In response to Tosh Zhang's Pink Dot exit, we asked young LGBTQI+ folks to nominate the voice of their generation
Face of a movement
By now, you would have heard that actor Tosh Zhang has stepped down as one of Pink Dot 2019's newly appointed ambassadors this year.
The resignation was prompted by the re-surfacing of several homophobic tweets from back in 2010. Zhang has since apologised but the issue has ignited a debate around the importance of straight-allies for the LGBTQI+ community as well as the effectiveness of the ambassador model for Pink Dot.
In a Facebook post dated 19 May, prominent drag personality Becca D'Bus commented on Pink Dot's ambassadors initiative: "Pink Dot's hands are not all clean either. Where was the research into ambassadors? And, really, if Pink Dot does not look very hard and think about just exactly how effective this model of ambassadors is, and if there are other better ways, it should stop. Take a break from the annual photo-taking session. This model is limited."
Singaporean rapper and Pink Dot 2019 ambassador Subhas took to his IG to comment on the matter: "I'm disappointed at how all this has played out; not because of the mysogynistic and homophobic tweets from years ago, but because of the very real triggers and hurt that they have caused now after they have resurfaced." His statement went viral on social media with many LGBTQI+ folks sharing it on their FB and IG feeds.
In response to this whole debacle, we asked a few LGBTQI+ millennials on who, if at all, they would nominate as the voice of their generation. Check their surprising responses below.
Of Methodist, singer
"For me, the musical artist, Arca will always be a prominent voice of this LGBTQ generation. He understands the multifaceted nature of queer culture and finds a way to make incredible art from it. In this era, we as lgbtq creatives are beginning to freely express ourselves in the public eye and he is an example of the beautiful things that can result from this opportunity."
Nora Lea, artist
"Queer anger should not be policed. My choice would be Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. Daenerys has all the makings of an ambassador — a saviour complex and a need to "liberate" by making it about about herself. Besides, we love a good blonde icon. Too bad, she wouldn't be able to attend Pinkdot because she is a foreigner."
Div, artist and activist
"Sharity the elephant is my pick. He's pink. He represents the selfless love and care that we should all aspire to. Have you seen the overalls he's always wearing? He's definitely queer."
Aaron Han, visual artist
"I will vote for anyone who understands what it means to be queer in this day and age. We don't need heteronormative straight people who only talk about our struggle one month a year. Who can just bail out anytime cause they don't face discrimination or struggle in any way. Here's the thing: I don't think we should place the burden of our inequality on someone else. We should be our own voice because we know what it means to be queer. No one, especially a straight person, should be our voice. We can't give that responsibility to someone else to fight for and shrink back into the shadows."