Technically, Pride Month ended a few days ago with the close of June. Still, thousands of Singaporeans gathered on July 1st at Hong Lim Park as part of Pink Dot, a rally in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the city-country.
It was a remarkable showing of activism in a pretty tightly controlled country, and some Singaporean boundaries remained: now its ninth year, the rally returned with a slight change to its rules. To comply with the government’s amended Public Order Act (which prohibits foreigners -sponsors included - to take part in any political causes), the city erected barricades and strict security checkpoints. Citizens and permanent residents waited in long security lines before they could reach the gathering point and still, nearly 20,000 people turned up at a rally that lasted well until into the night.
“Despite the barriers that have been placed in front of us, we are immensely grateful for the massive support Singapore has shown which we feel reflects a turning point in attitudes towards the LGBT community within the greater Singapore fabric,” the rally’s spokesperson, Paerin Choa said. “Even with this restricted space that limits Singapore’s true propensity for love, we feel that we have taken yet another important step in achieving true equality for all Singaporeans.”
Ebi Shankara, one of Pink Dot 2017’s celebrity ambassadors, shared Choa’s hopeful stance for a more equal and inclusive Singapore. “Our personal beliefs and choices should not result in the discrimination of others,” he said in his speech. “This is what we are here for, guys! One love, one Singapore!” Shankara was joined onstage with fellow ambassadors actor/singer Nathan Hartono and Paralympic athlete Theresa Goh - who came out publicly just last month.
In a sea of pink, the rally reached its peak when a rain of colorful umbrellas lit up to create a rainbow in the crowd.