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19 Jun 2011

LGBT-affirmative rally in Singapore draws record turnout of 10,000

An estimated 10,000 people turned up at Hong Lim Park on Saturday as a show of their acceptance of LGBTs in Singapore, and support for inclusiveness, diversity and the freedom to love.

Singapore's Speakers' Corner at Hong Lim Park turned into a sea of pink on Saturday as 10,000 people gathered at the third annual installment of Pink Dot – a reference to Singapore being often referred to as a "red dot" and the colour of its citizens' identity cards.

Organisers say this year's turnout broke 2010's record for the largest public gathering ever seen at the Speakers' Corner since its opening in 2000.

Above: Pink Dot 2011. Photos (above and top of page) courtesy of Pink Dot Singapore.

For the first time, the event featured a concert hosted by Pink Dot 2011 Ambassadors, the Dim Sum Dollies, comprising Selena Tan, Emma Yong and Pamela Oei; and local performers including Sebastian Tan as Broadway Beng, Dave Tan from Electrico, Michaela Therese, Jill Marie Thomas, dance group Voguelicious and performer Rima S. The picnic and concert culminated in a massive human pink dot formed by LGBTs and their friends and family, and a sing-along of the Beatles' classic "I want to hold your hand."

Pink Dot co-spokesperson Paerin Choa said in a statement: "There are few words that can fully describe what we are feeling right now. To have this many people celebrating this event with us is a truly humbling experience, and we are greatly touched by this show of solidarity and support from Singaporeans.

"One of Pink Dot’s primary aims is to engender an appreciation of Singapore’s diversity – regardless of race, language, religion, and sexual orientation, we are all Singaporeans. We have come some ways in encouraging inclusivity and acceptance of all segments of society, and we hope that more continue to join us in helping to fulfil this aim."

Pink Dot co-spokesperson, Rebecca Ling, said: "We are greatly heartened by this year’s turn-out, and it reaffirms our belief that we can make Singapore into a more loving home for all of us. Such immense support from over 10,000 people today is a clear and strong testament to the growing acceptance and awareness among Singaporeans of the LGBT community. Pink Dot 2011 was a milestone in many ways, and we look forward to setting even more milestones in years to come."

Otto Fong. Photo: Facebook

Otto Fong, a former secondary school teacher who made the headlines when he came out in 2007, and who was asked to adddress the crowd this year recalled that in his youth, the same park where the event is being held used to be where gay men met one another.

"Do you know that 30 or 40 years ago, the Hong Lim Park area used to be the main gathering place for some gay men? Isn’t it ironic? Isn’t it coincidental? Or is it fateful?

"Many years ago, I was a frightened, lonely young man as I looked for love along the back alleys near here. It wasn't easy, and how could it be? We met in the dark, we used fake names, gave out fake numbers because we were so afraid! Worst of all, we broke each others’ hearts because none taught us how to love. We had to learn about love the hard way."

He also noted that not only have things changed, the LGBT community is part of that change. Fong, a 42-year-old comic artist and writer, revealed that he has just celebrated his 13th anniversary with his partner and that many of his friends are in committed, long-term relationships with the support of family and friends. 

"As we stand here today, we are sending a strong message of love, acceptance and inclusivity. We declare that we are also a part of the Singapore family."

He told Fridae: "I would be happy if 6,000 showed up, but to make 10,000 is a testament that more Singaporeans are hoping for a more inclusive and open-minded society than some would like us to think. I believe more Singaporeans are willing to live and let live, and that this is simply a part of the global trend as more data and studies reveal how ordinary people from our extraordinary community really are!"

The event has been widely covered in the local media including Yahoo Singapore, the Straits Times and on Channel Newasia, a Singapore-based news network.

Fridae has been a proud sponsor and supporter of Pink Dot since its inception in 2009.


Reader's Comments

1. 2011-06-19 04:26  
Great! Show your gay power!
2. 2011-06-19 05:04  
Congratulations to Pink Dot organizers, speakers, & participants.
Comment #3 was deleted by its author on 2011-06-19 05:04
4. 2011-06-19 07:41  
How i wish i was there !!
5. 2011-06-19 07:41  
Now THIS is news! Watch out for next year...
6. 2011-06-19 08:13  
Congratulations to the organisers for a fantastic job
7. 2011-06-19 08:44  
Really sad i can't be there to support pinkdot 2011 due to overseas work commitment. nevertheless a BIG thank you for the organisers and everyone who has come and support in one way or another!! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! :-)
8. 2011-06-19 09:04  
A 10,000 strong crowd does justice to the truly heart wrenching inspirational video made for this event, maybe more. My gratitude and appreciation for those who organise this and therewith bringing reconciliation for LGBTs to reconnect to the land of Singapore and call it home. Home is where we make it, but it takes kindness to bring it to one's heart.
Comment edited on 2011-06-19 09:07:43
9. 2011-06-19 09:40  
Congratulations, Singaporean brothers and sisters!
10. 2011-06-19 10:10  
way to go!
11. 2011-06-19 10:38  
Thank you for this wonderful event. I spent an awesome evening with friend, filled with pink food and pink wine! Absolutely love the atmosphere! The target next year is to invite more straight friends. They need to be exposed to this! They need to realize that we are all the same! =)
12. 2011-06-19 11:01  
.......but Section 377A is still on the law-books......
Comment #13 was deleted by its author on 2011-08-13 17:21
14. 2011-06-19 13:00  
Great Event! Love the fact that some family and kids there, too.
15. 2011-06-19 13:03  
Amazing! Sending everyone love from Canada. We support you.
16. 2011-06-19 15:49  
Fantastic turnout this year!! Everyone who turns up deserves a round of applause!!
17. 2011-06-19 16:22  
Salute to all who were there especially to all the people who made this thing possible...a BIG CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!! Im Proud of You Guys!
18. 2011-06-19 17:34  
Sad that I unable to attend but double thumbs up for those who attended and support the event.
19. 2011-06-19 17:48  
This is such a wonderful event, I wish I could have been there to support it. FREEDOM to LOVE whomever we wish ........
20. 2011-06-19 18:17  
WOW 10,000! that wuz some crowd!
21. 2011-06-19 18:29  
Thank goodness, d police there didnt use some excuses to halt the event.

If here, ahem....
22. 2011-06-19 18:32  
The organizer did a fantastic job indeed. I promise to be there next year.
23. 2011-06-19 20:56  
24. 2011-06-19 22:02  
As the number of people who attended grew, so did our confidence in ourselves and our fellow singaporeans.....that was the feeling i had in the nidst of it all.Definitley putting a Very bir Pink Dot on my calendar for the next gathering in 2012.
25. 2011-06-19 22:02  
As the number of people who attended grew, so did our confidence in ourselves and our fellow singaporeans.....that was the feeling i had in the nidst of it all.Definitley putting a Very bir Pink Dot on my calendar for the next gathering in 2012.
26. 2011-06-19 22:04  
was there, had great time... laughed and sang and was never so proud of being gay as i was on that day.....will be there again next year....
27. 2011-06-19 22:47  
Make the number 100,000 next year. =D

If based on number itself, such a turnout comparable to the attendance to the WP's rally during GE2011.
28. 2011-06-19 23:03  
29. 2011-06-19 23:19  
wish i was there as well...great job Singapore!
Comment #30 was deleted by its author on 2011-06-19 23:22
31. 2011-06-19 23:57  
you go, singapore
32. 2011-06-20 00:36  
This is really amazing. Hottttt guysss~!!!! All come out!!!
33. 2011-06-20 00:46  
Singapore united united n united we are one
34. 2011-06-20 01:01  
congrats spore!
35. 2011-06-20 01:52  
36. 2011-06-20 02:12  
it is fucken bullshit.. cause i am not singaporen or have Singapore as my 2nd home.. i cant take part in it.. i thought events like that is to bring together the LGBT peeps.. local and far away.. we are one voice.. so when they have an event like that.. let your LGBT brother and sisters take part..
Comment edited on 2011-06-20 02:15:08
37. 2011-06-20 03:23  
Fantastic, great initiative. This is the way the go, nobody can forbid you to support love.
38. 2011-06-20 04:34  
:) What a gorgeous event. Love the media campaign that mobilises our straight supporters.

Re: comment 36
The disallowing of non-Singaporeans is not an organiser-specific limitation. It's a government-specific restriction...

And anyway, given the numbers, it does not seem entirely enforceable.
39. 2011-06-20 05:21  
well done, everyone:)
40. 2011-06-20 05:45  
Good crowd... oh so many gay singaporeans
41. 2011-06-20 08:21  
i was there...amazing....wish someday we have it in indonesia
42. 2011-06-20 09:31  
can't beat the Mardi Gras in Sydney & Songkran in BKK but it's a good start, especially for sg.. :)
43. 2011-06-20 09:32  
what a pity that there would never be a party for gay guys in china
44. 2011-06-20 12:21  
It was impressive. I was floored (and a bit claustrophobic) by the crowd. Hong Lim Park was awashed in pink. Good mix of ethnic group, age and gender. Personally, I hated the colour pink but bought a t-shirt early this year so that I could wear it on pinkdot day.
45. 2011-06-20 16:40  
Let's mark your calendar next year & make an effort to go there...i m very sure next year's turnout will be more than 10,000..
46. 2011-06-20 17:05  
Let's go Mardi Grass!

Yeah!!!! Seanaudt ~ ~ let's go ~ ~
47. 2011-06-21 00:58  
I forgotten all about it and was spending the afternoon doing pilates...must remember to attend next year.oops..
48. 2011-06-21 03:37  
Fantastic! Looks like they'll need a bigger park next year.
49. 2011-06-21 13:21  
Dang...i missed it. There always next year...hmm
50. 2011-06-24 18:41  
Pink Dot Film Festival!!
51. 2011-06-25 00:48  
52. 2011-06-25 15:52  
Many ppl
53. 2011-07-03 22:40  
It's great, it's amazing..but can someone tell me why the colour pink? Like zgmm, i dont like pink either, the colour is so sissy!
54. 2011-07-03 22:40  
It's great, it's amazing..but can someone tell me why the colour pink? Like zgmm, i dont like pink either, the colour is so sissy!

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