If you met Stuart Koe on a dance foor you could assume he might be a personaltrainer, a bartender, a fashionmodel—these are the obvious choicesbased upon frst glance. When frst visiting Fridae.com, one of the world’s leading LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgendered) web sites, youmight initially think it’s all about dating.
Truth be told, Stuart is not only a Doctor of Pharmacy in HIV medicine, but the entrepreneur behind Fridae.com which, while defnitely about dating, is so much more. In fact, a few years back, Stuart stopped Fridae.com’s successful Nation Party (a major regional “circuit party”) to focus more on activism.
One thing Stuart and I have in common is that in separate parts of the world at different times in our lives we started referring to ourselves as Entrepreneurial Activists, and seemingly derived the defnition of this form of activism from the same Webster’s dictionary (see “entrepreneur” and “activism”): “assuming the risk of a business venture for the purpose of creating political, social and economic force in service to a cause.”
Stuart Koe is not only a Doctor of Pharmacy in HIV medicine but also the owner of Fridae.com.
What exactly has Stuart been up to since honing in more on his activism? “In 2007, we launched a large community led campaign to repeal theanti-sodomy laws in Singapore (www.repeal377a.com), and in 2009, I was involved in an anti-discrimination campaign called PinkDot (www.pinkdot.sg),”
Stuart explained, “We have also been mactively raising money for community projects and scaling up our HIV-related activities. I am on the board of Aids Concern in Hong Kong, and a Trustee of Action for Aids in Singapore.”
Fridae.com has a Singaporebased staff of only nine people.
“Fridae is about showing the world that gay people have so much more to offer than just good sex and great parties(though those can be a lot of fun too!).”
Stuart explained, “As a community, we have so much we can accomplish and offer the world. We can be everything we want to be AND be gay and fabulous.No apologies, no compromises, just 100% great at everything we do and are.”
What is Fridae up to next?
“We are planning to launch Thaiand Japanese versions of Fridae this year, and just last month, Fridae was ranked the #1 gay site in China, and we’ve only just begun making our presence felt there. The momentum we are building there is incredible, and I am very excited about the potential,” said Stuart.
“We have also just launched a brand new section on the site called “Tribes” which allows anyone to start a group of like-minded Fridae members, and we will soon have something everyone has been clamoring for – Chat. So even though 2010 will be our 10th year, in many ways, it feels like we’re just getting started,” he added.
Now, what about that hot body of his?
“I used to be a competitive swimmer during my school days, and I guess that may be where I started being attracted to swimmers and guys in trunks! But even though I stopped competing to be in the school drama club, I never stopped seeing ‘ftness’ as a personal achievement and something to continually strive for,” Stuart revealed.
“I am fortunate enough not to have to watch my diet (I love good food too much to be on a low fat/carb diet!), nor to have to work out religiously,” he continued.
“I go to the gym about 2 or 3 times a week just to be in ‘maintenance’ mode, but any less and I will start losing mass.”
Stuart’s early life in swimming pools just may very well have prepared him for the man in his life today.
“My partner’s name is Abra Lee.
He’s originally a swimming coach from Hong Kong, but moved to Singapore last November (coming to a year),” Stuart explained. “We’ve been together for almost two years. We have an incredibly blessed relationship because of our deep connection on every imaginable level - intellectually, physically and spiritually. Our families have also accepted us into their families as one of their own, which is extremely gratifying. It is great that we are able to live our lives completely honestly and to have the acceptance and love from our families.”
Wow! I’m writing this story and it has given me goose bumps, not my words but the power, accomplishment and example emanating from Stuart’s life. Stuart clearly inspires all of us, I’m sure, but who inspires Stuart?
“We are each on this earth for only a short while, and during this time, we have the opportunity to add something good to it. You don’t have to be famous to earn my respect. But those with goodness of heart and originality always do. My role models are everyday people who live their lives with integrity.”
In other words, Stuart’s role models are people just like himself, and I am honored to know him and to share some of his story with you. Aren’t you glad it’s Fridae?
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