Fridae Press Statement Regarding Unsuccessful Appeal
December 14, 2004
Fridae deeply regrets that the SnowBall and Meltdown
parties have been cancelled as an appeal to overturn a rejection of Fridae’s
application for Snowball.04 has been unsuccessful.
In a letter dated 13 December 2004, the Ministry of Home
Affairs (MHA) rejected an appeal to overturn a rejection of Fridae’s
application for Snowball.04. The event was intended as a Christmas celebration
for the Singaporean gay and lesbian community, as well as many hundreds of
tourists expected to travel to Singapore for the event. In giving its reasons,
the MHA said in a statement: “Singapore is indeed opening up. But we are
still, by and large, a conservative society. The blatant public display
involving intimate behaviour of people of the same sex exhibited at the
previous events organised by Jungle Media/Fridae.com would be an affront and
unacceptable to the large majority of Singaporeans.”
Fridae is extremely disappointed with the response we
have received, which, in the absence of any illegal act, is a blatant show of
discrimination against homosexuals in Singapore.
Over the years, Fridae has successfully created an
environment for gay, lesbians and other friendly citizens and visitors to
socialise in a controlled and private environment with minimal disruption to
public peace. Good progress has been made, in creating professionally
organised events for gays and lesbians to meet, with consultation with police
officials in regards to public order.
These events contribute to fulfilling the basic social
needs of our community. Curbing the efforts of private enterprises to do so
amounts to telling gays and lesbians they have no place in this country. What
this decision means is that whilst gays may work for the Singapore civil
service, they are however banned from having any private celebrations.
Fridae finds the rejection in granting of a licence for
the party poorly justified. Considering that the police have approved of seven
prior applications and been present at every event we have organised, it is
unlikely that the police can claim ignorance of the nature of these events.
Furthermore, as none of the reasons given by the police breach any known law
in Singapore, there is no legal basis for such a ban.
In disallowing Snowball to be held, the police department
has effectively curbed freedom of choice and the human rights of a minority
population in Singapore in the name of conservative social values.
Furthermore, a ban on moral grounds amounts to imposing one set of values on
others who may not share them.
Is Singapore facing a dilemma in its pro-business stance
now that “morality” comes into the picture? And will this “morality
yardstick” be applied to other businesses in Singapore?
This decision is a contradiction of what our Prime
Minister Lee Hsien Loong envisioned for Singapore, namely, an “open society
which is welcoming of talent, which welcomes diverse views, yet is cohesive
and has a sense of common purpose.”
The image of Singapore as a progressive nation will be
tarnished by such an act of discrimination, and our aspirations of being a
global city where diversity is celebrated will be set back by many years.
Despite this disappointing setback, Fridae will
nevertheless continue to work with the relevant authorities to seek consensus
between private groups and public agencies to promote full integration of gays
in Singapore society. We remain steadfast in our convictions that gays and
lesbians are productive members of society, and deserve to be treated equally
under our constitution. Any policy that is seen to be divisive, deepen
segregation or suppress a minority group will only do lasting damage to our
SnowBall ticket holders who purchased their tickets(s)
online will have the amount automatically credited through their credit card
by December 20. Ticket holders who had bought their tickets through a retail
outlet should return to the store from December 14 to December 30 to get a
cash refund. Fridae regrets any inconvenience this may have caused our
patrons, especially those visiting from overseas.
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