X is for:

X-rated Sydney isn’t called Sin City for nothing. The place has been considered a den of iniquity by many for decades, if not centuries, for its red light districts, drug culture, colourful night life and, of course, the country’s biggest and most visible gay and lesbian community.

The centre of all this X-rated activity is Darlinghurst and Kings Cross, where you don’t have to look hard to find strip clubs, hookers, drug dealers, sex clubs, sex shops and the like. Not to mention the topless women on motorbikes and near-naked men dancing up Oxford Street during that little annual parade called the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which is still without doubt the city’s sauciest event.

Even Sydney’s lord mayor is rarely seen without a choker or dog collar worn around her neck, something you can’t say about too many politicians. Some local groups have pushed the envelope too far, as far as the government was concerned, such as Sydney film group Queer Screen which recently tried to show the documentary Damon & Hunter featuring real sex between two men.

The movie was given an X-rating by the censor and banned from public viewing. Just as well you can see the same sort of thing any old time for the price of admission at Bodyline.

Xenophilia Whether it’s Tokyo, Paris, New York, Shanghai or London, there’s plenty of other-city loving going on in the gay and lesbian community. We’re known travellers, and we go out of our way to immerse ourselves in other cultures; whether it’s doing it the hard way in India, or doing it hard in Amsterdam’s legendary backrooms.

And then there’s the other kind of oversees love -“ the one that sees people in our community develop fetishes for Brazilian, Greek, Lebanese, Japanese or French men and women (for example), based on perceived characteristics of these nationalities. Gay men are legendary for their often-specific lust targets. Some can spot a Croatian across a crowded dancefloor.

Others travel from the inner city ghetto to suburban sex-on-premises venues, in the hope of finding someone of a particular ethnic group. And even if you’re not one of those gays, everyone knows there’s no better response to the question where’d you get that shirt? than Paris.

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