This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
IT
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Italy version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > DNA Magazine > #198 – Love Wins: Orlando > Cambodia’s Coming Out

Cambodia’s Coming Out

WITH VIBRANT GAY BARS, TUK TUK’S DECKED IN RAINBOW FLAGS, AND EXPANDING SEXUAL HEALTH AWARENESS – CAMBODIA’S GAY SCENE IS THRIVING IN THE CITIES OF PHNOM PENH AND SIEM REAP. VILLAGE LIFE, AND MIXED MESSAGES FROM THE RULING CLASS, HOWEVER, SUGGEST A DARKER SIDE TO THE CULTURE. TORSTEN HØJER REPORTS FROM THE KINGDOM OF WONDER.

Photography Alex Buntha from Men Of Cambodia Calendar (© Alex Buntha/Space Hair) More: www.facebook.com/spacehairsalonandbar

From the air, large swathes of Phnom Penh resemble a war torn city. The demolition of beautiful old colonial mansions is commonplace as new concrete structures crush the past and create the future.

Cambodia’s capital is quite literally under construction, and in addition to the bricks and mortar high-rise offices, hotels and apartments, the city is building its arts scene, its restaurant culture, and its gay nightlife. What’s emerging is a metropolis eager to take its place not only within South-East Asia, but also on the world stage.

And when it comes to gay tourism, it’s keen on taking a slice of an industry that’s estimated to be worth more than $USD 20 billion for its more developed neighbour, Thailand.

Indeed, Bangkok is a rather ominous 666km west of Phnom Penh and a firmly established “gay paradise”. Phnom Penh has a lot of catching up to do, but increasing numbers of tourists are choosing Cambodia over Thailand precisely because it is less developed and therefore, as some might say, more authentic (and certainly less focused on the sex trade).

Linga Bar in Siem Reap.

The out-and-proud gay scene in Cambodia is not yet into its teens. The country’s first dedicated gay bar, Linga, was opened not in Phnom Penh but in Siem Reap, 300km northwest of the capital. Siem Reap is Cambodia’s most visited tourist destination due to its proximity to the famous Angkor Wat temples. According to official statistics, more than two million people visit the magical 900-year-old temples each year, generating $USD 60 million in ticket sales. Archaeologists’ recent discovery of even more ancient cities buried deep within the jungles surrounding Siem Reap than was previously known is likely to dramatically increase that, attracting visitors who’ve already “done” the temples to return to explore the newly uncovered gems.

Linga, a small but well-formed bar located in an alleyway off Siem Reap’s notorious Pub Street (the clue’s in the name), was the brainchild of Martin Dishman, an American who relocated to Cambodia in 2004. He opened the venue on 9th November the same year, heralding a new gay era for Cambodia’s nightlife.

“I wanted to create the first place in Cambodia where gay people could feel welcome and understood,” says Dishman, who still runs Linga today. “We wanted the bar to represent a positive role model to Khmer people of what being gay is, as there were very few reference points. To achieve this, I designed the bar to be open to the street, with no darkened windows to mask what’s going on inside. We really channelled the we’re-here, we’re-queer idea that we have nothing to hide.”

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of DNA Magazine - #198 – Love Wins: Orlando
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - #198 – Love Wins: Orlando
€5,49
Or 549 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 2,67 per issue
SAVE
51%
€31,99
Or 3199 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only € 4,49 per issue
SAVE
18%
€4,49
Or 449 points

View Issues

About DNA Magazine

This month we look at the madness of the Orlando shooting. There are plenty of tough questions to ask around homophobia, racism, gun control and terrorism but, in the end, love wins. We celebrate the way the world stood with the LGBTI community, and the positives that have emerged from the tragedy. We hit the road with Willie Gomez and the guys from Britney’s Vegas show in an amazing desert shoot by James Franklin. We also travel to the International Mr Leather competition in Chicago, and discover the delights and dangers of gay Cambodia. It’s the Foxy 40-somethings vs the Slutty 20-somethings in our Man To Man feature, we touch base with UK pop star Jake Quickenden, Opera Australia’s Adrian Tamburini, find out what happened to Madonna’s Vogue boys, and enjoy Archie going gay! We have Red Carpet Wonders from our style department, plus some wardrobe tips for Gay Ski Week. And there’s all your favourites like Dear Diva (she’ll fix ya’), Straight Mate, Nuttier, Burnttoast and Loving. And, of course, sexy boys galore!
Modalità di pagamento Pocketmags Payment Types
A Pocketmags si ottiene Fatturazione sicura Ultime offerte HTML Reader Regali Loyalty Points