Peters Guide durch Sydney

Während meines ersten Stopps in Sydney konnte ich sofort sagen, dass es eine Stadt ist, in die ich mich leicht verlieben könnte. Mit meinen ständigen Reisen um die Welt ist es schwer, einen Ort zu finden, an dem man wirklich sein Zuhause findet oder zumindest den bevorzugten Ruhepunkt vor dem nächsten großen Abenteuer.

Das Kleinod von New South Wales ist die größte Stadt Australiens, voller Leben und einer Kultur, die so vielfältig und großartig ist, dass jeder seinen Platz in seinem von Naturelementen und künstlerischen Entwürfen durchsetzten Beton-Dschungel findet. Hier gebe ich euch meine Tipps, um Sydney wie ein Einwohner und nicht nur wie ein Tourist zu erleben. Damit wird es euch gelingen, Geist, Körper und Seele mit der zeitlosen Kultur dieser Stadt zu erfüllen.

Werde Teil der Kunstszene

Wenn es um Kunst und Kultur geht, ist Sydney eine Stadt wie keine andere. Abgesehen davon, dass jeder Stadtteil eine eigene ‘Kunstinstallation’ ist, bei der beliebte Graffitikünstler ihre Gebäudefassaden prägen und zahlreiche Maler, Musiker und Künstler ihr künstlerisches Talent in der Nähe der berühmten Touristenattraktionen der Stadt zeigen, gibt es eine Reihe von Möglichkeiten, die dynamische Kunstszene von Sydney selbst zu erleben.

Sydney bietet dir neben renommierten Theatern wie dem Sydney Opera House und der Sydney Lyric in Pyrmont auch abgelegenere Orte wie dem Glen Street Theatre in Newtown und dem Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli. Wenn du Musik liebst, vergiss nicht, auch die City Recital Hall zu besuchen.

Entdecke die Architektur

Fest steht, dass Sydney ein architektonisches Wunder ist. Während du durch die großen Boulevards aber auch kleinen Gassen läufst, die geprägt sind von einem vergessenen viktorianischen Ambiente, führt dich die Stadt auf eine Reise durch die Jahrhunderte. Du wirst alle Typen architektonischer Meisterwerke finden, welche Sydney zu bieten hat – vom Sydney Tower Eye über die Sydney Harbour Bridge bis zum Monument of Lysicrates und vielen anderen Denkmälern, Sehenswürdigkeiten und architektonischen Wunderwerken. Nimm’ dir einfach einen Stadtplan und beginne mit der Entdeckungsreise durch die Jahrhunderte.

Entspannen wie ein Einheimischer

Wenn es um Freizeit geht, egal ob du in entspannter Atmosphäre neue Freunde treffen willst oder mit einem eiskalten Craft Beer vom Laptop aus arbeiten möchtest, gibt es zahlreiche Möglichkeiten, die du erkunden kanst. Mein absoluter Lieblingsort für jeden Nachmittag (,weil ich weiß, dass ich dort für eine Weile bleiben werde) befindet sich im Stadtteil Darlinghurst.

Falls du es noch nicht wusstest, Darlinghurst ist einer der lebendigsten Bezirke der Stadt, wenn du so willst, ein ‘perfekts’ LGBT-Paradies. Ich gehe hier am liebsten ist das Della Hyde. Dort gibt es alles, ich meine wirklich alles, um dich wie ein echter Aussie zu fühlen – australisches Essen, australisches Craft Beer, australische Cocktails … und noch viel mehr. Tagsüber ist das Ambiente entspannt und gediegen; mit einem Hauch von echtem australischen Spirit in jedem Gebräu und jedem Detail. In der Nacht verwandelt sich die Bar in eine echte Partylocation mit Live-Musik oder Djs und tanzenden Menschen, die den pulsierenden Raum mit Energie, guter Stimmung und einer Prise von dem, was kommen wird, füllen. Es ist der perfekte Ort, um tagsüber zu arbeiten und am Abend einfach auf eine Party zu gehen.

Feiern wie ein Rockstar

Und wenn wir gerade vom Feiern sprechen, was wäre Sydney ohne sein Nachtleben? Eine so große und lebhafte Umgebung ist die Heimat eines Nachtlebens mit unzähligen Möglichkeiten entweder mit deinen Freunden eine Kneipennacht zu verbringen oder in einem Club tanzen zu gehen.

Du kannst eine wilde Nacht mit ‘pre-club drinks’ in Darlinghurst beginnen und anschließend eine Tour durch die coolen Clubs in der George Street machen. Vergiss’ dabei nicht die Chinese Laundry und das ARQ. Und wenn du die ganze Nacht lang feiern willst, schlage ich dir das Pacha Sydney vor.

Egal wohin du in Sydney gehst, es gibt immer etwas, zu entdecken. Es gibt keinen Mangel an wilden, rihungen, innovativen und genussvollen Erlebnissen in der größten Stadt von Down Under. Also nutze meine Tipps, um dich bei deiner nächsten Reise nach Sydney wie ein echter Aussie zu fühlen.

Übrigens, was ich auf keinen Fall vergessen darf: die diesjährige Mardi Gras Party wird in die Geschichtsbücher eingehen! Alle rund um Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras freuen sich, dass der Pop-Superstar und die LGBTQI-Ikone CHER im Rampenlicht der offiziellen 2018 Mardi Gras Party am Samstag, den 3. März 2018, stehen wird.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Peter’s Guide Through Sydney

The first time I touched down in Sydney, I could tell right away that it was a city I could easily fall in love with. With my constant travels around the world, it’s tough to find a place you can really call your home, or at least your preferred rest stop before the next big adventure.

The gem of New South Wales is the largest city in Australia, full of life and a culture so diverse and magnificent that anyone and everyone is bound to find their place in its concrete jungle riddled with natural elements and artistic designs. Here is my guide to experiencing Sydney like a traveller rather than a mere tourist, and imbuing your mind, body, and soul with its timeless culture.

Follow the art scene

When it comes to art and culture, Sydney is a city like no other. Aside from the fact that every district is an art installation on its own, with popular graffiti artists leaving their marks on building facades and numerous painters, musicians and performers showcasing their artistic talents near the city’s famous tourist sites, there are a number of ways in which you can experience the vibrant Sydney art scene.

You want to visit everything from renowned theatre centres such as the Sydney Opera House and  Sydney Lyric in Pyrmont, to the more secluded places like the Glen Street Theatre in Newtown and Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli. Additionally, if you’re into music, don’t forget to visit the City Recital Hall as well.

Experience the architecture

There is not much to say about Sydney except that it is an architectural wonderland. It will take you on a journey through the ages as you walk down its vast boulevards and little alleyways that will lead you through a forgotten Victorian setting. You can find all sorts of architectural masterpieces in Sydney, from the Sydney Tower Eye, through the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to the Monument of Lysicrates and many, many other monuments, landmarks and architectural wonders. Just grab a map and get moving.

Relax like a local

Now, when it comes to leisure, no matter whether you are looking to meet some new friends in a relaxed setting or work from your laptop while sipping on an ice-cold craft beer, there are numerous options to explore. My absolute favourite place to be on any given afternoon (because I know I’m going to stay there for a while) is an adorable not-so-little place in the middle of Darlinghurst.

In case you didn’t know, Darlinghurst is one of the most vibrant districts in the city, a LGBT paradise if you will. My place of choice there is Della Hyde. Now, this place has got it all, Australian food, Australian craft beer, Australian cocktails… I mean everything. The ambience is relaxed and comfortable during the day, with a touch of true Aussie spirit with every brew and every detail. At night, the bar turns into a proper party venue, with live music and enthusiastic groups of people imbuing the vibrant space with energy, positivity and a dash of what’s to come. It is the perfect place to work during the day and easily transition into a party in the evening.

Party like a rockstar

And speaking of partying, what’s Sydney without its nightlife? Such a vast and vivid environment is home to numerous off the hook nightlife experiences, and whether you’re up for a pub night with your friends or you feel like dancing in a club, you can find it all.

You can easily start your wild night with pre-club drinks at Darlinghurst and then move on to the clubs at George Street. Be sure to visit the Chinese Laundry and ARQ, and if you’re up for partying all night long, hit the Pacha Sydney for a night of pure ecstasy.

No matter where you go in Sydney, there’s always something to knock your boots off. There is no shortage of wild, tame, innovative and pleasurable experiences in the biggest city of the Land Down Under, so make sure you follow this guide to an Aussie adventure of a lifetime.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Orlando Shooting Proves Homophobia Remains A Worldwide Phenomenon

June is celebrated as Pride Month in US to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969. But this June was a tragic reminder of how vulnerable the LGBT community remains even in so called safe spaces when a gunman went about shooting people at a gay club called Pulse in Orlando, US. The exact motive of the gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, remains unclear, but homophobia surely was the driving force behind the attack that killed 49 people.

Omar’s father said that he had got agitated after seeing two men kiss, possibly pointing to his hatred towards the LGBT community as the motive. Then again, there have been claims by various gay men and his own wife that Omar was gay himself, leading some to believe that internalised homophobia might have driven him to this extreme step. Him owing allegiance to ISIS minutes before being killed further complicates the matter. ISIS has been know to murder homosexuals in gruesome manner in territory controlled by it. Whichever angle one looks at, homophobia remains at the centre of it.

orlando homophobia

The Orlando shooting comes within two months of another gruesome murder of LGBT activists in Bangladesh. The general notion is that LGBT community is vulnerable in countries with homophobic laws, or in third world countries, while the West is considered as much safer. But the Orlando incident shows that it is not just in Islamic or African countries where the LGBT community remains unsafe. Despite advances, LGBT community is vulnerable even in the West. Homophobia remains a cause of concern worldwide.

Despite all this, we must remember that we must not cower or hide back in the closet. We must win over people and their “phobias” by educating them, by being open and showing them that there is no basis of their hatred. Such attacks want to install fear in our minds. We must be resilient and defeat such people through our fearless actions.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

Section 377 & India : How Safe Is India for a Gay Tourist?

India is referred to as a sub-continent because of the varying weather, terrain, people and languages that you find in the country (well, actually the India sub-continent includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh too, but India is still no less of a sub-continent on its own). The country has 29 different states, each with its own distinct culture, language, food, sub-languages, dialects etc. The variety is so huge that if you move from one state to another, you might even be mistaken that you are in a different country!! During one of my own solo trips in South of India, I met two young German students who were stunned by the diversity they found in India and remarked that in Europe, you find a totally different culture and language only when you move from one country to another.

All this makes India an ideal travel destination for  a number of tourists. But India is also a country that criminalises anal and oral sex through Section 377 – a legacy of the times that Britain ruled over India. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises “unnatural sex against the order of nature” and includes all non peno-vaginal sex. Although ideally the law should apply to straight people engaging in oral and anal sex, the law is widely perceived to be targeting LGBT people only. If convicted under this particular law, you could be sentenced to a maximum of life imprisonment.

However, the Indian LGBT community has been fighting this law in the courts for more than a decade now and met with success in 2009 when the Delhi High Court said that Section 377 should not apply for consensual sex. However this verdict was challenged in the Supreme Court by various religious groups, and the Supreme Court reversed the Delhi High Court judgement in Dec 2013 and re-criminalised anal and oral sex. Currently, the Supreme Court has agreed to re-examine its own verdict by a larger bench of five judges.

Section 377 in India has largely been a tool for the police to extort money from gay men at cruising spots and harass them by threatening to implicate them under Sec 377 if they do not pay them bribes. Recent crime data though shows that a number of cases were filed under Section 377 by the police, there is no distinction though if it was filed against LGBT people or in cases of child abuse (Section 377 is also often invoked in cases of child abuse).

Foreigners taking part in Delhi Queer Pride 2015
Foreigners taking part in Delhi Queer Pride 2015

Despite the existence of Section 377, more and more Indian cities are organising pride marches, LGBT film festivals, parties and other events. Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore see some of the largest pride marches of the country. There is a thriving LGBT culture in the larger cities, and people mingle and meet in parties, social events, and also via apps like grindr and planetromeo. A number of gay travel portals exist with a largely foreign clientele.

Apart from the legal front, socially, India is still a largely conservative country where public display of affection is generally frowned upon. But you will find a lot of homo-social behaviour which often stumps people visiting from West. Two men holding hands while walking on the road might imply they are gay in Western countries, but such a gesture holds no meaning in India.

India is a vast and beautiful country, a little chaotic may be, but definitely worth visiting. And when you make that trip, do check out the local LGBT scene as well.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

Internet and the Gay Rights Movement

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.

sex positionOn 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?

gay hugThose 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.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

4 Upcoming LGBT Movies You Must Watch

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

Stonewall Movie

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

Julianne-Moore-Ellen-Page-star-in-Freeheld-trailer

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

eddie-redmayne-danishgirl

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.

Aligarh

Aligarh-Movie-Images

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.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”