An online petition asking the Government to censor the upcoming Pink Dot livestream is going viral with over 27,000 signatures so far. Most, if not all, of the signatories are parents and 25,000 signatures were collected within just 36 hours.
Pink Dot SG, a local movement that aims to spread awareness about the LGBTQ community in Singapore, holds an annual pride rally at Hong Lim Park. Pink Dot cancelled its open-air rally for the first time since 2009 given the COVID-19 pandemic and plans to livestream a virtual rally on 27 June.
The organisers said in March that the health and safety of the LGBTQ community and all Singaporeans are its foremost priority and that it cancelled the open-air rally to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
A special livestream programme, filled with a line-up of performances and interactive discussions, will be broadcast on 27 June in place of the physical rally. Pink Dot organisers said: “We hope that the spirit of Pink Dot 12 will continue to shine through from our homes, our workplaces, and our hearts.”
Some parents, however, are disturbed and are calling on the Government to issue a mature content advisory for the Pink Dot livestream. Calling their petition an effort to protect their children from homosexual content, the organisers of the petition said that the livestream will “undoubtedly pique the curiosity of children and expose them to homosexuality as a lifestyle.”
Urging the Government to give the Pink Dot livestream a restricted – or “R” – rating since the IMDA Arts Entertainment Classification Code issues an R rating to content that contains “explicit references and depictions of lifestyles which are contrary to prevailing social norms”, the petition organisers said that they were deeply disturbed by Pink Dot’s claim that content of homosexual nature is suitable for children.
Asserting that parents find it “increasingly challenging to gatekeep internet content” given the widespread use of social media even by primary school-going children, the petition organisers asked the Government to “do their part to protect children, particularly the younger ones, from unsafe content.”
The organisers added: “Parents are deeply troubled that this year, Pink Dot’s online programme is piping its content into our homes- living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms without restraint. Such programmes with sexual themes will drive our children’s curiosity to other kinds of obscene content, thus increasing their exposure to cyber risks.”
The organisers also noted that while parents must be primarily responsible for filtering the online content that their children and youths consume, society must step in to protect the hearts and minds of the children and youths who do not have parental supervision.
Asserting that many children will “receive explicit and premature exposure to the drag and gay culture, especially through this show by the 35 drag queens,” the petition organisers asked: “Will this eventually open the door to having drag queens read to children in public libraries?”
Pointing out that the IMDA prohibits internet content that advocates homosexuality and content that is objectionable on the grounds of public morality, the organisers said:
“…We as concerned parents APPEAL TO YOUR SUPPORT to sign this petition and urge IMDA to review the suitability of Pink Dot’s livestream programme on 27 June 2020 for public broadcast, and to at least assign an appropriate classification so that the public is alerted to the nature of the content.
“We also strongly urge the organisers of Pink Dot to review its programme in consideration of the children tuning in.”