Benjamin Law considers himself pretty lucky to live in Australia: he can hold his boyfriend's hand in public and lobby his politicians to recognise same-sex marriage. But as the child of migrants, he's also curious about how different life might have been had he grown up in Asia. So he sets off to meet his fellow Gaysians.
Law takes his investigative duties seriously, going nude where required in Balinese sex resorts, sitting backstage for hours with Thai ladyboy beauty contestants and trying Indian yoga classes designed to cure his homosexuality. The characters he meets - from Tokyo's celebrity drag queens to HIV-positive Burmese sex workers, from Malaysian ex-gay Christian fundamentalists to Chinese gays and lesbians who marry each other to please their parents - all teach him something new about being queer in Asia.
At once entertaining and moving, Gaysia is a wild ride - a fascinating quest by a leading Australian writer.
About the Author
Benjamin Law is the author of The Family Law. He is a senior contributor to frankie magazine and his work has also appeared in the Monthly, the Big Issue, the Courier-Mail, Growing Up Asian in Australia and The Best Australian Essays. He lives in Brisbane.
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Displaying reviews 1-2
Comments about Gaysia:
The book was written by a young gay guy about gay asia. I had hoped for some really revealing, insightful, and challenging stuff. I hoped for some humour too. didnt find much of these things. It was as if Benjamin was disconnected from the scene - like a reporter. It was like a documentary. But the author, the cover and the writeup suggesed a personal story.
Comments about Gaysia:
Enjoyed reading about different cultures and how they deal with homosexuality.
Service and delivery comments:
Great, quick delivery, positive online purchase.
Benjamin Law embarks on a wild ride through Asia to investigate queer culture in Gaysia. In Indonesia he meets the moneyboys who prostitute themselves to Western men, usually preferring the rich older men. In Thailand he visits the world’s biggest beauty pageant for transsexual women. In China he learns about the gay men who marry lesbians in sham-weddings to please overbearing parents and the unhappy straight women who unwittingly marry gay men. He encounters the comedic-feminine stereotypes of gay men presented on television in Japan. He attends sessions aimed at curing homosexuality, run by religious groups in Malaysia. And among the devastating poverty of Myanmar, he meets the men who are 42 times more likely to contract HIV than anywhere else. Law also attends a queer pride march in India where colonial anti-homosexuality laws were recently overturned. Gaysia is like a Louis Theroux documentary in book form, achieving a similar style of gonzo journalism to Theroux, with the hilarious Law becoming part of the story and experiencing the culture firsthand. Of course, this book will challenge those who find homosexuality confronting, but an unrestrained Law flushes out fragile readers early on with imagery from the poolside of a clothing-optional gay resort in Bali.
Andrew Wrathall is the publishing assistant for Bookseller+Publisher (Source: Bookseller+Publisher)
'A terrific read... gonzo anthropology and great storytelling.' - John Safran
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 22nd August 2012
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6 x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.408