Tag: South

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story

What does being queer look like for South Asian womxn? We never knew. We grew up thinking we were the only queer Brown womxn because LGBTQ+ representation was (and still is) heavily Western-normative and constructs a gay narrative that isn’t conducive to South Asian culture. I repressed my queerness by age 14 for safety reasons, but ventured into the LGBTQ+ scene when it became possible to “live a double life.” I was—and still am—constantly heterosexualized by a colonial gaze due to my Desi features and Brown body. This turned the pride for my Gujarati roots into shame, and pressured me into assimilating. The microaggressions grew stronger, as I was unable to fully disassociate from South Asianness without being exiled from my culture. The inability to be queer in culturally conducive ways was extremely invalidating, invisibilizing and infuriating.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

In 2018, I participated in Pride Toronto’s Dyke March wearing my “not all lesbians are white” shirt to contest the assimilationist narrative of queer spaces. A year later, I was connected to a fellow queer activist who had seen me at that March, and was inspired to decolonize her own sexuality. And here we are now—rejecting assimilationist queer rhetoric together.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

This set of photographs signifies and celebrates the blossoming into my queer South Asian self without compromising either identity; peaceful acceptance that I may never be able to ‘come out’ to my family as anything but an activist; and achievement of self-love and happiness.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

To anyone who needs to hear this: You are valid without performing Western-normative sexuality. You are not living a lie if you are not out. Anyone who says otherwise is reproducing colonial ideologies.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

“We’re both second generation and grew up in different regions surrounding Toronto. We share an alike story—we both had a strong sense of Desi identity growing up, repressed our queerness at a young age due to an inability to conceptualize it at the axis of queer invisibility in South Asian culture and South Asian invisibility in culture, and felt like the only queer brown person ever. The pressure to assimilate and shame for our Desi identities intensified upon entering mainstream LGBTQ+ spaces.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

It took us about a decade to finally meet another queer South Asian womxn, but it finally happened. At PrideToronto 2018’s Dyke March, Praanee saw Alyy challenging assimilationist narratives in queer spaces by wearing a “not all lesbians are white” shirt. A year later, at PrideToronto 2019, she saw Alyy on a mutual friend’s IG story and asked for a formal introduction.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

We immediately bonded over our alike narrative, individual work within LGBTQ+ communities, and strong emotional attachment to our queer Desi siblings that we’ve never met. Importantly, we finally had enough people to hit the ground running for the QSAW network (yes, two was all we needed, and we are still lovingly bringing on anyone else across Canada that wants to volunteer). Our wholehearted goal is to create the anti-assimilationist visibility that we never had.

Queer South Asian gender-fluid womxn share their story Alyy and Praanee, co-founders, Queer South Asian Network featured on Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

It took us about a decade to negotiate our intersectional identities, and accept that we may never be able to ‘come out’ to our families as anything but activists—but we are here now. This is what our queerness looks like. This is what our South Asianness looks like. This is what our Queer and South Asian identity looks like—and we proudly embrace it.”—Alyy and Praanee

Photos: Michelle Fernandes, Fox Photography

Makeup artist: Shobia 

 

Big Pines Mountain House – Gay Friendly Motel in South Lake Tahoe, California

Big Pines Mountain House - Gay Friendly Motel in South Lake Tahoe, California

Big Pines Mountain House - Gay Friendly Motel in South Lake Tahoe, California

ENJOY BEAUTIFUL LAKE TAHOE!

Big Pines Mountain House reinvents Hotels, offering our guests the option to “consume better”. For a very reasonable price, you’ll get your guest room, all-you-can-eat continental breakfast, free wifi internet connection, and a bunch of little extras for no extra fee.

More Than Just a Hotel:

The Big Pines creative, friendly concept offers clean, comfortable, charming rooms that won’t break the bank. Our South Lake Tahoe hotel is a medium-size property with seventy-two rooms in the heart of town, making it easy to get to everything.

Quality Plus Personality:

Big Pines Mountain House is a budget friendly Hotel that is truly unique, offering great value and fantastic customer service yearround at a very affordable price.

Our Mission:

We are committed to exceeding your expectations, creating a friendly environment and giving our customers the best value for their money.

See the Big Pines Mountain House Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

South Lake Tahoe Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Charles Bass House – Gay Owned Bed & Breakfast in South Boston, Virginia

Charles Bass House - Gay Owned Bed & Breakfast in South Boston, Virginia

Charles Bass House - Gay Owned Bed & Breakfast in South Boston, Virginia

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA GETAWAY

Come relax with us at Charles Bass House, a gay owned B&B in the historic district of South Boston, Virginia. We’re in Southern Virginia, halfway between Richmond and Raleigh.

Originally built in 1904, this historic Victorian Italianate home is just a half-mile walk to downtown, where you’ll find local restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries, theatre and churches.

We have two guest options at our intimate and private Inn:

The Guest Suite is on the first floor and includes

* Large bedroom with queen-sized bed
* Private bath
* Sitting room with TV and full sofa bed

The sitting room can also be used as a second bedroom.

The upstairs Guest Room also has a big bedroom with queen-sized bed and TV and shares a bath just down the hall.

See the Charles Bass House Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Virginia Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Gay Cape Town, South Africa- wolfyy

gay Cape Town

gay Cape Town

There are so many reasons to make Cape Town your next gay travel destination. Abundant gay nightlife, beautiful beaches, a large gay community and stunning landscapes are just a few. A friendly LGBT community thrives here, and Cape Town continues to top the list of places gay travelers want to visit next.

Being a gay tourist in South Africa was easy. I felt quite safe as an LGBT traveler, spending almost two weeks exploring Cape Town. I loved every minute of my adventures, from making friends at the Clifton gay beach while listening to local children sing traditional songs, to enjoying the relaxed pace of life in restaurants around the city.

Homosexuality is legal South Africa, and while country-wide public approval of homosexuality is low, Cape Town differs with a more progressive and open culture. The city even has its own gay district!

Cape Town’s Gay Neighborhood

The official Cape Town gay neighborhood is called De Waterkant, located just north of the city center. In De Waterkant, you’ll find most of the city’s gay bars, nightclubs and the popular gay sauna. Many gay travelers opt to stay in this area of the city because its easily walkable and there’s quick access to many local restaurants. Other than De Waterkant, travelers also tend to book accommodations in Green Point as well as the budget-friendly City Bowl neighborhood.

Before planning your own Cape Town adventure, make sure to do some thorough research. Check out the some authentic local activities, as well as neighborhood safety, which is a large concern for first-time travelers in South Africa. Don’t forget to plan a visit to see the penguins, too!

By Louis Lafata – Full Travel Guide on wolfyy

Gay South Africa Resources

The Dyke Kitchen: My Dad’s South Indian Gunpowder

The Dyke Kitchen: My Dad's South Indian Gunpowder

The Dyke Kitchen written over a drippy yellow shape that has checkerboard at the ends

The Dyke Kitchen is a bi-weekly series about how queerness, identity, culture and love are expressed through food and cooking.


There are some tastes of home that transport me back into my parents’ kitchen immediately. I mentioned this one in my very first edition of The Dyke Kitchen because I hold it dear. It’s a South Indian condiment or accompaniment that we call gunpowder. It also goes by a few different names, including molaha podi, as Julie Sahni, the expert on Indian cooking in our home, calls it.

As a little kid, I mostly ate gunpowder on idlis and watched my dad eat it on rice, but it scared me a little. It’s made from ground up lentils and spices, and so it has a rough, gritty quality in your mouth and can be really spicy, depending on how hot your chilies are. Compared to the tame Japanese comfort foods I ate as a child, gunpowder was a little wild. Now, as with so many of my favorite flavors, I like to put it on everything from avocado toast and oatmeal to salmon, but I still primarily eat it on rice with ghee — that’s where it sings.

“When we were growing up, we always called it gunpowder because it makes you fart,” my dad, Balaram, says and cracks up. I, personally, always thought it was called gunpowder because it was spicy, and maybe possibly that the asafoetida that we put in smelled a little like farts. I have not yet had the experience that gunpowder makes me fart, but I guess you can heed my dad’s warning and continue at your own risk.

front shot of my dad, a south indian man in a baseball cap and bright green t-shirt that says Mud Hens baseball on it, holding up a finished batch of gunpowder in the blender

My dad is the one who has introduced his mom’s South Indian recipes into our family, but my mom is also just as responsible for carrying them along. I watched both of them make a batch of gunpowder this weekend, and they have just ever-so-slight differences — which chilies they use, how long they toast the ingredients — that do make each batch a little different. I like to think that one day, when I stop being a baby and make my own, mine will have its own signature twists too.

How To Make Gunpowder

Our recipe is basically a double recipe from Julie Sahni’s Classic Vegetarian and Grain Cooking with a few small changes. My dad told me that when his family was living in South Dakota, his mom had to order their Indian spices from New York and his mom would substitute split peas for chana dal in various recipes, which worked but was also pretty different. So we suggest hitting up your online or local South Asian grocery for these ingredients, and you will need a blender or spice grinder to mix them up.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons chana dal

4 tablespoons urad dal

15-20 dry chili pods, you can alter this based on your chilies and desired spice levels. My mom used Japanese chilies and my dad used some Diaspora Co. chilies that I gave him.

1 teaspoon Hing powder or asafoetida

4 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 teaspoons salt

3 teaspoons brown sugar, my mom only added one to hers and my dad’s family doesn’t use any at all, but I do prefer a little sugar to bring out the nuttiness.

Directions

To make gunpowder, some people might have you fry your ingredients in oil, but we do ours straight in a hot frying pan to give it more of a char than fry. So begin by toasting the chana and urad dal, sesame seeds, chilies and asafoetida, which you can do in separate pans, like my dad does, or just have them take turns in the same pan. Stir them pretty constantly until they all have some browning on all of it, but hopefully not a burn.

overhead shot of a South Indian dad in a baseball cap stirring toasting urad dal at a stove top for his gunpowder recipe

Set these aside and let them cool.

three frying pans with charred white urad dal, yellow chana dal, and red chiilies

When you can safely handle the ingredients, start by pulsing the the chana dal and the chilies together. My dad advises that these tend to be the hardest to break down into small pieces. So get them to a chunky processed texture. My dad also advises that when you open the lid on the blender, the chili powder that gets released might make you sneeze, so be careful.

shot into a blender of chana dal and chili peppers about to get blended

Then you’ll add the rest of your ingredients. Pulse to blend these. You don’t want to a super fine powder, the idea is to leave a little bite in there.

freshly blended slightly textured, slightly orange, kinda tan gunpowder in a blender

Once you have a ground-down powder, you’re done! You can store it in a sealed jar for a very long time without it going bad. It might lose some of its spicy ferocity over time, we generally don’t make too much at one time.

one brown hands shovels gunpowder from a blender into a small ball jar with an orange spatula

A few last tips from my dad:

  • A great way to clean your blender or spice grinder is to fill it with soapy water and run it, so the soap and water get all in the blades.

blender full of sudsy water sitting on a counter, and a blue glover hand about to press the switch

  • I ate our fresh gunpowder over rice a coconut rice that my dad made too. For that dish, he cooked one cup of Basmati rice with one cup of water and one cup of coconut milk. Once it was steamed, he fluffed it with lime zest and some chopped up green onions. It was a really delicious pairing for the gunpowder!

a brown hands holds a small bowl of coconut rice covered in a heavy sprinkle of gunpowder on top

South African Wildlife Sanctuaries – The Globetrotter Guys

South African Wildlife Sanctuaries - The Globetrotter Guys

South African Wildlife Sanctuaries - The Globetrotter Guys

Without a doubt, one of the main draws of visiting South Africa is the native wildlife.

Almost as soon as you picture visiting South Africa – or Africa as a whole – images of iconic animals spring to mind – lions, zebras, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and cheetahs to name just a few.

Of course, the best way to view the local wildlife is in the wild. There are countless safaris to choose from, allowing you to see these animals in their natural habitat, such as Sanbona which we visited near to Cape Town.

However safaris can be quite expensive, span for a few days and there is of course no guarantee of sightings. So, for a lot of people, whether you are on a budget, or limited time, the next best alternative to see native wildlife is by visiting a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa. 

Choosing a South African Wildlife Sanctuary

When it comes to choosing among South Africa wildlife sanctuaries to visit, there are a few things to take into consideration.

  • First, where is the sanctuary located – is it easily accessible to where you are based or staying?
  • Secondly, what can you expect to see there? Does the sanctuary have permanent residents, or do the animals change?
  • And for us, most importantly of all, is the sanctuary ethical – and how so?

As we were lucky enough to spend 3 months in South Africa during 2019, we managed to visit quite a few different sanctuaries.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

South Africa Gay Travel Resources