Elska Magazine offers a fresh look at the diversity of gay, bi and trans men in Sydney in its newest edition.
Many criticize the city’s LGBT+ scene for being ‘too conservative and too white’. But Elska Magazine editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell wanted to show its true colors.
We’ve previously followed Elska’s journey to Belgium, Mumbai, Toronto, Taiwan, Lisbon, Mexico and many more. Put together, they show a range of guys, from all different races, body types and ages.
And in the same way, the new edition, Elska Sydney introduces us to a dozen ordinary local gay, queer, and trans men. We get to know them through intimate photography and personal stories.
‘Sydney has a reputation as one of the world’s gay capitals, famous for a huge LGBTQ community, and for celebrations like Mardi Gras, arguably the world’s most famous Pride celebration.
‘The scene is vibrant yet complex. Sydney is both a beacon of hope for those seeking freedom and acceptance as well as a city that has been criticized as too conservative and too white.
‘“Elska Sydney” stands out as one of our most honest editions of all. Here is a community that is at once proud of their city and also unafraid to admit where it could do better.’
Finding the 40% non-white Sydney
Elska’s usual policy in a city is to accept the men who want to be photographed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. But Campbell soon realized that one only give a one-sided view of Sydney’s diversity.
He says: ‘Early on I noticed that nearly all the men who got in touch were white.
‘Having read that the demographic make-up of Sydney was nearly 40% non-white though, I decided I had to try to interfere with our spontaneous recruitment model and start speaking to people of colour directly to find out why so few had been in touch.
‘In doing so I was shocked to hear multiple stories about not wanting to take part in a publication about Sydney’s LGBTQ community because they didn’t feel welcome enough there to represent it.
‘Some did want to join the though, and many were sure to talk about what’s good and what’s not so good about Sydney.
‘That kind of frankness really made me proud to feature Sydney, revealing a community with a lot of passion to be better, and a feeling of responsibility that a place with such a rainbow reputation should serve all.’
Stories from Sydney
The personal stories in the magazine include a universal tale of coming out as gay and having to choose between home in a small town or the big city.
Meanwhile one gay trans man talks about his trouble dating – but never giving up on love. And another guy reveals how Sydney’s nude beaches introduced him to the exhilaration of being naked in public.
Find out how to get your copy of Elska here.