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Book Review: Gaysia – Adventures in the Queer East by Benjamin Law

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Gay, ReviewsNo Comments
gaysia-benjamin-law-book-cover Journalist Benjamin Law is an Australian with Asian roots. In Gaysia, he takes us on a tour of Asia showing us all things gay across the continent.

Benjamin with his warm and engaging writers voice takes us to: Bali to meet the money boys and explore the cheap tourist destination; Thailand to see the world of trans Lady Boys in Miss Tiffany’s Beauty Pageant; China to interview gay men and lesbian women who often marry one another; Japan to explore the explosion of non-sexual Drag Queens on TV and the underground lesbian subculture; Malaysia to meet Christian and Muslim fundamentalists who claim they can cure homosexuality; Myanmar were HIV positive people are so poor that only one in five can get life saving treatment; India to interview people in the LGBT rights movement and to meet a man that claims he can cure homosexuality with yoga.

Benjamin’s description is perfect, covering the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and sensations of each place and experience. This makes the reader feel that they are sharing his adventure from start to finish. Benjamin documents his observations and interviews well; but for the majority of the book he holds back from experiencing first-hand what it is like to be gay in the countries that he visits. Whereas it wouldn’t have been practical or appropriate in some countries, it would have been great to see Benjamin dressed as a Drag Queen in an attempt to get on Japanese TV. Benjamin does make up for this, by attending his first Pride in India in the final chapter of the book. It would have been pleasing if he had included some glossy photos in the book of places he’d visited and possibly people he’d met.

Gaysia starts with relatively light-hearted subject matter but quickly moves on to more heavy subject matter. Emotive subjects such as: the lack of civil rights, the lack of access to HIV medications and gay cures all gave a negative impression of being gay in Asia. But this is a real and honest account of what being gay in Asia means, and was usually told to him by the gay people of Asia he interviewed.

Gaysia is travel writing, but not a holiday guidebook. Instead it is a captivating in depth look at Asian societies, cultures and subcultures of the gay sexual minority group. Gaysia is educational, enlightening and a must read for anyone whose interested in travelling to the Asian continent to experience gay Asia or anyone who loves Asian culture, food or places.

Gaysia is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,



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The Lady Boys of Bangkok ‘Lack their Sparkle’ in Manchester

By Friends & Family, Gigs & Shows, Happiness & Joy, Reviews, ThinkingNo Comments

The Lady Boys of Bangkok Stage. They strictly prohibited photos throughout the show.

Steve and I recently went to see The Lady Boys of Bangkok in Manchester. I had seen them four or five times over the last few years and couldn’t wait. Unfortunately, for the first time, I was to be disappointed.

It started with an embarrassing experience with a rude Door Supervisor. He checked my bag and said that I couldn’t take in a bottle of Lucozade. I explained that I had diabetes. To which he wanted to see a medical card. I showed him one and then he wanted to see tablets (I had to explain that I was on injectable insulin and showed him this). He still looked unsure about whether to let me in or not. So I said, ‘Look if I have a hypo I need sugar quick. I wont be able to make it to the bar. I’ll be on the floor having a seizure and foaming at the mouth.’ What made it embarrassing was his lack of knowledge about diabetes, his attitude and the growing queue of people behind us.

I wasn’t going to judge the production based on the experience I’d had with the Door Supervisor. However the shows atmosphere wasn’t as fabulous as it has been in the past. The Lady Boys cast seemed unhappy. They smiled throughout the show, but the smiles never seemed to meet their eyes. Their costumes were less glamorous, looking cheap at times and there weren’t many opportunities to see the Lady Boys in showoff their wonderful selves.

The audio quality was poor on some tracks, there were some odd choices of songs and some great songs that they only played clips of.

The set was satisfactory. The choreography was fun. Not all performers had perfected their choreography, but this didn’t matter to the audience. The choreography did become repetitive in the second half and had too much use of jazz hands.

The lip syncing has improved year on year, and this year all of the Lady Boys had it spot on. The comedy elements of the show remain as funny as ever, however I was unsure about the humour derived through use of the dwarf.

I desperately wanted the show to be as magical, glorious and brilliant as it had been in the past. But it simply wasn’t. It lacked its special sparkle that makes The Lady Boys of Bangkok production unique. Overall Steve and I had a good time, but I don’t intend on seeing future shows until I’ve got over the disappointment. This is likely to take at least the next few years.

Blog soon,


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