Despite reports of South America’s vigilant anti-LGBTQ movement, many South American cities have a thriving gay culture, including Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia, the country on the continent’s northwestern tip. That’s why Elska (link NSFW) — the bimonthly male photography, culture and travel magazine — dedicated its latest issue to the city. The Elska Bogotá issue includes writing from 17 local gay guys as well as incredibly sexy (and occasionally nude) pics of each one. Yes, please!
Elska is a “part intellectual queer pin-up mag and part sexy anthropology journal” that chooses a new international location every two months. In the past they’ve covered Yokohama, Japan; Istanbul, Turkey; and Taipei, Taiwan among others.
However, Elska editor Liam Campbell tells Hornet, “Somehow we got through 14 issues without reaching Latin America, so we knew we had to get down there finally.”
Campbell says that choosing a single city in the vast continent was difficult. People suggested São Paulo, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Havana and San Juan, but after researching and talking to lots of people, Bogotá seemed to be “the gayest place in all of Latin America,” Campbell says.
“There’s marriage equality, there’s anti-discrimination laws with explicit LGBT wording, and there’s also a huge community and perhaps the biggest gay club in the world, Theatron,” Campbell says.
Here are some shots from the Elska Bogotá issue:
The Elska Bogotá issue got more interest from local guys looking to participate than they’d ever had for any other city. “It was really flattering and it also told us how our fears of a conservative, ultra-macho traditional society were way off,” Campbell says.
He adds that most of the guys wanted to take off their clothes for their photo shoots. The magazine always gives their models the options, and “In Bogotá almost everyone wanted to take their clothes off,” Campbell says. “I take it as a sign of the people’s openness.”
Along with their sexy shots the magazine also includes soul-baring stories of a guy making his new life in the city after fleeing Venezuela, a model discussing his depression and another model talking about his past as a sex worker.
“Elska always is an intimate reading experience, but this may well be our most intimate edition of all,” Campbell says.