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Denied bash in Singapore, gays move party to Phuket (Today [Singapore])
8 Jun, 2005

ASIA'S largest gay party, which has been held in Singapore every year since 2001, has found a new playground.

After the authorities here rejected the application for Nation.05, this year's event, the organisers decided to shift it to Phuket, where it will be held from Nov 4 to 6.

The event is organised by Fridae.com, a gay and lesbian network.

A police spokesman said that on March 8 they had received an application from Jungle Media, the local subsidiary of Fridae.com, for a public entertainment licence to organise the Nation.05 party at Sentosa.

The application was rejected earlier this month. The police spokesman said that the event is likely to be organised as "a gay party, which is contrary to public interest in general".

Fridae.com's CEO Stuart Koe said: "We are disappointed that the authorities have deemed a National Day celebration by Singapore's gay citizens as being 'contrary to public interest', when it had previously been approved for four years without incident."

He added that this contradicted previous calls to embrace diversity.

Last year's party at Sentosa had drawn about 8,000 revellers, of which 40 per cent were tourists, Fridae.com said.

The decision to move it may help Phuket, whose tourism industry is still reeling from the aftershocks of the tsunami on Dec 26 last year.

This is the second time in four months that the authorities have rejected a gay event.

In March, gay affirmative Christian support group Safehaven's application for a licence to hold a gay concert was rejected by the Media Development Authority, which said "alternative lifestyles are against the public's interest" and that the performers were likely to "promote a gay lifestyle".

In March, Minister of State for Health Dr Balaji Sadasivan blamed gay parties for the rise in new Aids cases, sparking an outcry from the gay community.

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