Singapore LGBTQ+ platform Dear Straight People has launched its first web drama, Getaway . Sean Foo, founder of Dear Straight People, told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that since starting the platform in 2015, he has told numerous stories from the LGBTQ+ community in the form of articles and documentaries. However, as impactful as they have been, they don't tug at the heartstrings in the same way Boys Love (BL) drama series does - which led to the creation of the show.
Foo said that producing the drama series had been on his bucket list for the longest time, and it was only this year that "the stars finally aligned" for him to make this goal a reality. While he doesn't yet have a target reach in mind, Foo said he "hopes that the drama series is able to make as big of an impact as possible, particularly in Singapore where LGBTQ+ media representation is lacking.
"With Pride Month just around the corner, the overarching end goal of this series is to promote visibility, acceptance and understanding of Singapore's LGBTQ+ community," Foo added.
The series follows a man Sam. After coming out to his conservative father, which goes horribly wrong, Sam heads to Bangkok in search of his uncle, who was similarly disowned for being gay many years ago, for guidance. There, Sam meets Top, a hopeless romantic who has been unlucky in love. While searching for Sam's uncle, the two grow closer together.
Foo said that what makes this web drama different is that it is based on an original story from a gay creator, and features an openly gay director and an openly queer cast from Singapore and Thailand. Additionally, this series also aims to address a lack of LGBT+ media representation in Singapore. Foo said that he did not want his series to play out similar to conventional BL dramas as they "do little to represent the gay experience". He added:
One of my aims with creating this series was not to create a typical BL drama series aimed at a heterosexual female audience, but one tailored towards the gay community and one that reflects the gay experience.
Getting support for the show
Foo shared that to date, Gayhealth.sg, a programme within Action for AIDs providing sexual health-related services to the gay community in Singapore, was among the sponsors and partners that got on board for the series. Others include Thailand luxury resort The Siam, which was the series’ main sponsor, as well as 2eros, Ette Tea, FabulousMe, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, Prolific Songs, Supawear, and The Writer’s Room.
Foo shared that when it comes to eyeing the pink dollar, brands have to be authentic, as the LGBTQ+ community can discern when a brand is jumping on the bandwagon with misguided intentions. He added that one of the best ways for brands to be authentic is to partner with LGBTQ+ stakeholders in some shape or form."
The drama's first episode was released on Dear Straight People's YouTube channel on 23 May, with the subsequent four episodes to be released weekly. While Foo currently has no plans to distribute the series on other platforms, he said that it is definitely something he would be interested in as he hopes to have as many people watch the drama series as possible. The web series also comes ahead of Pink Dot, which will take place on 18 June. This year, the annual non-profit movement has gained sponsorship from brands such as catalyse, GOVT, heckin unicorn, Dream Academy, Pasar Galmour and AMICI Events and Catering, among others.
Conversation around the LGBTQ+ community has slowly been increasing in Singapore. For example, last June Naumi Hotel Singapore launched its Pride Month campaign in partnership with Dear Straight People. In a post on its social media platforms, the publication shared that it held a photoshoot at Naumi Hotel Singapore featuring a married gay couple, and will be giving away a free staycation voucher for one of its rooms. While the partnership was a one-off, a Naumi Hotel spokesperson said then that will continue to support the LGBTQ+ community through campaigns across the annual calendar. She explained that LGBTQ+ couples fit into the hotel's target audience from a household income and consumer-spending standpoint. Stating that the hotel doors have always been open to all guests, she also shared that all its hotels in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand shared the same value.
Naumi Hotel SG spotlights real life same sex couple in campaign with Dear Straight People
Prudential Asia creates 2 versions of same ad, one with same-sex couple one without
Calvin Klein's IG post featuring pregnant transgender star stirs up online chatter