Thousands attend LGBT+ rally in Singapore

Last weekend, Pink Dot SG held its 10th annual gathering, drawing a crowd of thousands of LGBT+ and ally Singaporeans. The festival, held yearly in Speaker’s Corner, stands as a rare opportunity for LGBT+ people in Singapore to celebrate their identity.

Much like India, Singapore has retained parts of the penal code introduced in the 1930s by British colonial administrators, including Section 377 – a law that punishes male same-sex relations with two years in prison. Although in practice the law is not enforced, its existence contributes to a pervasive climate of anti-LGBT+ discrimination in Singapore.

LGBT+ Singaporeans face exclusion in mainstream media, discrimination at work in the absence of preventative legislation, difficulties accessing public housing, and even an “unwritten policy” barring gay couples from adopting children.

Singapore’s competition with rival Asian financial hub Hong Kong may help to bring change. The highest court in Hong Kong recently ordered immigration officials to award spousal visas to same-sex expatriate couples, making it a more attractive destination for an LGBT+ talent pool. Talented LGBT+ employees from major financial institutions are put off by Singapore’s unwelcoming environment, so if the country wishes to attract the best and brightest it must improve its record on LGBT+ inclusion.

Read more at The Economist