Singapore rejects Asia's biggest gay party (PlanetOut Network)
8 Jun, 2005
Singaporean authorities rejected a bid for Asia's largest gay and lesbian party, forcing host Fridae.com to move festivities to Thailand. The event, which has been held annually in Singapore since 2001, will take place in Phuket Nov. 4-6, 2005.
The government of Singapore turned down the Fridae.com's license application in a faxed letter, calling the festival "contrary to public interest." The request had been approved every other year without incident, Fridae.com CEO Stuart Koe said.
Koe said he was disappointed that the authorities wanted to thwart "Nation," the national day of celebration for Singapore's gay population. "This is a direct contradiction to previous calls for embracing of diversity," he said.
For the first time, the three-day event will be planned by organizers from four Asian cities -- Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Tokyo. Officials will co-host eight parties over the weekend.
Unsurprisingly, Time magazine's Asia edition has dubbed the event a "festival of international proportions."
"The Nation party is evolving with the circumstances, and we hope for it to be truly an event where gays and lesbians from all over the world can come together and celebrate their diversity and take pride in their community," said Koe.
Last year's party, held in Singapore on Aug. 8, attracted more than 8,000 revelers, 40 percent of whom were international visitors. Tourist revenue generated during the festival is estimated near $6 million, data collected by an independent market research firm showed. This year's party will be sponsored by Motorola for the second consecutive year, and by Subaru for the third, officials said.