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Lighting-up for gay love in Singapore

This Saturday is Singapore’s Pink Dot, the only openly LGBT outdoor event all year in the city-state
Pink Dot 2012 ambassador Sharon Au

‘Singapore remains one of the few - if not only - developed country in the world where homosexuality (specifically consensual sex between two men) remains illegal, and there remains tight control in local media over positive representation of homosexuality,’ says Paerin Choa, spokesperson for Singapore’s Pink Dot.

It is that unique position, and the fact that public protest is illegal in Singapore apart from at Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park, that makes Pink Dot an unusual LGBT pride event.

There’s no parade, but those who gather in Hong Lim Park show their support for ‘the freedom of every Singaporean to love whoever they want, regardless of sexual orientation’ by forming a large pink dot.

In previous years, this has been with clothing, but this year the pink dot will be made by thousands of pink lights after dark.

‘We understand that a peaceful gathering to form a human pink dot is more "Singaporean" than organizing a parade or march,’ says Choa.

Before the dot is formed on Saturday there will be a free concert in the park with music (acoustic, classical, hip hop), comedy and drag acts. The concert will be presented by Pink Dot 2012’s three ambassadors, Singaporean celebrities Kumar, Sharon Au and Lim Yu-Beng.

Kumar told Gay Star News he didn’t hesitated making such a public statement in support of Pink Dot as a gay man, despite Singapore being such a closeted society.

'It was an easy decision,' said Kumar, a stand-up comic who performs regularly in drag in Singapore. 'It's going to be my first Pink Dot and I am very happy and excited about doing this.'

Kumar added that Singapore is much less conservative that it used to be, an idea that is evidenced by the growth of Pink Dot since the first one in 2009.

At the first Pink Dot 2,500 pink-clad supporters showed-up, there were 4,000 in 2010 and 10,000 in 2011.

‘The increasing attendance for each Pink Dot shows an increasing acceptance and support of the gay community among the more open-minded Singaporeans,’ says Chao.

‘However, we recognise that many conservative Singaporeans still have difficulty coming to terms with the gay community. We still have laws and censorship regulations that continue to discriminate against the gay community.’

This reality is reflected by Pink Dot 2012’s campaign video directed by award-winning filmmaker Boo Junfeng, which focuses on the difficulties LGBT in Singapore face.

‘There are many people who are out and proud in Singapore,’ says Choa. ‘But we know that for every gay Singaporean who is out, there are a few gay Singaporeans who are still struggling with their sexual orientation, who choose to hide in closet because of fear that they will be rejected at home, in school or in their workplace.’

Pink Dot is this Saturday, 30 June at Hong Lim Park, Singapore.

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At the first Pink Dot 2,500 pink-clad supporters showed-up, there were 4,000 in 2010 and 10,000 in 2011.
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