SINGAPORE: Hong Lim Park was filled with shades of pink as Pink Dot held its 11th edition on Saturday (Jun 29), with its traditional light up containing a call for the repeal of a law that criminalises sex between men.
This came in the wake of a petition to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code organised last year, which gained traction among members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
Many attendees said Pink Dot was a place where they could find a sense of community.
"It's home," said 21-year-old Desmond Pravin. "It's where I know it's okay to love no matter what it is."
"(It helps LGBTQ) people know that there are people out there like them. Pink Dot plays an important role in helping to cultivate an inclusive and supportive community," said student Natalie Lie, 23.
For retiree Esther Ng, 64, Pink Dot was a place where she could "have fun" with other members of the LGBTQ community and be a part of the festivities.
Since 2009, Pink Dot has been an annual event held at Hong Lim Park, despite Singapore's stance on homosexuality.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the Smart Nation Summit that Section 377A will be around "for some time".
"You know our rules in Singapore. Whatever your sexual orientation, you are welcome to come and work in Singapore. But this has not inhibited people from living, and has not stopped Pink Dot from having a gathering every year," he said.
This year, Pink Dot had a total of 118 local sponsors and 25 community partners comprising LGBTQ and ally groups.
There was also a concert held at the rally, with local personalities such as YouTube star Preetipls, rapper Subhas and radio DJ Joshua Simon performing.
"We are campaigning for acceptance (of) and equality (for) the LGBTQ community," said Mr Clement Tan, spokesperson for Pink Dot.
"Because we believe that Singapore can be a more equal and more diverse place when LGBTQ people feel that this is their home."