Official Pink Dot 2011 Video
Saturday was a busy day for our family. We began with a hospital tour, which I’ll talk about in tomorrow’s post. I felt very poorly in the afternoon and was worried that I’d have to send Ravi and Elanor without me, but with some rest, I rallied, and we made it.
We missed the pre-Pink Dot concert, sponsored (the first EVER sponsor) by Google Singapore. I want to take a moment and say thank you…Google seems to be a company that fully supports its LBGT employees (I’ve seen them march in just about every Pride Parade I’ve been to) but doing so in a country like Singapore (where male/male sex is still technically illegal) requires a special sort of courage and commitment. So thank you. Anyone who’s ever met Ravi knows he’s a rabid android fan, so he was also extra proud to hear that they were the sponsor. Google also had plenty of employees representing them…I LOVED the shirts they were wearing.
As a woman who has been out as bisexual for 10-ish years, living in Singapore can be difficult at times. For over a decade, I’ve had community from friends, from bookstores, from dance clubs, from events, and since 2004 from the MA government (when they legalized gay marriage in my home state). Living here has been isolating in many ways.
As a bisexual woman who is married to a man, mother of a child, and currently about five months pregnant with another child, the most common assumption made about me (perhaps even before the ones that ang moh specific, such as I must be wealthy–we’re not, or that I’m a wife of leisure–I guess? sort of? but not in a prada wearing/chanel toting/ladies who lunch way—in a regular stay at home mom way) is that I’m straight. Obviously, the same assumption was made about me by strangers in the US, but because of that omnipresent community, it didn’t bother me much or make me feel like I was getting away by “passing” for straight. I also have many friends who make up a community of people who would NEVER assume anything about sexuality until you tell them–what gender I identify as, what sexuality I identify as, etc.
In Singapore, I feel like I am guilty of “passing”, which is term that was commonly used by light-skinned blacks who passed as white, particularly in the slave and jim crow eras. I know that the Singaporean gay community exists. However, at 32 with a pregnant belly, I feel far too old to venture forth to clubs that have reputations. Beyond being too old, I know I’m not going to make friends or really find community. I’ll just dance (which has value by itself, but isn’t what I miss about Boston, where I’m down to dancing once a year, if that).
As a foreigner, I also feel cut off because of the strict government regulations that tell me I am NOT allowed to participate in things seen by the government as “political.” Advocating for gay rights can not really be construed as anything but. I’m also foreign, because while I understand the narrative of coming out in the US, and have the kind of understanding of American culture that only comes with being born into it and raised within it…the truth is that I have no real understanding of what it means to come out as a gay Asian. It’s unfair for me to push MY political agenda here, because I need to respect that the LGBT community here has other goals that reflect Singaporean/Asian culture and political realities.
But Pink Dot is my one chance a year to be able to leave all of that behind, and embrace the community. To show support without being “political” and to support love, in every form. To see the Singapore I’m proud to live in, the Singapore I want Ellie to grow up (for as long as we’re here) in, and the Singapore that can be. The accepting, loving Singapore.
I was proud to number my family among the participants.
As we pulled up to the curb outside Hong Lim Park (also known as Speakers Corner–an irony as you need government permission to speak there, compared to London’s version where you can just start spouting off about anything), I could hear the Dim Sum Dollies singing “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga.
Elanor and I were dressed in pink. Ravi did not have anything pink to wear, but that was soon rectified. We quickly found my friend Kirsten, who was part of the team covering the event for The Online Citizen. She had a number of pink dot buttons, and we all accepted one to add to our clothes. Now even Ravi was appropriately pink!
They were getting ready to form the Pink Dot as I wandered around within the “non-Singaporean” area (we non-Singaporean/PR’s were asked to stand back and just bear witness so as not to create potential issues for event organizers).
Ellie also managed to pick up a pink dot of her very own. For far better (and more) pictures of E, go to Kirsten’s blog post on Pink Dot…she’s an amazing photographer and E has her own mini-photo series at the end of the post.
Too quickly it was time for the formation of the Pink Dot. I watched from the sidelines as 10,000+ Singaporeans formed the dot. It was the largest Pink Dot event ever, AND the largest gathering in Hong Lim Park! We counted down from 10, and then everyone yelled “Pink Dot” and released balloons into the sky.
After the pink dot, we wandered a bit more and joined into the group sing of the official song of Pink Dot 2011 (I wanna hold your hand). I managed to run into Becca, who has long been a blog/comment/twitter pal but whom I’d not had the chance to meet in person before. I knew I’d found her when I found the most fabulous hat in the crowd (see Kirsten’s photo here-like an idiot I forgot to take one).
I have one last photo to sum up the day…