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SINGAPORE - May 16, 2009

Singapore's GLBT community, along with their families and friends, joined together in public on Saturday, May 16, in a colorful rally for love and tolerance.

According to The Associated Press, about 2,500 participants wore pink clothing, played music and sang songs at Speaker's Corner in Hong Lim Park.

"This is a great opportunity for us to make our pitch for the equal treatment of the LGBT community in Singapore," said Roy Tan, a spokespereson for organizers, PinkDot.

"This is all about inclusiveness, for diversity and for everyone to come together," Stephanie Ong, another spokesperson stated. "It's about supporting the freedom to love for everyone regardless of your sexual orientation... so people who support that, whether you are straight or gay, they are all here right now."

Amy Loh, 19, came for the fun and to lend support: "I'm straight, but I think it's an event for everyone and we're celebrating love for all, which I think is a worthwhile cause."

Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng told the state-owned New Paper on Friday that gay people "have a place in our society" but warned that "the way for homosexuals to have space in our society is to accept the informal limits which reflect the point of balance that our society can accept, and not to assert themselves stridently as gay groups do in the West."

But in a thoroughly creative response to formalized limits and institutionalized discrimination, citizens took advantage of loosened regulations on public gatherings to show solidarity in a completely post-modern, global way.

Participants, including local celebrities, traditional Chinese and Malay dance troupes, parents and children, pink-furred pets, and a couple sporting pink T-shirts that said "Straight but not Narrow" gathered to form a giant pink dot for an arial camera before releasing pink balloons and waving pink umbrellas.

Sociologist Teo You Yenn, there with her husband and 11-month-old daughter (all three wearing pink), said "I believe there should be different kinds of families in Singapore. Gay people should have the right to public space and privacy, like everyone else."



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