Thousands of demonstrators called for an end to the colonial-era criminalization of homosexuality Saturday.
Singapore was beribboned in rainbow stripes as protesters celebrated Pink Dot 2019, the nation’s largest LGTBQ event in the year, demanding authorities scrap Singapore’s gay ban.
Thousands of demonstrators called for an end to the colonial-era criminalization of homosexuality, Saturday, urging legislators to follow the example of other nations in the region and decriminalize homosexual relationships.
As dusk fell, protesters stood together, lighting the square with thousands of lights. An aerial view revealed the words “Repeal Section 3774,” beaming into the dark sky. This section of the nation's Penal Code is from the British era and prohibits homosexual relationships between men, specifically.
“The majority of Singaporeans are tolerant. But for us to be accepted, we have a long way to go,” said Elaine, 26, a banker who attended the rally with her girlfriend.
“But I’m happy that the government doesn’t stop or disallow events like this to happen,” she added, asking to give only her first name.
Under the law, a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years, although prosecutions are rare. The law does not explicitly ban homosexual acts between women.
Devane Sharma, a public relations executive, told Reuters, “The government often says that the law isn’t really enforced so it’s okay, but there are ripple effects on the rest of society, especially in matters on sexual health and workplace discrimination.”
The gay pride rally has been held since 2009 under stringent public assembly laws at Speakers’ Corner, an area set aside for demonstrations, performances and exhibitions for citizens and permanent residents only.