Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



BOOK REVIEW Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East
by Sally Parsons

This article shared 3360 times since Wed Jun 25, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

By Benjamin Law

$16.95; Cleis Press; 283 pages

This is one of the most fascinating books I've read this year, in which the reader gets to explore the world of LBGTQ culture in seven Asian countries as seen through the eyes of a young gay Australian journalist of Chinese heritage.

This account, written in a most accessible, breezy style, gets the Western reader to thinking about how different cultures experience, absorb and categorize various aspects of LBGTQ life—and how lucky we have it here compared to some of these cultures.

Law travels to Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar ( Burma ) and India. He introduces us to local people, customs, laws and attitudes. He shares with us his personal reactions to what he encounters.

He starts out on the island of Bali, where the gay scene ( especially for foreigners ) has exploded. Caucasian Westerners with a lot of money are called "bulés." Gay bulés are heartily embraced. He meets Eelga, who has a thing for hot sex with older European guys "because hot."

Law discusses the social, health and economic implications of the growing sex trade. Young gay Indonesians from other islands live openly queer on Bali, far from the disapproving eyes of their families. Balinese gays, however, have to be more discreet, as word travels quickly. In Bali, a man must get married. This creates conflicts for gays. And, Law points out, although gay tourism helps the economy, it hurts the culture. Locals are troubled that Bali might become the next Bangkok, known for its active sex trade. Many sex workers don't use condoms; there is little sex education. HIV rates among men who had sex with men increased by 10 percent over the course of a year.

And so it goes. On to Thailand, where Law witnesses the world's biggest beauty pageant for transsexual women. While a lot of fun, it is one bright moment that passes quickly in a society where trans women do not have legal status and are ignored for most of the year.

In China, gays rely on the Internet for connection with other gays. And, as the Chinese Internet is carefully monitored, they have to be careful. Gays are not recognized at all. They are ghosts. Among others, Law meets Xian, a lesbian activist and possibly the first in her country to have contacted other lesbians online. Xian explains that the highest rate of violence toward lesbians is from their parents. In Chinese culture, your identity is inextricably tied to that of your family. "It wasn't possible to turn your back and run," explains Law.

In Japan, Law discovers that drag queens, camp gays and trans are popular on TV—but no LGBT people are taken seriously. "So much of queerness in Japan seemed to be a performance for straight people," he writes.

In Malaysia, both Christian and Muslim tenets treat homosexuality as an affliction that can and should be cured. Ex-gay organizations flourish.

Myanmar is particularly oppressive for gays. Between 15,000 and 25,000 die each year from a lack of antiretrovirals ( ARTs ). The government is estimated to have the worst spending on health in the entire world. ( The origin of these stats is not clearly cited although presumably from UN agencies ).

Law ends his journey in India, where he attends his first Pride parade and meets a guru, Swamiji Baba Ramdev, who claims he can cure homosexuality. Ramdev sees gays as heterosexuals who have developed bad mental habits. Through practice of pranayam and meditation one can develop mastery over perverse habits, according to him.

Law also meets dedicated Indians working tirelessly through organizations set up to educate gays about protective sex and to repeal an Indian law that outlaws gay sex.

Gaysia raises interesting questions for those who like to ponder such things. How has our culture molded the development of LBGTQ rights in this country? How do we engage with or think about LBGTQ folk from other countries, whose gay culture has been molded—or suppressed—by norms and values different from ours?

Most of the book spotlights males and their struggles and triumphs. It's disappointing for the women, but it's still a fascinating read.

'Chicago Independent

Bookstore Day'

on July 12

Nine Chicago independent bookstores are teaming to create the first Chicago Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, July 12.

To encourage Chicago readers to visit their own neighborhood store as well as the other unique stores in different neighborhoods—from Hyde Park to Logan Square to Andersonville—indie stores are offering special deals, free books, and refreshments. Customers will also receive a handful of puzzle pieces from each participating store that will fit together to create an exclusively designed frameable print by Lilli Carré.

Participating stores include The Book Cellar ( Lincoln Square ), 57th Street Books and Seminary Coop ( Hyde Park ), Sandmeyer's ( Printer's Row ), Unabridged Books ( Lakeview ), Open Books ( River North ), City Lit Books ( Logan Square ), Powell's Bookstore ( University Village ) and Women & Children First ( Andersonville ).

Email for more information.

July 26 magic event

to benefit AFC

Five magicians—Eugene Burger, Trent James, Patrick Livingston, Benjamin Barnes and Robert Charles—are staging an event that will benefit the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ).

The event will take place Saturday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St.

Tickets are $25; see .

This article shared 3360 times since Wed Jun 25, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

StoryStudio Chicago's LGBTQ+ nonfiction writing class starting Aug. 17 2022-08-11
- StoryStudio Chicago is offering a unique writing class titled "June Is Not Enough: An LGBTQ+ Nonfiction Writing Class." The idea behind the class is to promote and foster the work of LGBTQ+ people. Writers who register ...

Gay News

Journalist Chuck Colbert passes away at 67 2022-08-08
- Journalist Charles "Chuck" R. Colbert—who had written for several LGBTQ+ publications, including Windy City Times—passed away June 30. He was 67. He was a freelance journalist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to his biography on ...

Gay News

BOOKS Inside Sinkhole, a darkly comic coming-of-age fiction 2022-08-06
- Davida G. Breier's debut book, Sinkhole, takes readers on a trip to rural Florida in the 1980s. Amidst golf courses, mobile homes and alligators, some things on the agenda: friendship, identity, sexuality, grief and murder. Breier ...

Gay News

Utah school district removes LGBTQ+ books from libraries 2022-08-02
- A Utah school district removed 52 books from its library shelves due to parent complaints mainly concerning LGBTQ+-focused material, LGBTQ Nation noted. A spokesperson for Alpine School District tells The Salt Lake Tribune that the district ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Miami textbooks, Lia Thomas, Florida churches, Key West figure dies 2022-07-24
- Miami-Dade County students could go months without sex-education books after school board members, by a five-to-four vote, rejected two proposed textbooks over concerns they violate the state's Parental Rights in Education bill, known by opponents as ...

Gay News

Local non-binary poet wins Stories Matter Scholarship 2022-07-21
- The Stories Matter Foundation and StoryStudio Chicago have awarded the annual $1,500 Dana Wood Chaney Writers Fund tuition grant to local non-binary poet A. Ng Pavel. The scholarship is awarded each year to a writer working ...

Gay News

John Pennycuff's memorial library at Unity Park is graffitied 2022-07-10
- The John Pennycuff Little Library, at Chicago's Unity Park, was recently sprayed with graffiti. Robert Castillo, Pennycuff's surviving husband, stated on Facebook that some tried to cover the original tagging with their own rainbow-hued graffiti. ...

Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions 2022-06-25
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: WNDR Museum, Prince, queer books, flowers 2022-06-16
- — WNDR Museum's Pride event "Crafting with Queens": The West Loop museum is usually entertainment and, um, wondrous enough on its own—but during Pride Month, WNDR is queering things up with "Crafting with Queens" on Tuesday, ...

Gay News

Northwestern University Libraries and Center for Applied Transgender Studies launch trans studies journal 2022-06-16
- Northwestern University Libraries (NUL) and the Center for Applied Transgender Studies (CATS) are now publishing the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies. The Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies (BATS)—the first journal ...

Gay News

Catholic publisher cancels Chicago theologian's 'Queer God de Amor' book 2022-06-13
- On June 9, New Ways Ministry received the following statement by Miguel Diaz, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and the John Courtney Murray, S.J., University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago. ...

Gay News

34th annual Lambda Literary award winners announced 2022-06-13
-- From a press release - New York, NY, June 11, 2022 — Lambda Literary, the nation's premier LGBTQ literary organization, announced the winners of the 34th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (a.k.a. the "Lammys") at a live virtual award ceremony hosted by ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Descanso is Palm Springs newest gay resort 2022-06-08
- Descanso is the first resort for gay men to open in Palm Springs in more than 10 years, and "The response has been beyond expectations," said general manager Kent Taylor. Weekends are already booked through June, ...

Gay News

BOOKS Artist Sam Kirk talks 'The Meaning of Pride' 2022-06-08
- In the children's book The Meaning of Pride, Rosiee Thor pens an ode to LGBTQ+ culture and identity by celebrating the beauty, significance and many dimensions of the concept of Pride—and showing that the word can ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart unveils Pride Month events with 'Drag,' 'Bad Gays,' sneak peek 2022-05-30
- Gerber/Hart Library has revealed the events it will host for Pride Month. —On Saturday, June 4, at 3 p.m., Gerber/Hart will celebrate the release of Legends of Drag: Queens of a Certain Age with Unabridged Books ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.