A group of young queer Singaporeans came together in 2006 to start a youth portal establishing itself as a resource for their peers.
Led by the then 20-year-old polytechnic graduate Azimin Saini, the group comprised 9 youths with different racial backgrounds and sexual orientations.
"There really are no resources to deal with gay youth in Singapore, even till today." He said. "And we're often the ones who are crying out for help and need it most."
The website can be seen at www.plume.sg
The name PLUME stands for People Like You and Me, an amalgamation of the acronym, PLU (People Like Us), which has incidentally become widely used to describe gay people in Singapore, and Senior Minister Goh's widely quoted phrase that gay people are just like "you and me".
The logo centers on a youth's sense of individuality with the circle ringed around ME in PLUME. It also means 'feather'; the jagged wings symbolise the act of taking flight - to discover the unlimited potential as young people and to be free from the mental constraints society imposes based on sexual and/or gender identity.
"In our conservative society and in most circles, the word 'queer' is considered a taboo that is left unspoken. Many pretend that we, as young queer Singaporeans don't exist and shrug it off", said 19-year-old Cher Tan, an editor on PLUME.
Many others feel that they are, too, being ignored.
"Coming out was difficult. I grappled my way around and it was really lonely. I see all these well-adjusted gay adults - but what about us? Have they forgotten what it was like?" asked 20-year-old NS-man, Victor Raj.
A simple survey of 26 youths ranging from the ages of 18 to 21 across the gender and sexual orientation spectrum revealed that all 26 felt there were not enough resources to deal with being young and queer. While it was not meant to be a comprehensive study, the sampling was indicative of the general sentiment among this segment of the population.
Plume hopes to be a platform for LGBT youth to express themselves through writing, foster the growth of an LGBT youth community in Singapore, and in doing so, provide support and resources for queer youth. Operating like a publication, it will publish articles and reader-submitted stories
"We're hoping that this project will help in any small ways it can", said Jasper Chen, another Editor on the team. "And hopefully, it will ease the pain young gay individuals face at that tough period of time."
- Cher Tan, "Queer Singaporean youth launch a portal for themselves", SiGNeL, 28 August 2006.
This article was written by Roy Tan.