Pink Dot organisers urge Singaporeans to make stand #AgainstDiscrimination

18-May-2019 Intellasia | Yahoo News Singapore | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Organisers of Pink Dot Singapore, the annual event held in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, are urging Singaporeans to take a firm stand against discrimination this year.

Part of this year’s campaign is a call for members of the LGBTQ community to take to social media with the hashtag #AgainstDiscrimination, to share discriminatory experiences they have faced in school, at home or the workplace.

The campaign theme was announced at the launch of its 11th edition on Wednesday night (15 May) at TheatreWorks’ 72-13 arts venue.

On stage, Singaporean filmmaker and Pink Dot committee member Boo Junfeng noted, “After ten Pink Dots, you would think that many, including our political leaders, will be aware by now of the discrimination that LGBTQ Singaporeans face.

Yet, we are often told discrimination doesn’t exist, as if policy changes we are asking for…are too much to ask for.”

The 2018 National Day Parade (NDP) creative director added, “But let this be clear, this issue goes far beyond what any minister has saidthe issue here is the ignorance that exists in many segments of our society.”

When asked by reporters whether the campaign theme was a reaction to comments made by government officials last year, spokesperson Clement Tan said, “It is a reaction to that view that is being held by a few (officials) and also in segments of society as well.”

During the Singapore Summit in September last year, Education minister Ong Ye Kung had said that the LGBTQ community faced no discrimination “at work, housing and education” in Singapore.

Tan also noted that Section 377A is just but “one form” of discrimination that the LGBTQ community in Singapore face. Under the law, sex between men remains illegal in the country although it is rarely enforced.

The campaign will hopefully show others that “discrimination encountered by LGBTQ community in Singapore is more than an ‘unenforced 377A law in the books’, it is inadequate counselling in schools, inability to register LGBTQ societies, and censorship in mainstream media”, said Tan.

This year’s Pink Dot will be held on 29 June at Hong Lim Park, with gates opening at 3pm and a concert starting at 6pm.

To date, over 60 local businesseswith a majority Singaporean ownershiphave signed up as sponsors, including Aloha Poke, Alfa Romeo Singapore, Straits Clan and 128Durian.

Last year, a similar number of business sponsors were signed up by its launch, which grew close to 120 nearing the event.

The sponsorship goes towards funding the costs of Pink Dot, including the production of its campaign videos, rental costs of lighting and sound systems, security personnel and barricades.

On amendments to the Public Order Act in late-2016, which barred foreign companies from sponsoring and foreigners from attending the event, spokesperson Paerin Choa said that it has encouraged local companies to come out in support of Pink Dot.

Nearly 20,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents also attended the event the following year.

“Local companies, for the longest time, felt that this was something the big boysthe Googles of the worldwill support and there was no need for them to actually come out,” said Choa. “For the past two years they have been coming out. And it’s very encouraging to see.”

Pink Dot ambassadors unveiled

Also revealed at the launch were this year’s Pink Dot ambassadors: actress and theatre director Beatrice Chia-Richmond, actor-singer Tosh Zhang, as well as Internet personality “Preetipls” Preeti Nair and her brother and rapper Subhas Nair. The siblings will be performing at Pink Dot’s concert.

Previous years’ ambassadors include singer-actor Nathan Hartono, Paralympic swimmer Theresa Goh, and the late theatre actress Emma Yong.

Chia-Richmond, who served as NDP creative director in 2011, said that as a storyteller tasked to tell the “the Singapore story or national narrative”, inclusivityeveryone from the young, old and those with special needshas been the key buzzword in the last few years.

However, an “invisible blanket (will) mysteriously rise up from nowhere” when it comes to including the LBTQ community into the narrative, she added.

Zhang shared that he was asked by a close friend whether he was worried about backlash or losing jobs by being an ambassador for Pink Dot.

“That says that even as a straight man (being an ambassador), I would get some stigma. So I can only imagine what members of the LGBTQ community go through every day,” he said.

Ending his speech, Zhang added, “I feel that we should measure a person by the content of their character, rather than their race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.”


Category: Singapore

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