Last October, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) put an end to foreign funding at events held at Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park, officially banning non-local companies from funding annual gay pride rally Pink Dot.
The decision was carried out following a government warning in June 2016, after multinationals led by Facebook, Google and Goldman Sachs sponsored the popular rally as part of their corporate equal-opportunity initiatives. Now, they’ll have to acquire a permit, should they intend to continue engaging in their activities.
It was a massive let down to Pink Dot’s organizers, of course — they had been aided by endorsements since the event kicked off in 2009. Today, the rally is a phenomenal success, despite widespread backlash from conservative groups in Singapore — last year’s outing, for instance, exceeded Hong Lim Park’s capacity.
However, the vacuum left by foreign sponsorship has sparked off a far more inspiring turn of events — a massive influx of local companies stepping up to pledge their support for this year’s edition of Pink Dot. Homegrown brands such as hospitality company The Lo & Behold Group, vinyl record retailers The Analog Vault, property site 99.co and many more have joined the cause, which has been dubbed Red Dot for Pink Dot.
“The diversity of thought, experience, and beliefs within our team have benefitted all of us here at 99.co, and we believe that this same open-mindedness and inclusiveness at the societal level can only better us as a nation,” said 99.co CEO Darius Cheng.
“Pink Dot’s aim to promote acceptance of the LGBT community resonates with us from the very foundation of our beliefs: no one should be denied by society because of who they are.”
Pat Law of marketing agency Goodstuph also made a strong statement of support for the movement.
Right now, Pink Dot has way more sponsors than ever before. The number of sponsors so far has surpassed last year’s 18, with around 50 local firms throwing their hats in the ring as of writing.
Heartwarming stuff, indeed. So instead of attempting to cut down the growing support for Singapore’s LGBT community, the Government actually helped strengthen it. Ah, the irony.