The crowd was already pumped when Pink Dot’s spokesperson, Paerin Choa, took over the microphone. The sun had set over an afternoon of enthusiastic pink-clad picnicking. Performers—from popular local rappers and indie bands to glamorous drag queens—had built the atmosphere up to one of euphoria and excitement. The climax of Singapore’s annual LGBT rights rally—the formation of a huge pink “dot”, to be photographed from a height—was about to begin.

But first, Choa had a message to convey. Something was different from the rallies of previous years. On that June evening in 2019, Pink Dot—a fixture in Singapore’s civil society calendar known for its family-friendly branding and soft-touch activism—had acquired a harder, angrier edge.

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Kirsten Han

Kirsten Han is a Singaporean journalist whose work often revolves around the themes of social justice, human rights, politics and democracy. Her bylines have appeared in publications like The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Asia Times and Waging Nonviolence. As an activist, Kirsten has advocated for an end to the death penalty in Singapore, and is a founding member of abolitionist group We Believe in Second Chances.

Joy Ho

Joy is an illustrator, cartoonist, and designer based in Singapore. She’s helped co-create the island’s first queer zinefest and is passionate about illustration’s place and potential in visual culture. She can be found at www.joyho.art or @feever_dreem on instagram