Singapore – City: (2)

Singapore is one of three remaining true city-states in the world. It is the smallest nation in Southeast Asia. It is the 6th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The population of Singapore is approximately 4.6 million. Though Singapore is highly cosmopolitan and diverse, ethnic Chinese form the majority of

Gay Thailand–Phuket in 2007

The week I arrived in Phuket to research a new story about local gay life in Phuket, this story appeared in the Phuket Post. It nicely usurped my intentions and added, no doubt, more depth and undestanding than I might have found. I am pleased to present it here, written by reporter Aparna Raut Desai.

Gay Vietnam (Saigon, Hoi An and Hue): Crouching Love, Hidden Passion

Introduction: Life in bustling Saigon, a city of eight million people and six million motorbikes, is colorful, ambitious, old and modern. Gay life barely shows its face against conservative traditions. The scene is small, unorganized and subdued (non-existent in the eyes of the government).  Outside Saigon and Hanoi there are little pockets of LGBT expression in the smaller cities like Hoi An and Hue. This story is followed by a News Report that further informs about the meager LGBT life in Vietnam.

Afghanistan – Faces and Countryside

Afghanistan is a culturally mixed nation, a crossroads between the East and the West, and has been an ancient focal point of trade and migration. It has an important geostrategical location, connecting South, Central and Southwest Asia. During its long history, the land has seen various invaders and conquerors, while on the other hand, local

Bangladesh – Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard

Along the southeast coast of Bangladesh is the Mohsin ship breaking yard where immense ocean freighters and tankers are torn apart by hundreds of gritty, lean, strong, bronze-skinned, men–by manual labor. Using blow torches, sledgehammers and wedges they carve the mammouth steel whales into chunks just off shore. After the huge pieces crash into the

Cambodia-Sex and Politics

Intro: After his release from four months in jail for alleged pedophilia–a charge that was found later to be fraudulent–Dr. Gavin Scott wrote this commentary about age-of-consent and it manipulation by foreign NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in the fractured legal system in Cambodia. Also see: Gay Cambodia Stories Gay Cambodia News & Reports 2004 to present

Gay Hong Kong

The financial powerhouse of Hong Kong is home to a confident gay community who have become even more politically and socially active since Britain handed over control to China in 1997. Presented here is a ‘longitudinal’ story, from 1997 to present reviewing the scene in this most progressive of Chinese cities.

India – Hampi

Hampi was once the capital city of a Hindu Vijayanagar empire in the 15-16th centuries. The vast area of temples and shrines, markets and roads covers 43 square kilometers. Hampi is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara empire. Possibly predating the city of Vijayanagara, this village continues to be

Gay Indonesia-Sumatra (Medan)

Intro: Far from the economic and political vortex of Jakarta, the city of Medan (and its environs) hustles and bustles with the business of a major metropolis. It is Indonesia’s third largest city with a population of about 2.2 million, The Asian gay travel site Utopia-Asia playfully suggests "that’s about 90,000 Utopians" (gay people). Perhaps.

Gay Pakistan – A Complex Society

Introduction Three native Pakistani men write about living inside their sexually ambivalent culture where gay men live behind masks and love in secret. There is a gay subculture in Pakistan but it is virtually invisible and exists only by word of mouth and in furtive situations–in nighttime parks, discrete parties and in one’s imagination or

Gay Rights in Thailand 2007

In searching for human rights activity in Thailand it’s easy to be distracted by the sexy flash and booming discos of Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai, which to many visitors and reporters appear to present an exciting ‘liberated’ face of homosexuality in Thailand. However, the reality is quite different the longer one stays or

Vietnam – Hanoi and North

A two week drive around the northern third of Vietnam brought us to Hanoi, Halong Bay, the northwest mountains, Dien Bien Phu and Sapa. This abridged gallery does little justice to the beauty of the land and the variety of hill tribes in these areas. Read the stories about gay Vietnam

Bangladesh – Chittagong City

Chittigong city is Bangladesh’s second largest metropolis with about four million people. For tourists there are only a few sights such as the War Cemetery, the Zia Museum, Shahi Jama-e mosque and a market. Not mentioned in guidebooks is the huge and haunting ship-breaking yard just north of the city. Photos 2-5 below reveal a

Hong Kong – City and Lantau Island

Hong Kong (photos 1-22) is a Chinese territory located on China’s south coast on the Pearl River Delta. It has a population of about 7 million people and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Renowned for its expansive skyline and natural setting, Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading

India – Vijayawada-Pondicherry-Trichy

Vijayawada and Pondicherry and  Tiruchirappalli in southeast India offer places of history, spirituality and commerce, as well as colorful friendly people. Just outside Pondicherry is the international city of Auroville–started in 1968–intended as a place of "human unity". At the center of the commune is the huge round meditation globe known as the Matrimandir, pictured

Indonesia – Java and Bali

Random images from two islands in Indonesia – Java and Bali Java is an island of Indonesia and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. Once the centre of powerful Hindu kingdoms and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies, Java now plays a dominant role in the economic and political life of Indonesia.

Gay Life in South Korea

Introduction: a Shifting Paradigm South Korea has been one of the most ambitious and progressive countries in Asia in the last fifty years. It’s ancient culture has assimilated, for better or worse, many western ideas and systems. Along with the changes in commerce have come alterations in human behavior and attitudes, including a recent softening

Vietnam – Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a vast, vibrant, hectic, intense cosmopolitan city yet with room to breath and a pace calm enough to ride a bike. As the country cautiously mutates from communism to capitalism, many ambitious citizens have tasted the delights of profit and drive around in SUV’s. Still, most common folks peddle

Gay India 2001-03: Many Faces, Secret Traditions and Bold New Times

Intro: Two academic commentaries and three interviews serve as a basic introduction to the vast and complex potpourri of cultures known as India. Gay India is one of the convoluted subcultures folded
into the intense tapestry of languages, customs, religions and secular traditions in this country of a billion people.

In parts one and two, guest authors discuss widespread male-male sexuality as an unspoken and unquestioned–and unlabeled–way of life integrated into family and village customs. The public–spoken or written–label of ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ is questioned as a valid description of such men: traditional MSM does not necessarily mean today’s ‘queer’.

Following these academic commentaries are links to parts three and four: interviews with three important gay and lesbian leaders who give a more ‘flesh and blood’ feel for gay life that is ‘out’ and evident in modern India.

The final fifth section is a story about Calcutta’s first gay pride parade and a reflection of its extended meaning.

Lesbians in Thailand

Intro: Lesbians present a different scene than the men. More modest in their sexual expression, there are no lesbian saunas where women walk around in towels cruising each other, although there are lesbian bars. Various reasons have been offered to explain this difference, from men’s more predatory nature to feminist distaste for imitating male habits to women’s natural nurturing subjective demeanor versus men’s penchant for objectifying sex—or powerful social traditions that shape and limit women’s roles in society.

Gay Bangladesh

Guest writer Martin Forman opens a small window onto the sly, furtive and suspicious gay ‘scene’ in the city of Sylhet, Bangladesh. This is followed by a level-headed essay by Afsan Chowdury, a native author, who writes: “there are gays in our Bengali society, and there is no sense in suppressing and stifling it.”

Gay Guam

Far from the crowds of Asia and American lies tiny Guam in the western Pacific. Modern and historic, the island – and town of Tumon – is a miniature US state in many ways with its beachfront luxury hotels, glittery shopping malls, K-Mart, hetero strip joints and gay bars. But even these inventions don’t take away from the simple tropical beauty of the land. Jungled hills, countless palm-fringed beach coves and rural Chamorro villages make this a place of quiet beauty. Gay life is barely visible, laid back and comfortable.

Mei Ling: Mao’s Secret Retreat

Intro: Far from the corridors of present-day power in Beijing, the city of Wuhan is home to a strange and little-known retreat where China’s fate was once determined. Mao Zedong’s private villa still stands as a memorial to a by-gone era that altered the course of modern Asia.