Singapore’s Pink Dot marks 10 years of calling for LGBT rights
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Singapore’s Pink Dot marks 10 years of calling for LGBT rights

LARGE crowds of Singaporeans have again gathered calling for the advancement of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in the wealthy city-state.

Pink Dot SG – an LGBTQ event first held in the Southeast Asian nation in 2009 and which has sparked similar events around the region – celebrated its tenth year on Saturday at so-called Speaker’s Corner at Hong Lim Park, the only place it is legal to hold a public demonstration in Singapore.

The theme of Pink Dot 10 was “We Are Ready”, with activists and community members issuing 10 declarations about the need to provide equal rights for LGBTQ people in the nation’s schools, workplaces and in the healthcare system.

SEE ALSO: Pink Dot celebrates LGBT equality in Hong Kong

Pink Dot 10: Celebrating a decade of love

This year, we come together to declare our rights and appeal for change. It’s time. 10 Declarations in full here: https://pinkdot.sg/2018/07/10-declarations-for-equality/

Posted by Pink Dot SG on Sunday, July 22, 2018

Singaporean actors Adrian Pang and Lim Yu Beng called for the repeal of section 377A of the Singapore critical code, which while rarely enforced makes it illegal for two men to have sex. “We are all Singaporeans, regardless of race, language, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation,” they said.

“377A must not stand in the way of justice, equality and progress – three of the five stars in our national flag that are so lacking for our LGBTQ citizens.”

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People attend Pink Dot 10 at Hong Lim Park in Singapore on 21 July 2018. Source: Instagram @Geekywhale via Pink Dot

TV presenter Anita Kapoor declared “we are ready to start difficult conversations with people who don’t agree with the values that we stand for.”

“We are ready to see more positive portrayals of LGBTQ people in our mainstream media without censorship – because we are sick and tired of being seen as tragic characters or vilified as perverts,” said theatre director Ivan Heng, who married his long-term partner in London in 2014.

“We mark our tenth edition with hope and optimism for the future, but are also mindful that plenty more still remains to be done for Singapore to fully embrace the tenets of inclusion, diversity and equality,” said Pink Dot SG spokesperson Paerin Choa in a statement.

“As we celebrate this milestone, witnessing Speaker’s Corner awash in pink, let us remember that, just as we’ve been forced to erect barriers that separate us from friends and family members here, the LGBTQ community are likewise still restricted by discriminating laws and social prejudice,” added Choa.

With authorities barring foreign donors from supporting the event, some 113 local Singaporean companies sponsored Pink Dot 10. Overseas citizens who are not permanent residents are also barred from attending the gathering.

“I am a pioneer so I am supporting a lot of my young friends for equal rights … It’s only good that everybody can live in harmony regardless of whatever gender they are or whatever they choose to be,” 70-year-old Frankie Kwok told Channel News Asia.

SEE ALSO: Political space shrinking in Singapore through ‘creative repression’ of activists

“It’s a free world now. No more of traditional or conservative kind of world where I lived in. That’s the direction the future should go.”

“Pink Dot means a lot to me because it is a platform for people to come together to support the community,” 24-year-old Zi Qin Ging, who was among some 200 volunteers who helped run the 2018 event, told the Straits Times.

“To Singapore, as we march onward to the future, and as we celebrate National Day in a few weeks, we ask that you join hands with us, in love and compassion, to build a Singapore we can all truly call home,” said Choa. “We Are Ready for this.”