Dear Straight People Founder Sean Foo on Creating a Gay Web Drama Series Ahead of Pride Month

Singapore’s LGBTQ+ platform Dear Straight People has launched its first web drama, Go away. Sean Foo, founder of Dear Straight People, said INTERACTIVE-MARKETING that since the platform launched in 2015, he has told many stories from the LGBTQ+ community in the form of articles and documentaries. However, as hard-hitting as they were, they don’t strike a chord in the same way as the drama series Boys Love (BL) – which led to the show’s creation.

Foo said producing the drama series has been on his longest bucket list, and it wasn’t until this year that “the stars finally aligned” for him to make that goal a reality. Although he doesn’t have a goal in mind yet, Foo said he “hopes the drama series can make as big of an impact as possible, especially in Singapore where LGBTQ+ media representation is lacking.

“With Pride Month fast approaching, the ultimate 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 dating his conservative father, which goes horribly wrong, Sam travels to Bangkok in search of his uncle, who was also disowned for being gay many years ago, to get advices. There, Sam meets Top, a hopeless romantic who has had bad luck in love. While searching for Sam’s uncle, the two grow closer.

Foo said what makes this web drama different is that it is based on an original story by 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 the lack of LGBT+ media representation in Singapore. Foo said he didn’t want his series to play out the same way as conventional BL dramas because they “don’t do much to represent the gay experience”. He added:

One of my goals in creating this series was not to create a typical BL drama series aimed at a heterosexual female audience, but a series tailored to the gay community and reflective of the gay experience.

Get support for the show

Foo shared that to date, Gayhealth.sg, a program of Action for AIDs providing sexual health related services to the gay community in Singapore, has been among the sponsors and partners who have joined the series. Others include Thai luxury resort The Siam, which was the show’s 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 looking at the pink dollar, brands need to be authentic because the LGBTQ+ community can discern when a brand is jumping on the bandwagon with the wrong intentions. He added that one of the best ways for brands to be authentic is to partner with LGBTQ+ stakeholders in some form.”

The drama’s first episode was released on Dear Straight People’s YouTube channel on May 23, with the next four episodes set to air weekly. Although Foo currently has no plans to distribute the series on any other platforms, he said it was definitely something he would be interested in as he hopes as many people as possible will watch the drama series. The webseries also precedes Pink Dot, which will take place on June 18. This year, the annual nonprofit has secured sponsorship from brands such as Catalyze, GOVT, heckin unicorn, Dream Academy, Pasar Galmour, and AMICI Events and Catering, among others.

Conversations around the LGBTQ+ community are slowly growing 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 had arranged a photo shoot at Naumi Hotel Singapore with a married gay couple and would be offering a free resort voucher for one of its rooms. While the partnership was one-time, a Naumi Hotel spokesperson said it would continue to support the LGBTQ+ community through campaigns throughout the annual calendar. She explained that LGBTQ+ couples fit into the hotel’s target audience from a household income and consumer spending perspective. Stating that the hotel’s doors have always been open to all guests, she also shared that all of her hotels in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand share the same value.

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