The brainchild of Singaporean Choo Lip Sin, who is the editor of fridae.com's Chinese websites, Pink Dot (Singapore) is a movement by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to celebrate the freedom to love. The climax of each year's month-long awareness campaign is a carnival-like event at Hong Lim Park, where music, dance and performances take place.
"The gathering is a show of support for those who believe in openness and love between people, regardless of their sexual orientation," says the Pink Dot website.
The first Pink Dot event in Singapore, in 2009, saw some 2,500 supporters descend on Singapore's only open space for free expression - Hong Lim Park, also known as Speakers' Corner. The next year, the number doubled to 4,000. It was perhaps in its third event in 2011 which Pink Dot finally came into its own when more than 10,000 pink-attired supporters, including prominent local celebrities and personalities, turned the park into a sea of pink, the colour of the campaign. It is the biggest gathering seen at the park to date.
Its 2011 campaign video, uploaded onto popular video-sharing site Youtube, has attracted more than 270,000 views to date.
It has apparently caught the attention of the Utahns. On its website, the Utah Pink Dot campaign acknowledged the inspiration from their Singapore counterparts. "We would like to acknowledge and thank them for sharing this amazing idea," it says. The event on 11 October will take place at the Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City.
The Utah campaign's credo is "Support, Love, Courage". Organisers hope to encourage Uthans to speak up for their LGBT family members, co-workers, neighbours and friends. The campaign, say the organisers, is targeted to attract both straight and gay Utahns.
Another leaf which the Utahns will be taking out of the Singapore experience is for the campaign to be fronted by celebrity ambassadors. Utahns are also asked to wear pink to the event on 11 October where, as in Singapore, an aerial picture of supporters forming a giant pink dot will be taken at the culmination of the day's event.
On 27 August, 20-year old Dane Hall was assaulted as he was walking home from a gay night at a local club in Salt Lake City. According to advocate.com, “He was beaten and kicked; his jaw was broken, several of his teeth were knocked out, and a piece of bone lodged in his brain. He says the assailants called him “fag” and other antigay slurs.”
Organisers of the Pink Dot Utah event say that while his assault “may have particular resonance” with participants, the event itself is not motivated by it.
Advocate.com reports: “We just hope that with the campaign that we’re able to reach out to families and family members that haven’t been willing to step out before,” Pride Center director Valerie Larabee told theTribune. “It’s an action that people can take in response to what happened to Dane, but also more widely in support of their loved ones.”