Naked Wanderings in Rush Hour, Hong Kong

A look back at one of the more strange events in 2017

He is first noticed chatting to a large African tourist in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district close to the waterfront in Kowloon. The tourist asks what he is doing. “I don’t know you, so I . . . just leave.”

After the traffic lights change, he calmly and confidently takes the pedestrian crossing and enters a street-side moneychanger. He then walks about 200 meters to the Nathan Road entrance to the Mass Transit Railway where he queues for a cross-harbour train. He even chats casually to MTR staff! At Admiralty station on Hong Kong Island, he crosses the platform and again queues for an eastbound train. At North Point station he exits and walks down to another platform for a second train across the harbour to Hang Hau where he lived with his family. Finally police and MTR staff arrest him before he can board a train.

The first extraordinary thing about this 15-minute episode is that the 20-year Hong Kong citizen named Wong was naked. That’s right – buck naked, apart from a pair of crocs, earphones and his phone!

The second is that apart from the African tourist, absolutely not one of the many hundreds of people he must have encountered on this 15- minute adventure seemed to think it odd that a naked man should be wandering Hong Kong’s busy streets among rush hour commuters.

Police suggested he was suffering from a mental disorder. His friends and neighbours disagreed, describing him to reporters variously as “nice”, “normal” and “smart”. According to the popular newspaper Oriental Daily News, “I never noticed him acting strangely,” one person said. It then added – Wong’s former classmates online said that the 20-year-old was “smart”, “funny”, “loyal”, and “popular”, especially with women… “Maybe [his public nudity] was some kind of performance art.” According to an MTR official involved in the incident, Wong claimed he was living in a game world.

Popular with women? Well, although we have had to photoshop his nudity, we can reveal that what he displayed would probably have been of little interest to anyone. It is difficult to see anything lurking amongst his pubic hair!

We understand Wong was admitted to hospital early that evening, but later checked himself out. We can find no news as to whether he was charged with any offence or not.

All photos from tumblr.com

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Fear and Horror Among Indonesia’s LGBT Community

Is a Gay Sex Ban Looming?

This was the headline on a CNN web page on February 26 this year.

For more than two years, a crackdown on gay activity and the LGBT community in general has been going on in Indonesia with members of Parliament at the forefront. In February 2016 the Defence Minister set the ball rolling by launching a scathing attack, stating that LGBT rights are “more dangerous than nuclear war.”

Early last year the Mental Health Director at the Ministry of Health then proclaimed that LGBT people have “mental disorders”. Soon there began a series of mass anti-LGBT protests by religious conservatives. That was followed by a much-publicized raid on a gay sauna in Jakarta when 141 men were arrested under pornography laws. Last December the country’s Constitutional Court narrowly rejected an application by a Muslim group to criminalize same-sex relations.

Anti LGBT Protestors in Yogyakarta - CNN

Anti LGBT Protestors in Yogyakarta – CNN

Now though, the anti-LGBT movement continues its forward march. According to CNN, “Within weeks lawmakers could vote on a new law that looks set to criminalize sex outside of marriage and homosexual sex in Indonesia, as part of wide-reaching changes to the country’s criminal code.”

It seems no coincidence that the present crackdown is taking place at a time when national elections are due to start. “Indonesian politicians are scared to oppose conservative Muslim groups,” Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono said.

“Many Islamist leaders are going to put pressure on every politician (to pass the criminal code)… Many politicians in a conservative country like Indonesia will think twice before standing up for an LGBT individual,” he added.

Lashing a Gay Man Last Year in Aceh as a Crowd of over 1,000 Looks on - CNN

Lashing a Gay Man Last Year in Aceh as a Crowd of over 1,000 Looks on – CNN

It has long been known that under Sharia Law in the westerly Aceh Province, gay men can be whipped, as happened to two young men last year in front of a large crowd. It was all eerily reminiscent of a scene from a Mediaeval Morality play with those doing the beating covered from head to toe. The punishment is up to 100 lashes.

Anti LGBT Protests in Aceh Province - Hotlip Simanjuntak

Anti LGBT Protests in Aceh Province – Hotlip Simanjuntak

There is still no news about the passing of an anti-LGBT law. It this does go ahead nationwide, the effect on tourism in the popular gay holiday destination of Bali will surely be very significant.

Related Reading

Gay men in Jakarta fearful amid growing police crackdown on LGBTI community

Indonesia canes men convicted of gay sex before a jeering crowd

Sepi, Social Worker, Jakarta

Sepi, Social Worker, Jakarta - thegaymenproject.com

Sepi, Social Worker, Jakarta – thegaymenproject.com

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The Unkindest Cut

His Body, His Choice”

For centuries vast numbers of boys have undergone the ritual of having part of their manhood mutilated. Yes, I know that some religious folk will take exception to the word “mutilated”. After all, circumcision – the act of removing the foreskin of the penis – has been practised by Jews and the vast majority of Muslims (although there is apparently no Islamic commandment demanding this act) since those religions were established.

Then add in the vast number of American boys who were circumcised as the medical profession in the West gradually came to believe that it would lead to greater cleanliness. In an era when bathing was less common than today, that may in some cases have been true. American influence naturally then spread to countries greatly influenced by America – South Korea being one.

You can Purchase a Complete Circumcision Kit on the Internet

You can Purchase a Complete Circumcision Kit on the Internet

Other than in the Philippines where the practice is centuries old and the vast majority of boys are circumcised at puberty as a form of rite of passage, there had never been any general history of circumcision in North Asia until after the Second World War. Only after the Korean War when the independence of the South was guaranteed by the American military did the practice really start. I doubt if there has ever been a study, but I expect most males in North Korea retain that fold of skin at the tip of their penis, whereas we know that the vast majority of South Koreans born between around 1945 and 1990 do not. Only recently has the practice been seen to be unnecessary.

According to one 2016 Study by the US National Institutes of Health, the authors estimate that 37.7% of all boys and men in the world have been circumcised. That’s a lot of guys, the more so when you take out three of the largest peoples in the world where circumcision is rarely practiced – the Chinese, Japanese and India’s Hindus.

The Medieval Looking, Simple to Use (so they say) Gompco Circumcision Clamp

The Medieval Looking, Simple to Use (so they say) Gompco Circumcision Clamp

As human rights have come to the forefront of many social agendas, so have the rights of the newly born child. Why should parents have the right to remove part of a boy’s anatomy when ideally it should be left to the boy himself to make the decision at an age to know if he wishes to have the deed done or not? I expect quite a number of guys who were cut as babies have asked that very question more than once.

Now, though, circumcision is entering the political agenda. In one country, Iceland, a bill was tabled in February proposing a six-year prison term for anyone found guilty of “removing sexual organs in whole or in part.” This bill clearly refers to boys since female circumcision has been banned in Iceland since 2005.

The Member of Parliament who introduced the bill did not consult religious bodies beforehand. “I don’t see it as a religious matter,” she claimed. “Every individual, it doesn’t matter what sex or how old… should be able to give informed consent for a procedure that is unnecessary, irreversible and can be harmful. His body, his choice.”

Iceland's Parliament Building

Iceland’s Parliament Building

Naturally Iceland’s religious leaders have cried “Foul!” and are fighting to prevent passage of the Bill. Further afield, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis expressed “extreme concern. We cannot ignore the dangerous precedent this sets in Europe and the implications it has on Jews’ ability to carry our religion in an open and free manner.”

This writer has plenty to say on the matter of forced circumcision. However a blog of this nature is not the place for such a personal discussion which inevitably must delve back into history for the reasons for religious practices. So I have restricted myself here merely to reporting the news along with some of the background.

Have You Been Circumcised?

Have You Been Circumcised?

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Singapore’s 2018 Pink Dot

We are all too well aware that Singapore’s official attitude to the LGBT community is lukewarm at best. The city-state may be home to some of the world’s most attractive gay men and women but its government only tolerates them at best. The hated Section 377A remains on the statute books meaning those found engaging in homosexual activities can in theory be prosecuted and sent to jail.

The present government has stated several times it will no longer act on Section 377A. So no more entrapment activities by cute policemen when you are cruising on the beach. But it has added it will not do anything to change the law as Hong Kong did in 1991.

Pink Dot - adlijandro

Pink Dot – adlijandro

Nowhere is its pettiness concerning gay activities more visible that in its reaction to the annual Pink Dot events. At first it banned gay marches, so Singapore was unable to hold a Pride March that could perhaps have rivalled the one in Taipei which last year attracted nearly 125,000 from all around Taiwan and other parts of the region. As a tourism boost for the city, it must prove a mini-goldmine.

Pink Dot - Gay Passport

Pink Dot – Gay Passport

Instead, starting in 2009 Singapore made a small gesture to the LGBT community by permitting them to hold a rally in the small Hong Lim Park. No doubt the government assumed the whole event would be nothing more than a damp squib. Wrong! It was an extremely popular gathering with many parents joining their gay children and bringing even smaller children with them.

 Pink Dot - Ardor ASIA

Pink Dot – Ardor ASIA

Over the years, Pink Dot increased in size and popularity. Major international corporations, which Singapore makes intensive efforts to attract to the city, made donations to help Pink Dot develop. By 2016 it had attracted 18 sponsors of which 13 were international companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Barclays and J P Morgan. Then 18 months ago in an act of what can only be termed “spite”, the Ministry of Home Affairs enacted regulations which all but ensured that overseas companies could no longer be associated with Pink Dot. From thenceforth, non-Singapore citizens would also no longer be permitted to take part. Police were located at every entrance to the Park to check ID cards and enforce the rule. This might have killed the event. It did not. The organisers went door-to-door around Singapore companies and ended up with 120 local companies providing more than S$240,000, exceeding their target by a massive 60%.

VIDEO: Gay Rainbow and the Passion of those attending in 2017 Event

By 2015 Pink Dot attracted a record 26,000 attendance, so great that the Park had reached capacity. To show the world that Singapore citizens take pride in the LGBT community, the organisers arranged an overhead photo. This appeared in most of the worldwide media. It must have given the government the shivers! Sadly it probably had something to do with the more recent restrictions. Despite these, 20,000 still turned up last year. No doubt more will do so this year to help celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary.

The 2015 Pink Dove “Love” - Pink Dot

The 2015 Pink Dove “Love” – Pink Dot

Ironically the 2018 date coincides with the annual Racial Harmony Day, an event in which schools reflect on Singapore’s racial and cultural heritage. AsiaGuys.NET wonders when the government will finally accept that the city’s LGBT community is a key part of that heritage. Until then, we urge gay travellers to Singapore to bear in mind its anti-gay rhetoric and laws.

Pink Dot - Jasper Wong

Pink Dot – Jasper Wong

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How to Spot Gays

Malaysian Newspaper Purports to Know

And you thought you were invisible – at least to the straight community! You dress conservatively as befits your job, you don’t kiss or hold your boyfriend’s hand in public, you take care when entering a gay bar or club. As far as the general public is concerned, you think are an average Joe or Mohammed or Chang.

Do you need to think again, especially if you live in Malaysia? This, after all, is a country which still hangs on to the old British colonial law banning sodomy. This it takes to mean any form of gay activity. Successful prosecution carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years. In legal terms, gay here means gay men. The story goes that in 1885 when the British Prime Minister presented Queen Victoria with a bill for her signature prohibiting all forms of sexual intercourse outside marriage, the dear lady refused to do so. She could not, she explained, because it was anatomically impossible for females to engage in sexual intercourse. Accordingly, on the whim of the sovereign, parliament had to redraft the bill to prohibit what it termed “gross indecency between males.”

A small gay rights group parade in front of the Petronas Twin Towers - Malay Mail

A small gay rights group parade in front of the Petronas Twin Towers – Malay Mail

Being a predominantly Muslim country where Islamic laws are increasingly being promoted, falling foul of the law is a serious matter. All the more need, then, for the LGBT community to tread warily. Homophobia has never been far from the surface here, and recent events have been especially disturbing. Last year an 18-year old gay student was beaten and burned to death by his classmates who accused him of being gay. Only a few months later a transgender woman in her 20s was attacked with a knife and shot three times.

Pop concerts in Malaysia have routinely been cancelled when not given approval for one reason or another by the nation’s censors. Last year the Deputy Interior Minister attacked the Walt Disney Company because it refused to cut a gay scene from the recent movie Beauty and the Beast. An article on the Health Ministry website actively belittles lesbians. There have even been calls to boycott Starbucks because its Chairman promotes equal rights for the LGBT community.

Demonstrating against LGBT rights - Reuters

Demonstrating against LGBT rights – Reuters

To help citizens better identify gay men and women – and presumably the better to make fools of them and worse – a leading Malay language newspaper Sinar Harian recently published a list of bullet points. Gay men are easy to identify because –

1. they love wearing beards
2. they regularly attend a gym, not to exercise but to cruise other men
3. they love branded clothing
4. they wear tight shirts to show-off their six-pack abs
5. their eyes light up when the see handsome men.

The features for lesbians are that they hug each other in public, hold hands and belittle men.

The offending list of LGBT traits

The wearing of beards is especially laughable. The vast majority of Muslim men wear beards or grow some facial hair in Malaysia. Are all therefore gay? What a joke!

The article included an interview with a preacher, Hanafiah Malik, who warned that homosexuality is on the increase in Malaysia and there was an urgent need to stop the trend.

Sorry Mr. Malik. Whatever future you see for your country, gays are going to be a part of it. We are not going away!

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The Gayest of Winter Olympics

A Gay Kiss and Ultra-Cute Skaters

It was very definitely a first! Not like that “first gay” claim by singer Sam Smith when he alleged he was the first gay man to win an Oscar. Cue for objections from Elton John and Dustin Lance Black, Olympic diver Tom Daley’s husband, amongst others.

No, this was the first time two gay men had kissed – and been seen kissing by a huge audience – mouth-to-mouth at any Olympics. After American Gus Kenworthy had finished his freestyle ski slopestyle qualifying, he immediately skied over to his boyfriend, hugged him close and planted that kiss. The significance of the event was not so much the kiss itself. It was that is was seen by a worldwide audience thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage given the Games by America’s NBC network.

The Kenworthy Olympic Kiss - nbc.com

The Kenworthy Olympic Kiss – nbc.com

Being a Saturday night, many millions were watching in the United States. This was important, for the network has traditionally been extremely coy about broadcasting any information about gay athletes. On YouTube the kiss quickly became viral.

This year’s Winter Olympics saw a record number of openly gay Olympians. Along with many gay men around the world, I wished one other hugely successful participant had planted a similar gay kiss. He is amongst the cutest athletes ever – double Gold Medal figure skater, the 23-year old Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu. His win at Sochi was something of a surprise. His win at Pyeongchang was nothing short of amazing!

Yuzuru Hanyu Winning Gold at Sochi in 2014 - youtube.com

Yuzuru Hanyu Winning Gold at Sochi in 2014 – youtube.com

Supremely slim and with a killing smile, Hanyu has all but dominated Men’s Skating since his Sochi Gold. Only the younger American Nathan Chan has come anywhere close to his marks at the various figure skating competitions. Chan’s day will no doubt come. In the meantime, his disastrous short programme in which he failed at almost all the quadruple jumps he attempted guaranteed he would be out of the medals. Hanyu, on the other hand, skated a perfect, faultless short programme gaining a world record score to take into the second and final round.

Hanyu Completing the Short Programme at Pyeongchang - Getty Images

Hanyu Completing the Short Programme at Pyeongchang – Getty Images

What made this young man’s performance so remarkable was the accident he had in Tokyo in November when he damaged his ankle. Unable to skate for more than two months, it was feared he would not be able to take part in the Olympics. But his gay Canadian coach, Brian Orser, told the media that he would be fine. Not sure how true this statement would be, there was immense pressure on Hanyu to perform well in the short programme. But no one expected the artistic and technical perfection we saw on the ice that day as he stole our hearts again skating to Chopin’s hauntingly beautiful Ballade No. 1. No wonder he is a God-like figure in Japan.

VIDEO: Yuzuru Hanyu’s Mesmerising Short Programme at Pyeongchang

Three years ago there were rumours of a relationship between Hanyu and the Spanish skater, Javier Fernández, who won the Bronze Medal and also trains in Canada with Brian Orser. But Fernández now has a girlfriend whereas the hundreds of blog and chat sites about Hanyu claim he remains single. With his trademark Winnie The Pooh bears, he often looks slightly gay. But then you can say that of many Asian athletes from time to time.

Pyeongchang Medallists: Uno, Hanyu and Fernández - Eurosport

Pyeongchang Medallists: Uno, Hanyu and Fernández – Eurosport

Joining Hanyu on the podium was Silver Medal winner, the baby-faced 20-year old Japanese, Shoma Uno. Standing 1.59 meters, he is 13 centimetres shorter than Hanyu and I find his body proportions count against him compared to the incomparable Hanyu. But what do I know about skating? Hanyu is the love of my skating life. He can skate up to my front door any time!

Yuzuru Hanyu in a Lovely, Revealing Pose - Imageproxy

Yuzuru Hanyu in a Lovely, Revealing Pose – Imageproxy

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BREAKING NEWS Taipei’s Gayest Hot Spring Closes

Huang Ding Name Card

In a move that has come as a big surprise to the many young gays who have been visiting the Taipei’s Huang Ding hot spring, the facility posted a notice at its entrance on Monday 19th March stating that it is now closed.

Taipei Hot Springs Closure Notice

Taipei Hot Springs Closure Notice

Our correspondent in Taiwan informed AsiaGuys.NET that the tenant who managed the facility seems to have been in financial trouble for some time. Last year he was fined three times for the poor quality of the water. It is now understood that having closed the hot spring, he has disappeared. Only last week he was selling coupons valid for 10 visits!

Huang Ding was hugely popular with younger Taiwan gay guys. It was also visited regularly by many young Singaporeans and other Asians. The question many are now asking is: where will these guys now go? The other mainly gay hot spring further down the hill in the same area, Huang Szu, is a larger facility but it is already quite packed on Friday and Saturday evenings. Frequently it is not possible to find a free locker on a Friday evening. On the recent occasions I have attended Huang Szu, there would have been room for about another 30 patrons without lockers at any one time, but no more.

Huang Szu Name Card

Huang Szu Name Card

With warmer weather soon arriving, perhaps some will migrate to the gay saunas rather than the hot spring area. Word from Taipei is that Huang Ding will not reopen under its previous management as it had considerable debts. Last year the tenant was fined several times for the poor quality of the water and the wording on the closure notice only mentions problems with piping and water supply. Of course a buyer may be found and new management installed. If that happens, though, how likely is it that the hot spring will remain focused on the gay market?

One of the problems faced by Huang Ding is that the other hot springs make some of their income from their on-site restaurants. The gay clientele rarely dined there, preferring instead to leave early or arrive late, some dining at the gay Red House complex in Ximen.

AsiaGuys.NET will continue to monitor the situation and include a longer update on Taiwan hot springs in due course.

VIDEO: Taiwan News Video about the Closure

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Gay Travelers Need to Beware as Anti-Gay Laws are Being Considered in Indonesia

It looks like any map of Asia but this picture warns of dangers travelers need to beware of.

Asia Gay Friendly Countries - Click to see full sized image - news.com.au

Asia Gay Friendly Countries – Click to see full sized image – news.com.au

The map identifies countries and territories according to how tolerant, or outright hostile they are to gay people.

It comes as controversial anti-gay laws are still being considered in Indonesia, home to a favourite gay overseas holiday spot, Bali.

Read the Full Article

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Taiwan Gay Pride is Bigger than Ever!

The 15th annual Taiwan Gay Pride Parade wrapped up last month in the island nation’s capital city of Taipei. Numbers were up by 50% with the parade drawing an estimated 123,000 people to the event that was already the largest of its kind in Asia.

Taipei Gay Pride Parade 2017 – By Callum McLeod

Taipei Gay Pride Parade 2017 – By Callum McLeod

But many believe the official crowd numbers were underestimated by the government to downplay how gay Taiwan really is. Some people say it was 150,000, some say it was 200,000. So many people turned up this year that there were three separate parade routes covering much of the center of the city.

More than 160 groups participated in this years parade including American, Japanese and South Korean groups. The three hour parade ended with speeches and performances by local celebrities showing their support for gay pride.

Taipei Gay Pride Parade 2017 – By Callum McLeod

Taipei Gay Pride Parade 2017 – By Callum McLeod

Taiwan Gay Pride is a 4 day event with the parade taking place on the last Saturday in October each year and is the highlight of the event. You will find lots of gay related stalls at the gay village which is close by the gay bars of the Red House gay entertainment complex. There are also numerous parties held over the pride weekend.

Over the years, gay pride has evolved from a political rally to a celebration of gay culture making it fun for everyone. This years slogan for the parade was “Make love, not war” and “Sex ed is the way to go!”.

VIDEO: Taipei Gay Pride Parade

The new promise of marriage equality in Taiwan helped bring out the especially strong attendance at this year’s parade. Earlier this year the country’s top court ruled that banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional. It gave the nation’s legislature two years to either amend its current marriage statutes or allow marriage equality to automatically become law in 2019.

The Premier of Taiwan has said that a same sex marriage bill will hopefully be filed by the end of the current legislative session.

Taipei Gay Pride Parade 2016 - By Callum McLeod

Taipei Gay Pride Parade 2016 – By Callum McLeod

Sources and Related Reading

Same Sex Marriage in Taiwan

Taiwan Pride Parade

Gay Taipei “Asia’s Hidden Secret”

Taipei Gay Pride Parade 2016 Photos

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Hong Kong will Host the 2022 Gay Games

Hong Kong will host the 2022 Gay Games, becoming the first Asian city to stage the sports and cultural event. The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) chose Hong Kong over Guadalajara in Mexico and Washington DC. A record 17 cities had expressed interest in hosting the 2022 Gay Games.

Gay Games XI - outin.hk

Gay Games XI – outin.hk

The win comes amid growing momentum for the gay rights movement in Asia, with Taiwan’s constitutional court this year declaring that gay couples have the right to marry.

The games are expected to attract more than 15,000 participants and provide a 103 million USD boost to the economy. Bid supporters called the decision a victory for the status of the city’s gay community. The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history and equality.

The Hong Kong bid team was supported by numerous corporations, including Cathay Pacific, Credit Suisse and Linklaters.

Gay Games Opening Ceremony - outin.hk

Gay Games Opening Ceremony – outin.hk

The 2018 Gay Games will take place in Paris from August 4 to 12, featuring 36 sports, 14 cultural events, an academic conference, with up to 15,000 participants from 70 countries. The Gay Games was conceived by Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete and was first held in San Francisco in 1982.

Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. But there is no law against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gay marriage is not recognised in Hong Kong. Homosexuality is not illegal in mainland China and many large cities have thriving gay scenes but many gay individuals still face family and social pressure to marry and have children.

Hong Kong Gay Pride - twitter.com/andrewchristian

Hong Kong Gay Pride – twitter.com/andrewchristian

Official reaction from government leaders has been very muted. One wonders what China will think!

More info about the Gay Games can be found on the FGG website.

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