The Pink Dot has been a rallying voice for the LGBT (No, no more alphabets to the acronym, and don’t tell me it’s now LGBTQIAAWTFBBQ) for many years now, and it has found resonance within the gay community, especially those who have been questioning their identity or in the closet. It has been a voice of comfort for many, as many gays found their true north, out of the closet into the safe space of Hong Lim Park. However, after the last song has been sung, the last aerial photo of the Hong Lim Park taken, the last confetti popped, what’s next for the gay community? Where do they go on from there?
I have always found friendship and commonality with people who shared similar interest with me, “Oh you love Muay Thai too? Come to my gym one day for a trial!” “You love craft beers too? Let’s go on a Ang Siang Hill Pub Crawl one day.” Rather than, hey you are gay and I’m trans, let’s be friends! How about no? Just because you claim to be a genderfluid non-binary saposexual who identifies as a saposexual, with the pronouns ‘xe’ and ‘xir’, doesn’t mean that you are automatically friends with me. I value the content and value of their character, rather the identity of the person.
Pink Dot claims to the freedom to love in Singapore. But hey, there is already the freedom to love in Singapore. You can date a person of the opposite race, the opposite religion, someone of the same sex, even someone who is legally married. There already exists the freedom to love in Singapore. So what are you proclaiming that there’s no freedom to love in Singapore? People are not prosecuted nor discriminated on a society level for choosing who you want to love. Want to speak out against prosecution of the LGBT community? Sure, channel your energy towards Indonesia, where two Indonesians were publicly caned for gay sex in Aceh.
On the topic of 377A, let’s refer back to ex-MP, Assoc. Prof. Ho Peng Kee (P-Sembawang) and his speech in parliament in 2007:
"We should live and let live, and let the situation evolve, in tandem with the values of our society. This approach is a pragmatic one that maintains Singapore’s social cohesion. Police has not been proactively enforcing the provision and will continue to take this stance. But this does not mean that the section is purely symbolic and thus redundant. There have been convictions over the years involving cases where minors were exploited and abused or where male adults committed the offense in a public place such as a public toilet or back-lane."
377A in Singapore has largely been symbolic in nature, (Less for the cases in reference to public nuisance, minor and rape cases), and it brokers the peace between the religious conservatives and the liberals/LGBT community in Singapore. The religious conservatives are pacified knowing that the symbolic law stays; while the liberals and the LGBTs know that it will not be enforced and that they will not be prosecuted for what goes on in the private. After all, what happens between two consenting adults (or more!) in their own private place, remains the business of the consenting individuals. If you believe in peace and harmony in our society, then let us keep it.
Some may argue that the very existence of 377A legalizes discrimination and constitutes of institutional discrimination towards LGBT in Singapore. Note, 377A applies only to gays and not lesbians, and definitely not transgenders. So your point is, there is institutional discrimination to ONLY gays, but not lesbians & transgenders? Section 292 criminalizes the procession of pornographic materials, but as it is also rarely enforced, does it constitute of institutional discrimination of people who watch and download porn? Will I be fired from work, kicked out of house because the government legalized institutional discrimination towards people who love porn? No? same for 377A.
Liberals and activists love to claim gay discrimination in Singapore. In an interview with Buro 247, writer and activist Yi-Sheng Ng claims, “As a community that faces discrimination, where if our identities are known we face the risk of being bullied at school, abused in our families, and fired from work, we can’t just sit back and wait for society to become nice.”
Really? The community faces discrimination? Doxxed? Bullied in school? Abused at homes and fired from work? Which third world part of Singapore do you live in? Let me know, I’ll investigate personally.
Yes, discrimination towards the LGBT exists, it exists in individualized employers, traditional families and social and religious groups. However there is barely any institutional homophobia nor discrimination towards gays in Singapore. Come on gays, let’s not just make it all about you. Yes, racial, age and religious discrimination exists, and the Ministry of Manpower and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) have their relevant legislation and guidelines on handling discrimination, and to ensure hiring practices that are fair and based on meritocracy and non discriminatory practices.
Facing discrimination at your workplace? Contact TAFEP (Pink Dot will not help you).
Pink Dot has always been an annual fanfare with performances, pink coloured apparels, slogan chanting, banners, pink cellophane paper and torchlight and more. However after the last song has been sung, the last aerial photo of the pink lightup shot, the last conffetti popped, what’s next for the gay community? Where is the action to translate into a concrete action for the collective wishes of the LGBT community, ie, repell 377A and to legalize gay marriage? What next for the LGBT individuals in Singapore? Nothing changes. The government allocated Hong Lim Park as a Speaker’s Corner for Singaporeans to gather and to host events — the only designated spot in Singapore. As the government knows, Singaporeans need an outlet to vent off steam, just as much the pubescent 13 year old teen sneaks his elder brother’s porn stash into his room to vent every once in a while. And that’s exactly what Pink Dot is doing — an annual venting of steam. $100,000 to $200,000 worth of community donations every year? Yup, they go to AV sound systems, equipment rental, apparels and decorations, so that you can make it a grand party to get together and rah rah. So at the end of it, where do the funds go? How about any towards at-risk groups for the LGBT community? And when the last confetti is tossed and the last pink champagne popped, what happens next for the LGBT community? Nothing. It’s like an SG50 party year after year after year.
Want to help the plight of the LGBT community in Singapore? Put your money to real causes to help the marginalized LGBT individuals. There are much more worthy causes in Singapore, see: Project T, a shelter for homeless transgenders in Singapore; Oogachaga, a counseling and personal development agency for LGBT individuals. Pink Dot? Nope.
Finally, there’s nothing proud to be gay; just like there’s nothing proud about being straight. If you are gay, you are just as normal as the next straight guy, why do you need a event to celebrate being gay? How about let’s make July hetrosexual pride month? No?
I personally do not need Pink Dot nor a gay pride parade because I live with pride everyday of my life and surround myself with friends and loved ones. I am proud of my career achievements, my life experiences, and not because of my identity. I don’t need an annual virtue signalling parade to make me feel good about who I am. The fact is, I am a Singaporean first, and a transgender second. I would rather be celebrated for the former than for being different as the latter.
Pink Dot this year? Nope, I wasn’t even sipping a Pink Margarita, not even close.
PS: I didn’t wear white either.
Credit: Faye Writes (Fayewrites@outlook.com)