Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2013

I'm not ashamed of being gay, but I'm ashamed to be Singaporean
The Pink Dot mascot between the mascots for fear and ignorance. Singapore's High Court upheld the controversial Section 377A law criminalising sex between two men, as the LGBT movement continues in Singapore (Yahoo! file photo)
Yahoo! Newsroom - The Pink Dot mascot between the mascots for fear and ignorance. Singapore's High Court upheld the controversial Section 377A law criminalising sex between two men, as the LGBT movement continues in Singapore (Yahoo! file photo)

I'm gay. I'm not ashamed of it, not by a long shot.

What I am ashamed of, however, is being part of a country that has the temerity to decry another country's human rights records, while at the same time making homosexuality a criminal offence. I am ashamed to be associated with a Government that boasts of its democratic freedoms while outlawing public assembly. I am ashamed to walk amongst a people who are so widely traveled and yet so parochial, so narrow-minded and so infuriatingly judgmental.

In short, I am ashamed to be a Singaporean.

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Record-breaking attendance at LGBT Pink Dot 2013

An estimated 21,000 people attended Pink Dot 2013 this year. (Yahoo! Newsroom)

An estimated record-high of 21,000 people turned up at Hong Lim Park on Saturday evening for this year's Pink Dot rally, forming a sea of pink at the Speaker's Corner.

Straight and gay, young and old, they were there to show their support for Singapore's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) community and to campaign for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

This year’s Pink Dot turnout of 21,000 is a marked increase from 2012's 15,000. In its first year, 2,500 people attended Pink Dot. This number grew to 4,000 in 2010 and 10,000 in 2011.

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Coming out at Pink Dot event
Coming out at Pink Dot event
A record number of people showed up at Pink Dot 2013 since it started in 2009, with 6,000 more attendees than the previous year (Photo: Lim Weixiang)

A record 21,000 people turned up at this year’s Pink Dot event held over the weekend at Speakers’ Corner, and while gay pride may be the call of the day, there are those who still prefer to keep their sexual orientation private.

Theatre director Ivan Heng, 51, who is openly gay, was leading the event and opposition party member Vincent Wijeysingha, who is in his early 40s, came out a day before the event to rally the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) community.

On his own Facebook account, Wijeysingha wrote on 28 June as part of a cheeky message, “…yes, I am going to Pink Dot tomorrow. And yes, I am gay." He was applauded by supporters for officially coming out in public.

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Meet Singapore Pink Dot’s new celebrity faces

Local celebrities Michelle Chia, Ivan Heng and Mark Richmond are the new faces of Pink Dot, Singapore's annual rally for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The three feature in a Pink Dot ambassador video that sees them sharing their thoughts on the importance of inclusiveness and acceptance for sexual minorities - something many members of the community in Singapore are unprepared to do because of social stigma and fear of reprisal.

In a press release from Pink Dot, the three new ambassadors shared what drove their decision to be the public faces of the campaign.

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21,000 show-up to support LGBT love in Singapore
Pink Dot 2013 with an estimated 21,000 people

Largest crowd ever show support for LGBT people in Singapore at Pink Dot 

Singapore's LGBT rights festival Pink Dot has smashed previous records of attendants with 21,000 showing their support in Hong Lim Park on Saturday evening.

After 15,000 people showed-up last year organizers had wanted to move to a bigger venue, but that wasn't arranged in time so Pink Dot remained in Singapore's Speaker's Corner - the only place where citizens can legally protest.

Police rejected a request to close part of nearby North Canal Road to allow more space for the crowds, The Straits Times reports

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Thousands of Singaporeans don pink for gay rights
Singapore
Singapore
MORE than 20,000 people wearing pink clothing gathered in Singapore on Saturday for an annual rally in support of gay rights in the city-state, where an archaic law criminalises sex between men.

From pink tube tops to hats and even facial hair dyed in pink, straight and gay Singaporeans arrived at Speakers' Corner, a government-designated free speech park, in the colour theme picked by organisers to represent the freedom to love. Some brought their dogs and cats in pink pet clothing and leashes.

"Singaporeans gathered here today are saying that we want to be a kinder and more inclusive society,'' Ivan Heng, an ambassador for the organiser Pink Dot Sg, told AFP at the park.

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Singapore's 'Pink Dot' rally shows growing pressure for gay rights
Participants dressed in pink enjoy a picnic before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 29, 2013. REUTERS-Edgar Su
A participant puts up a sign about his sexuality before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 29, 2013. REUTERS-Edgar Su

Singapore is seeing a groundswell of support for same-sex rights, reflected in a record 21,000-strong "Pink Dot" rally in the city-state, only months after its High Court rejected a petition to repeal a law which criminalizes sex between men.

"There is more awareness, especially with the rise of social media. I think with greater awareness, there is greater support as well," said Kierin Galistan, a secretary and one of the participants at the "Pink Dot" rally on Saturday.

"Everyone deserves to love and be loved, regardless of sexual orientation," said Galistan.
In Singapore, sex between men carries a maximum penalty of two years' jail, but the law is seldom enforced

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Singapore: ‘Pink Dot’ LGBT rally attracts highest attendance yet
Participants lit up Singapore with pink lights (Image: Facebook)
Singapore’s annual pink-themed LGBT rights rally attracted more crowds than any previous year

An estimated 21,000 people attended the Pink Dot event on Saturday, dressing in pink, marching, and lighting up the city at night. Attendance was the highest yet seen at the annual gathering, which was started in 2009.

Rally spokesman Paerin Choa said the numbers were ”a strong signal that Singapore is not as conservative as some think.”

Organisers stressed that the rally was a show of support for the LGBT community rather than a protest, despite the High Court’s recent decision to reject a case against Singapore’s anti-gay law.

Related topics
 
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Singapore in pink to support gay rights


More than 20 000 people dressed in pink have gathered in Singapore for an annual rally in support of gay rights.

In pink tube tops and hats and with dyed pink facial hair, straight and gay Singaporeans have come together at Speakers' Corner, a government-designated free speech park. Some even brought dogs and cats in pink pet clothing.

Organisers stress the event is not a protest but a public show of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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Thousands Attend Singapore's Pink Dot Rally

Singapores annual pink-themed LGBT rights rally attracted more crowds than any previous year.

An estimated 21,000 people attended the Pink Dot event on Saturday, dressing in pink, marching, and lighting up the city at night. Attendance was the highest yet seen at the annual gathering, which was started in 2009.

Rally spokesman Paerin Choa said the numbers were a strong signal that Singapore is not as conservative as some think.

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Singapore skyline lights up at end of gay rights rally

Pink torches light up the Singapore skyline at the end of the Pink Dot gay rights rally. video



Watching Pink Dot 2013 away from home
21,000 show-up to support LGBT love in SingaporeWatching Pink Dot 2013 away from home
People with LED lights take part in forming a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 29, 2013. About 21,000 people took part in the Pink Dot Sg event to promote acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore, the organizer said. REUTERS/Edgar Su (SINGAPORE - Tags: SOCIETY)
Reuters - People with LED lights take part in forming a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 29, 2013. About 21,000 people took part in the Pink Dot Sg event to promote acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore, the organizer said. REUTERS/Edgar Su (SINGAPORE - Tags: SOCIETY)

Despite all efforts, I've only ever made it to Pink Dot once, in 2011. All the other times I have been overseas, watching my friends back home with envy. This year I'm in Athens, Greece, running around the city talking to bloggers, journalists and musicians about the sudden shutdown of the country's only public broadcasting network. Today I've been hanging out with some amazing citizen journalists talking politics, activism and the media, but I’ve kept an eye (and a finger on my iPhone) on Pink Dot developments.

Seeing the pink dot of over 20,000 lit up against the Singaporean cityscape made me miss home more than ever, especially since I knew that many of my friends would be there.

There’s something special about Pink Dot. While it does address a very serious national issue – that of LGBT rights and discrimination within our society – it’s a day in Singapore when people aren’t divided. People don’t go to Pink Dot to shout or argue or fight. They go to celebrate diversity and acceptance and love.

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Sexual grooming by the gay pride


Attempts have been made by LGBT organisations and individuals to influence young minds about LGBT ideals through the guise of sex education. Leading the list of organisations is AWARE. Leading the list of individuals is Alex Au.

Alex Au. With hubris and narcissism as his sword to fight his personal crusade, he appoints himself as the "saviour of young boys who have been taught wrongly about sex". Little does he realise that parents who read his scriptures actually see him as a sexual groomer of young boys and possibly even a closet pedophile

Alex sees himself as the torch-bearer, the true guide, as well as someone who fills the void. The self-imaginary void that he fills up where society has failed. So he takes upon himself as the "true educator" of sex ed programmes, debunking institutions like schools and even MOE. Here are the examples

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Pink Dot 2013

Pink Dot 2013
The aerial view of the pink dot formed.
A sea of pink can be seen in this photo taken at the start of the event.
A sea of pink can be seen in this photo taken at the start of the event.
Pink Dot 2013
The gathering crowd early in the evening.
Fashionable Pink Dot participants strike a pose.
Fashionable Pink Dot participants strike a pose.
Pink Dot 2013
A community tent with food and games stall as part of the celebrations.
Pink Dot 2013
The crowd soaking in the festivities.
Crowds waiting in front of the stage. In the foreground is the Pink Dot mascot, Pinkie.
Crowds waiting in front of the stage. In the foreground is the Pink Dot mascot, Pinkie
Pink Dot 2013
Gary Lim, 44, and his 37-year-old partner Kenneth Chee
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Pink Dot 2013
Colorful balloons everywhere
A participant signing on the message wall.
A participant signing at the message wall
Pink Dot 2013
The crowd soaking in the festivities.
Flying the "pride flag", a symbol of inclusiveness.
Flying the "pride flag", a symbol of inclusiveness.
Helicopters fly the National Flag over the event, en-route to the National Day Parade rehearsal.
Helicopters fly the National Flag over the event, en-route to the National Day Parade rehearsal
Pink Dot 2013
The Dot is formed and participants asked to light up their pink torches.
Pink Dot 2013
Right after the dot was formed around 7 plus in the evening.

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Five Pink Dots on, government still paralysed
pic_201306_14

Pink Dot  – 2013′s will be tomorrow, 29 June — is a huge celebratory event, albeit with a serious purpose. Its steady growth over the last five years have testified to the increasing acceptance of LGBT people in Singapore socially. But on the legal and political front, there is nothing to celebrate. There has been no movement, just paralysis — like the proverbial deer frozen in the face of oncoming (pink) headlights.  It’s all a rather depressing state of affairs.


As I will argue below, the policy paralysis we see is part of a larger pattern.  The government is poor at coping with social changes, and easily alarmed at evolving values and attitudes, such as a rising skepticism of authority and greater questioning of the social and economic model imposed from above.

They first try to pretend it’s not a substantial change or that it will go away by itself, but when changing attitudes and behaviours spread (e.g. the rise of non-mainstream media), they see it as threat and actively try to restore the status quo.

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Politician Vincent Wijeysingha comes out as gay man on Facebook

Singapore Democratic Party politician Vincent Wijeysingha officially came out as a gay man on his Facebook page on Friday.
This makes him Singapore's first openly gay politician.
The 43-year-old social work lecturer's Facebook post was in reply to another post from Facebook page Fabrications About The PAP. The latter contained the phrase "come out of the closet like Vincent Wijeysinha

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With law against him, Singapore pol says he's gay

                     
                     
                     
              In this Saturday, June 29, 2013 photo released by Pink Dot SG rally organizers, Singapore's first openly gay politician, Vincent Wijeysingha, a member of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, speaks to reporters at the annual Pink Dot SG rally in support of gay rights in Singapore's Hong Lim Park. Wijeysingha recently confirmed that he is gay and said he believes Singapore's government will someday be forced to abolish a law that criminalizes consensual sex between men. (AP Photo/Pink Dot SG)
In this Saturday, June 29, 2013 photo released by Pink Dot SG rally organizers, Singapore's first openly gay politician, Vincent Wijeysingha, a member of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, speaks to reporters at the annual Pink Dot SG rally in support of gay rights in Singapore's Hong Lim Park. Wijeysingha recently confirmed that he is gay and said he believes Singapore's government will someday be forced to abolish a law that criminalizes consensual sex between men. (AP Photo/Pink Dot SG)

This conservative city-state convicted men for homosexual behavior as recently as seven years ago, and the British colonial-era law it used is still on the books. Singapore’s government shows no interest in making a change: The prime minister’s advice has been to just let things be.

Opposition official Vincent Wijeysingha isn’t taking that advice. On his Facebook page last week, he became the first Singaporean politician to come out of the closet, and he is advocating for the law to be scrapped.

He told The Associated Press on Monday that although the government resists decriminalizing homosexuality, ‘‘society will eventually overtake it on this question.’’

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related:
Washington Post: 1st gay politician in Singapore says law criminalizing homosexuality
Straits Times: Opposition politician Wijeysingha is first politician to say he's gay
PinkNews: Singapore's first out gay politician urges for repeal of anti-gay laws
Examiner: Out around the world: Singapore's first openly gay politician
AsiaOne: Dr Wijeysingha is first openly gay politician here, sparks debate

More than 20,000 turn up at Speakers' Corner in support of gay rights
The crowd at Pink Dot 2013 at about 5pm. Read report.
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
A participant puts up a sign about his sexuality before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 29, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Hong Lim Park was turned into a shimmering sea of pink at Saturday night's Pink Dot mass picnic. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
21,000 participants light up their torches at Pink Dot's fifth year at the Hong Lim Park.-- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Police had rejected the organiser's bid to close part of North Canal Road for the event this year, after crowds spilled beyond the specified boundary of Speakers' Corner last year.

But that did little to stop more than 20,000 people from turning up in support of gay rights here

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pinkdot.sg 2012



Singapore Daily

– A Gen Y’s Challenge to survive on a little red dot: Pink Dot Project 2013
– Affiee Danny: My Chapter of Life: Pink Dot 2013
– The Revolutioner: The Stupidity, Utter Crap & Hidden Truth Of Pink Dot 2013
– Where Bears Roam Free: Sexual grooming by the gay pride

– Barry’s Blog: Pink Dot 2013
– Publichouse: Pink Dot 2013 – Gary, Kenneth, and Tan Eng Hong

– Breakfast Network: It’s a question of love: Couples of Pink Dot 2013
– Musings From Lion City: Nothing Will Change
– guanyinmiao’s musings: Glowing In Pink
– Blogging for Myself: Exponential Growth of Pink Dots
– I On Singapore: When Judges Lie Through Their Teeth
– The Rationality of Faith: Reflections on PinkDot SG
– Super Adrianme: Pink Dot 2013 Breaks Record With 21,000 Strong Crowd
– [FB] Vincent Wijeysingha: Dear Friends
– Yawning Bread: Five Pink Dots on, government still paralysed
– Yahoo: Record-breaking attendance at Pink Dot 2013


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Snapshots of the event and participants, including those who were willing admit publicly that they are members of the LGBT community
Leow Yangfa, 38, deputy executive director of OogaChaga, a counselling service for the LGBT community, has no reservations coming out as gay. Read report.
Leow Yangfa, 38, deputy executive director of OogaChaga, a counselling service for the LGBT community, has no reservations coming out as gay
A 26-year-old business owner who called herself “CV” (second from the right) holds up a placard. Her friends declined to be interviewed. Read report.
A 26-year-old business owner who called herself “CV” (second from the right) holds up a placard. Her friends declined to be interviewed
Marketing director Nicholas Lee, 33, is open about being gay. Read report.
Marketing director Nicholas Lee, 33, is open about being gay
An attendee who did not mind having a photo taken, but did not want to be named. Read report.
An attendee who did not mind having a photo taken, but did not want to be named
Anthony Leong, 23, an undergraduate, who came out because he has the support of his family and friends. Read report.
Anthony Leong, 23, an undergraduate, who came out because he has the support of his family and friends
Natalie Teo, a 23 year-old student, who is bisexual. Read report.
Natalie Teo, a 23 year-old student, who is bisexua
JK Tan, 33, who works in public relations, declares himself gay but did not want to give his full name. Read report.
JK Tan, 33, who works in public relations, declares himself gay but did not want to give his full name
“I don't have to be ashamed of it, since it is a huge part of who I am,' says 19-year-old undergraduate Melissa Tsang. Read report.
“I don't have to be ashamed of it, since it is a huge part of who I am," says 19-year-old undergraduate Melissa Tsang
Bryan Tan, a 23-year-old student, holds a placard to declare his gay. Read report.
Bryan Tan, a 23-year-old student, holds a placard to declare his gay
Attending the event together are students Ong Ruwei (L) and Andrew Chen, who are both 18. Read report.
Attending the event together are students Ong Ruwei (L) and Andrew Chen, who are both 18
Ambassadors for Pink Dot 2013: (from L to R) theatre director Ivan Heng, actress-compere Michelle Chia and presenter Mark Richmond. Read report.
Ambassadors for Pink Dot 2013: (from L to R) theatre director Ivan Heng, actress-compere Michelle Chia and presenter Mark Richmond
Ezekiel Mathialagan, a 21-year-old cross-dressing performer who goes by his stage name “Miss Chili” (left) and another Pink Dot participant “Chery Loux”. Read report.
Ezekiel Mathialagan, a 21-year-old cross-dressing performer who goes by his stage name “Miss Chili” (left) and another Pink Dot participant “Chery Loux”
Students Natilda Sim (L) and Ong Ruwei, both 18, arrive early at Pink Dot. Read report.
Students Natilda Sim (L) and Ong Ruwei, both 18, arrive early at Pink Dot
Pink Dot 2013 ambassador Michelle Chia posing with attendees. Read report.
Pink Dot 2013 ambassador Michelle Chia posing with attendees
Danny Tah (L), 32, who works as a trainer, with his friend Nigel Lim, a 23-year-old auditor. Read report.
Danny Tah (L), 32, who works as a trainer, with his friend Nigel Lim, a 23-year-old auditor
Assistant Gallery Manager Kenneth Loe (L), 24, with his partner Brian Forst, 38, who works as a senior lecturer. Read report.
Assistant Gallery Manager Kenneth Loe (L), 24, with his partner Brian Forst, 38, who works as a senior lecturer
Chris Masashi (C), 23, a Zumba fitness trainer, with his friends at Pink Dot. Read report.
Chris Masashi (C), 23, a Zumba fitness trainer, with his friends at Pink Dot
Senior lecturer Brian Forst, 38, posing with a fellow dog lover. Read report.
Senior lecturer Brian Forst, 38, posing with a fellow dog lover
Kelvin Tan, a 17-year-old student, hopes his parents will accept that he is gay. Read report.
Kelvin Tan, a 17-year-old student, hopes his parents will accept that he is gay
Attendees were asked by organisers to be dressed in pink and some responded enthusiastically. Read report.
Attendees were asked by organisers to be dressed in pink and some responded enthusiastically
Students Kelly Kay (L), 16, and Zoey Soh, 17, came with a group of friends who declined to be photographed with the placard. Read report.
Students Kelly Kay (L), 16, and Zoey Soh, 17, came with a group of friends who declined to be photographed with the placard
Attendees write messages on black cards provided by Pink Dot organisers. Read report.
Attendees write messages on black cards provided by Pink Dot organisers
Theatre director and Pink Dot ambassador Ivan Heng, 51, proud to be gay. Read report.
Theatre director and Pink Dot ambassador Ivan Heng, 51, proud to be gay
Stuart Koh (L), 40, founder of LGBT website Fridae, posing with Abra Lee, 29, a manager. Read report.
Stuart Koh (L), 40, founder of LGBT website Fridae, posing with Abra Lee, 29, a manager
Jet Chiew (L), a 36-year-old accountant, wearing matching shirts with his friend Roy Goh, a 23-year-old student. Read report.
Jet Chiew (L), a 36-year-old accountant, wearing matching shirts with his friend Roy Goh, a 23-year-old student
Ian Monteiro (R), 38, who did not want to state his profession, was hesitant at first to come out to inSing, but changed his mind in the end. His friends declined to be interviewed. Read report.
Ian Monteiro (R), 38, who did not want to state his profession, was hesitant at first to come out to inSing, but changed his mind in the end. His friends declined to be interviewed
Going pink for the event keeps up the cheer. Read report.

Going pink for the event keeps up the cheer
A notice board on the right side of the stage at Pink Dot 2013, where people pen down personal messages. Read report.
A notice board on the right side of the stage at Pink Dot 2013, where people pen down personal messages
A notice board on the right side of the stage at Pink Dot 2013, where people pen down their fears and hopes. Read report.
A notice board on the right side of the stage at Pink Dot 2013, where people pen down their fears and hopes 


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related:
Singapore Court Ruling for Gay Rights
FAQs on Sexuality, LGBTs and Section 377A
Section 377A and the LGBTs
'Wear White' 2014
Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2014
‘Wear White’ vs ‘Pink Dot’
Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2013