Most LGBT Singaporeans are afraid to come out of the closet. This stems from a fear that the simple act of telling the truth can potentially pull them apart from the people that they love. As such, many of them live their lives dodging questions about their romantic life, hiding their true selves from concerned family members and friends.
Pink Dot says that from a young age, many LGBT Singaporeans struggle with self-acceptance. They know that they are inherently different from others, but they do not understand why. It doesn’t help that most of them have been told only one viewpoint by their parents, educators and society – that what they feel is wrong.
Over time, LGBT individuals distance themselves from the ones they love. This comes from a fear of compromising relationships – relationships that have taken a long time to build – with parents, siblings, relatives, schoolmates, friends and colleagues.
Pink Dot believes that love is best built on a foundation of trust and honesty, not fear and shame. As a group, we hope to bring LGBT individuals closer to their families and friends. Change for the better happens through conversations, not cover-ups and covert lives.
Pink Dot is not without its opponents in this small and very conservative country, where the official government line is “family values” which exclude the LGBT community and outlaw gay sex. One religious teacher has launched an online campaign urging fellow Muslims to wear white on Pink Dot Day, to protest against homosexuality.
In an advisory issued to mosques across the country, Singapore’s highest Islamic authority stated that it does not approve of the “pervasiveness” of the LGBT lifestyle, and cannot agree to efforts promoting it, while at the same time cautioning against adopting a “confrontational approach”, or vilifying those who are LGBT.
The numbers attending Pink Dot every year grow, and the event has attracted some major corporate sponsors including BP, Goldman Sachs, Google, Barclays Bank, JP Morgan, CooperVision, Park Royal Hotel, and The Gunnery, which has made the government uncomfortable although it does not seem to change official attitudes.