Meet Singapore Pink Dot’s new celebrity faces

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·Elizabeth Soh
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From left: Ivan Heng, Mark Richmond and Michelle Chia are the 2013 ambassadors of LGBT rally Pink Dot (Photo courtesy of Milk Photographie)
From left: Ivan Heng, Mark Richmond and Michelle Chia are the 2013 ambassadors of LGBT rally Pink Dot (Photo courtesy of Milk Photographie)

Local celebrities Michelle Chia, Ivan Heng and Mark Richmond are the new faces of Pink Dot, Singapore's annual rally for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The three feature in a Pink Dot ambassador video that sees them sharing their thoughts on the importance of inclusiveness and acceptance for sexual minorities - something many members of the community in Singapore are unprepared to do because of social stigma and fear of reprisal.

In a press release from Pink Dot, the three new ambassadors shared what drove their decision to be the public faces of the campaign.

In support of friends, family from LGBT community

For TV host and Michelle Chia, it was her friends who are part of the LGBT community who compelled her to make a stand.

“I have many friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and they are no different from straight people,” said Chia.

“Many of these friends are in loving, happy relationships and I feel the need to speak up for them when nasty things are being directed at LGBT people. People should be allowed to be who they are and love who they want to love.”

Sportscaster Mark Richmond, who is straight, said that the discrimination and prejudice he saw against LGBT people drove him to speak out in support of them.

"As a straight person, there is a lot that I take for granted," he said.

"As a father, I want my child to grow up in a society that celebrates diversity and where it is OK to be different. I bring my family to Pink Dot because this is the one place and time in Singapore where people from the LGBT community and their family and friends can come together in a celebration of inclusivity, tolerance and love."

For W!ld Rice Director and well-known thespian Ivan Heng, the cause that Pink Dot supports is even closer to his heart.

"I knew I was different from an early age," said Heng, who is open about his sexuality.

"Growing up was a little confusing, frightening and lonely. And I know there are many LGBT people in Singapore even today who remain in the closet because of discrimination and fear."

"Pink Dot is important to me because it is a place where our families and friends come together in support of the freedom to love."

In fact, he shared that it was this very event that helped his mother see that she was not alone - Heng's mother attended the rally for the first time in 2012 and met other mothers like herself, and helped her find comfort that her son was also not on his own.

Previous Pink Dot ambassadors include radio host Rosalyn Lee, actresses Sharon Au, Neo Swee Lin and Tan Kheng Hua, as well as the Dim Sum Dollies and drag queen Kumar.

The annual event was first held in 2009, and its attendance has grown from just 2,500 to over 15,000 participants in the 2012 rally.

This year's Pink Dot rally will be held on 29 June at Hong Lim Park.

Watch the ambassador's video here:

Related links:

Pink Dot 2012 in Photos
Record 10,000 turn up for Pink Dot 2011

GE 'Spillover' boosts Pink Dot Movement

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