Pink is in: Singaporeans wearing pink T-shirts as they gather at 'Speakers' Corner' in this 2009 file photo. - AFP
A showdown between Singapore’s religious conservatives and a growing gay rights movement is shaping up ahead of a weekend rally celebrating sexual diversity in the city-state.
The annual Pink Dot gathering will be held tomorrow at a downtown park – the only place where demonstrations are permitted – with organisers aiming to top last year’s record turnout of over 20,000 people.
The carnival-like rally draws a diverse array of straight and gay participants decked out in bright pink attire, including hats and even facial hair dyed in the colour organisers picked to represent the freedom to love.
The term “Pink Dot” is a play on Singapore’s nickname – “The Little Red Dot” on the world map.
Pink Dot has been held annually since 2009 and enjoys the support of local celebrities as well as Internet giant Google and financial firms Barclays and J.P. Morgan, in a show of support for diversity in society and the workplace.
But this year, Muslim and Christian conservatives in the multi-ethnic island are fighting back.
Lawrence Khong, a senior pastor with the 10,000-strong Faith Community Baptist Church, has led the charge to ban the event, saying it is an affront to morality and “family values” in the nation of 5.4 million people.
The pastor, who leads a network of Protestant churches called LoveSingapore, professed support for a peaceful protest led by Ustaz Noor Deros, a Muslim teacher.
Noor last week launched a “WearWhite” campaign urging Muslims to shun Pink Dot and instead wear white garments to mosques on the same night as the rally. — AFP