FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Singapore, 17 May 2023 – Pink Dot, Singapore’s landmark LGBTQ+ rally, returns to Hong Lim Park on 24 June 2023 with a night-time formation and mainstays like the Pink Dot Concert, speeches and community tents. The fifteenth edition – the first since the repeal of Section 377A – seeks to showcase and celebrate the families of LGBTQ+ people in all their diversity and affirm that they too, deserve a place in Singapore.
“Family should be a source of love, safety and comfort. However, LGBTQ+ people experience so much rejection and hurt, not only from family members who may struggle to accept us, but from segments of society who espouse harmful messages that pit us against ‘family values’,” said Pink Dot SG Spokesperson, Clement Tan. “The idea that LGBTQ+ people are a threat to families is preposterous. We have families too, and we love them and stand by them every day. These messages not only drive a wedge within Singapore society, they also divide households by turning family members against each other.”
In a campaign video featuring non-traditional families, Pink Dot sends the message that families are not defined by what they look like, but rather by the love we hold, the sacrifices we make, and the bonds we choose to forge. It welcomes all families to attend the event.
In a panel discussion unpacking what it means to be family, panellist Teo You Yenn, Associate Professor, Sociology, Nanyang Technological University, observed: “To pay more than lip service to ‘family values,’ if we want to realise the potential of family as spaces of security, or love, commitment, care, support, we would do well to embrace families of all shapes and sizes and to work toward conditions that enable people who live in families to play these roles for each other in a sustained way.”
My Family Matters: A Community Initiative
At the Pink Dot launch, LGBTQ+ community groups unveiled a new initiative “My Family Matters”, a series of ongoing tea sessions for the families of LGBTQ+ people. Spearheaded by counselling and support group Oogachaga, the initiative is co-hosted by Pink Dot SG and community groups, namely Supporting and Affirming Family and Friends of LGBT (SAFE), Free Community Church, and Inter-University LGBT Network.
“Parents love, protect and care for their children. This becomes challenging when their child comes out as LGBTQ+ in an often unfriendly environment like Singapore’s,” said Leow Yangfa, Executive Director, Oogachaga. “Many have told Oogachaga about relationship difficulties with their family of origin: parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles. Many feel unsure about what to do when they discover a family member is LGBTQ+, especially the parents. Some feel alone and unable to talk about it with others; others are worried, afraid, or ashamed. In recent years, Oogachaga has observed more parents coming forward to seek information and support. ‘My Family Matters’ is an opportunity for them to come together informally to learn, listen and love. We’re here to support you, so that you can support your children and family members.”
“Parents of LGBTQ+ persons often grapple with isolation and lack of support, further complicated by societal pressures and misinformation amplifying feelings of fear and shame on both sides. Through this programme, parents will have access to reliable and trustworthy information about the LGBTQ+ community, and meet other parents who are in similar situations. Pink Dot looks forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on families within our community,” said Clement Tan, Spokesperson, Pink Dot SG.
Those interested in participating may register online at https://bit.ly/OCmyfamilymatters, or
visit the community tent at Pink Dot on June 24.
Join Us at Pink Dot 15
Pink Dot invites the public to stand with the LGBTQ+ community and envision a Singapore for all families:
● Show up with your family (in pink!) on June 24 at Hong Lim Park from 4pm (Concert starts at 7pm, finishing off with a night formation at 8pm).
● Visit our community tents to find out more about what community groups have been doing to support the needs of the LGBTQ+ community and families.
● Consider being an individual or corporate sponsor as part of our Red Dot for Pink Dot campaign. Visit https://reddotforpinkdot.sg for more information.
Medli Loo is a 19-year-old actor and theatre-maker in Singapore who also happens to be a transgender woman. She is the voice behind Pink Dot’s 2023 campaign video.
Shan Menon is a registered social worker who started his work with the transgender community in 2010. Over the years, he has worked on supporting the needs of transgender people and their families and has represented Singapore as a transgender activist at multiple international platforms. As a volunteer of The T Project, he helped develop the Alicia Community Center peer counselling program.
Tan Joo Hymn is a founding member of SAFE (Supporting, Affirming and Empowering our LGBTQ+ friends and family). She is a facilitator, storyteller, trained early childhood educator, trained lawyer, mother and long time member and volunteer at AWARE, including being a past president. She is currently Project Director of AWARE’s Birds & Bees workshops for young people and parents focusing on consent education.
Teo You Yenn is Associate Professor and Provost’s Chair in Sociology at the Nanyang Technological University. She is the author of Neoliberal Morality in Singapore: How family policies make state and society (Routledge, 2011) and This is What Inequality Looks Like (Ethos Books, 2018). Her current research focuses on work and family, and basic needs and minimum income standards.