From S'pore LGBT encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

On Friday, 13 January 2006, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported that Liberty League Pte Ltd[1], a commercial business with a paid-up capital of S$10 (US$6) founded by ex-transgender man Leslie Lung[2], had received a S$100,000 (US$61,500) grant from the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre which was funded by the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports[3]. The group, which claimed to "promote gender and sexual health for the individual, family and society" as stated on its website, said it hoped to conduct sexuality talks in schools, set up support groups for parents of homosexuals and work with organisations such as the Girls' Brigade to educate teenagers on sexuality and biology. While it was not clear from Liberty League's website whether they were running Christian based programmes, the Exodus Asia Pacific website ( which listed Liberty League as an "outreach ministry of Exodus Asia Pacific into Asia Pacific region" stated that it viewed homosexual tendencies as one of many disorders that beset fallen humanity and that Christ offers a healing alternative to those with sexual and relational problems.

On 19 January 2006, gay advocacy group People Like Us, issued a statement urging the government to explain its rational on funding Liberty League, calling it a "disguised religious cause based on unscientific psychotherapeutic approaches" and its failure to spot its religious agenda[4]. Liberty League's website used terms such as "sexual brokenness" and "addiction and abuse" and promoted a book, "Freedom of Choice", which dealt with subjects almost totally from the Christian group, Choices. The latter, a ministry of the Church of our Saviour in Queenstown, ran "ex-gay" programmes which taught that homosexuality was a psychological dysfunction.

On Wednesday, 8 February 2006, Shaw organisation and Fridae's of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain[5],[6],[7] raised S$25,000 (US$15,300) for Action for AIDS[8],[9]. The film had won Best Picture (Drama), Best Screenplay, Best Original Song and Best Director at the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held in Beverly Hills, California on Monday, 6 February 2006[10],[11]. The win was widely reported in the local media.

From 19 to 23 February 2006, "Cut Sleeve Boys", a new romantic comedy which focused on the British-Chinese gay experience, was shown at the Bangkok International Film Festival[12]. It was written and directed by Hong Konger Ray Yeung, produced by and co-starred Singaporean theatre practitioner Chowee Leow and starred London-based, ex-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation actor Steven Lim[13]. The film tracked the lives of Mel (Lim), an aging but still attractive gay man and Ash (Leow) who crossdressed in an attempt to find himself a "real man."

From 22 to 25 February 2006, The Stage Club presented the true-crime drama "Never the Sinner", written by John Logan (the screenwriter of The Aviator and Gladiator) and starring Paul Hannon and sensational new actor Hansel Tan[14]. The play documented the true story of a murder case in Chicago, 1924 in which 2 young wealthy intellectuals, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who had the details of their friendship including sexual acts drawn up in a legal document, shocked the nation by kidnapping and brutally killing a 14-year-old boy for no apparent motive.

In early March 2006, Fridae announced that it would be holding its "Feelin' Good" party at the Ministry of Sound, a newly opened 40,000 sq ft disco at the recently revamped Clarke Quay on 26 March 2006[15],[16]. It was to have been Fridae's first event in Singapore since August 2004's Nation.04 after which all the parties, both outdoor and indoor, which it attempted to organise were not granted licences by the police. However, according to Clement Lee, executive director of Ministry of Sound's parent company LifeBrandz, on Friday evening, 24 March 2006, the eve of the party, Kelvin Yeo, Compliance Management Officer from Tanglin Police Station telephoned after office hours demanding that the club cancel the event, failing which enforcement officers would come to the disco on Sunday, 26 March to shut the party down. The reason given was that the party would "promote gay activities"[17].

On 10 March 2006, in its coverage of a case in which 4 men were arrested after a "bedroom party" was raided by undercover Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) police officers posing as gay men in what was believed ot be the first gay drug syndicate to be busted, The New Paper published the front page headline "Ecstasy in bed, agony of arrest" with supporting headlines "CNB busts S'pore drug ring run by gays for gays" and "Cops acting as gays gatecrash bedroom 'party' in Tampines flat"[18]. Many in the gay community thought that the tabloid was being irresponsibly homophobic in its exclusive coverage of the raid, as was the case with so many of its previous articles dealing with homosexuality[19].

From 30 March to 9 April 2006, Checkpoint Theatre presented US-based Singaporean playwright Chay Yew's "A Language of Their Own" (RA18) at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. The play, which won the George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award for Best Play starred actors Phin Wong and Koey Foo.

On 1 April 2006, a benefit dinner was organised by the AfA Endowment Fund called "A.O.C. for AIDS", named after the guest chef, Suzanne Goin, the award-winning Californian chef-proprietress of A.O.C. and Lucques in Los Angeles. It was held at The Four Seasons hotel and raised about S$250,000 (US$154,300) for AfA.

In April 2006, for the first time, new People's Action Party (PAP) General Election (scheduled for 6 May) candidates were publically asked for their views on homosexuality. The New Paper posed the questions, "Last year, the application to hold Nation.05, a National Day party for gay people, was rejected as contrary to public interests. Do you think it was a right decision?", "Do you know any gays? How would you include them in your politics?" and "Is Singapore ready for a gay MP?". Their answers ranged from the disapproving to the neutral but well considered[20]. In contrast, Workers' Party candidates Yaw Shin Leong, Eric Tan and Lee Wai Leng, when asked about their attitudes towards homosexuality, replied that they could accept it[21]. An analysis of the various contending political parties' positions on homosexuality was made by gay activist Alex Au[22].

From 12 to 15 April 2006, director Loretta Chen presented "Let Me Entertain You!", a production starring Darius Tan which featured songs from a myriad Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals, and riveting, risque and raunchy theatre at the Arts House's Play Den[23]. Joining Darius onstage were veterans like Gerald Chew, Gani Karim, and Hatta Said, amongst others.

On 15 April 2006, popular gay web portal SgBoy celebrated its 7th anniversary with a "Prom King" contest at Why Not?, a gay disco at 58 Tras Street[24]. SgBoy director Salmon Lee announced in January 2006 that the site, which boasted some 30,000 local and regional personals profiles and was visited by more than 108,000 Singaporean visitors in December 2005, would be launching a new regional portal later that year.

In April 2006, the Utopia Guide to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, by John C. Goss, was published internationally. With a foreward by Alex Au, along with Au's essay, "Singapore: Brokeback to the Future", the book included comprehensive listings of Singapore's gay and lesbian organizations, accommodations, clubs, restaurants, spas, and businesses that are gay-owned, gay-managed, or gay and lesbian-friendly. It also noted that more than 30 LGBT businesses had taken root in the small area of Chinatown alone.

In late April 2006, the Ministry of Health revealed 2005's HIV incidence data. The most striking observation was that homosexual transmission accounted for 25% (63 out of 255) of all new infections[25]. 8 other cases were reported from persons who were bisexual, while 159 persons were believed to have been infected through heterosexual sex.

On 6 May 2006, for the first time in Singapore, a variety of LGBT community groups including ADLUS, Action for AIDS, the Free Community Church, Heartland, Oogachaga, RedQueen!, Safehaven, Sayoni and Women's Nite, held a fair day in conjunction with the relaunch of Pelangi Pride Centre at its new premises at Mox Bar and Cafe, #04-01, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road[26]. There also were performances by singer-musician Wendy Siew and singer-poet Cyril Wong.

In early June 2006, Action for AIDS reported an alarming increase in HIV infection rates among MSM who accounted for 4 out of 5 persons diagnosed with HIV infection at the Anonymous Test Site in Kelantan Lane in 2005[27]. Of all MSM clients at the test site, 4.3% (71 people) tested positive for HIV. Cases of early infectious syphilis shot up 84% and cases of gonorrhea increased 64% over 2004 in MSM.

On 9 June 2006, The New Paper reported that a young doctor, Adrian Yeo, still doing his housemanship, had been caught by the police for possessing drugs was sentenced to 8 months in jail[28]. The case made the news partly because his counsel, Kertar Singh, argued before the court in his mitigation pleas that Yeo had been a victim of police entrapment. The police had chatted up Yeo online, trying to get synthetic drugs from him. Yeo's initial reaction was to decline the suggestions, and it took some persistence on the part of the police before they could persuade him to take along some "ice" (methamphetamine) to a pre-arranged gay sex threesome at a hotel. Yeo was convicted for having 0.16g of "ice" on him, a quantity that a commentator described as one which could be blown away with a single puff. This episode was the subject of director Loo Zihan's 2010 award-winning short film "Threshold".

In July 2006, enfant terrible of Singapore cinema, Royston Tan, released his new quiet and contemplative homoerotic film "4:30" about a lonely young boy who becomes obsessed with a handsome and hermetic Korean man. In an interview with Fridae, he revealed his plans to make a full-fledged gay movie and a women's movie, and what he once did to a man he had a crush on when he was drunk[29].

From 20 to 24 June 2006, photographer Marcus Mok presented his "Men Of Silk" exhibition which celebrated the beauty of the naked Asian male form at Bianco, level 4, above Mox Bar & Cafe, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road[30].

From June to October 2006, Oogachaga Women, a support group for lesbian and bisexual women, launched a second run of its support programme which aimed to help them come to terms with their sexual identity and achieve a healthy integration of their sexual identity into their lives by developing awareness of the self, relationships, community and available resources[31].

On 13 July 2006, Herstory's Femme Quest 2006 Finals were held at Zouk[32].

On Tuesday, 1 August 2006, Singapore's second annual LGBT pride month, IndigNation 2006[33],[34], kicked off with a talk by gay activist Alex Au entitled "The 2006 general election and the gay issue". It attracted over 150 attendees including not only members of the gay community but also diplomats, academics and politicians who were there to engage the gay community andwas held at Theatreworks[35]. The "Sama-sama" (meaning the same or together in Malay) art exhibition also opened there on the same evening. On 24 August 2006, the groundbreaking Singapore coming-out book, "SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century", a first in Asia, was launched at Mox bar and cafe[36]. On 24 August 2006, "We, the Citizens: TalkingCock in Parliament", hosted by husband-and-wife filmmakers and satirists Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen, was held at the Arts House (Old Parliament House), 1 Old Parliament Lane[37].

On the same day, 24 August 2006, the latest book by Oyoung Wenfeng, an autobiography written in Chinese entitled "Is Present the Future? - An Asian Gay Man's Coming Out Journey" was launched in Singapore. In it, the well known and regarded 36-year old Christian theology scholar, academic in sociology, former newspaper columnist in Malaysia and later, regular columnist in Fridae's Chinese section, came out[38],[39].

On 12 September and 16 October 2006, Fridae presented a double-bill charity movie premieres of "Imagine Me & You" and "My Summer of Love" respectively in benefit of the Association of Women for Action and Research and Cat Welfare Society at Shaw Lido 3[40] and GV VivoCity, No 1, Harbourfront Walk[41].

On Friday, 6 October 2006, Singapore held its inaugural, private, annual LGBT film festival called "Short Circuit" at The Substation's Guiness Theatree[42],[43]. Organised by People Like Us, it showcased 12 short films by 9 local filmmakers last Friday and was curated by award winning poet and playwright Alfian Sa'at and movie director Boo Junfeng. It attracted a turnout of 144 people.

From 20 to 22 October 2006, Fridae successfully held its second overseas Nation party, dubbed Nation.VI, in Phuket, Thailand[44],[45],[46],[47],[48], after Singapore authorities banned it in 2005. Events held were the opening Military Ball[49], the Muscle Beach Pool Party[50], the main party, Danse Royale[51], the Pirate's Paradise Pool Party[52] and the Feelin' Good closing party[53]. For the first time, W@Nation, presented by Two Queens Party, the premier monthly queer women's party organiser in Singapore since 2002, was held in conjunction with it[54],[55],[56]. On 13 October 2006, Fridae announced that Nation.VI was to be its last party event and that it would henceforth focus on regional expansion and advocacy work[57],[58],[59].

On Tuesday, 24 October 2006, the Media Development Authority announced that StarHub Cable Vision (SCV)was fined S$10,000 (US$6,410) for airing lesbian sex and bondage scenes contained in "Cheaters", an American reality TV show which exposed ordinary people whom their partners suspected of having affairs[60]. The episode concerned was aired during the period of 22 to 26 May 2006 and repeated on 29 August 2006. In a statement on its website, the MDA said the footage aired by breached the "guidelines which disallow the promotion, justification and glamorisation of lesbian lifestyles and their explicit depictions".

On Wednesday, 8 November 2006, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it had conducted a detailed review of sexual offences in the penal code and that anal and oral sex would no longer be a criminal offence for consenting heterosexual adults while sexual acts between men would remain a crime[61]. The review was first announced in November 2003 after a huge public outcry erupted over the injustice of convicting police constable Anis Abdullah for consensual oral sex with a teenager who was thought to be of legal age until later. An "explanatory note" issued by the MHA to official newsrooms stated, "The law on sexual offences deals with sexual relationships and embodies what society considers acceptable or unacceptable behaviour. When it comes to homosexual acts, the issue is whether Singaporeans are ready to change laws to bring them in line with heterosexual acts. Singapore remains, by and large, a conservative society. Many do not tolerate homosexuality, and consider such acts abhorrent and deviant. Many religious groups also do not condone homosexual acts. This is why the Government is neither encouraging nor endorsing a homosexual lifestyle and presenting it as part of the mainstream way of life"[62]. Members of the public had one month, up to 9 December to voice their opinions at the government's Reach public feedback website. People Like Us, Action for AIDS, AWARE and the Free Community Church called for the repeal of laws criminalising private, consensual, adult homosexual sex[63].

On 11 November 2006, a campaign by Fridae for Action for AIDS called "*think again" was launched. It was designed based on the findings of Fridae's 2006 MSM Survey (known as evidence-based design) conducted in April that year[64]. The campaign aimed to address the gaps in the traditional HIV prevention messages which had led to high rates of inconsistent condom use amongst MSM and was launched on gay websites and in clubs, bars, and various establishments that catered to gay men.

From 8 to 12 November 2006, The Necessary Stage and Action for Aids presented an interactive play entitled "The Seven-Month Itch", written by Haresh Sharma and directed by Aidli 'Alin' Mosbit, with audience interaction facilitated by company artistic director Alvin Tan[65]. Daniel Yeo and Timothy Nga played Daniel and Jason, 2 gay men who had been boyfriends for 7 months before the latter met a man in a club had unprotected sex with him. Audiences could interrogate actors (hotseating), suggest certain courses of action (playback theatre), or march in and replace the main character themselves to change a course of action (forum theatre).

The Ministry of Health announced that starting on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2006, the government would be forming a new National HIV/AIDS Policy Committee to better co-ordinate the fight against the disease[66]. It was chaired by Dr. Balaji Sadasivan and comprised representatives from 7 ministries, 3 health-related government departments and 2 NGOs - Action for AIDS and the AIDS Business Alliance.

On 2 December 2006, the 5th Singapore AIDS Conference was held at the Singapore International Conferene and Exhibition Centre at Suntec City[67]. Its theme was "HIV in Singapore - The Challenge and the Hope"[68].

In December 2006, Leslie Kee's book of photographs "Super Stars" was banned outright because the Media Development Authority (MDA) said, "it contains numerous pictures of Asian personalities in full nudity with pubic hair and genitals clearly visible"[69].

On Saturday, 9 December 2006, SAFE Singapore, a new support group for straight family and friends of LGBT people officially launched its website at Mox Bar and Cafe[70]. It was co-founded by Dr. Khoo Hoon Eng, a supportive mother of two gay sons and Susan Tang, chairperson of the LGBT-affirmative Free Community Church.

On 31 December 2006, Happy, a popular gay disco along Tanjong Pagar Road co-owned by impresario Alah Seah, closed its doors for good after a final New Year's Eve countdown bash[71]. The club had been named "Singapore's hottest nightspot" by Wallpaper* Magazine in 2005 and had hosted numerous local performers as well as DJs from across Asia and around the world since it opened its doors in 2004.