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Singapore opens first help gay community centre

December 8, 2003

SINGAPORE — Singapore's first ever help center catered specially to the needs of gays and lesbians opened over the weekend in another sign of the city-state's increasing tolerance of the homosexual community.

The Pelangi Pride Center, officially opened on Saturday, will offer phone counselling services and recommend gay-friendly medical and legal service providers, said Fridae.com, Asia's leading gay website portal.

It also has a library featuring fiction and non-fiction books about homosexuality, Fridae.com said on its website.

The center was set up by the Action for AIDS group, a local charity organization managed by volunteers whose aims include helping AIDS and HIV sufferers.

Homosexual acts are still outlawed in Singapore but Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong signaled his government's increasingly tolerant approach to the issue when he announced this year that gays would be allowed to work in the civil service.

The city-state is also gaining a reputation as a gay entertainment hub with several gay-friendly clubs, karaoke pubs, saunas, restaurants and fashion outlets. –Sapa-AFP

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