Pink Dot, the biggest day in Singapore’s LGBTI calendar, arrived on Saturday (29 June).
Hong Lim Park in central Singapore filled up with people decked out in pink, as well as rainbows flying all over the place.
This is by far Singapore’s largest public civil society event, with a turnout otherwise unheard of in the city-state of highly restrictive public assembly laws.
This year’s event calls on Singaporeans to ‘Stand Against Discrimination’.
Organizers chose the theme to highlight the often unseen or unreported levels of discrimination the country’s LGBTI community face. People were asked to share their stories at a photo booth set up in the park, so their experiences would be documented.
Senior political figures have downplayed the notion that LGBTI discrimination is widespread in Singapore – an assertion that local LGBTI rights activists strongly refute.
This is a particularly pertinent issue, as it comes amid repeated calls for the government to repeal a law which criminalizes homosexual sex.
Pink Dot 2019: Landmark event
The importance of Pink Dot in Singapore’s LGBTI scene cannot be overstated. The event has become a landmark in the LGBTI rights scene. This year is its eleventh year.
It’s a day of high visibility for a community that is actively censored from the mainstream media.
However, the city-state still retains Section 377A – a law introduced under British colonial rule, which criminalizes homosexual sex between men.
Although the authorities claim that the law is not proactively enforced, LGBTI rights activists say that maintaining the law reinforces a culture of homophobia and LGBTI discrimination.
2018’s Pink Dot was a landmark moment in Singapore’s LGBTI rights movement, where, for the first time, Pink Dot directly called for the repeal of the controversial law.
However, the effects of this call have been muted, and have been met with limited political response.
Earlier this week, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the anti-gay law would remain on the books for a long time. He also cited Pink Dot as an example that LGBTI people are able to live their lives openly in Singapore.
Pink Dot organizers hit back at the prime minister’s claims, saying he had mischaracterized what Pink Dot stands for. At the event, the MC openly stated that Pink Dot is a protest against discrimination of the LGBTI community.
The night culminated with the lighting of the Dot, which read REPEAL 377A.
See more photos
All photos by Calum Stuart.