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Elska Magazine

Elska #42 Almaty

Elska #42 Almaty

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This issue was made in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan and a burgeoning centre of LGBTQ culture in Central Asia. This is the sort of place that we expect the bulk of our readership to know little about, and before coming here we were also rather in the dark. Apart from vague notions of what a former Soviet republic would look like (even though it's been over thirty years since the USSR dissolved), and a few ridiculous images from that certain mustachioed mockumentarian who shall not be named here, we arrived totally green and totally ready for anything. The result is surprising and exciting.

From the group of local boys we met here, through their revealing photoshoots and personal stories, we see that Almaty is a sort of beacon for queer people across the country and from neighbouring countries as well. Whilst homophobia in Kazakh society remains high, the LGBTQ community has been moving further to assert themselves and claim their place. The courage with which these men summoned to bare so much for our Elska project reveals how daring and determined gay Kazakhstanis are. We are absolutely certain that this is an issue you will adore, and also that you'll be desperate to get on the next flight to Almaty to experience it for yourself.

Inside ‘Elska Almaty’ you'll meet ten ordinary local boys from this city's LGBTQ community, shot both in the city streets and at home, dressed in their own style and often not dressed at all. Each also contributed a personal story, written themselves in either Kazakh or Russian (and followed by English translations) on any subject of their choosing, enabling an even closer connection. These texts touch upon a variety of topics, from stories of falling in love with a closeted celebrity, to chronicles of learning to not just live but flourish as an HIV-positive person, to tales of being a dedicated cat dad who can’t stop growing his feline family.

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