Singapore – Pink Dot SG, a platform that aims to spread awareness about the LGBTQ+ community, held its annual event on Saturday (Jun 11), highlighting heartwarming stories of individuals coming out and touching on the issue of Section 377A of the Penal Code.
Hosted by Pam Oei and Harris Zaidi, the Pink Dot 13 livestream was filled with a line-up of performance and interactive discussions such as a breakdown of the LGBTQ+ alphabet by Preeti Nair highlighting the community’s advocacies and beliefs based on each letter.
Two stories from individuals who came out shed some light on the importance of support from family and loved ones.
“I think if we have a safe space, where people can express themselves, speak their minds, learn from others, you’ll learn about yourself and decide for yourself the journey you want to take,” said Quen Wong, whose short film and story were featured in the livestream.
What followed was a performance by musical artist Joshua Simon, who is also one of the hosts of The SG Boys, a forerunner in LGBTQ+ podcasts in Singapore.
Behind two pink windows
Andrea Razali, the first Singaporean transwoman to appear on international publications like L’Officiel and The New York Times Style Magazine, was the first guest on the show. Ms Razali was also crowned Miss International Queen Singapore 2020.
Ms Razali shared her experience coming out, noting that the country’s “education system does not work in favour of trans-youth.”
“I feel like Singaporean trans-youth have to basically put themselves aside, put their dreams of becoming themselves and their true selves aside in order to finish education.”
Ms Razali also uses her entrepreneurial platform in the beauty industry to speak up for her community.
The next featured story was of Alaric Tan, a 42-year-old gay male in Singapore and founder of The Greenhouse, a platform that offers support and recovery for those isolated in the community.
Stories of LGBTQ+ across three generations
The next segment of the livestream provided some insight into how the LGBTQ+ community transformed throughout the last three generations.
“Growing up in the 1960s and being gay, you just lived with it,” said 70-year-old Russel, who worked with The Straits Times and came out to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew over lunch that he was gay.
He mentioned how the term “gay” only meant “to be happy” back in his time.
Regardless of the period, the goal of inclusivity remains the same.
Three court challenges to Section 377A
Lawyer Remy Choo was a guest at the show, and he explained how Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men, was not consistent with the Constitution.
Singapore is one out of 69 countries that still keeps laws such as Section 377A, said Mr Choo while explaining that other countries have stopped implementing this law.
Mr Choo is also one of the lawyers behind three men who took to the High Court on Jan 25 to challenge Section 377A.
A touching story of a daughter coming out to her father and the latter showing unconditional support followed the segment, moving many of the online audience to tears.
Performances by Charlie Lim, Qyo, aeriqah & RENE, Singapura Queens and NeoKELELims were also featured in the livestream./TISG
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