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Pink Dot 2024, officially called Pink Dot 16, took place at 3:30pm at Hong Lim Park on Saturday, 29 June 2024. The theme for the year was "No One Left Behind". The sixteenth edition of the event sought to highlight the ways LGBTQ+ people continued to experience marginalisation and discrimination in post-Section 377A repeal Singapore. Against the backdrop of national conversations about building a more inclusive society, the question of whether LGBTQ+ Singaporeans would ever have a place in this vision of the future remained.

Pink Dot spokesman Clement Tan said: "During this period of change and transition, we look to our leaders and their promises for what lies ahead. They have staked the future of this country on a vision where everyone in society benefits, not just a few. We share that same vision, and want to build a society where marginalised communities are better cared for and have a real shot at achieving their ‘Singapore dream’. LGBTQ+ people matter too, and our leaders should bear in mind as they lead the country forward, not to leave us behind yet again."

Whilst repealing Section 377A was a significant milestone, there was much work ahead to address the various forms of marginalisation LGBTQ+ individuals continued to face throughout every stage of their lives. This included being subjected to harassment and harms, and being persistently shut out of certain rights and protections that other Singaporeans took for granted.

Campaign launch[]

The campaign launch, a potpourri of hugs, pink cocktails, and searing testimonies, was held at Parkroyal Collection Pickering on Wednesday, 29 May 2024. It took the form of a panel discussion entitled "Voices from the ground - What are some of the barriers to inclusion in post-repeal Singapore?". The invited speakers from diverse backgrounds were:

  • Bhuvan Daniel, aged 20, he/him, a transgender youth activist and volunteer for Mental ACT.
  • Bozy Lu, aged 29, she/her, a volunteer lawyer for Same But Different
  • Shania Saudah Yusof, aged 43, she/her, a volunteer from The T Project
  • Charles Ho, aged 54, he/him, a peer facilitator for Aging Forward, an initiative of Pelangi Pride Centre

The moderator of the discussion was Pink Dot committee member, Andee Tay.

VoicesFromTheGround001


The LGBTQ+ panellists swapped stories about their challenges and hopes for change. Transgender youth Bhuvan Daniel described the challenges of transitioning as a South Asian person, and in a complex school environment as a teenager. Shunned by many around him and short of money, he had to constantly look for new friends: “Being 16 and having to pay for things yourself. What do you do?” Shania Saudah Yusof talked about how her transition journey as an adult caused her to struggle with homelessness and job insecurity: “Some of them [her friends] end up de-transitioning just because they need to fit in somewhere.” She said that Singapore was already several decades late in enshrining rights for her LGBTQ+ community, and the pitiful state of affairs was encapsulated by a tender classroom conversation she had: “Cher, is it OK if I fall in love with another girl?” one female student asked her when she was working as a teacher. “What do you think?” responded Shania gently. The student's answer: “It’s OK. But it’s also not OK.” Peer support group facilitator Charles Ho spoke about the anxieties that older LGBTQ+ people faced, including access to affirming healthcare and the fear of dying alone. “The overwhelming sense of loneliness is what keeps creeping up in our support groups. Because queer Singaporeans are often the unmarried ones in the family, the burden of caregiving for elderly parents frequently falls on them. And, given the typically gendered nature of the role, it’s lesbians who have it worst. Family lawyer Bozy Lu said: “Many policies, laws and institutions in Singapore overlook or actively exclude LGBTQ+ people and families from areas of life that other Singaporeans take for granted. This creates additional legal hurdles or social barriers that can increase vulnerability, precarity and experiences of trauma at all stages of life, especially during major life events such as joblessness, serious illness, or death of a life partner. Many of my LGBTQ+ clients find it more challenging to plan for the future as a result.”

Letters to Singapore’s new Prime Minister[]

See also: Lawrence Wong's views on LGBT rights

In addition to mainstays such as the community tents, rally speeches, and a light-up finale, the year’s Hong Lim Park event would also invite participants to pen personal messages to Singapore’s new and first Christian Prime Minister, Lawrence Wong. The latter's signature Forward SG campaign was centred around the desire to build a “more caring and inclusive society”. However, in its almost 180-page report, the product of conversations with 200,000 Singaporeans, there was not a single mention of the LGBTQ+ community. Through messages written during Pink Dot, participants would be asked to share their hopes for a more inclusive Singapore for LGBTQ+ people. Clement Tan said: “Repeal showed us that change is indeed possible, as long as the community continues to show up and speak out. We urge the public and our leaders to hear what we have to say, and to address our most urgent concerns. LGBTQ+ people need to be assured that they have a future in Singapore that is worth staying and fighting for.”

Campaign videos[]

To showcase the fact that LGBTQ+ Singaporeans still faced marginalisation and discrimination in their daily lives, a series of three campaign videos directed by filmmaker Sally Lee was released on Pink Dot's Facebook page and YouTube channel, featuring four pairs of everyday Singaporeans who were strangers meeting for the first time to candidly discuss different aspects of LGBTQ+ life here.

  • 29 May 2024 - Strangers Talk About Growing Up LGBTQ+ In Singapore | Pink Dot 16 - Part 1/3.[1],[2]


  • 7 June 2024 - Straight vs LGBTQ+ Relationships & Families: What's The Difference? | Pink Dot 16 - Part 2/3.

[3],[4]


  • 13 June 2024 - Stay or Leave? Strangers Talk About Their Fears and Hopes for the Future | Pink Dot 16 - Part 3/3.[5],[6]


Hate speech video posted on YouTube in response to Pink Dot 2024[]

On 9 June 2024, Dan Politics posted a video entitled :废除 377A,但 Pink Dot 要求更多,且不涉及新加坡总理" to his YouTube channel using homophobic slurs:


Boo Junfeng announces departure from organising committee[]

On Friday, 14 June 2024, award-winning filmmaker Boo Junfeng, who had produced almost all the Pink Dot campaign videos since the event's inception in 2009, announced on his Facebook that he had left the Pink Dot organising committee[7]:

BooJunfengPinkDot2024

Screen grab of Boo Junfeng's Facebook post on 14 June 2024.

"After 15 years, I have decided that last year’s Pink Dot would be my last as an organiser. It was not an easy decision to make to step away from something I’ve helped to create and a team that I love. But it was necessary because I needed time to refocus on other things, and timely because after 377A was finally repealed, it felt right to hand it over to others who might have more to contribute. Pink Dot has evolved a lot over the years. At the start, we saw ourselves as a social movement, to change the hearts and minds of Singaporeans on LGBTQ+ people, especially when the mainstream media was not on our side. This was why the videos we put out became such a critical part of our annual campaigns. In fact, back in 2009, we might have been the first in Singapore to have properly strategized on how social media marketing could be used in the absence of mainstream media support. Because we needed it to tell our own stories and reclaim our narratives in a society that had too many misconceptions about who we were.

And it worked. People responded and turned up year after year in pink at Hong Lim Park. By the fifth year, it was no longer just a campaign for visibility, it became one that was also about community. We realised we had many blindspots and learned to listen to suggestions and criticisms from others in the community. This was also at a time when we were facing pushback from both the religious conservatives (Wear White) and the authorities (ban on foreign sponsors and needing to barricade the park). I saw this as a coming of age not only for Pink Dot as a movement, but also for many of us who had given our youths to it. We learned to navigate these challenges, and overcame them with creativity and passion.

We are in the midst of producing a documentary about Pink Dot as a movement - how it began, how it evolved, its blindspots and lessons learned. It’s an important story that deserves to be told - one of political courage, resilience and empathy for one another. We may need to do a crowdfunding campaign for it at some point, so we hope you will help support it.

15 years has been a long time, and I am forever thankful to everyone who has helped on my journey with it - whether it was a personal favour you had done for me, or that you have genuinely felt that this was an important movement to be a part of. There have been so many of you, from acquaintances to my dearest friends. I’m not going to bother tagging any of you because I’m going to miss out someone for sure. But you know who you are.

What I’m going to miss the most is being in the company of my fellow committee members. They have brought out the best in me, and our time together is something I’ll forever cherish. There will be more challenges ahead, and possibly mistakes made. But please be kind to them. It can sometimes feel like a thankless deed, volunteering so much of your heart and soul for something whose outcome comes at a glacial pace and is often intangible. But we all know it’s important work, to keep at it, and to work towards a society where we are all included.

Every year, I’ve been the “eye in the sky”. This year’s Pink Dot will be my first on the ground as a participant. If you see me, come say hi!

The pics and videos in this post are some snapshots of my memories, as well as the videos we made that I’m most proud of. The first video, in case you’re wondering, took place at Play, the gay club, when fellow committee member Jack and I went on stage to introduce what Pink Dot was to a room full of gay men. Taken by Roy Tan, it also happened to be the night of the AWARE EGM at Suntec City."

Telegram channel[]

PinkDotTelegram

On 14 June 2024, Pink Dot SG created a Telegram channel to further its outreach on social media.

Queeroddity video[]

On 21 June 2024, Queeroddity[8] posted the following video to its YouTube channel:


Video caption:

"This year, Pink Dot aims to highlight the ongoing marginalisation of LGBTQ+ people in post-repeal Singapore and their exclusion from conversations around our country’s future. Amid promises from Singapore’s 4G leadership to include everyone in our shared future, our event features an active call for park-goers to submit messages to PM Lawrence Wong, sharing their personal stories, hopes, and anxieties. Through this initiative, we seek to educate the public and our leaders about the challenges we face as a community. While LGBTQ+ rights encompass issues like marriage and adoption, they also involve fundamental needs such as having a roof over our heads, accessing healthcare, and feeling safe in our families, schools, and workplaces. Queeroddity was given exclusive invite to speak to the attendees that night, asking them about their experience and how Singaporeans can do their part to foster a more inclusive society."

Event day[]

On Saturday, 29 June 2024, Hong Lim Park was awash in hues of pink as thousands turned up for the year's event which sought to highlight discrimination against the LGBT community and called on participants to envision a more inclusive Singapore. It was the second Pink Dot rally since Singapore repealed Section 377A. Hundreds of participants penned messages to Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who was sworn in on 15 May 2024, to share their concerns on the challenges LGBT people faced and their hopes for a more respectful and accepting Singapore.

A number of politicians were spotted at the event, including Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and for Culture, Community and Youth. Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Darryl David, Nee Soon GRC MPs Carrie Tan and Derrick Goh, Workers' Party MPs Jamus Lim, He Ting Ru and Louis Chua, as well as Progress Singapore Party’s Lim Cher Hong and Jeffrey Khoo also showed up dressed in pink.

Pink Dot spokesman Clement Tan said the repeal of Section 377A showed that change was possible if the community continued to show up and speak up, adding: “We urge the public and our leaders to hear what we have to say and address our most urgent concerns. LGBTQ+ people need to be assured that they have a future in Singapore that is worth staying and fighting for. During this period of change and transition, we look to our leaders and their promises for what lies ahead. They have staked the future of this country on a vision where everyone in society benefits, not just a few. We share that same vision and want to build a society where marginalised communities are better cared for and have a real shot at achieving their ‘Singapore Dream’."

Attendees dressed in various shades of pink began streaming into Hong Lim Park around 3.30pm. They laid out picnic mats and foldable chairs on the grass, and some even brought their pet dogs along. As the performers took to the stage, participants waved pink and rainbow flags. Similar to past rallies, attendees had to show a photo identification to confirm that they are Singaporeans or permanent residents. Foreigners were not allowed to take part in Speakers’ Corner events, which included Pink Dot.

Community tents[]

The community tents hosted a record 29 groups focused on supporting LGBTQ+ people at different life stages. First-time participants included Queer Friendly Chers, a group of educators creating inclusive classrooms, and PFlag, a support group for parents of LGBTQ+ children in Singapore. Community stalwarts like Oogachaga, Pelangi Pride Centre and The T Project returned.

Community speakers[]

Three community speakers took to the soapbox, rallying the community to speak out about the changes they wanted to see for a more inclusive Singapore.


  • Anne Goh, a former national athlete and advocate who lobbied for change at the recent United Nations Conference to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), addressed state-enforced media censorship, bullying in schools and the lack of protection against workplace discrimination for LGBTQ+ people: “We deserve to feel safe at work. Employers who discriminate against us should be held accountable.” Addressing the Ministry of Manpower, Goh added: “Why does your anti-discrimination law discriminate against us further, by erasing us? What is the cost of excluding us?”
  • Kira Moon, a drag artist, spoke about her experience as a victim of a queerphobic assault: “The incident has scarred me. It has triggered so much past trauma (…) I deserve to feel safe in public or wherever I am, regardless of my gender, sexual identity, the line of work that I do, what I choose to wear. I deserve love. And most importantly I deserve to be in a country that protects me.”
  • Clarence Singam, who had co-founded organisations including the new LGBTQ+ community and cultural venue, Proud Spaces, spoke of his personal journey to self-acceptance. “I am here today because someone invited me to join a support group when I was 34. And it was there that I learnt to express my hopes, my longings and my fears as a queer person. It was one of you who reached out to me and brought healing into my life. So you see, because the community was there for me, I can be here today.”

Performances[]

Rally participants were treated to dance items and musical numbers by Inch Chua, Marian Carmel, Leon Markcus, Lew Loh, Kiki HQ, Sing Men's Chorus and Singapura Drag Royalty. The final formation was ushered in by local performers Jean Seizure and Pam Oei’s joint rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love”.

Pink Dot formation[]

The night ended with attendees, who were encouraged to bring pink torches, getting together in a light-up formation to spell out the word “EQUALITY”.

PinkDotMoneyShot24


Official event video[]


See also[]

References[]

Acknowledgements[]

This article was written by Roy Tan.

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