Backstage with the Organizers of Pink Dot 2012
By Rahimah Rashith and Hoe Li Jun
This June, a record-breaking 15000 Singaporeans gathered at Speakers’ Corner, all geared up for Pink Dot, 2012. Since its commencement in 2009, this event has provided a platform to members and supporters of the LGBT community, ensuring that stereotyping and discriminatory practices remain things of the past. Spreading the message of ‘freedom to love’, Pink Dot garners strong support from devoted friends of the LGBT community and family members every year.
Pink Dot 2012 was the first Pink Dot event held at night. Supporters flashed pink torches to commemorate the occasion, and soon enough, Speakers’ Corner transformed itself into a shimmery sea of pink. The view was spectacular and it was an uplifting moment for everyone.
Behind the Scenes
To pull off such a large event, various people from different backgrounds work hard behind the scenes every year. Saad Chinoy is one of the volunteers. After participating for two years, he decided to join the organizing committee. As Saad puts it, “Being organizer is nothing glamorous; it’s just a lot of hard work and doing what you have to because you believe in something.”
This humble believer first stumbled across Pink dot on Facebook, happening to chance upon photos from the 2009 event. Impressed by the notion of fervently carrying a cause, he attended Pink Dot in 2010 and has been an active part of it since. Now he even gets his friends involved yearly.
Coping with Perceived Stigma
Despite his enthusiasm, there were obstacles that had to be overcome. Typical of Asia, Saad’s family is predominantly conservative. Members of his nuclear or extended family don’t talk about this issue, even when they see the photos he takes of the event. Nonetheless, he does acknowledge that things could have been worse- Saad is thankful that his family respects his desire to volunteer.
The trouble with this issue is that it isn’t limited to the four walls of Saad’s household. Many Singaporeans and others over here are still indignant to challenge age-old beliefs. To Saad though, there is no contention and the idea is simple; just open your eyes and you will see the truth. There is no hatred in the truth.
People like Saad feel that legal framework doesn’t matter today. Pink Dot believes that with a wider sense of perception and acceptance, people will stop condemning things before seeking to understand them.
It is clear that there is a space for The Pink Dot in Singapore; after all, isn’t Singapore a little red dot as well? Once we spread the word, and plant Pink Dot in our hearts, it won’t be long before it grows!
To know more about Pink Dot, visit http://pinkdot.sg/