Thousands at Singapore Pride Despite Ban on Gay Sex
Network, August 10, 2004
By Christopher Curtis
Despite a ban on homosexual sex, some 6,000 people showed
up last weekend for the start of a three-day gay and lesbian festival in
Singapore, making it Asia’s largest gay event, according to organisers.
“We have large numbers of people coming from Hong Kong,
Japan, Taiwan and the United States,” said Stuart Koe, the chief executive
of the regional gay Web site fridae.com, which organised the Singapore event.
Called “Nation.04”, the festival features
international DJs, go-go boys and an audience that has grown each year since
it was launched four years ago.
The first party was called “Make Love Not War,” a
politically loaded title considering the government has staunchly supported
the US-led war on Iraq and organised protests are illegal without a permit.
“Singapore is making very big moves in liberalising.
People here feel a lot more empowered than before to take risks and to speak
their minds,” gay rights activist Alex Au told Reuters.
Even thought the government of Singapore has a law that
criminalises consensual homosexual acts with up to two years in jail, the
government has largely ignored the industry catering to homosexuals in favour
of the power of the “pink dollar”.
Organisers believe the event will earn about $10 million
dollars. Sponsors include Motorola, Ralph Lauren, Belvedere Vodka, Heineken
and Moet & Chandon.
In Singapore, most citizens expect the gradual relaxation
in social controls and official attitudes towards the LGBT community to
In January, the government said it planned to review its
sex laws. Oral sex will probably be decriminalised, but only between men and
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