Singapore gay speed dating
Previous gay celebrations, exemplified by the Nation parties held annually in Singapore since 2001, were private commercial events held for LGBT recreation, but were also socio-political statements of significance in Singapore gay history and milestones in Singapore's human rights record.
Prior to 2001, all events held for LGBT people were private affairs not advertised or even made known to the general public.
Most were held indoors, especially on Sunday nights at various mainstream discos which were eager to tap the pink dollar on a day when business from their straight patrons was slow.
This phenomenon began in the early 1980s when the police started to turn a blind eye to men disco-dancing with each other, but not during the slow numbers, when they were cautioned by the managements of these venues to "behave".
Stuart Koe tested the socio-political boundaries and organised Singapore's first private, widely advertised public LGBT pride event.
Not unexpectedly, along with the government's liberalising trend at the time, the party was given the green light by the police.
Many flew in from Sydney, Malaysia, the United States and Hong Kong.
The venue was divided into 3 zones: the Centro Boyz zone where the Miss Divastating drag competition was held, the Womyn's zone where no men were allowed for most of the evening, and the Chill Out area where guests could mingle and booths were set up to sell food, drinks, toys and to distribute flyers.
The following day, Channel News Asia and its sister station Media Corp TV Channel 5 announced, 'Nation.03 can be seen as a gauge of Singapore's tolerance.' Hailed by Time magazine as "a 3-day festival of international proportions,"Nation.04 featured state of the art visual effects, world-class venues, and international circuit DJs from Taiwan, Japan, Australia, USA and Singapore.The weekend kicked off with a "Make Love, Not War" Opening Party at Suntec City's Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday 7 August, followed by the main event, Nation at the Sentosa Musical Fountain on 8 August 2004 and the Closing Party at the Zouk Club on 9 August 2004.For the first time, Nation also included the participation of various arts organisations in an informal "Nation Arts Programme." This included the plays Mergers/Wills by Toy Factory in Mandarin, Top or Bottom and Mardi Gras by The Necessary Stage, and The Revenge of the Dim Sum Dollies by Dream Academy Productions.Realising the untapped potential and pent-up demand for LGBT pride events, more and more mainstream discos advertised Sundays as "men's night" to draw the gay crowd.Venues such as Marmota, Niche, Legend and Studebaker's made a healthy profit from their calculated gamble.