: be an ally of action. Support the community. Your contributions don’t have to be monetary. Can you volunteer a skill at a community organisation? How about showing up at Pink Dot to be counted? Write in to politicians. Call out problematic language and assumptions made by those around you.
What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?
I believe in careful, courageous and compassionate activism. To me, that means meaningful engagement with people who don’t necessarily share my views. It means taking the time to listen and to educate. It means being responsive, not reactive. The 3Cs help ground me when feelings like anger or hopelessness threaten to overwhelm.
We are proud to have Rachel Yeo as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Rachel is wearing our Resort Jumpsuit + Zalya Jam in size 1 (coming soon), and Slit-Back Maxi + Mayura Rust in size 1.