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Singapore LGBTQ+ rights event Pink Dot surpassed its sponsorship target after a six-week campaign, raising more than $200,000 from over 100 local sponsors. This marks a sea change in local efforts towards LGBTQ+ equality, after the Ministry for Home Affairs introduced the right of the police to reject applications to hold events at Hong Lim Park involving foreigners with a political agenda.
Adrianna Tan, whose company Wobe is a sponsor in the annual event, shares her thoughts on a statement Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam recently made about how Singaporeans did not need foreign assistance such as monetary sponsorship to champion local causes such as LGBTQ+ equality.
Her comment from her personal Facebook page is republished with permission.
By Adrianna Tan
The minister of home affairs believes banning foreign companies from being involved in political causes, like Pink Dot, is a good thing for civil society so that we Singaporeans will solve our own problems.
I want to thank him for this — he has now clearly and openly stated he believes the advocacy for homosexual rights (and the opposition to it) is a political issue.
Let’s remind him of this the next time a church tries to force its hand on the issue by claiming it is their right to educate ‘our’ children. It is a political issue, Focus on the Family, do you still receive money from your evil American counterpart? How much foreign money goes to the running of sex education programs that make teenage girls angry? (I will ALWAYS take the side of angry teenage girls, especially if you try to tell them they may mean yes when they say no to boys; especially when it is a church-related organisation on the other side.) We are not on equal footing: we can’t, if you won’t allow LGBTQ organisations to incorporate or to become IPCs (Institutions of a Public Character).
The home minister wants those of us who believe in not criminalising gay men, not pretending queer families and their children don’t exist, not wanting fellow Singaporeans to be second class citizens, to believe we have a fair shot. We don’t have a fair shot. We never did.
I’m old enough to remember gay men being lined up and pushed against police cars in Tanjong Pagar.
I’m old enough to remember when gay men would get set up, entrapped and busted for (some hedonistic lifestyle).
I’m alive enough to know that our identities have been written out of our newspapers for so long, we only show up when we kill someone or have shown ourselves to be a heathen in some way (usually drugs). Always “the bachelor in his 50s” singing and dancing; always gay man, or man who dressed as a woman, when they’ve killed someone. Note to the press: next time you want to call me an ‘openly gay Singaporean’, think about how it’s impossible to be open if it was never a secret.
We live in a country where the state broadcaster is fined $15,000 for showing a gay couple wanting a house transformation, just like everyone seems to be getting these days, after they have a baby. Yet the same broadcaster is fined only $5,500 for creating AND showing a man in blackface. This same minister says sentencing should take public opinion into consideration. Where’s your outrage over the blackface uproar, and why do you stay quiet when gay families are just renovating their rooms on TV and no one, except crazy Christians (I can say this because I’m one myself), complain?
A happy gay family is three times more offensive than actual racism. Think about that.
Some of my fellow Singaporeans also claim to not be anti-homosexual, just don’t rub it in their face. The only thing that we are interested in rubbing is your bigotry masquerading as tolerance. Queer people are not all the nice car-driving, free, promiscuous people with no children. The queer company I run in today is many times more loving, kinder and better people than the people I used to meet at church.
You want Singaporeans to solve our own political problems? Sure, Shanmugam.
Watch me and 100+ over Singaporeans with citizenship and a dream, work to make this country a better place. Thousands more behind us.
It won’t always be nice, and there are bound to be mud fights, but when you’re on the right side of history you don’t have to worry about that. Politicians who work to place obstacles in our way, however, may eventually have to learn that people who have lived all their lives fighting obstacles — every single day — are exceptionally good at, well, climbing.
Mr Shanmugam, you can expect to see letters of outrage from me and from other Singaporeans the next time a religious organisation tries to impinge upon our secular values. You can count on it, and I’ll be expecting you to state as loudly as you do now, that you are against foreign meddling into our political issues on EVERY side.
Images: Pink Dot SG