Lifestyle

We want to be recognised as family

- TNP PHOTO: KIAT TAN TNP PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: GARY GOH

Last year, Madam Ooi M. Y. and Mrs Ooi J. J. were married in New York.

Now they are looking at migrating to Australia because they want to be parents.

In Singapore, homosexual marriage and adoption of children by a homosexual couple is not legal.

They declined to provide their full names as Mrs Ooi, 31, operates within a relatively conservative work environment.

Madam Ooi, 47, is looking forward to having both their names on the birth certificate of their child, whom Mrs Ooi is hoping to conceive via in-vitro fertilisation.

Like typical Singaporeans, they have already begun hunting for a school for the child, even before he or she is conceived.

Madam Ooi, an English teacher at a private school, and Mrs Ooi, who works in sales, are also looking for a place to stay Down Under.

The process of migrating took more than a year to research, and involved speaking with other lesbian couples on their experiences.

They say the desire to have a child is not the only reason they want to move to another country.

Instead, the greatest motivation is to be legally recognised as a married couple and to enjoy the privileges that status accords.

"Our marriage isn't recognised here, so if one of us ends up in the intensive care unit, the other would not be able to go in because we are not recognised as each other's family," she says.

Both of them say that on the whole, their families are supportive of their relationship and marriage.

While marriage to some may just be a piece of paper, it was important to them as it meant more.

Says Mrs Ooi: "It was something to symbolise our commitment towards each other and to show that we were in a serious relationship."

Adds Madam Ooi: "You've got to have the right mindset for getting married. It's no different from a heterosexual relationship.

"You've got to make sure you have the same goals and aspirations in the long run before you enter into it."

Apart from their wedding ceremony in New York, the couple also held a traditional wedding dinner in Singapore to celebrate the union.

"We did the same as everyone else," says Madam Ooi.