Across Continents

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Double Dutch

May 4th, 2011

Gutural accents. Not German. Of that I was certain. Dutch or Danish perhaps? I’d ask. Evelyn and Eef were from the Netherlands. Travelling north in a camper van. From Sydney. Part of a year out before University. Sociology and psychology.

We’d met in the camp kitchen. Small but immaculate site. In a small town. Sarina. I had teabags. They had honey. We started chatting. Places to visit. Weirdos we’d met. There’d been a few.

Had they a website? Yes. A blog. In Dutch. Added that I had one. Photographs too. Hosted on Flikr. They laughed. Reputable site it might be. But, as they explained, in the Netherlands, the name means gay.

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Hidden worlds

September 7th, 2010

Quite by chance I’d stumbled across the gay and lesbian community during my travels through Central Asia. Whilst same sex relationships are not illegal in the countries I’d passed through, they are far from socially acceptable.

A hidden world, quite unfamiliar to me, tolerated in the cities by predominantly Muslim societies, the odd clue in listings magazines, clubs that drift around between venues, a brief mention in the guide book, little else. Places where one might meet, discreetly, even if the location is sometimes quite public.

Denied the de-facto freedom of expression of identity taken for granted in most Western societies, family pressure to conform to accepted norms, and the result? Shell marriages, even emigration to more tolerant nations. Terribly sad.

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