SINGAPORE (AFP) - At least 500 Singaporeans wearing pink clothing gathered Saturday to show their support for gay rights on the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia.
From pink polo shirts to pink sunglasses and hats, straight and gay Singaporeans arrived at Speakers' Corner, a government-designated park for free speech and public assembly, in the color theme picked by organisers to represent the freedom to love.
Some even brought along their dogs, also wearing pink ribbons.
"This is all about inclusiveness, for diversity and for everyone to come together," Stephanie Ong, spokeswoman for the event organiser Pink Dot Sg, told AFP at the park.
"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," said Ong, who is straight.
Organisers stressed it was not a protest but a public show of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
"The gathering is a show of support for those who believe in openness and love between people, regardless of their sexual orientation," said Pink Dot Sg.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng said last week the city-state remains a basically conservative society where the conventional, heterosexual family is the norm - but with space for homosexuals to live their private lives.
"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," he said.
Singapore's parliament in 2007 legalised oral and anal sex between heterosexual couples, which had been banned under a law dating back to British colonial days, but retained a section that criminalises sex between men.