Last Saturday, I attended the Pink Dot event at Hong Lim Park for the first time.
There were two reasons for my showing up. One was to photograph the colourful happenings, and the other was to know more about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore.
On both these objectives, I came away happier and better informed.
The LGBT community here does exist and is significant in numbers. Singaporeans may not be aware of or want to acknowledge the size of this group because it usually keeps a low profile.
The Pink Dot event has proven to be an iconic milestone in highlighting the need for recognition of our LGBT citizens, whatever our beliefs may be.
With the sponsorship and support of major multinational companies, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Google, the event reveals that we cannot choose to be an open, investment-welcoming economy without being an inclusive society.
Therefore, I am happy that the Government has allowed the event to run its course over the years despite conservative objections that will understandably persist.
The point is that, with time, a more educated and informed society can come to a consensus on the rights of everyone regardless of their sexual orientation.
Indeed, the Pink Dot event has the potential to not only change our social traditions with regard to the LGBT community, but also showcase how other minority interests can be advanced in Singapore.
For that, we ought to be thankful to the Government for its balanced approach to nurturing our small yet diverse society.
-Ed Cheong Tuck Kuan
This article was first published on JULY 1, 2014.
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