Trio of Singaporean role models across broadcast and theatre scenes announced as 2013 ambassadors

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1 May (Singapore) – Michelle Chia, Ivan Heng and Mark Richmond are the 2013 ambassadors of Pink Dot, an annual rally that raises awareness and foster deeper understanding of the basic human need to love and be loved, regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Featured in an “Ambassador Video” that was launched today, Michelle, Ivan and Mark highlighted the importance of inclusiveness and acceptance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“We will like to thank Michelle, Ivan and Mark for coming onboard this year,” said Paerin Choa, Pink Dot’s spokesperson. “It is an act of courage and conviction to be willing to stand up and put themselves in the public spotlight. As allies or members of the LGBT community, they play a pivotal role in helping build bridges within the community as well as with the greater public.”

Since the first Pink Dot in 2009, Pink Dot ambassadors have come from a range of different backgrounds. They include popular radio host Rosalyn Lee; actresses Sharon Au, Neo Swee Lin and Tan Kheng Hua; and comedians the Dim Sum Dollies and Kumar.

“I have many friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and they are no different from straight people,” said Michelle Chia, popular TV host and actress. “Many of these friends are in loving, happy relationships and I feel the need to speak up for them when nasty things are being directed at LGBT people. People should be allowed to be who they are and love who they want to love.”

“I want my LGBT friends to know that I care for their freedom to love and I am proud of this opportunity to be an ambassador for Pink Dot. An event like Pink Dot not only represents the acceptance of LGBT people but is very important for straight people like me because I want to live in a society that is inclusive and open-minded.”

Though support for LGBT people have grown tremendously in recent years, discrimination and prejudice is still prevalent in society, especially in schools and at the workplace.

“As a straight person, there is a lot that I take for granted,” said Mark Richmond, sportscaster. “When I look back at my life, I realised that LGBT people face a lot of discrimination that I did not, and this impacts their lives badly. Though Singapore is changing, discrimination still exists and much of it stems from ignorance and fear.”

“As a father, I want my child to grow up in a society that celebrates diversity and where it is ok to be different. I bring my family to Pink Dot because this is the one place and time in Singapore where people from the LGBT community and their family and friends can come together in a celebration of inclusivity, tolerance and love. It is important for my kid to see for himself the wonderful differences that make society rich, and for him to know not to discriminate against people just because of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

For many LGBT people, coming out remains difficult. Many still divide their personal and work lives, and live double lives in fear of being discriminated against.

“I knew I was different from an early age,” said Ivan Heng, acclaimed thespian and Artistic Director of theatre company W!ld Rice. “Growing up was a little confusing, frightening and lonely. And I know there are many LGBT people in Singapore even today who remain in the closet because of discrimination and fear, and I understand that it is very difficult. Therefore they live half lives or they live a lie. I think that it is important for us to reach out to them, to let them know that Singapore is changing and there is an entire community of people who accepts them for who they are.”

“Pink Dot is important to me because it is a place where our families and friends come together in support of the freedom to love. My mom came to Pink Dot for the first time last year and when she saw other mothers like herself, she didn’t feel so alone, and more importantly saw that I wasn’t alone. I hope that Singaporeans will all come together at Pink Dot to make a stand, for a truly inclusive Singapore, a place we can truly call home.”

Since Pink Dot started in 2009, attendance has grown from 2,500 to over 15,000 last year. It has become one of the most visible and well known events for inclusiveness and diversity in Singapore. It is a place where all Singaporeans – straight or LGBT – can come together to support the freedom to love.

“Over the years, we receive personal stories of LGBT people who stand across the road from Hong Lim Park, afraid to join us,” said Paerin Choa. “Part of Pink Dot is to let LGBT people know, we are here and Singapore is our home too. And the most important part of being home, is that you know you can be safe, happy and feel that sense of belonging.”

The Pink Dot 2013 Ambassadors’ Video can be viewed at this link [xxxx]. For the first time, the video features heartfelt interviews with the Pink Dot Ambassadors, who speak about their personal motivations for coming on board and why they feel a need to come out in support of the LGBT community.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkdot/
Visit Pink Dot’s blog: http://pinkdotsg.blogspot.com/
View Pink Dot’s videos: http://www.youtube.com/pinkdotsg
And join our facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/pinkdot
View our 2012 campaign video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvsZSR_hxJA

For more information, please contact:
Andrew Wong
Mob: (65) 91993622
Email: media@pinkdot.sg

About Pink Dot Sg

Pink Dot Sg is a non-profit movement started by a group of individuals who care deeply about the place that LGBT Singaporeans call home. Why Pink? Because it is a blend of red and white – the colour of Singapore’s flag. It is also the colour of our national identification cards. More importantly, Pink Dot Sg stands for a Singapore in which all Singaporeans, regardless of their sexual orientation, are free to love and be loved.

2,500 people supported this cause in 2009. In 2010, this nearly doubled to 4,000, and in 2011, over 10,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents turned up, consistently making Pink Dot the largest gathering to take place at Hong Lim Park since the inception of the Speakers’ Corner in 2000.

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TV host and writer Anita Kapoor, shot to fame as the clear favourite winner of a Discovery travel host search and has not looked back since. Insatiably curious and possessing a natural wit, this former magazine editor has explored the world for Discovery TLC, AXN, Lonely Planet, Channel News Asia and OKTO, and Starwood Asia Pacific channels, forever on a quest to pioneer the non-conformist stories and locations, especially to connect with the provocateurs who move their worlds.

She is an ambassador for the Singapore chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and her advocacies include Willing Hearts which feeds Singapore’s marginalised, Magic Bus which empowers childrens’ lives in India through sports, and A Single Love which supports single parents. She has also spoken at TEDx Singapore Women 2012 on ‘Female to Female Misogyny in the First World’.

As a Pink Dot ambassador this year, Anita hopes to extend her voice on issues of equality as she firmly believes that everyone deserves equal rights, regardless of the hand they have been dealt in life.

“I see the rights of LGBT people as human rights, really. Everyone deserves to be treated equally – in society, in employment and in the eyes of the law. I believe that as fellow human beings, it’s important to stand together – to speak up for one another when we have the ability and opportunity to do so.”

Anita continues: “There’s a lot of work to be done, a lot of people we need to reach out to. Every one of us has the capacity to be a hero to someone else. I hope more Singaporeans will join us at this year’s Pink Dot. Because together, we can make this a more inclusive society for everyone.”