Queer Singaporeans Share How They’re Celebrating Pride This Year Beyond Pink Dot
All images by Stephanie Lee for RICE Media.

It’s June 30th. Another Pride Month has gone and left.

Pink Dot was yesterday. It goes without saying that it’s our largest anchor event for Singaporean Pride festivities. At some point, it was our only Pride event.

But as gay rights progress, alternative events are growing in popularity. From watching LGBTQ+ movies and spending your pink dollar to gay bouldering, there are so many different ways to connect with the queer community, in addition to the yearly jio to Hong Lim Park.

Some LGBTQ+ Singaporeans acknowledge Pride Month in a more personal way. For them, Pride is about being more open about their sexualities. They’re engaging in political discourse about LGBTQ+ rights in Singapore. They’re having difficult conversations with friends and families.

It’s undeniable that Pink Dot still has relevance, especially post-repeal. Pink Dot brings a whole community together, and it’s still the most visible form of LGBTQ+ activism here.  But, as these Singaporeans reveal, Pink Dot’s not the only way to celebrate Pride—and that’s a good thing.

“I didn’t go to Pink Dot this year. Don’t get me wrong, I think Pink Dot is awesome. For a lot of LGBTQ+ Singaporeans (me included!), Pink Dot’s the first time you ever see people openly expressing their sexualities. 

I just don’t need to go to Pink Dot to feel safe about my identity anymore. I’m out to my parents and they’re okay with it. I know Pink Dot matters a lot to my 19-year-old sister, who isn’t out yet. She hasn’t missed one since she was 17. 

Personally, Pride Month is spent being open about my sexuality. I make a little Pride post on my socials every year. Pride’s not about rainbow logos and wearing a pink shirt: it’s about engaging and finding solidarity with the queer community. Pink Dot is one of many ways to do that.

That’s why I try to offer as much support as I can to my younger sister. I hope she knows I love her and accept her for who she is.”

— Ruben, 25

“I went to Pink Dot. Not for any particular reason, but because most of my friends are queer anyway, so it was another excuse to hang out with my friends and be loud and do dumb stuff.

Pride doesn’t hold much significance to me. I grabbed a drink at Dorothy’s with a new friend to get to know each other, but that was mainly to try the limited edition Pride Month drinks.”

— Riker, 20

“Honestly, I’m celebrating Pride in the best way possible: spending time with pretty women. Jokes aside, I think it’s so important to spend time with all the people I love—especially all my queer friends who might need a bit more support.

I usually volunteer for Pink Dot, but this year, I have other commitments to attend to.

I still wore a pink shirt! And I made sure all my close friends and allies also wore pink, even if they aren’t going.”

— Charlotte, 24

“I went to Pink Dot this year, which was my first time representing an organisation at a booth! It was really exciting to take part in something that felt much bigger than myself, despite the fact that I don’t usually like the activities at Pink Dot.

I didn’t do anything to celebrate Pride otherwise. I’m sort of closeted and don’t really have a lifestyle that’s very queer-centric.”

— Percy, 24

“This year, I went out with a bunch of my friends to Pink Screen. The Projector was packed to the brim for a screening of Femme. It’s a really scary and dark movie about internalised homophobia. As we were leaving the cinema I overheard conversation among other audience members about their own experiences with self-hatred and coming out. 

Pink Dot’s always going to be about pushing for large-scale societal change. Big picture stuff. But I honestly prefer these smaller events that zoom into different aspects of the LGBTQ+ community. 

And hot take? Pink Dot’s just not as radical or as scandalous as it was in the past. I personally think that’s good. It means LGBTQ+ rights are progressing.”

— Samantha, 24

“I feel I have graduated from Pink Dot and all its associated pomp and pageantry. I know I’m not alone in this. Many of my friends have said that they weren’t attending this year—some haven’t attended for the past decade. A handful cited the weather; others bemoaned the crowd.

With 377A repealed, Pink Dot lacks the clear, singular focus that a legislative battle provides.

Pink Dot’s progress is paradoxical—success has brought validation, but it also risks complacency. As the banners are packed away and the crowds disperse, one must wonder: what will drive the next wave of activism, and will it resonate as deeply as the fight against 377A?”

— Zat, 40

“The day of Pink Dot has always been a chance to gather with some close friends—most of them allies—and we don’t always go down to Hong Lim Park anyway. Sometimes we just have an intimate gathering and a good potluck somewhere else.

I’ve always been open about my sexuality and surrounded myself with like-minded people. So that, to me, feels like a celebration of Pride in its own way—being constantly surrounded by people who accept me, who lift me up, and who bring joy and light. 

Of course, I acknowledge that the fight has extended beyond mere acceptance, but it’s hard to see that far when so many are still uneducated and the community faces so many micro-aggressions, even amongst ourselves. So in my own way, wherever possible, I try to encourage conversation and discussion by being open about my sexuality—even if it brings some discomfort for me.

As for this year’s Pink Dot, I didn’t go. I spent the day just going about my life as usual. Two spin classes and then a good dinner! But to those who showed up at Hong Lim Park, thank you.”

— Taylor, 32

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