Christmas Jeers for Singapore after Gay Party Ban
December 16, 2004
SINGAPORE—The organisers of a
banned gay Christmas party in Singapore that had attracted major international
sponsors have hit out at the decision by authorities as an attack on human
rights and freedom of choice.
Police last week rejected the application by Fridae.com,
which promotes itself as Asia’s leading gay website, to host the all-night
Snowball.04 party on December 25 on the grounds it was immoral and against the
The Home Affairs Ministry upheld the ban on Monday after
an appeal by Fridae.com, saying public displays of intimate behaviour at the
party would be an “affront and unacceptable to the large majority of
“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,” Fridae.com chief executive
Stuart Koh said in a statement received by AFP on Wednesday.
“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.”
Fridae.com had organised similar Christmas parties in
2002 and 2003, as well as the increasingly successful annual Nation festivals,
which have been held since 2001 and attracted more than 8,000 revellers from
around Asia this year.
The parties have led to Singapore being recognised as one
of Asia’s premier gay tourism and entertainment hubs, as well as helped the
government in its frequently stated aim of shedding the nation’s reputation
as a “nanny” state.
Major global brands had endorsed Snowball, with Heineken,
Moet and Chandon, Tag Heuer, Qantas and Singapore’s Intercontinental Hotel
among the list of planned sponsors.
Koh warned the decision to ban Snowball was a setback for
Singapore’s international reputation.
“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,”
In its statement announcing the ban, police said gay
parties were “contrary to public interest in general”.
“Singapore is still, by and large, a conservative and
traditional society. Hence, the police cannot approve any application for an
event which goes against the moral values of a large majority of
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