Pink Dot invites PM Lee to rally, says LGBTQ in Singapore experience daily discrimination borne from 377A

An aerial view of Pink Dot 2018 showed that the crowd was ready for change. Photo: Pink Dot
An aerial view of Pink Dot 2018 showed that the crowd was ready for change. Photo: Pink Dot

Last night, Coconuts Singapore broke the news that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had offered a rare public comment on Section 377A of the Penal Code, the section outlawing homosexuality.

In a Q&A session at the Smart Nation Summit, the PM specifically pointed to the city’s annual Pink Dot gathering as evidence of inclusiveness – before going on to explain that Singapore was “not like San Francisco.”

Late this afternoon, Pink Dot organizers begged to differ, saying they didn’t appreciate being used as a “convenient deflection against uncomfortable questions” and inviting the prime minister to attend this Saturday’s event at Hong Lim Park to meet with members of the LGBTQ community.

“Pink Dot’s existence is not proof of Singapore’s inclusiveness to the LGBTQ community,” they wrote in a statement on their Facebook page. “Pink Dot exists precisely because members of the LGBTQ community in Singapore continue to face discrimination and inequality in a multitude of ways, on a daily basis.”

The group specifically cited the colonial-era Section 377A, a law that PM Lee last night said was in no danger of changing any time soon, as the source of much of the discrimination the community faces, before then offering a formal invitation.

“We invite PM Lee and our leaders to come down to Hong Lim Park this Saturday and truly make an effort to understand what the LGBTQ community go through on a daily basis.”

While the government routinely reminds reporters that convictions for engaging in same-sex relations are essentially non-existent, activists believe the law’s very existence serves to codify discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry against them.

Efforts to repeal the ban on same-sex relations have failed, most recently in a 2014 ruling by the Singapore Supreme Court, and polls taken as recently as 2018 showed just 19 percent of Singaporeans saying they “disagreed or strongly disagreed” with the assertion “Singapore should keep Section 377A even if it is not enforced.”

Pink Dot 11, themed “Standing Against Discrimination” will be held this Saturday, June 26, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore.

Editor’s Note: The photo for this story has been updated. 

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