Singapore, June 02, 2017: This year Singapore's gay pride rally attracted sponsorship from a record number of companies despite strict government regulations aimed at stopping foreigners from supporting it, organizers said on Wednesday.
Organisers of the Pink Dot rally have raised S$253,000 ($183,000) from more than 100 Singaporean companies for the July 1 rally at a "Speaker's Corner" in a downtown park.
18 companies contributed last year, out of which 13 were multinationals like Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook. Organisers did not mention how much amount was raised last year.
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Days after last year's rally conservative Singapore's government stated that foreign firms would not be allowed to sponsor or participate in the rally.
Foreigners were not legally allowed to join rallies in the city-state, but many lurked around the restriction by observing such events.
However, changes to the law announced in October removed the distinction between "participants" and "observers", organisers said, leaving them with the only decision of barring the foreigners.
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A Singaporean executive, Darius Cheung, who led the funding drive, said the rally gained recognition and this year's sponsors were mostly small and medium-sized enterprises.
"The more important part is to engage local companies to finally cement the position that the LGBT community is very well respected and accepted here and I think we did it," Cheung told Reuters.
The event has been celebrated since 2009. People attend the event by dressing in pink and glowing pink flashlights.
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Under Singapore law, sex between men is culpable by up to two years in jail, though prosecutions are rare.
Adeline Yeo said she was disappointed that she would not be able to attend with her Polish girlfriend.
"I feel let down … we were looking forward to attending together," said Yeo.
"But this has definitely made us stronger," she added, referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
"It's all the more reason to pull all your friends and colleagues together for the Pink Dot."
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The LGBTQ movement in other conservative Asian countries has faced pressure this year.
Two men were last week publicly caned after being convicted by a Sharia court of engaging in gay sex in Indonesia. In another part of Indonesia, police have formed a special force to investigate LGBTQ activity.
On Sunday, Police in China detained nine gay activists after they tried to organise a gay rights conference, one of the activists told Reuters.
However, a court in Taiwan, last week legalised same-sex marriage, first ever in Asia.
– by Staff writer at Newsgram