In the past five years, Fridae has organised seven movie fundraisers (including A Single Man) which have raised a total of almost S$80,000 benefiting events, initiatives and projects that have directly impacted Singapore's LGBT community.
These include long-term sponsorship of IndigNation – Singapore’s gay pride festival – since 2005, establishing the biannual Rascals academic research prize, PinkDot – the first-ever official LGBT public gathering held in May 2009 in Singapore, and supporting the visions of filmmakers Boo Junfeng and Loo Zihan who have gone on to win awards around the world with their stories of gay life in Singapore, even as some of these films are censored and restricted from being exhibited in our own country. Fridae has also supported a lawyer on scholarship to Oxford University to be trained as a human rights and media advocate – he is now one of our community's strongest legal advocates and advises community groups on their rights.
With the establishment of the Fridae Community Development Fund (CDF), individuals or groups in Singapore will be able to apply for grants between S$500 to S$2,000 for LGBT-related projects.
Dr Stuart Koe, CEO of Fridae, told the audience before the screening of A Single Man at The Cathay Cineplex that the initiative is founded on Fridae's commitment to empower the LGBT community in Singapore which faces “constant, relentless discrimination” and are unable to organise officially.
“Gay groups are prohibited from being registered, and hence have no legitimacy or accountability, much less raise funds for their projects. Many bright, motivated people don't even get off the starting blocks because the Singapore has systematically made it almost impossible to have a gay voice in our country. We are silenced in the media, and our stories are reduced to the tawdry and sensational.
“Our vision is to help seed projects and ideas that all of us can be proud of making possible. Together, we can do something to address the glaring injustice. Instead of waiting for the law to be changed or for attitudes to become more tolerant, we can do something today to make a difference, and to be a part of that change.” Said Dr Koe.
The Fridae CDF will disburse the grants twice a year to projects that promise to have a positive impact on our community. The applications will be judged by an independent panel to ensure impartiality. Details on the application process and award criteria will be released at a later date.
Fridae would like to thank sponsors Daimler (Mercedes Benz), Cathay Organisation, Festive Films, Booze Wine Shop and Garden Slug for their generous support of the fundraiser.