Thousands of Singaporeans have joined a public rally to call an end to discrimination against gay people. However, the officials have said that the country is not ready for the same-sex marriage.
The annual gathering in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights drew its biggest-ever crowd, despite opposition from social and religious conservatives in the multi-racial nation of 5.5 million.
The Singaporean gay community event "Pink Dot," now in its seventh year, included speeches and a concert.
Most participants, expatriates mixed with locals, wore pink to the rally in Hong Lim Park, next to Singapore's central financial district, in a field decorated with pink balloons.
"Pink Dot aims to help build a kinder and more inclusive Singapore," the French news agency AFP quoted the organizers as saying. They said the estimated turnout of 28,000 was a record for the event, above the crowd count of 26,000 they gave last year.
Homosexuality illegal in Singapore
The government has always insisted that Singapore is a socially conservative society.
Lat week, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the country was not ready for same-sex marriage.
The legal positions of gay men - at least on paper - is far worse than that. Pink Dot has been lobbying for the repeal of Section 377a of Singapore's penal code, a law - now unenforced - that makes it a crime for men to have sex with other men.
One sign of more support for the gay community is the growing corporate sponsorship for the event. This year, the Pink Dot movement is supported with new sponsors including Google and social media platform Twitter, financial information company Bloomberg and the local movie theatre chain Cathay Organization.
ra/rc (Reuters, AFP)