Singapore LGBTs rally for Orlando vigil despite local anti-gay laws

Hundreds of attendees took part in a candlelight vigil in Singapore late on Tuesday to express solidarity for the victims of the shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

According to organiser Nicholas Lim, the founder of a Facebook page for Singapore's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, some 700 were in attendance to pay tribute to the 49 people killed in Sunday's massacre.

Lim rallied LGBTs to stand together despite living in a country like Singapore where "we have absolutely no protection from any form of discrimination or even possible hate crimes committed in the future" in a speech to the crowd.

"We, the LGBT community and our allies, we are used to discrimination. We are used to persecution and hatred. And we are still here. We are resilient. We won't be cast aside," said Lim.

Sex between men is illegal in Singapore, where anti-discrimination laws are absent, despite an annual LGBT pride event Pink Dot gaining popularity on social media and growing in attendance.

Attendees at Tuesday's vigil sung songs such as John Lennon's Imagine near candles and glow sticks that were laid out in a heart-shaped formation.

The event was held in the Speakers' Corner at Hong Lim Park, the same location where the Pink Dot event was held more than a week ago. It is the only location in Singapore where demonstrations are legally allowed.

Although the government has said that the anti-gay sex law, or section 377A in the penal code, would not be actively enforced, conservative voices have lobbied for the law to be maintained through a campaign to "Wear White" as a counter to Pink Dot.

On Monday, local authorities said they launched an investigation after a member of an anti-gay Facebook group said he wanted to "open fire" on homosexuals, according to police reports.

The individual, Bryan Lim, later apologised, claiming his quote was taken out of context. He said his remarks referred to opening fire "in debate."

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25
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