Pink Dot 2014 concluded peacefully last Saturday with the organisers reported a turn out of 26,000, an increased of 5,000 from last year. This year’s Pink Dot attracted controversy due to a vocal opposition from Pastor Lawrence Khong, senior pastor from FCBC, who believes Pink Dot goes against the Christian tenets of Pro-Family values. He was joined by Ustaz Noor Deros, a Muslim religious leader who launched a Wear White campaign to highlight the conservative Singapore values, especially within the Malay community.
Supporters of Pinkdot had refrained from using words such as Gay or Lesbians in their promotion materials but instead focused on the idea of “Freedom to love” regardless of gender. This year’s organisers have also refrained from harping on the removal of Section 377A, a law that criminalises gay males for having sex.
The pro-gay camp has always cited Section 377A as a basis of discrimination towards gays in Singapore. It is to be highlighted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has commented in Parliament in 2007 that Section 377A is not pro-actively enforced but it should remain as a symbol of conservative values held by the majority of Singaporeans.
Section 377A gain prominence in the last two years with the case of Tan Eng Hong, a gay male who was caught engaging in a sex act with another male in a public toilet. He was first charged under Section 377A, but the charge was substituted with Section 294A, “commission of an obscene act in a public place”. The case was then took up by lawyer M Ravi, who argued that Section 377A was unconstitutional. Tan’s fight was joined another by pair of same sex couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee.
Prior to this year’s Pinkdot, the gay population has been crying foul and argued they faced discrimination and the law incriminates them. However, the gay population in Singapore all along are allowed to operate their trade or engage in activities that they desire as long as they did not receive any public complaints. No policeman in the right frame of mind would knock on every bedroom doors in our HDB flats to check whether 2-males are engaging in sexual activities.
Additionally, Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown area have a belt of pro-gay establishments, from gay pubs to gay spas, where patrons could enjoy a glass of alcoholic beverage or engage in free-for-all consensual sex parties in dark rooms. In fact, it was said that a prominent gay right activists has introduced the concept of all-nude gay spas in the 90s and he even operates one of them. Friday & Saturday nights are a sight to behold in the nearby Maxwell road market because you could see a display of flamboyant gay crowd awaiting their turn to enter the gay establishments.
The notion of removing Section 377A has gone beyond the satisfaction of the physical needs between gay males. It is headed towards giving gays in Singapore more rights, such as rights to marriage, inheritance, purchase of HDB flats and the adoption of children to complete a family unit. But this will have implications on many of existing statutes as the words “female” or “woman” were specifically used. Such legislation changes can only be pushed through the acts in Parliament, that would require the majority of Parliamentarians to agree on these changes. However, with PAP holding a majority in the parliament, the chances of gays getting their “rights” are slim.
But at least they have their Pinkdot gatherings annually uninterrupted.