Singapore went pink
For its eighth edition, the annual Pink Dot SG underwent an event format change with dramatic results. Organisers invited Singaporeans and Permanent Residents to pen messages of support onto large placards and raise them simultaneously at dusk, sending a spectacular message of inclusivity and helping to foster a society that embraces diversity.
Pink Dot 2016 focused on the theme of everyday heroes; the fact that anyone can be a hero to the people around them through acts of love and understanding, both big and small. In line with this, organisers released three mini-documentaries as campaign videos this year, telling powerful stories from real life of everyday heroes making an impact on the lives of their friends, family members, and members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. As such, Pink Dot 2016 saw Singaporeans and Permanent Residents – the people with the greatest stake in the future of Singapore – prove themselves heroes by participating in the raising of placards at the culmination of the event and making a stand for the Freedom to Love.
They were led by Pink Dot 2016 Ambassadors: television host and writer Anita Kapoor; comedian, singer and actressLiu Ling Ling; as well as rapper, music producer and film-maker ShiGGa Shay. Each ambassador played a powerful role in reaching out to their respective spheres of influence, including friends and fans, and underlined the importance of supporting Pink Dot and the LGBT community.
It is critical that LGBT people are able to live their lives without the fear of discrimination both at home and in the workplace, and 2016 saw a massive outpouring of corporate support for Pink Dot SG. From 9 in the previous year, Pink Dot SG saw the number of Corporate Sponsors double to 18 in 2016. Returning sponsors include Pioneer SponsorGoogle, as well as Barclays, J. P. Morgan, The Gunnery, Goldman Sachs, BP, Bloomberg, and Twitter. This year, they are joined by Apple, Clifford Chance and Cavenagh Law, Facebook, General Electric, Gravitate, Infinite Frameworks, Microsoft, NBCUniversal, PS.Cafe and Visa. In the days leading up to Pink Dot, Bloomberg and NBCUniversal also released powerful videos in support of the event. This marks the increasing recognition that the embracing of discrimination-free working environments goes hand-in-hand with sound business strategy.
Prior to the placard raising rally, attendees enjoyed other activities such as the Community Tent, Community Voices, and Pink Dot Concert.
The Community Tent, an annual fixture at Pink Dot, saw 25 LGBT and LGBT-friendly organisations from Singapore set up booths to help to build a community support network and inform attendees about LGBT issues. These organisations included gayhealth.sg, the Gender Collective, the Humanist Society (Singapore), The T Project, Oogachaga Counselling and Support, and more.
For the third year running, Pink Dot also invited members of the LGBT community as well as straight allies to speak about LGBT issues in the Community Voices segment. Speakers included the heroes from the three 2016 campaign videos, who spoke about their experiences.
This was followed by the Pink Dot Concert which saw a variety of home-grown talents entertain attendees. Pink Dot 2016 Ambassadors ShiGGa Shay and Liu Ling Ling, as well Pink Dot 2015 Ambassador Hirzi took to the stage to loud cheers. They were also joined by pop/soul artist Gareth Fernandez, singer-songwriter Charlie Lim, A cappella group MiCappella, and singer Vandetta (Vanessa Fernandez).
“As we move into our eight year, we felt it was timely to emphasise that Pink Dot is an annual rally to speak up and stand strongly against discrimination, and champion the importance of inclusivity and diversity in Singapore,” said Paerin Choa, Pink Dot Spokesperson. “We are heartened that so many Singaporeans and Permanent Residents feel the same way, and have chosen to stand together with us today.”
“We are looking forward to the day when everyone in Singapore understands and celebrates the fact that the Freedom to Love is a fundamental human right that should not be denied to anyone.”