A new record was set on Saturday as 28,000 people in all shades of pink showed up at Hong Lim Park for “Pink Dot SG: Where Love Lives”, an annual gathering to support the freedom to love. The mixed crowd — lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, straights — of all ages came together to call for an end to discrimination against the gay community.
People started to arrive in the afternoon, hours before the official start. Hundreds of picnic blankets were laid on the grass while thousands of friends and family enjoyed an afternoon filled with music, performances and talks.
While the highlight of each Pink Dot gathering (this year is the seventh) is humans creating a gigantic dot with lights that spell out the word “love”, many participants said that they were there primarily to meet up and spend time with their friends and family at the event.
“Pink Dot is where you can be yourself, despite the fact that I’m still in closet. It’s my second year here. I feel safe and warm to be here. You can feel it, too, everybody should come,” said one of the LGBT youth who requested to not have his photo or name published, but wanted to share his message.
“I’m the only Pink Dot virgin in our group as my work schedule always kept me away from coming here. The event is really big and warm. Everybody, regardless of their gender, should come here and be happy,” said Mardell.
“This is my 3rd time attending the Pink Dot but the first time as an volunteer. The environment here is very friendly and fun,” said Yunn, 17. “My family isn’t strict [about my sexual orientation] while my friends became more supportive.”
“You can call me ‘the Angel from Singapore’. I’ve been coming to Pink Dot for three years already, so I decided to dress up in white with a wing as the angel to promote the freedom of love,” said this guy from Singapore.
“Pink Dot is like a big friendly and happy gathering of friends and family. Meeting friends, both old and new, is the best part of the event that I’ve been looking forward,” said E.T. who joined the event for the fifth year.
“I’m very impressed as I saw a lot of people here, especially the straight who come to support. The vibe is positive, supportive and friendly,” said Angie who was there for the first time.
“Pink Dot is a big event with a lot of people and so many things happening at the same time but also a very intimate event because things we talk about here is personal,” said Movin, who is a part of Inter-University LGBT Network.
“I’m surprised to see a big crowd of people here. On the street in everyday, it seems like we’re invisible. I’m happy to be here with friends,” said Esther from Taiwan who joined the event with her Singaporean friends for the first time.
“I’m very happy to see the crowd getting bigger and bigger every year. A lot of nice and friendly people here which is why I’ve been coming to support this ‘freedom of love’ for four years,” said Kamesh, who is an ally.
“This is my first time, I’m a ‘Pink Dot virgin’. I’ve always wanted to join in the previous years, so it’s exhilarating to finally doing it. I like the fact that the event keeps growing every year with more and more supporters, straight ones in particular, and to be all out with such a conservative government is a reminder that this country belongs to the people,” said Nackky. who is a supporter from Thailand.
It drizzled for a few minutes before the lighting ceremony but that did not dampen people’s enthusiasm at the countdown.
At dusk, the ground lit up with pink pink lights forming the word love to send the message to the world: We all deserve the freedom to love. “As long as I know how to love, I know I will stay alive,” the crowd sang.
Text and photos: Watsamon Tri-yasakda