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Inside Mongolia’s Only Gay Bar

| July 2nd, 2016 | Comments Off on Inside Mongolia’s Only Gay Bar

By Lila Seidman June 3, 2016   At the only gay bar in the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, Zorig Alima tells me he’s a “penis shaman.” The proprietor of d.d/h.z says he can confidently predict men’s penis sizes and sexual predilections. He gives my companion a disputable “reading,” and dashes away to tend to friends and customers, explaining, “This place is like my living room.”   When Zorig returns, he brings us a frozen drink with Day-Glo layers. “It’s like gay life in Mongolia,” he says. “It looks bright and sweet, but it’s difficult to swallow.” (photo left: Sukhbaatar hero statue in Ulan Bator)   In Mongolia, it isn’t easy for a gay bar to fly under the radar, even in the center of Ulaanbaatar, the country’s biggest city, home to more than a third of Mongolia’s total population of 2.8 million. Outside the city, the

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Burma, Rangoon 1 Random Images (Shwedagon Pagoda Shrine)

| February 24th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Rangoon 1 Random Images (Shwedagon Pagoda Shrine)

Rangoon/Yangon is the country’s largest city with a population of over five million, and is the most important commercial center. The former military government officially relocated the capital 250 miles north to a brand new town called Naypyidaw in March 2006. Although Yangon’s infrastructure is weak compared to other major cities in south-east Asia, it has the largest number of colonial buildings in the region today due to repressive governments. While many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished. General elections in Myanmar in November 2015 were won by the National League for Democracy, the first free election in fifty years. The leader is Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Burma, Rangoon 2 Random Images

| February 24th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Rangoon 2 Random Images

More images of Rangoon/Yangon, the country’s former capital and largest city. The new capital is called Naypyidaw, 250 mles north of Rangoon, built in 2006. General elections in Myanmar in November 2015 were won by the National League for Democracy, the first free election in fifty years. The leader is Aung San Suu Kyi.    

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Burma, Mandalay: Inwa, Bagaya Kyaung Monastery

| February 23rd, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Mandalay: Inwa, Bagaya Kyaung Monastery

The monastery is about eleven miles south of Mandalay city. The religious lecture hall in the eastern side of the monastery has a seven-tiered roof. The monastery was built on 267 teak posts. The monastery is (118) feet long and (103) feet wide. The entire monastery is decorated with carvings. floral arabesques, ornamentation of curved figurines and reliefs of birds and animals. Small pillars along the walls are decorated with finials, the artistic works of Inwa Era. Large teak door frames are designed with sculptures and reliefs. The monastery exists today in its original form despite fires and earthquakes.    

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Burma, Mandalay: Sagaing Hill and U-Bein Bridge

| February 21st, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Mandalay: Sagaing Hill and U-Bein Bridge

A few miles south of Mandalay city are the green forests of Sagaing Hill, once the capital. The hills are covered with hundreds of white and gold stupas. The vast area is well known as a retreat from the world for monks and visitors. Nearby is U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak footbridge that curves across the southern shore of large Lake Taungthaman.      

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Burma, Mandalay: Maha Ganayon Kyaung Monastery

| February 19th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Mandalay: Maha Ganayon Kyaung Monastery

Eight miles south of Mandalay city is the Maha Ganayon Kyaung Monastery. It is not an outstanding monastery with exotic shrines and temples. It is more known because of its closed proximity to the city making it convenient for many tourists–mostly Japanese–to show up at breakfast time to gawk at the hundreds of monks lining up for breakfast.  

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Burma, Mandalay: Shwe In Bin Kyaung Monastery and Local River Village

| February 19th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Mandalay: Shwe In Bin Kyaung Monastery and Local River Village

Shwe In Bin Kyaung Monastery is a beautifully carved teak monastery. Commissioned in 1895 by a pair of wealthy Chinese jade merchants, the central building stands on thick tree-trunk poles. The highly detailed pointed ‘steeple’ soars to a majestic 75′ completely integrated of carved pieces. Balustrades and roof cornices are richly decorated with high-relief figures and engravings. Although weather –and tourist–worn the temple holds strong. There is no guard or barrier. The monks are virtually invisible. The serene place is of unique design and engineering. No shoes allowed: the entry sign reads “Take off your slipper.”    

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Burma, Boat Trip (south) From Mandalay to Bagan

| February 18th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Boat Trip (south) From Mandalay to Bagan

Burma from Mandalay to Bagan by boat is an 11-hour cruise downstream on the Irriwaddy River passing temples, farmers plowing, logging docks, many other tourist boats. The river is muddy from all the traffic; it is one of Burma’s main north-south routes.  

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Burma, Bagan Temples, Shrines and Stupas 1

| February 17th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Bagan Temples, Shrines and Stupas 1

Bagan, one of  the world’s wonder places with it enormous 26-square mile plain where more than 2000 temples, shrines and stupas still stand, many from the tenth century. It is 120 miles south of Mandalay and is accessed by boat, roadway and air. The variety of structures, the designs and the craftsmanship are hard take in and appreciate in a short visit. Go slow and stay a few days.    

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Burma, Bagan Temples, Shrines and Stupas 2

| February 16th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Bagan Temples, Shrines and Stupas 2

More images from Bagan, one of  the world’s wonder places with it enormous 26-square mile plain where more than 2000 temples, shrines and stupas still stand, many from the tenth century. It is 120 miles south of Mandalay and is accessed by boat, roadway and air. The variety of structures, the designs and the craftsmanship are hard take in and appreciate in a short visit. Go slow and stay a few days.  

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Road Trip from Bagan to Inle Lake

| February 15th, 2016 | Comments Off on Road Trip from Bagan to Inle Lake

The drive from Bagan to Inle Lake is an 8-hour adventure in rural Burma, full of roadside attractions including a tacky lunch stop, road repairs, overloaded cargo trucks, wandering animals, dense forests, winding mountain roads, death-defying truck drivers, a broken van spring (ours), police checkpoints…and finally into Inle Lake and the town of Naungshwe on the lake.    

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Burma, Inle Lake Views 1

| February 14th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Inle Lake Views 1

Inle Lake is 13 miles long and 7 miles wide. It is the largest fresh water lake in the country, serves as home to thousands of fisher-folks and farmers, monks, artisans and crafts people, families with children/students as well as one of Burma’s main tourist destinations. The diversity of sights more than satisfies any visitor from huge sprawling merchandise markets, silversmith shops, monasteries, unique bamboo houses built on stilts, fish nets made in the round, boats rowed by feet, loud and speeding long tail speedboats.  

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Burma, Inle Lake Views 2

| February 13th, 2016 | Comments Off on Burma, Inle Lake Views 2

More views of Inle Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the country. It serves as home to thousands of fisher-folks and farmers, monks, artisans and crafts people, families with children/students as well as one of Burma’s main tourist destinations. The diversity of sights more than satisfies any visitor from huge sprawling merchandise markets, silversmith shops, monasteries, unique bamboo houses built on stilts, fish nets made in the round, boats rowed by feet, loud and speeding long tail speedboats.    

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Gay Hong Kong Update 2015

| November 28th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay Hong Kong Update 2015

LGBT Hong Kong today is alive and well with new faces, venues and activities as it adapts to Chinese rule since 1997. The Pink Dot gay festival and the LGBT film festival were undisturbed during the week of my visit.   By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com October 2015   Despite the tension with Beijing, Hong Kong still demonstrates its defiance and independent mindset—up to a point. A big loss for fair elections under the communist system happened when the ‘Occupy’ demonstrations shut down businesses in the central streets for almost three months in the fall of 2014: sit-in protests in Hong Kong involving mass civil disobedience began in September. Widely known as the Umbrella Revolution, the protests began after the Hong Kong government proposed biased reforms in favor of pro-Beijing candidates. The proposal was widely seen to be highly repressive and unfair to favor the Communist Party control over independent candidates

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Gay Life in East Timor

| June 6th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay Life in East Timor

 Introduction East Timor (Timor L’este) is unique in southeast Asia–it is Roman Catholic, standing nearly alone among thousands of Islamic Indonesian islands. But such a distinction does not make it any easier for LGBT citizens to live their personal lives. Male and female homosexuality in East Timor is legal. There was a clause against discrimination based on sexual orientation included in the original draft of the Timorese Constitution but it was voted out by 52 out of 88 MPs before the constitution took effect in 2002. The approach to homosexuality in this predominantly Catholic country is heavily influenced by the church.   Gay Life in East Timor: Interview with Richa (a trans East Timorese woman) By Richard Ammon June 2015 At Manila Pride in December 2014 I met two people, one guy and one trans MTF, from East Timor. They were there for their first Gay Pride parade. They had

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Gay Life in North Korea

| June 6th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay Life in North Korea

There is such fear and secrecy and propaganda about many aspects of North Korea that it’s difficult to find anything reliable about everyday life there–and doubly so about homosexuality. The concept of same-sex attraction or ‘Gay Life in North Korea’ hardly exists in the minds of people. Even with people who feel this attraction, there is ignorance about what it means or how it can be expressed in behavior.   Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com Updated March 2012   Something About the Gay Situation in North Korea? A GlobalGayz.com reader recently wrote : I’d like to know something about the gay situation in North Korea. Could you send me an e-mail if you know something? GlobalGayz response: There is such fear and secrecy about many aspects of North Korea that it is difficult to find anything reliable about everyday life there–and doubly so about homosexuality. The concept of same-sex attraction

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Uzbek Gay Life–An Interview With Maxim

| November 30th, 2014 | Comments Off on Uzbek Gay Life–An Interview With Maxim

A gay Uzbekistan man, Maxim Tumanev, talks about life in Uzbekistan (and America). In an unfamiliar foreign country it’s whom you know that make’s a big difference in finding the right places and the right people.

In Uzbekistan, it makes all the difference. Despite internet searches and personal inquiries I could not find a single gay person to interview before or during my trip to that country famous for the historic Silk Road cities of Tashkent (the capital), Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. It was not until I arrived in the country and, desperate for a LGBT contact, asked my non-gay (but gay friendly, it turned out) knowledgeable tour agent, Evgeny, for any name that could offer a lead. Fortunately he knew a woman whose husband worked in the famous Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent who provided a name and a place to meet, an articulate husband  (American) and charming wife (Uzbek), for

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Being Homosexual in Southern Muslim Thailand

| September 19th, 2014 | Comments Off on Being Homosexual in Southern Muslim Thailand

Living a life of contradictions–Being homosexual in southern Thailand can cause further isolation in the already divided communities Bangkok Post May 8, 2014 By Takato Mitsunaga Making a major life-changing decision is always a struggle. One has to think about the potential consequences of a choice before deciding on a particular path. Khoirunnaklee Yusoh, 31, lives in the Krong Pinang district in the Muslim-dominated Yala province in southern Thailand. The deep South continues to be seen as closed and marginalised, primarily because of the current political problems and security issues affecting the divided religious communities. (photo right: Khoirunnaklee Yusoh at his house in Yala) Khoirunnaklee’s problem, however, is neither regional nor political. While cradling his sobbing niece in one hand, he recounts the beginning of a painful period of his life. “I felt really sad when my family didn’t accept me as gay,” said Khoirunnaklee, who works part-time at a

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Gay Uzbekistan Today

| June 9th, 2014 | Comments Off on Gay Uzbekistan Today

Intro: a three week journey around the ancient and modern cities of Uzbekistan provides a stimulating and highly visual history lesson of the famous Silk Road. It also reveals a blind spot of homophobic policies against LGBT citizens.   Text and most photos by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com Also see Gay Uzbekistan News & Reports Also see: Uzbekistan Photo Gallery   One of the first things we noticed arriving in Tashkent were the numbers of policemen–on the streets, at subway entrances and down in subway stations (where photos are forbidden), in public markets, patrolling pedestrian underpasses of main roads, on major bridges over rivers, cruising the streets in cars and jeeps. They can stop and detain any driver to see their papers are in order–and mostly likely speedup the delay with a few som (money) slipped between palms. Police are present on street intersections, outside theaters, hotels, museums, and of course

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Uzbekistan: Moynak Town and Aral Sea Photo Gallery

| May 29th, 2014 | Comments Off on Uzbekistan: Moynak Town and Aral Sea Photo Gallery

Moynaq is a city in northern Karakalpakstan province in western Uzbekistan. Formerly an active fishing sea port, it is now home to only a few thousand residents since the 1980s due to the recession of the Aral Sea. Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area of 68,000 km2(26,300 sq mi), the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects (to raise cotton). By 2007, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes. The shrinking of the Aral Sea has been called “one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters”. The region’s once-prosperous fishing industry has been essentially destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. In an ongoing effort in Kazakhstan to save and replenish the North Aral Sea, a dam project was completed in 2005; in 2008, the water level in this lake had risen by

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Nukus City and Area Photo Gallery

| May 29th, 2014 | Comments Off on Nukus City and Area Photo Gallery

Traveling by car from Khiva to the far west of the country to the town of Nukus and beyond to the Aral Sea is across dry flat desert terrain. Nukus is the sixth-largest city in Uzbekistan, and the capital of the autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic. The population of Nukus 2014 is approximately 230,000.  The city is best known for its world-class Nukus Museum of Art, also know as the Savitski Museum, after its founder Igor Savitski.    

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Uzbekistan: Khiva Photo Gallery 2

| May 27th, 2014 | Comments Off on Uzbekistan: Khiva Photo Gallery 2

Khiva is an impressive site on what was once the Great Silk Road from Asia to Europe.  Khiva was infamous for its long and brutal history as a slave-trading post. The historical old town was restored by the Soviets in the 1970s. The clustered array of mosques, madrassas and tiled minarets give a sense of how crowded and bustling this town must have been throughout its history.Extending 4,000 miles (6,437 km) the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length, beginning during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).  

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Uzbekistan: Khiva Photo Gallery 1

| May 27th, 2014 | Comments Off on Uzbekistan: Khiva Photo Gallery 1

Khiva is an impressive site on what was once the Great Silk Road from Asia to Europe.  Khiva was infamous for its long and brutal history as a slave-trading post. The historical old town was restored by the Soviets in the 1970s. The clustered array of mosques, madrassas and tiled minarets give a sense of how crowded and bustling this town must have been throughout its history.Extending 4,000 miles (6,437 km) the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length, beginning during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).  

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Uzbekistan: Bukhara Photo Gallery 2

| May 26th, 2014 | Comments Off on Uzbekistan: Bukhara Photo Gallery 2

Central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara has buildings spanning a thousand years of history, and a thoroughly lived-in old centre that probably hasn’t changed much in two centuries. It is one of the best places in Central Asia for a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. It was as capital of the Samanid state in the 9th and 10th centuries that Bukhara blossomed as Central Asia’s religious and cultural heart. Most of the center is an architectural preserve, full of medressas (schools), minarets, a massive royal fortress (the Ark) and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. 19th and 20th century government restoration efforts, mostly by the Soviets, have brought this one ruined and derelict  city back to life as a historical and touristic gem. (See other photo galleries: http://www.globalgayz.com/asia/uzbekistan/)    

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Uzbekistan: Bukhara Photo Gallery 1

| May 24th, 2014 | Comments Off on Uzbekistan: Bukhara Photo Gallery 1

Central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara has buildings spanning a thousand years of history, and a thoroughly lived-in old centre that probably hasn’t changed much in two centuries. It is one of the best places in Central Asia for a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. It was as capital of the Samanid state in the 9th and 10th centuries that Bukhara blossomed as Central Asia’s religious and cultural heart. Most of the center is an architectural preserve, full of medressas (schools), minarets, a massive royal fortress and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. 19th and 20th century government restoration efforts, mostly by the Soviets, have brought this one ruined and derelict  city back to life as a historical and touristic gem. (See other photo galleries: http://www.globalgayz.com/asia/uzbekistan/)  

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