A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!
Terry Sweet lost his life in the savage attack, while Bernard Hawkin was left permanently disabled (Screenshot: ITV)
Campaigners are fundraising to create a memorial for two gay men who were left for dead following a brutal homophobic attack in Plymouth 25 years ago.
Terry Sweet and Bernard Hawken were found lying 200 yards apart just after midnight on 7 November 1995 in the city’s Central Park. They had both sustained horrific injuries, with their faces and genitalia slashed and mutilated.
Terry, who was 64 years old, died at the scene, while 54-year-old Bernard survived the attack but was left brain damaged and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He died many years later as a result of his injuries.
The local LGBT+ community has now launched a fundraiser so they can erect a plaque and plant a tree in memory of Sweet and Hawken.
They needed to raise £500 to create the memorial, but they have already raised more than double that figure. Additional funds raised will go towards building a training course to help challenge hate crime in the city.
Alan Butler, one of the directors of Pride in Plymouth, asked the LGBT+ community to chip in so they can make sure Sweet and Hawken are not forgotten.
“We need to acknowledge as part of our history, as part of our heritage, to remember these two men, and to look at how far we’ve come, hopefully, in the last 25 years and how far we have to go,” Butler said.
“We find ourselves now in a position where we’re able to offer a permanent memorial to the two men, so a plaque on a bench at the scene of the attack, and also to plant a tree to look ahead to the future.
“So we’re very much hoping that people in the community will be keen to support us in creating that memorial and also looking at perhaps some educational material around hate crime and continuing to challenge it in the future.”
Three teenagers were jailed for life over the brutal attack in Plymouth.
The fundraiser was launched by Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth.
“To help us build this lasting memorial to Terry, please contribute to this crowdfunder,” he said.
“Every penny will make a difference to providing something beautiful in Central Park, but it will also help Pride in Plymouth continue their work in challenging hate in our city. Love is love, and you can make a difference by donating today.”
Three teenagers were later jailed for life for the brutal attack, and shortly afterwards, their friends and followers desecrated the crime scene with vile graffiti.
“In memory of Terry Sweet, may he rest in pieces… ha ha,” the assailants scrawled in spray paint. “No queers here, your [sic] banned or face death.”
On the path close to where Sweet was found, someone spray-painted the outline of a body next to the words: “Please step over spilt AIDS!”
The gruesome attacks shocked the city’s LGBT+ community, and became a symbol of the work that still needed to be done to stamp out homophobia.
This month photographer Liam Campbell celebrates five years of traveling the world, meeting a diverse range of local men, and showcasing them in the magazine Elska. While the Coronavirus pandemic, when travel is limited, he reflects on travels past and fantasizing about travels to come.
Here Liam shares exclusively with GayCities some of the most sexy and interesting men and moments from the past five years.
Juan C (Bogotá, Colombia)
When coming up with this list of ten unforgettable men and moments from a project where I’ve so far photographed nearly five hundred guys, the first person to come to mind was Juan. Not only is he one of the best friends I’ve made during my Elska travels, but our shoot was also one of the most insane. We started at his place, shooting some nude photos in his at-home recording studio (Juan is part of the group Los Rombos) and then took a walk around his Bogotá neighborhood for outdoor shots. Around halfway through our session, cops decided to come over and ask what we were doing. We were in a public place, with no permission or permit required whatsoever, but they decided to use the opportunity to intimidate us for their amusement. This included them taking the camera and looking through the photos, including Juan’s nude images, and then laughing amongst each other and taunting us with comments that I did not have the Spanish language skills to understand. It was incredibly frustrating but it did not have the intended effect to humiliate us whatsoever. We left with our heads held high, and perhaps this was what created a bond of friendship that continues to this day.
Anzie V (Mumbai, India)
Mumbai is one my favorite cities, but it’s also incredibly chaotic, crowded, and absolutely massive. Anzie worked in the city not far from Colaba where I was staying (definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods in Mumbai), but he lived a fair distance and commute away. So he asked if it might be okay to stay the night with me so that we could shoot in the evening and then he could go straight to work the next morning. Trying to be kind, especially in a culture where I’d come to discover how hospitable the locals are, I agreed. However, as much as I try to keep a professional mindset, sharing a bed with this insanely hot guy was a bit of a challenge. I barely got an hour’s sleep all night with all the nerves over whether I might “bump” into him in the night, or embarrass myself some other way. Everything turned out fine though, and the next morning we took a few sunrise shots in the area, followed by coffee, and then another brief interrogation by a local cop. This time, however, I didn’t have any of the indoor pics still on the camera, so there was no teasing to endure.
Ky S (Yokohama, Japan)
When I started Elska I just wanted a way to combine my love of photography, men, and travel, but over time my work started to have a broader meaning, such as increasing visibility, promoting diversity, and breaking stereotypes. One of the things I noticed early on was that much of LGBTQ media tends to lack diversity, and where it exists, it can be laden with misconceptions. Ky here definitely was one to break stereotypes about Asian men.
Taras D (Lviv, Ukraine)
The first Elska issue I ever created was in Lviv, Ukraine. It was a city I chose mainly because I personally was interested in visiting it (I gave a lot of focus to Ukraine in my master’s degree), and also because it’s a really cheap country to travel in. Certainly, it wasn’t the sort of city you’d probably select as the first destination of a gay magazine, but it’s a place I fell in love with, mainly for the beautiful people and the proliferation of brutalist ugly-pretty buildings, which I adore. In particular, there are many abandoned buildings and ruin sites throughout the country. For our shoot, Taras took me to a former Soviet army mess hall, hidden on a hill within a small urban forest. In much of the world, such places are fenced off for concerns of health and safety, but in much of post-communist Europe, you can still sneak inside and nobody cares. It was one of my favorite shoot settings ever. I’m quite tempted to return to Ukraine one day for more of the same, perhaps to the capital Kyiv next time.
Raj B (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Another one of my favorite ever shoots was with Raj. As a Hindu living in a majority Muslim country, he suggested we meet in Tanti Bazaar, a mainly Hindu part of Old Dhaka. To say the area was busy would be a major understatement, and it was a huge challenge to photograph Raj amongst the hustle and danger of oncoming people and rickshaws. But it was also one of the most unforgettable afternoons of my life. I followed him around as he took me through various narrow alleyways, paused at street stalls for snacks I’d never tried before, guided me onto various rickety boats for short rides along the river, and even tried to give me a tour of a big pink palace (unfortunately they wanted an exorbitant entry fee for me as a special ‘foreigner price’ that sent Raj into an bit of a mild rage – I appreciated his efforts though). If I ever find myself in Dhaka again, I want to return to that pink palace, but next time I’ll get the tickets and Raj won’t be able to get upset about it.
Will T Jr (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
It’s become a sort of tradition that in every city I visit I end up crushing on one of the people I meet. Nothing ever comes of it, I’m a happily married and boring gay man after all, but it usually causes me some nervousness and awkwardness. I’m not sure if Will noticed since he’d never met the ‘normal’ me, but the crush I had on him was so severe that I was a complete mess. I was so clumsy that I did one of the worst photography jobs ever (though fortunately, I took so many shots that there were still enough good ones to use) and I was so bumbling that I started telling ridiculous dad jokes even though that’s something I never do. I suppose that was my way of impressing him? Maybe it worked actually because at the end of the shoot he invited me out. Of course, I said “maybe” but I knew I wouldn’t ever turn it into a yes. As much as I liked Will, I would have just made a fool of myself.
Raph R (Manila, Philippines)
Another one of my crushes was on Raph in Manila, but in our case my awkwardness was tempered by the fact that we could not stop fighting with each other. As soon as we met, Raph pegged me as some kind of white colonizer who would look down on Filipinos as ‘exotic’ or ‘third world’. I suppose in reality he knew I was not like that, but he tested me by throwing all sorts of arguments my way, which due to my love for playing devil’s advocate, I ended up arguing right back in the ugly American role (is there a British version for this term?). I think this impassioned mood is what led to one of the most inspired shoots I’ve ever done. I shot him naked climbing over bags of coffee (his family runs a coffee roastery), doing acrobatics in front of his bathroom mirror, and playing with depth of field in his dark blue bedroom amongst these little smiley cut-outs he had hanging from the ceiling. Raph and I stayed in touch, and through that, I noticed that our previous fighting was just banter. Even so, if I ever meet him again, I look forward to arguing some more.
Nathan T (Perth, Australia)
One of my main values for Elska is that anyone who wants to take part is welcome and that there’s no casting procedure that prioritizes celebrities. However, celebrities are still people, and after all these years it’s natural that a few famous guys found their way into my work. Yet while Nathan here isn’t really a celebrity, for me he was the person who made me feel the most starstruck in my life. Nathan had appeared on a certain TV baking competition, and I was a big fan of him and the show. Because of this I ended up following him on Insta, and then to my shock, he followed me back. Then when I announced I was coming to shoot an issue in his native Perth, he was up for taking part. I was ecstatic, but also slightly concerned that he’d want to use the opportunity to promote his career, when really the goal is to showcase the ordinary side of each person. However, he was completely on the same page, and so the story he wrote gave no mention of his reality TV past. In fact, this may be the first time I’ve even mentioned him and his celebrity status.
Ashley S (Cape Town, South Africa)
One of the most interesting aspects of doing my work is discovering how different societies behave towards queerness. In lots of places, men often don’t want to do the indoor part of the photoshoot because their parents or flatmates don’t know they’re gay, or perhaps they just feel awkward having a stranger in their home. London and Seoul were some of the worst places in this regard. One of the best though, perhaps surprisingly, was Cape Town. I’ll never forget when I was shooting Ashley and his boyfriend in his bedroom that Ashley’s mum kept barging in to offer us coffee, biscuits, a sandwich, or just to ask a question. The same was true in Mumbai, where numerous times a mum or grandma would interrupt a photoshoot to bring tea. There was no shame, no embarrassment, just a really open household that I wish all queer people had the fortune to experience. And in this case, I was all the more glad because Ashley’s mum really made a mean cup of coffee.
Temelalj C (Taipei, Taiwan)
Every person who takes part has the option to shoot clothed, nude, or both. The first part is out in the city and the second at home, but occasionally I meet some rather brave and crazy men who fancy stripping off out in the open. Temelalj was one of them. We met at one the Taipei’s university campuses, and although it was a Sunday morning, it wasn’t completely devoid of people. Temelalj was determined though, perhaps he had a naked outdoors fantasy to live out, so he led me around to the back of one of the science labs, where he thought it would be quiet. There he did a quick look around and then stripped off to nothing. At first I tried to be quick, but soon we both sort of forgot about the nudity, that is until a family happened to walk by. They barely seemed to react though, but we made our escape at that moment anyway, just in case.
Liam Campbell is editor and photographer of the indie print mag, Elska. For this project, each issue is made in a different city and features a random selection of around a dozen ordinary local gay / queer men, each photographed in their city and at home, and each accompanied by a personal story. This month the project marks its fifth anniversary, so far comprising twenty-nine issues in twenty-nine cities and nearly five hundred photographic subjects.
Issues of Elska Magazine are available, both in a limited edition print version and in an e-version. Signed art prints, annual subscriptions, and a behind-the-scenes bonus zine called Elska Ekstra are also available.
The circuit party was attended by 2,000 shirtless, maskless men. (G1)
A circuit party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was shut down by police and firefighters after thousands of maskless men attended as the city’s COVID cases soar.
The Festa Revolution gay circuit party took place on Tuesday (29 December) at Faro Beach Club in the city’s Leblon district, on the same day that coronavirus deaths in Rio de Janeiro alone reached more than 14,600.
Around 2,000 people were packed on the dance floor and partying without masks when police burst in to shut the event down, having received complaints that the event was violating COVID-19 rules.
According to GloboNews, the organisers, Revolution Party, had said that all coronavirus safety protocols would be followed when they advertised the event, but none of the participants were wearing masks.
Some members of the LGBT+ community were shocked by the event, with one sharing a video of the thousands of party-goers on Twitter and writing: “My God! Look at the Coronafest that is happening RIGHT NOW in Rio!
“Revolution by Rosane Amaral [the promoter]. Won’t anyone do anything?”
🆘MEUDEUS! Olha a CoronaFest q está rolando NESSE INSTANTE no Rio!!! Revolution da Rosane Amaral. CARALEO, NINGUÉM VAI FAZER NADAAAAAAA???? pic.twitter.com/nXobtd7cyp
— RFA (@rafaelaugustto_) December 30, 2020
According to Diario do Rio, Rio City Hall said the event had not been authorised, and that it was found to have breached three rules; it did not have a health license, social distancing was not implemented and masks were not used.
Another unauthorised party at the same venue had to be shut down in November, and now Faro Beach Club could face losing its license and closing down, and well as having to pay fines.
Vox journalist Alex Abad-Santos shared a video of the party being shut down and wrote: “Not the police shutting down the rio circuit party.”
“For the record I love dancing with shirtless homos,” he added. “I can’t wait to hang out with everyone at the big homosexual dance party when we’re all vaccinated in 2021.”
for the record i love dancing with shirtless homos.
i can’t wait to hang out with everyone at the big homosexual dance party when we’re all vaccinated in 2021 🥰
— alex (@alex_abads) December 30, 2020
Revolution Party, however, has insisted it did nothing wrong. Writing on Instagram, the circuit party organisers insisted: “Faro Beach Club has all the licenses imposed by responsible bodies to operate LEGALLY.
“It is absurd to question the legality of the house without hard evidence. The event followed the required sanitary protocols such as temperature measurement and availability of hand sanitiser.
“Our legal department is taking care of all the news that is based on fallacies and that do not align with the truth.”
What is a g0y?
According to Urban Dictionary, it’s “a guy who finds men attractive, but for whatever reason is offended by the stigmas that currently define the ‘gay community’ in the public psyche.”
G0ys shun effeminate behavior because they thinks it’s “cowardly.” They also refrain from calling one another things like “girl”, “bitch”, or “queen.” But their biggest hangup is anal sex. They don’t believe in it because they think it’s a “violent act” that represents “the ultimate form of sexual disrespect.”
The website g0ys.org, which labels itself “Ground ZER0 in the ‘UNgay’ Paradigm Shift!,” calls the whole g0y movement “an explosively popular awakening among men in general – sweeping the globe.”
The site explains:
Our well reasoned positions regarding basic, male sexuality have taken to task both: religious “fundamentalists”, -and- the “liberal gay leftists”. G0YS are among the healthiest men of any demographic on the planet, & sexually transmitted diseases are a virtual non-issue. How can this be? G0YS, by our very nature, reject ALL anal-fetish related acts! And, we strongly discourage physical intimacy with others who reject our mindset. This mental trait lowers our risk of perilous sexually transmitted diseases by: 1,250,000% (vs. the men who call themselves “gay”)!
Don’t ask us where they got that figure.
The word “g0y” purportedly comes from ancient Hebrew and is spelled with a zero instead of the letter “o” for a few reasons. First, the g0ys say, it is to create a “departure from stereotype.”
G0ys.org explains, “A term was needed that had some meaning behind it, while being simple enough for people to remember; — plus stir some curiosity.”
Also, they don’t like the letter “a” because that’s the first letter in the word “anal” and they really. don’t. like. anal.
“The term needed to confront sloppy theology that supports “everything gAy” — including Anal,” g0ys.org says. “G0YS reject Anal-Sex! It’s dirty, dangerous & damn – disrespectful of masculinity.”
According to the CDC, condoms fail about 2% of the time during analsex. On a 360 day year, assuming only 1 screw a day, that’s 720 buttphucks (360×2 partners). 720×2%= 14 condom failures. Since it only takes (1) failure to spread a deadly STD/STI, that’s 1300% overkill. Last time I saw an overkill factor like that it was tied to the nuclear weapons program. Have 1/14th of a nuclear war & everyone is still dead. Ironic how the penis resembles a missle….
Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.
You see, AnalSex is ALWAYS a VIOLENT ACT. ALWAYS. And did I mention that it’s VIOLENT 100% of the time? The FACT (say “FACT”) is that the human rectum (whether male or female) is NOT designed to be used as a dick-dock. Every single occurrence of that act damages the recipient in some fashion as well as creating a conduit for disease that is some +5000% more contagious than even 0ralSex (according to the CDC & World Health 0rganization). It’s +5000% MORE FUKK’N CONTAGIOUS on top (pun) of ALWAYS being INJURIOUS to the physical structures in the recipient!
Donald Trump holds an LGBT+ Pride flag given to him by supporter. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
As much as a widening gulf has yawned between LGBT+ voters and US president Donald Trump over the years, apparently launching an array of anti-queer policies and, overall, not caring about queer people is enough to get them to vote for you.
A survey of around 1,200 queer male Americans found that around 45 per cent – around 540 – plan to vote for Trump.
As much as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has netted an, albeit, slim majority of the queer male vote, securing 51 per cent, it signalled to pollsters how the president’s brand of bullish showmanship has roiled the political landscape.
Queer men have always voted reliably Democratic. Until now.
Indeed, the LGBT+ voting bloc has long been reliably Democratic. The poll conducted by queer dating app Hornet found that, overall among its users, around 66 per cent prefer Biden while 34 per cent support Trump.
But for queer Americans, pollsters said, the statistics were far tighter together. Just less than half of queer men said they do not support Trump, and a slither of just 11 per cent said they generally disagree with his stances.
Only 10 per cent emphatically said they do not support him “at all” and would not vote for him regardless.
Nine per cent were more conflicted, the poll found, in that they agreed with some but not all of his views. Only 27 per cent of respondents mostly or fully supported Trump.
Mapping out support for Trump, the poll found that across Hornet’s global 10,000 users, queer men on almost every continent other than Africa supported Biden more than Trump, across a spawning margin of 54 to 25 per cent.
In terms of countries, only two surveyed supported Trump over Biden, being Taiwan (51 per cent supporting him) and Russia, where nearly six in 10 supported Trump.
Donald Trump is billed as a pro-LGBT+ president, but queer people beg to disagree.
Trump and his campaign team have increasingly looked towards LGBT+ people as a way to buttress support amid the president’s cratering polls.
Among some of the Republican’s core voting blocs, such as white evangelicals, many do at least generally support LGBT+ rights, according to a 2019 survey.
But the president’s track record has seen him harshly erode many pre-existing LGBT+ rights. Trans rights, in particular, have been taken to with a buzz saw by the Trump administration, across countless federal departments and programs – defence, housing, health and education.
Moreover, during many of this year’s victories in the arena of LGBT+ rights as well as years’ worth of Pride months, Trump has remained silent or vastly indifferent.
And when the president has been pressed about certain LGBT+ issues, such as the federal blood ban on queer men as well as his own campaign for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality, he has been utterly clueless.
Two men in Croatia have become the country’s first same-sex foster parents after a three-year struggle.
Mladena Kožica and Ive Šegote applied to become foster parents in 2017. Although they passed all the required tests, they were rejected because they were in a same-sex life partnership. Same-sex couples cannot marry in Croatia, but may enter into “life partnerships”—and the one area where same-sex partnerships were unequal to marriage was in fostering and adoption. The couple appealed to the Family Ministry, were again rejected, and then sued. In December 2019 they won their case to become foster parents, reported Deutsche Welle.
Separately, in January 2020, the Croatia Constitutional Court decided that same-sex couples have the right to be foster parents just like anyone else. The men have recently begun fostering two children, reported Croatian LGBT news portal CroL on Monday.
Daniel Martinovic, head of the country’s Rainbow Family Association, an advocacy and networking organization, told Barron’s, “This gives us hope that things in our country can still change.” He said he would continue to fight for “full marital and family equality” including the right to adopt children (which, as this article explains, is still an open question).
Šegote is also the author of the first picture book in Eastern Europe to depict a family with same-sex parents.
Content warning: this review references sexual assault
In the first chapter of her auto-fictional novel All Men Want to Know, Nina Bouraoui (translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins) writes: “I want to know who I am, what I am made of, what I can hope for; I trace the thread of my past back as far as it will take me, making my way through the mysteries that haunt me, hoping to unravel them.”
This is just what the book sets out to do, exploring the narrator’s adult sense of identity–lesbian, writer, French, Algerian–through her past. Born to a French mother and an Algerian father, Bouraoui lived in Algiers until the age of fourteen, when her family relocated to France. Through this fictionalised narrative, Bouraoui ‘unravels’ her personal history, from a sun-baked childhood idyll in an Algeria threatened by the looming civil war of the 90s, to her search for connection as an 18-year-old in the lesbian nightlife of Paris, to her mother’s own life and experiences of sexual assault.
The story is told through beautiful vignette-like chapters that flicker between time periods and locations, mixing past and present, Paris and Algiers. It’s an experimental form that risks becoming frustrating, but I found the short chapters page-turningly compelling. The lack of fixed time and location represents Bouraoui’s own feelings of belonging between places: “I can’t choose one country, one nationality, over the other, I’d feel I was betraying either my mother or my father.”
In the Algerian chapters, headed as ‘Remembering’, Bouraoui writes vividly of desert holidays with her mother and sister alongside the horror of political unrest and violence. Roadblocks, harassment, and murders intertwine with family anecdotes and capers with her childhood best friend Ali.
As an 18-year-old in Paris, Bouraoui begins frequenting a women-only nightclub, looking for love but too terrified to act upon her desires. In this intimately anonymous setting, she feels part of the gay community (“I like these two words, they don’t so much belong to me as own me”) but experiences disconnection from her new lesbian social circle (“The women I spend time with are my rivals, women I go out with, not my friends”). Away from the club scene, she also begins to write. These chapters–headed ‘Becoming’–are reminiscent of the Parisian chapters of The Well of Loneliness as well as the works of Qiu Miaojin in their haunting sense of alienation.
The final narrative strand offers an account of Bouraoui’s mother’s youth in a war-torn France and the barriers surrounding her cross-cultural marriage. These ‘Knowing’ chapters mix family oral history with omniscience – how much would the narrator have been told and how much has been imagined?
All Men Want to Know is an evocative, heartfelt novel that explores psychological questions of self, belonging and knowing. While it covers distressing topics, it’s ultimately a beautiful and hopeful account of coming of age while straddling opposing identities.
Content warnings: rape, sexual assault, suicide, racism, murder, war, addiction, homophobia, sexism