Pink Dot’s 11th edition in 2019 didn’t look all that different from previous iterations: the cheerful pastel pink-and-fuchsia colour scheme, the speakers blaring pop music, the people trampling the grass in search of friends or a spot to unfold their picnic mats. At first glance, it seemed like the Pink Dot Singaporeans had come to know—an annual LGBT rights rally with a political message that was more implied than explicit.

Listening to the emcee, though, it quickly became apparent that this Pink Dot was different. Apart from the usual hype about performances, sponsors, and NGO booths, the emcee also took aim at claims—made by Singapore’s prime minister himself—that the existence of such an event proved that LGBT Singaporeans hadn’t been “inhibited” from living in a city-state that still refused to repeal a colonial era law (Section 377A) effectively criminalising gay men.

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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

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.