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Singapore To Celebrate First Ever Pride Event (Datalounge.com)
8 Aug, 2001

SINGAPORE - Singapore's usually low-profile gay and lesbian community is preparing a "coming out" party this week that supporters hope will one day rival Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebration, Agence France-Presse reports.

Timed to coincide with the city-state's National Day, supporters of the "coming out" party say it's long overdue. Singapore resident William Koh, 23, told the French news agency, "It's about time we had something like that. If other countries can have such parties, why can't we?"

Fridae, an online Asian gay and lesbian Internet community based in Hong Kong, is credited with organizing the event. "This is the time to come out and celebrate our strength, individuality... in Singapore's first ever national pride party."

But it is telling that representatives of the group declined to be interviewed for the article. Given that sexual relations between men are still illegal in Singapore, it is an open question how event participants will be treated by authorities.

The party, which is slated for August 8, is to be held at Sentosa's Fantasy Island, an offshore water funpark. Organizers encourage people to wear red and white, Singapore's national colors. "You're proud. Of your country. Of your community. Of who you are," read a promotional flyer.

Attractions are said to include body painting and a foam dance party, and the all-important crowning of a queen in the "Miss Devastating 2001" beauty pageant.

Koh, whose Ritz hair salon is one of eight retailers selling tickets to the party, told the news agency: "Singaporeans, especially the younger ones, are growing more comfortable with the gay lesbian community. Some even prefer to party with us because straight clubs can be so boring."

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