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Pink Dot goes off without a hitch

SINGAPORE — After an eventful lead up to this year’s Pink Dot — where some groups publicly voiced their opposition to it — the gathering in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community went off without a hitch today (June 28) under the watchful eyes of some 20 security personnel hired by the organisers for the first time.

Pink Dot goes off without a hitch

Pink Dot 2014 on June 28, 2014,Photo: Wee Teck Hian

SINGAPORE — After an eventful lead up to this year’s Pink Dot — where some groups publicly voiced their opposition to it — the gathering in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community went off without a hitch today (June 28) under the watchful eyes of some 20 security personnel hired by the organisers for the first time.

As per previous years, the mood at Pink Dot was light hearted with participants — all clad in pink — sitting on picnic mats and enjoying a concert. There were also speeches in support of the LGBT community by lawyer M Ravi and “sticker lady” Samantha Lo, among others.

Earlier this month, an Islamic religious teacher, Mr Noor Deros, started a Wear White campaign calling on Muslims to dress in white today to protest against homosexuality.

Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) senior pastor Lawrence Khong voiced his support for the campaign and said it was time for the church and like-minded groups, such as Muslims, to oppose Pink Dot “before it is too late”.

On its Facebook page, the Wear White campaign organisers had asked supporters to stay away from the Pink Dot gathering while FCBC separately said its members had no plans to go to the event.

The headlines generated in the past week led people such as Mr Andy Seet — who was at Pink Dot with his wife and four-month-old baby — to turn up for the event for the first time. He said he was there to show support for his LGBT friends.

“We should not ostracise people, everybody should have the freedom to love,” he said.

The organisers said a record 26,000 people attended this year’s event at the Speakers’ Corner, 5,000 more than last year.

Mr Paerin Choa, a spokesman for the event, said: “Even as we remain mindful of opposition from certain quarters, we are confident that this Little Red Dot we call home is large enough for us all to coexist peacefully, respectfully and with dignity.”

Meanwhile, the Wear White campaign organisers have called on its supporters to head to a mosque in Bukit Batok for evening prayer today. A group photograph will be taken after the session, the organisers said.

Over the past days, they have been putting up, on the campaign’s Facebook page, pictures of Muslims and non-Muslims wearing white in support of the movement.

Mr Walid Jumblatt, 29, was one of those who turned up in white for prayers at the Ar-Raudhah Mosque in Bukit Batok. He said that there were about 40 other people dressed in white at the evening prayers. At mosques across the island, supporters of the campaign were also seen attending the prayers in white.

Mr Walid, a PhD candidate, said: “Looking at the response ... it has been a tremendously successful campaign. The amount of awareness that it has created with regards to the issue of homosexuality in Islam, I think it’s quite unprecedented within the Singapore Muslim community.”

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