Two Indian cities held gay pride marched recently- Bengaluru on Nov 29th and Delhi on Dec 2nd. Both these cities have been holding pride marches since 2008. With a right wing government ruling India currently, and the shrinking space for free expression, pride march in both these cities extended support for other minorities and causes as well, demanding a society where everyone is able to freely express themselves. Homosexual acts remain criminalised in India under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
A participant has his body painted
A transgender person takes part in the pride march
Another person dresses up in a traditional attire
A gender queer participant
Foreigners take part in Delhi Pride
A poster demanding removal of Section 377
A participant dresses up as a Prince
Another poster points out that Sec 377 is a British Legacy
Wer an einen Gay-Urlaub auf den Kanaren denkt, dem kommt vermutlich zuerst Gran Canaria in den Sinn. Mit den Dünen von Maspalomas und dem Shopping- und Unterhaltungszentrum Yumbo Centre zählt die Insel seit Jahrzehnten zu den beliebtesten Reisezielen für schwule Männer. Doch auch die übrigen Kanareninseln sind eine Reise wert, denn jedes Eiland bietet seine individuellen Vorzüge. Vor allem Wanderfreunde, Naturliebhaber und Wassersportler kommen auf den Kanaren auf ihre Kosten. Doch natürlich gibt es nicht auf allen Kanareninseln eine solch große und abwechslungsreiche Gay-Szene wie auf Gran Canaria. Allen Urlaubern, die während der schönsten Zeit des Jahres trotzdem nicht auf eine queere Infrastruktur verzichten möchten, empfehlen wir in unserem heutigen Blogartikel einen Gay-Urlaub auf Fuerteventura.
Fuerteventura wird gerne als der „Strand der Kanaren“ bezeichnet. Während Gran Canaria und Teneriffa für Ihre imposanten Berglandschaften bekannt sind, La Palma aufgrund ihrer üppigen Vegetation als die „Grüne Insel“ gilt oder Lanzarote vom Vulkanismus geprägt ist, beeindruckt Fuerteventura durch endlose, häufig bis zu mehrere Hundert Meter breite Strände mit türkisfarbenem Wasser. Ein wahres Paradies für Strandurlauber, die einen erholsamen Badeurlaub mit Karibikflair genießen möchten. Was viele Gäste jedoch nicht wissen: In der Stadt Corralejo im Norden von Fuerteventura hat sich in der vergangenen Jahren eine kleine, aber äußerst lebendige Schwulenszene gebildet.
KM22 – Gaysauna auf Fuerteventura
Eine der beliebtesten Anlaufstellen für schwule Fuerteventura-Urlauber ist die Gay-Sauna KM22 – die erste und einzige Schwulensauna auf der Insel. Die Gaysauna ist sehr sauber und bietet ihren Gästen einen großen Whirlpool, eine Trockensauna, einen Darkroom, einen Sling-Raum, viele verschiedene Kabinen (teilweise mit Glory Holes) zum Spaß haben, Duschen, Sitzgelegenheiten zum Relaxen und Plaudern sowie eine Bar, an der leckere und preiswerte Drinks ausgeschenkt werden.
Av. Grandes Playas, 52
Zur Gaysauna KM22 gehört auch die Café Bar & Lounge Lobos Paradise. Die Cocktail-Bar befindet sich im selben Gebäude wie die Sauna (welche jedoch einen separaten, diskreten Eingang besitzt) und bietet neben modernem, stylischem Ambiente auch eine große Terrasse, auf welcher man kühle Drinks genießen und chilliger Musik lauschen kann.
Av. Grandes Playas, 52
Spectrum Disco Bar
Zum Tanzen und Feiern ist die Spectrum Disco Bar bei schwulen und lesbischen Fuerteventura-Urlaubern sehr beliebt. Das Spectrum befindet sich mitten auf der Touristenmeile von Corralejo und zieht mit DJs, einer großen Tanzfläche und lauter Dance-Musik eine bunte Mischung aus feierwütigen Schwulen, Lesben, Bisexuellen und Heteros an. Das Publikum setzt sich aus Touristen und Einheimischen gleichermaßen zusammen. Auf der schönen Terrasse lässt sich die kanarische Nacht mit einem leckeren Cocktail in der Hand besonders gut genießen. Wie in Spanien üblich, geht die Party im Spektrum jedoch erst weit nach Mitternacht so richtig los.
Calle Nuestra Señora del Carmen, 62
Cruising Areas auf Fuerteventura
Cruising gehört für viele schwule Männer zu einem Strandurlaub dazu. FKK und Nacktbaden sind auf Fuerteventua an vielen Stränden möglich – dank der hervorragenden klimatischen Bedingungen sogar das ganze Jahr über! In Corralejo gibt es gleich zwei Strandabschnitte, die zum Cruisen einladen.
Die wohl bekannteste Cruising Area auf Fuerteventura befindet sich am Ende der Playa del Burro. Die Inselstraße FV-1 führt hier mitten durch die herrliche Dünenlandschaft. Am Kilometer 22 (daher auch der Name der Gaysauna!) parkt Ihr Euren Mietwagen oder das Leihfahrrad – denn zu Fuß dürfte der Weg etwas zu weit sein. Von hier aus könnt Ihr schon die mit Gras und Büschen bewachsenen Sandhügel in den Dünen sehen. Und wer nach dem Cruising eine Abkühlung braucht, stürzt sich an diesem traumhaften Strandabschnitt in das verführerisch türkisfarbene Meer!
Einige Kilometer weiter, ebenfalls an der FV-1, direkt am Ortseingang von Corralejo – und somit auch bequem zu Fuß zu erreichen – befindet sich eine weitere Cruising Area auf Fuerteventura. Der Strandabschnitt ist hier zwar nicht ganz so schön wie am KM22 – doch in den aus Vulkangestein aufgebauten Steinringen warten willige Männer auf Gesellschaft. Außerdem kann man(n) von hier aus den herrlichen Ausblick auf die kleine Isla de Lobos sowie auf Lanzarote genießen!
Fuerteventura ist auch für schwule Männer eine Reise wert. Besonders wenn man im Urlaub Ruhe zur Erholung sucht, ist die Kanareninsel die perfekte Alternative zu der vom Massentourismus geprägten Schwesterinsel Gran Canaria. Egal, ob Du Sex oder Freundschaft suchst: Die schönen Cruising-Strände und die kleine Gay-Szene in Corralejo bieten mit internationalem Publikum gute Chancen, neue Kontakte zu knüpfen.
Internet has been a boon to mankind in many ways. Its effects on the lives of humans have been, in some cases, revolutionary. It has not only connected the world and brought all information on our fingertips, but it has also been a refuge for many to find like-minded people. This has specially been true for movements and communities which have traditionally been shunned by the larger society.
For the LGBT community, the internet has certainly been a boon in many ways. The pre-internet days, for the LGBT community, meant cruising in parks, bars, toilets, or other joints to meet like-minded people. But this also meant that they could be easy targets for homophobic violence by police or others. There was little safety in meeting the way they did, and many indeed had horrible experiences as well. The best example of it remains the Stonewall Inn, a bar popular among the gay and trans community, but also targeted by the police regularly.
The internet suddenly provided the safe space that people craved for. There was now no need to go anywhere to meet or find other gay/bi/lesbian/trans individuals. There were a number of sites you could just log in and start a conversation with people. You could be in the privacy and safety of your room, and still ‘feel’ connected. What you chose to reveal, depended entirely on your comfort level. There was no fear of being ‘outed’ or being seen visiting a gay bar/club. A young gay kid could gather all the information and (virtual) support needed to come to terms with his/her sexuality.
The early days of internet had yahoo chat rooms and email lists. These also acted as forums for discussions of various kinds, on matters related to LGBT community. But soon, as the internet matured, there were “gay dating sites”. What these sites eventually turned out to be were hook-up sites. Conversations mostly began with “Hi”, followed by “ASL”. Attempts to connect with the person were restricted mostly to knowing the preferences on bed. The sudden access to a large pool of men also meant one was always looking to meet more men. The advent of mobile applications like Grindr have brought about further changes. A simple ‘Hi’ can be greeted by instant blocking. Everything increasingly became more self-centered.
On the other hand, for queer organisations, reaching out to the LGBT population became easier. This is especially true for countries where homosexuality is still either criminalised, illegal, or is socially frowned upon, and most people prefer the privacy of the internet. In such countries, internet becomes the primary tool for dispensing information related to LGBT events (parties, film festival, pride march) to a larger queer audience. The advent of social networking sites like Facebook and their widespread use has further helped to mobilise the queer community, hold discussions on various topics, things that the gay dating sites lack. Features like “secret group” have ensured that people can be part of such groups and discussions without others in their network being aware of it, and that only trusted contacts get added to such groups.
Despite all this, what is also true is that the internet has stripped people of the warmth and closeness, and to some extent, the feeling of a close-knit community. The bars and other spots in the pre-internet days were not just cruising spots, but also a place where “real” relationships and bondings happened. You cared about these people, because you knew them somehow, or would have seen them hanging out at the same place. This also gave a greater sense of community to people. This is also a reason why a police “raid” at Stonewall soon turned into a riot. Is such a Stonewall possible today?
Those who have experienced the pre-internet days rue about the lack of warmth in internet conversations now. Some still prefer to visit the old spots. Contrast this with the chats you have on Grindr or any other such service. Probably what we need is to complement our online activities with bonding with people over community events in the real world.
One argument that you often get to hear from opponents of gay rights and homosexuality is, that gay sex can’t lead to progeny, or rather, that reproduction is the ultimate aim of any species, and hence, heterosexuality is the only “natural way”. Without reproducing, they say, humans will go extinct and hence homosexuality will doom the human species.
But what if men could also conceive? Would that make homosexuality “natural”? Can that be a reality or will it always be science fiction? Hindu mythology is full of stories where men gave birth, but under special circumstances. Yet, that possibility wasn’t discarded.
Exploring such a possibility is the movie Paternity Leave, where one of the men in a gay relationship becomes pregnant. The movie explores the changes that a person undergoes during pregnancy – both hormonal, emotional and physical, and presents before the viewer a possibility that many still dream of.
But these dreams may come true sometime in the future, with advancements of science. A man giving birth is not just anymore restricted to mythology or movies. Thomas Beatie, a trans man who underwent surgery in 2002, became the first man to give birth to a baby in 2007. He has been impregnated thrice. This was made possible because Beatie had retained his womb while undergoing sex reassignment surgery.
If pregnancy in Thomas Beatie was made possible because he had the womb, it might not be necessary in the future. Recent research has shown the possibility that same-sex couples could become parents, without the need of a donor egg. Researchers have been able to make sperm cells and egg cells from stem cells.
Science has come a long way. What was a miracle yesterday, is a reality today. While gay men becoming pregnant might not happen so soon, the possibility of it in near future can not be ruled out either. The question is, if you have the chance, would you become pregnant?
Not very long ago, Hollywood was shy to touch upon LGBT themed movies. They were considered too risky, something that might not get a mass market. And so, you would have movies on LGBT theme come out once a year, or sometime not even that. You could count them on your fingers. But as LGBT rights are progressing, so is Hollywood, and the count of LGBT themed movies coming out each year is steadily increasing.
This year has already seen the release of The Intimation Game, that was based on Alan Turing, the gay hero of World War 2 who saved the world by cracking Nazi codes. But there are many more coming up.
Stonewall (as the name suggests) is a movie based upon the Stonewall Riots that happened in 1969. The description on Youtube reads: “STONEWALL is a drama about a fictional young man caught up during the 1969 Stonewall Riots.” However, the movie already finds itself mired in controversy for eliminating the role of trans-individuals who played an important role in the riots and also for the “white-washing” of the gay rights movement. Many people have since given out a call to boycott the movie completely. The movie releases this Septemeber.
Freeheld stars Ellen Page and Julianne More, and releases in October. The movie is based on the real life story of Laurel Hester, a police officer in Ocean County, New Jersey, who was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. The story revolves around the fight of Laurel Hester to have her partner receive the pension benefits after her death.
The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl too is inspired by a real life story and is in fact based upon a book by the same name by David Ebershoff. The movie tells the story of Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo sex change operation and stars Oscar winning actor Eddie Redmayne. Directed by Tom Hooper, it is being seen as a strong Oscar contender already. What’s more, it even received a 10-minute standing ovation at Venice Film Festival. The movie is expected to release on Nov 27th this year.
This one in the list is from India. It is not often that Bollywood makes a movie on a gay person’s life. But award winning director Hansal Mehta has done just that, and the movie is already traveling the Film Festival circuit and has been selected for the BFI London Film Festival as well as the Busan Film Festival. Like the previous three, this one too is based on the real life (tragic) story of an Indian professor of Aligarh Muslim University -Dr. Siras. In the year 2010, he was suspended from the University after being filmed through spy cameras having sex with another man inside his room. Two months later, he was found dead in his room.
The world is going through an interesting phase when it comes to gay rights. While there are advancements happening on LGBT rights at all fronts, the pace is certainly vastly different at different parts of the world. In fact, in some places, the situation of LGBT people is in fact worsening. But before going any further, it would be prudent to have a look at some of the major developments in the last few months.
The biggest news that dominated the world was of course the US Supreme Court’s judgement that made same-sex marriages legal across the country. It was a huge win for the proponents of marriage equality, whose effects were sure to reverberate across the world. Despite being a world leader, LGBT rights have somewhat lagged in USA when compared to a few other nations of the world. Though same-sex marriages were legal in a few states within USA, others had brought in laws to specifically ban such marriages. The fight over the right to marry reached the courts, and finally on 26th of June the US Supreme court settled the matter once and for all. It is interesting how history tends to repeat itself. On the same day (26th June), had occurred what is now known as Stonewall Riots, which signifies the spirit to fight back for justice and rights.
But just days after such a big win, gay rights rally in Istanbul, Turkey was attacked by police. It may be noted that Turkey is the only muslim country to have a LGBT pride march, and the march has seen participation in thousands over the years. However, things haven’t been going smoothly for LGBT people in the country since the new conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken over. It was shocking for participants to find themselves attacked with water canons by the police. On the otherhand, ISIS continues to horrify the world with its abuse and violence, and there have been shocking images of people the group suspected of being homosexual, being thrown off the buildings.
The US Supreme Court judgement was bound to have repercussions across the world, and in India, newspapers quoted the Law Minister as saying that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises “sex against the order of nature” and is used as a tool of violence against LGBTs in India, could soon be gone. However, the minister issued a statement within hours of the report being published, claiming that he had been misquoted and there was no such intention of the government. A member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party went on to claim that the party considers homosexuality a mental disorder. On the other hand, transgender rights are progressing in India with the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament, unanimously passing an important bill for transgender rights. It now needs to be passed in the Lower House to become a law. More disturbingly, the Government of India also decided to block over 850 porn sites, but had to roll back the ban after backlash from all quarters. The porn ban is only the latest in the series of things the conservative BJP government is banning.
Another European country Ireland, passed an important legislation that ‘allows transgender people to gain legal recognition without seeing a doctor or needing medical treatment’. In another historic ruling, the European Court ruled ‘that not recognising same-sex couples is a breach of their human rights’. On his recent visit to African continent, US President Barack Obama raised the issue of LGBT rights. African countries remain deeply homophobic, and the voicing of concern by President Obama shows the growing importance of LGBT rights in the global discourse.
From a cursory look at these major developments, it is evident that if there are happy advancements, there is a rise in conservative forces in parts of the world too which seek to undo the progress done. In such a scenario it becomes imperative for world leaders and progressive countries maintain diplomatic pressure on other countries and state unambiguously that LGBT rights form a key part of human rights discourse.