Latest Issue of ‘Elska’ Showcases the Guys of Asia’s Most Diverse City, Kuala Lumpur
Here at Hornet we’re big fans of Elska, the gay photography and culture zine that travels around the world, devoting each of its issues to the everyday guys of a different city’s LGBTQ community. Some of the bimonthly publication’s issues have profiled the men of Seoul, South Korea; London, England; and Stockholm, Sweden. The latest issue of Elska takes us to Asia’s most diverse city — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Featuring a ton of intimate photos and personal stories, you’ll get a sense of ‘gay Kuala Lumpur’ through the issue’s profiles of 12 local men.
“Honest photography and personal storytelling” is what sets Elska apart from other queer zines, and the mag prides itself on being a sophisticated peek into any given city through its local residents. The magazine does this through open calls for participants, filling each issue on a first-come, first-served basis. And Elska features a wider range of ages, races and body types than you’re likely to find elsewhere, making real effort to illustrate that “sexy” occurs across all sizes and shapes.
Kuala Lumpur is made up of mostly Malay, Chinese and Indian residents, and this latest issue of Elska highlighting gay Kuala Lumpur sees those demos well-represented. But it’s important to note that LGBTQ rights are in grave danger in this Asian nation, which is also a reason why the dozen local men of this new issue greatly deserve a platform.
“I never really expected to make an issue in Malaysia because I just assumed that as a majority Muslim country where homosexuality is illegal, the locals wouldn’t be keen to do it” says Elska editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell, “but last autumn after we published our Manila (Philippines) issue, we got a passionate letter from a guy in Kuala Lumpur imploring us to give his city the same attention. So I asked him to spread the word and within a week I received over a dozen messages from similarly passionate local men. I couldn’t ignore their excitement, so I booked a flight and hurried over.”
Each of the 12 chapters in this new Elska issue is dedicated to a local of ‘gay Kuala Lumpur.’ The photos showcase each guy’s neighborhood, home, personal style and — often — their naked bodies.