Fear of a Pink Dot: 27,000 petition for censorship of pride event

‘Protect our children from homosexual content,’ reads a graphic supporting a petition for government intervention in Saturday’s event. Image: WS Lin / Change.org
‘Protect our children from homosexual content,’ reads a graphic supporting a petition for government intervention in Saturday’s event. Image: WS Lin / Change.org

Singaporeans horrified by the idea of 35 drag queens appearing on the internet are asking that Saturday’s streaming Pink Dot pride celebrations be restricted to adult viewers. 

More than 27,000 people as of today have signed onto a petition asking the government to intervene for fear that broadcasting the annual LGBT pride festival “will undoubtedly pique the curiosity of children and expose them to homosexuality as a lifestyle.”

“As concerned parents, we urge other parents to support us and urge Pink Dot and the relevant authorities to issue the mature content advisory for Pinkdot 12 Livestream,” reads the Change.org petition.

Its alarmist language goes on to assert that without taking action, “there will be uncontrolled and premature exposure to explicit drag and gay culture,” and goes on to connect the pink dots to “eventually open[ing] the door to having drag queens read to children in public libraries.”

Indeed 35 drag queens along with animated short films on the lives of LGBTQ youths and a segment by sometimes controversial cultural commentator Preetipls are on the schedule for this year’s virtual gathering. The annual event usually draws a crowd of pink-swathed attendees to Speakers’ Corner but was forced online this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The petition has been promoted on a number of social media platforms organized to oppose the expansion of rights and traffic in homophobic tropes.

Though Pink Dot organizers have yet to respond or even acknowledge the campaign, people elsewhere online didn’t seem very impressed by it.

“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and this is what parents are concerned about? Ok,” Redditor Underwaternow wrote in a thread on the petition.

“Geez whatever happened to ‘protect our children from hateful mindsets,’ Basilyeo wrote.

While the petition appeals to the IMDA to “review the suitability of Pink Dot’s livestream” and “at least” assign it a restricted rating. It asserts that even the content on Pink Dot’s website – mostly the usual stuff about “freedom to love” – violates the IMDA’s Internet Code of Conduct because it advocates “homosexuality or lesbianism.” Coconuts Singapore has reached out to IMDA for comment. 

The event will be streamed over YouTube, so it’s unclear what impact the petitioners are hoping to achieve.

Singapore’s LGBT community was dealt a major setback earlier this year when legal efforts to decriminalize gay sex were dismissed by the high court.

The petition was created Saturday with the stated aim of getting 35,000 signatures before it’s sent to the authorities this week. It had obtained more than half that – 25,000 signatures – within 36 hours.

It came out on the heels of Pink Dot’s promotional trailer teasing the program, which will include performances by popular local drag queens like Becca D’Bus. 

This year marks Pink Dot’s 12th event and the first time it’s been held online. Saturday’s live stream at pinkdot.sg will also include performances from local musicians such as Charlie Lim, a documentary on queer families, and a music video by Singaporean drag queens. 

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