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Fridae Blog

Who we are

It's been a while since we've updated our "About Us" section. In many ways, Fridae has evolved, grown and expanded our scope. We're also now working on some big projects that will further define us and take things to the next level. But first, a recap of where we're at now, and who we are.

About Fridae

Fridae is a social enterprise serving the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (“gay”) communities in Asia.  

Since 2001, Fridae.com’s innovative social networking platform has enabled over 500,000 registered members to meet, interact and form lasting relationships that cross borders and cultures. In May 2009, we launched “Version 6”, our most comprehensive technology and design update in over 4 years, making the site easier, faster and a joy to use. A quarter of our members use Fridae.com in Chinese (Simplified, Taiwan Traditional and Hong Kong Traditional).

As Asia’s gay media, Fridae is one of the few independent media sources reporting on gay news in the region, providing a channel for the marginalized and invisible to speak and be heard. Comprising 3 full time editors and over 50 contributors, Fridae’s editorial team publishes over 100 articles each month in English, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, having built a strong reputation for fair and objective reportage, while maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity.

To the business community, Fridae is the primary conduit through which to reach the lucrative “pink dollar” in Asia. Fridae’s site is unbelievably sticky (more than 14 minutes per session), and our members loyal (81% visit the site daily). They are also well educated (65% with a university degree or higher), well paid (50% have an annual income of at least US$45,000), and well traveled (65% have traveled in the past 6 months).

To public health professionals, Fridae is an invaluable partner in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and playing a leadership role in the region. Fridae has been a pioneer in the online response to HIV prevention, treatment and care, with campaigns that have garnered international recognition for their innovation and effectiveness, with campaigns such as Think Again and Know Your Status. More recently, Fridae has been pioneering online HIV social and behavioral research on an unprecedented large scale, leveraging our unique connection with the community.

Just like man-Friday was to Robinson Crusoe, Friday's role in the gay community has been multi-faceted and many. We strive to be much more than "just a website", and these are just some of the ways that we support you, our community:

Since 2005, Fridae has raised over S$60,000 in benefit of a variety of gay NGOs and community groups including Action for AIDS, AWARE, Cat Welfare Society; independent filmmakers; Indignation, and PinkDot. Furthermore, Fridae has been a media sponsor of LGBT Pride and Film Festivals throughout Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Japan. Fridae has also been supporter of international sporting events such as the World Outgames (Melbourne, Copenhagen, Wellington), the Straits Games (Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore), and the International Lesbian Gay Football Association.

In 2009, Fridae was conferred the Friend of the Arts Award – the highest level of recognition awarded to a gay company - for its support and contribution to Singapore's arts scene by the National Arts Council. This is the fourth consecutive year Fridae has been recognized, having received the lower-tiered Arts Supporter Award in previous years.

From 2001 to 2006, Fridae was also a promoter of unforgettable dance parties such as Snowball and Nation, which attracted 8000 at its peak, and landed Fridae on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for it’s influence and impact. These events were held in Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket and Taipei.

As a spokesperson and advocate, Fridae has played a lead role in such watershed events as the campaign to repeal 377A in Singapore in 2007.

For  almost 10 years (we turn 10 in 2010), Fridae has been a visible and active partner in almost every major gay and lesbian event across Asia. Regardless of our role, whether as a principal organizer, supporting media, or financial sponsor, Fridae strives to achieve its mission to “Empower Gay Asia” and live up to our namesake as “Friday” to the gay Asian community. And as social enterprise – a business with a social mission, we strive towards sustainability and growth that makes carrying out our mission possible.

Fridae: Empowering Gay Asia

Welcome to our brand new Fridae blog.

When I started drafting an outline for my maiden post, I realized how little we've ever explained anything about Fridae. I have always preferred to let Fridae's actions speak for themselves. But I've also learnt that silence can be misconstrued. Without communicating the thought and motivations behind what we do, the action sometimes becomes reduced only to the outcome, and the process is lost.

And so let's start at the beginning.

We are named Fridae after "Man-Friday", one of the central characters from Daniel Defoe's classic novel Robinson Crusoe. We chose the name not because it would conjure images of a scantily clad, mocha-skinned and lithe "native" (not unlike the gay-painter Walter Spies' idealization of the Balinese male), but for role Man-Friday played in Robinson Crusoe's life.

"The term Man Friday has become an idiom, still in mainstream usage, to describe an especially faithful servant, or even one's best servant or right-hand man." (Wikipedia)

In the same vein, we envision Fridae to play the same supporting role to the collective gay and lesbian community in Asia, adopting the tagline "Empowering Gay Asia" as our mission.

Fridae is much more than just a social networking site, or a promoter of unforgettable dance parties. Over the years, we have built a platform for countless gay men and women from all over the world to meet and forge lasting relationships, provided a channel for the marginalized and invisible to speak and be heard, told the stories and reported on news that none others would tell, supported the arts, artists, film makers and writers, and given a soapbox to those who would stand on it and lead the community. In many ways, online and off, we have played both active and supporting roles in some of the key events in the past decade, from Singapore to Bangkok, Taipei to Hong Kong.

And that's just the first 10 years (we turn 10 in 2010). There's much more to come, and we have a fire in our belly that has not been quenched – for we continue to live in a world where lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are discriminated against, criminalized, and face daily injustices. There is much in our status quo that needs to be examined, challenged and changed. There are many who have yet to enjoy the liberation of simply being who they are without fear of reproach, persecution or being outcast.

Believe it or not, that's the first time I've ever explained the origins of our name in writing. We replaced the "y" with an "e" because "Friday.com" had already been taken. Besides, it would have been a costly and unnecessarily complicated exercise to trademark a day of the week.

Ancient traditions often believe that names have great power, and we believe the same. To all of you, who have been members of Fridae, both new and those who have been with us for years, we are here to be your virtual-Friday - here to help you be your best.

And here is the full text of the book, courtesy of Google Books - Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

Welcome to Fridae, the largest online gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Asia. We bring you the latest news on politics, health, LGBT rights, and issues that affect gay Asia. Add your own profile to our personals section to meet new people and chat live to people from all over Asia and the world. We know gay Asia—check out our travel section for information on where to go and where to stay, and find out where to shop with our gay-friendly business directory. Join us in empowering LGBT Asia.