LGBTQ Population in Singapore
While most Americans are very familiar with LGBTQ pride events that take place throughout the United States every year, many people are unfamiliar with the pride events taking place in other countries. These events are of equal importance though, because LGBTQ rights are an important issue for humanity, not just certain countries. One of the countries where the LGBTQ population is in desperate need of support and recognition is Singapore. In Singapore same-sex relationships are not recognized and no one in a same-sex relationship can adopt children. There are no anti-discrimination laws in Singapore protecting people from losing their jobs or housing because of their sexual orientation either. In fact, just the act of being with someone of the same gender is illegal if you are male (although legal if you are female). This is why their Pink Dot rally is so extremely important.
Starting in 2008, LGBTQ people and Allies started an event to show support for the LGBTQ community in Singapore. The name is a play on words, since Singapore’s nickname is little red dot. Pink Dot was chosen because it is a mix of Singapore’s national colors, red and white. Bringing those colors together to form the color pink is a symbol of how the organizers and people participating in Pink Dot want their country to be more inclusive to everyone, regardless of sexual identity.
Up until 2017 anyone could attend the Pink Dot rally, regardless of what country they came from. Some of the biggest sponsors of the company, such as Facebook and Microsoft, were even sponsors. That changed on May 15, 2017 when the government of Singapore made changes to the Public Order Act, which said that people from other countries were no longer allowed to gather at the area (Speakers’ Corner) where the Pink Dot rally has been held for the previous 7 years. Although people from other countries are no longer allowed to participate in the rally, they can still observe from the sidelines. Anyone who is found to be breaking this law could be prosecuted and face fines. People who organize the event and are found to be allowing foreigners to participate were threatened with fines and jail time as well. The reason that the Singapore government gave for no longer allowing foreigners to participate is that they do not want foreign involvement in any domestic affairs.
Support from Around the World
Even though people from other countries are no longer allowed to participate in the Pink Dot rally, the LGBTQ community is still receiving an outpour of support from people all around the world, and they have not seen any drop in attendance by foreigners who are willing to simply stand on the sidelines and let the LGBTQ people of Singapore know that they are loved and supported, even if they have to do it in silence.