South Africa's LGBTI newspaper since the 1980's

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Elska Magazine, the bi-monthly gay photography and culture publication, has travelled to Cape Town, South Africa to make its latest edition. Inside the Elska team introduces readers to fifteen local men who were photographed in their homes and throughout their city in a natural, unairbrushed style. Then each photospread is accompanied by a personal story written by each of the men to let you get to them at a most intimate level.
Each of Elska’s editions is made in a different city, and this is the first to be made in Africa. It’s a great first choice city for that great continent, as Cape Town serves as a beacon of safety and freedom for LGBTQ people throughout the region. Indeed although most of the men featured were born and bred in Cape Town, some of the men settled later, as adults, seeking a place where they could flourish, originating from places like Congo, Kenya, and Namibia, And beyond this multinational diversity, Cape Town is a very multiethnic place, blending around 50% mixed-race (‘coloured’ in local parlance), 30% black, and 20% white; this unique demography is reflected on the pages of Elska Cape Town.
ElskaCapeTown“In the beginning I worried that I wouldn’t like South Africa, that everything would be tainted with racism”, says editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell, “but after fifteen Elska editions, I knew it was time we finally went to Africa. The reality proved that things are not perfect, reiterating that it really wasn’t that long ago that apartheid ended. However there is a strong mood of hope and an effort to make a society that is fair and righteous. While you can easily see inequity in the society, you can also sense that people care for each other and want South Africa to be a better place for everyone. More than any place Elska has visited, it’s here that I saw how much we are all different and all the same.”
The stories written by each of the men give some perspective into particularly South African issues. For example, there’s Fahad H’s story about the challenges of being in a mixed-race coupling; there’s Kai B’s piece lamenting the lack of queer spaces for black men in particular; and there’s Ashley S’s discussion of growing up feeling that his skin was too dark, his lips too full, and bum too shapely. Other stories here move beyond issues of race, like JP de C’s tale of finding true love at a gay sauna; Jannie B’s piece on discovering that he’s into much older men; and Terrence D’s confessional on being able to finally recognise sexual assault and not downplay it.
Elska Cape Town is 164 pages and is available in a classic collectible print version or in a download version. A companion e-zine called Elska Ekstra Cape Town is also available containing outtakes, behind the scenes tales, plus images and stories from a few more men not featured in the main mag. A list of stockists and details of how to order online can be found on the Elska website: Direct shop link:

Porn or Peers: Where will adolescents be getting their sexual education from this summer?

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Did you know that every hour 50 young people (aged between 15 and 24) are infected with HIV in eastern and southern Africa? Are you aware that globally, over the past decade, the number of adolescents dying due to AIDS-related illnesses has tripled - despite decreasing among all other age groups²? Have you heard that AIDS is now the number one cause of death among young people in Africa and the second leading cause of death among adolescents worldwide?YH
“The saddest thing about these statistics is that they can be prevented through appropriate education on sex, HIV and AIDS and where to go to get help. This is particularly true for young men who have sex with men (YMSM) who are at highest risk of HIV acquisition, yet for whom targeted prevention interventions are largely non-existent,” says Riaan Norval, Project Manager for Young Heroes, a campaign of Anova Health Institute. This campaign is spearheading the Young Heroes programme aimed at empowering YMSM to make safer sex choices.
He continues: “While sexual education currently falls under the Life Orientation curriculum in South African schools, studies have shown that several factors stand in the way of this being effective. These include teachers believing that teaching and talking about sex and sexuality will encourage learners to have sex, the refusal of some teachers to discuss homosexuality on cultural and religious grounds⁴, preference amongst teachers for abstinence-only education and the curriculum itself being heteronormative. As a result, many YMSM turn to pornography and their peers for their sexual education – sources which do little to promote HIV prevention.”
South Africa is unfortunately not alone in the lack of sex education in schools. A study in the United Kingdom revealed that nearly half of YMSM turned to pornography to learn about gay sex - seeing that 82% of them received no education about it in school. A number of respondents admitted that they engaged in unsafe or risky practices after watching porn.
Young Heroes was launched to address this gap in sexual education and awareness and equip young men with psychosocial tools and support for better health outcomes while they are in their teens and more importantly as adults. Young Heroes provides young men with information on how to protect themselves and their partners from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, safe spaces, access to resources and a supportive community through its social media, website and mobile platforms. It also ensures that YMSM have access to healthcare services that support sexual and mental health should they need it.
“In a country with the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, we cannot afford for our young people not to be armed with the necessary information to save their lives,” concludes Norval,
To learn more, visit the website and follow the Young Heroes YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Gus Kenworthy makes history at Winter Olympics with gay kiss on live TV

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This kiss will go down in history


In one kiss, screened live on TV, Gus Kenworthy has broken down barriers.
The US freestyle skier kissed partner Matt Wilkas at PyeongChang before competing at the Winter Olympics.
Screened live on NBC, it was shown in the US and around the world.
Commenters referred to the actor as his boyfriend and even showed supporters waving rainbow flags.
‘It’s something I was too scared to do for myself,’ Kenworthy said after the competition.Kenworthy
‘To be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible.
‘The only way to really change perceptions, to break down barriers, break down homophobia, is through representation.
He added: ‘That’s definitely not something I had as a kid.
‘I never saw a gay athlete kissing their boyfriend at the Olympics.
‘I think if I had, it would’ve made it easier for me.’
Prior to the event, Kenworthy spoke about how proud he was to have his partner there.

The Gay (Winter) Olympics

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Canadian figure skater Eric Radford became the first openly gay man to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games. He and his skating partner Meagan Duhamel took first place in the free skate programme at the Gangneung Ice Arena in South Korea.EricRadford
The pair had a little help from Adele, whose song Hometown Glory was the music for their routine. “If you have the wrong piece of music and it doesn’t connect with the audience or the judges, it doesn’t really matter how great you skate, you’re gonna be missing something,” the 33-year old said.
Until South Korea, no athlete had previously participated in the Winter Games as an openly gay man (there are four this year).
Radford competed in the Games at Sochi, in Russia, and won a silver medal, but he wasn’t out at the time. He came out at the end of 2014 and got engaged to his boyfriend, Spanish ice dancer Luis Fenero, in June last year.
Other LGBT athletes are also making their mark in South Korea. Adam Rippon, 28, from the USA won a bronze in the team skating event in his Olympic debut.
Rippon earlier made headlines when he criticised Vice President Mike Pence as unsuitable to head up the American delegation to the Games due to the politician’s anti-LGBT views. Rippon also said he had no interest in meeting Pence.
Ireen Wüst, 31, the bisexual speed skater from the Netherlands, broke Olympic records when she added another two medals to her previous stash of eight medals (four golds, three silvers and one bronze). She won gold in the Women’s 1500m race and a bronze in the 3000m. This makes Wüst the most decorated Olympic speed skater of all time.
There are around 13 openly-queer contenders in the Games, up from seven at the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi. The Summer Olympic Games, which is a much larger event, sported 56 out Olympians in Rio in 2016.

Condoms can be cool again kids!

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By Bruce J.Little


Fewer guys are using condoms these days, and there are a few reasons why this is not a good idea. Some guys that are HIV-negative are taking PrEP and feel that they no longer need condoms to prevent becoming HIV-positive, and other guys just prefer the sensation of condomless sex. But here’s the clincher: Having sex without a condom puts you at risk of more than just HIV.topbottomdogs

Now, there is a solid argument about how much better it may feel to have sex that is skin-to-skin, but maybe we just need to see this in a new light. Perhaps we should make barebacking (condomless sex) the goal (exception) but not the rule, to minimise putting ourselves and others at risk. Maybe if we can save this very intimate and vulnerability causing way of having sex for special occasions. Occasions that we have prepared for and when we know the health status of our partner for sure.

Even if you are on PrEP, you need to have been taking it as prescribed for at least ten days for it to effectively prevent HIV transmission, and even then, you are still vulnerable to other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes and hepatitis. Many guys who have these STIs have no symptoms at all. You wouldn’t be able to see that they have it.

The prevalence of STIs and the fact that they have not been treated effectively is what has caused dangerous drug-resistant strains of these infections to become very common. It’s bad enough to have an STI, but to get an STI that is persistent and very difficult to treat is even worse.

Good old-fashioned condoms and water-based lube is still the best way to protect yourself from unwanted STIs.

When you hook up with someone that you know little to nothing about, it’s not worth taking the risk and having unprotected sex with him, because chances are that he may not even know that he has HIV or an STI. 1 in 6 HIV-positive people have no idea that they are positive and the number of people who have other STIs, but have no idea, is much, much bigger!

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