Starting in 2008, LGBTQ people and Allies started an event to show support for the LGBTQ community in singapore. The name is a play on words , since Singapore’s nickname is little red dot. Pink Dot was chosen because it is a mix of Singapore’s national colors, red and white. Bringing those colors together to form the color pink is a symbol of how the organizers and people participating in Pink Dot want their country to be more inclusive to everyone, regardless of sexual identity. In a country where same-sex relationships are not recognized and no one in a same-sex relationship can adopt children. There are no anti-discrimination laws in Singapore protecting people from losing their jobs or housing because of their sexual orientation either. In fact, just the act of being with someone of the same gender is illegal if you are male (although legal if you are female). The Pink Dot rally is one of great importance.
Prior to 2015 the Pink Dot rally was attended not just by people who live in Singapore, but by people all over the world who would come to show their support for people who are facing so much discrimination simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning. This became too much for the Singapore government, who decided to make it illegal for anyone who is not a resident of Singapore to participate in the Pink Dot rally. This included large companies such as Facebook and Microsoft, who donated thousands and thousands of dollars to help the rally happen. House of Parliament member K Shanmugam said that this law was needed because they could no longer allow people who didn’t live in Singapore to influence the laws or culture of those who do live in Singapore, adding “As a government, we don’t take a position for or against Pink Dot, but we do take a position against foreign involvement,” he said then. “The point is this is a matter for Singaporeans, Singapore companies, Singapore entities to discuss.” .
As soon as the organizers of Pink Dot heard about this new law being established, they put out a response:
“Pink Dot has been honoured by the strong support from friends from around the world who have unfailingly attended our events over the years, observing as their Singaporean friends make a stand for inclusion, diversity and the Freedom to Love. We acknowledge that this directly impacts and separates individuals with partners, friends and family who might not be Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents and we are just as upset by this. Unfortunately, this was a decision that was taken out of our hands.”
They were thrilled to see that even though foreigners were no longer allowed to participate, the people of Singapore stepped up. This year the event was attended by more than 20,000 people, and over a thousand local businesses came together to raise the money for the event to happen.