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Singapore’s LGBTIQA+ community call for Equality at Pink Dot 16

Singapore’s LGBTIQA+ community came together on Saturday night for Pink Dot 16, the island nation’s annual spotlight on LGBTIQA+ rights.

The event was originally created to draw attention to the lack of law reform in Singapore where colonial era British laws meant homosexuality was still illegal.

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In 2022 after decades of campaigning the government finally removed the laws, while at the same time bringing in new laws to stop the progress of marriage equality.

While decriminalisation has progressed, the local LGBTIQA+ community is continuing to highlight ways the lives of Singaporeans can be improved.

This year the central message of the event was a call for equality.

Hundreds of participants wrote letters to Singapore’s new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong outlining their hopes for a more accepting Singaporean society.

Local media have reported that many prominent Singaporean politicians attended this year’s event, including Eric Chua, the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and for Culture, Community and Youth.

The day was also filled with performances and entertainment, but the highlight is the turning on of thousands of pink clad torches to create a giant pink dot.

Strict rules on protests in Singapore

Protests are only allowed in Singapore under strict rules. Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park is the only space when speaking against the government is permitted. Over the years the Pink Dot movement has led the way in showing what a peaceful protest can achieve, but it faced increasing pressure from authorities as its popularity grew.

Originally the event was held in the evening with participants shining pink coloured torches into the night sky to create the ‘pink dot’. In recent year’s authorities have clamped down on the event only allowing it to be held during daylight hours, banning non-Singaporean citizen’s from attending, and stopping multi-national companies from sponsoring the event.

Organisers also faced huge fines if any of the strict rules are broken. Undeterred Pink Dot Singapore continued on finding innovative ways to continue to spread their message.

In 2023 they were allowed to once against hold the event in the evening, and shine torches into the night sky.

Over the years many different messages have been highlighted by the Pink Dot celebration. ‘Family’, ‘Ready’ and ‘Love’ has been featured, as well as calls to repeal 377A – the statute that made homosexual activity illegal.

Recent poll shows huge growth in support for LGBT rights in Singapore

A recent IPSOS poll has shown that most Singaporeans are supportive of greater protections for their city’s LGBTIQA+ community.

While marriage equality remains a divisive issue, the poll released in early June showed that 45% of Singaporeans surveyed believed people should be open about their sexuality, while only 15% were opposed.

Seventy-three per cent of those surveyed believed that LGBTIQA+ “protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and access to businesses such as restaurants and stores.”

Residents of the conservative country were not so supportive of public displays of affection though, with only 27% per cent saying they felt comfortable with same-sex couple kissing or holding hands in public.

Thirty-three per cent of people were supportive of same-sex marriage, while only 25 per cent of people were strongly opposed to it. The remainder just said they were unsure of their thoughts on the issue.

Head to Pink Dot’s Facebook page to see some amazing photos from the event.

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