I don’t know how many people did notice, but being proved not only by our personal experiences but by some researches, the full-immersion in SL has some collateral effects, like letting men and women explore things that in their own real life wouldn’t ever dare doing. To experiment hidden aspects of our personalities, or peek in behavior of other people who we wouldn’t know how to cope with. So it can be a very useful tool to undestand from the live inside ours and others deep and hidden reasons and motivations.
In the protected sphere of our computer, quietly sat in the “safety” of our security homes, thousands of men and women dedicate themselves to interactively explore such not so known aspects. Very often it is the man who tries to enter as a female avatar, and they probably can feel at least a time in their lives what kind of difficult “sexual/psychological” pressures women must endure. And women, “pretending to act as men” might eventually touch directly some male psyche so far weird and incomprehensible.
The exploration of sexual/affective human various variants seems to be an almost impossible thing to avoid. The Newbie (but not only them) appears magnetically attracted to the “virtual” possibility, including gender change (also animal genders, see the Furry), or at the extremity the BDSM possibilities offered by SL (see these posts in Italian from this site http://virtualworldsmagazine.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/introduciamo-il-bdsm/, e http://virtualworldsmagazine.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/gli-strani-amori-di-second-life/ ) .
In this post I wanted to offer a small guide to what you can find in SecondLife submitting the “gay” search in the small viewer window. Actually, I’m just exploring a bit of the “male gay” Universe, which is deeply different from the “lesbian” female Universe (maybe a further post). I deliberately eliminated from this guide esplicit spam, such as sex products and beds, disco music club with undressed escorts, dating places which usually tend to be boring and trivial, focusing instead on places where I could find something interesting and original.
As once told me one of the interviewed people while collecting info, trying to avoid the “Meat market” which is so spread all over SL places. Final result is this bunch of landmarks explored directly, which can represent a first track of gay turism trying to appreciate male esthetics and sensibility too often censored or ignored by the Art or our habits.
From Artistical point of view it is supposed by definition that male nude is ugly or depraved, but while it is universally considered acceptable the appreciation of feminine beauty and everybody women include should do, we should naturally avoid prejudices and learn to appreciate male aesthetic. In a similar way it was appreciated (according to some of sims explored) in the ancient times, where it was explicit a very powerful omophily (which is even a bit excessive from the eyes of a XXI century prospective), but probably not exactly equivalent to our contemporary homosexuality or “being gay”.
Anybody can experience this interesting tour. Even if you are a woman and you need to enter in a male only sim where women are forbidden, you can create a male alt (probably you already have). Some statistics tell that even now in SecondLife (as an average “online game”) an incredible amount of Female Avatars can be indeed males pretending to be female (see http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tech-news/gender-bending-or-good-game-play/167) even if this is normally done not for gender bending but to have more chances to “win”. I hope that this guide can be helpful to those gay, bi-sex, curious, or just “normal” people would feel like to explore at least a part of the way of “being gay” and don’t want to be trapped in the overwhelming spam offered by the SecondLife search….
To come to the choosen “trail” (obviously incomplete and perfectible) [[ If you have a better guide with landmark with original material please comment and send me ]]. I’ve selected at least 5 landmarks and sims in SecondLife.
- The Male Art Centre (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Sanshilyong/124/233/62) Various artists Gallery
- Pera Stables (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Holland/170/143/305) Homo-erotic gay art museum
- Phallikos Island (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Phallikos%20Island/133/82/22) Historical Sim Greek-Roman with Homoerotic RPG,
- Brokeback (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Brokeback/99/198/22) Sim against omophobia and AIDS awareness, plus various other activities
- Gay Archipelago (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Gay%20Archipelago/122/123/23) A general Network of GLBT friendly sims.
And now some details about these landmarks, explored in the introductory video starting this post (in italics the actual notecards from each sim):
The Male Art Centre
The Dôme Gallery is the 6th Gallery that Popov Huldschinsky has created in Second Life. All began 2007 when his dearest friend and SL coach offered a site to make up the first gallery in SL.
The Gallery is in SL in order to show homoerotic art in the proper sense of the term. The main exhibition shows works from C de F Photography where Popov’s ‘string puller’ is a master artist photograph and plastic artist in RL, there are also works from invited guests selected for they art by Popov.
The goal of the Gallery and land around it namely: The Male Art Centre, is to allow people in SL from any walk of life and with any orientation to appreciate the male form as an art form as well as other subject either through photography, painting, drawing and sculpture all within a pleasant environment. The Male Art Centre also has a FrameShop proposing a full selection of more than 80 frames as well as a Photographic Studio for portrait works in photography, painting and drawing. (Popov Huldschinsky)
I begin the tour with a couple landmarks regarding pictures and artistical visual exhibitions, where it is possible to see wonderful original creations (and you can also ask for photographic services for your own avatar). This is a gallery of drawings / pictures environments made by my friend Popov. I still remember the first time I found it: I was impressed by the fact that some of these exhibitions were sponsored by royal cultural UK institutions, because of their educational value.
Pera Stables:Gay Art Museum “Pera Stables”
Is a museum with erotic art, meant for gay men and boys. The showed art is made with different techniques. Photo’s, drawings, (oil)painting, guaches, etc. They have in common that I like them. Some art is of explicate nature, but its for sure not a pornographic exhibition.
As seen in the video we can see some interesting content. Phallic statuary at the entrance has its own charm. Inside you can find “classical” pictures, some of them even a bit embarassing. There are virtual photographic album on sell and it is surely a must for who wants to enjoy famous omo-erotic drawings (there is also an entire floor dedicated to Tom of Finland and other well known masterpiece). Many display are multiple and to complete explore them you have to push the back and forward buttons to see the entire collection.
Phallikos Island:Phallikos Island, all male, gay SIM, is one of SLs premiere ancient world concepts. The fusion of Greco Roman motifs allows visitors and residents to explore a fantastical world filled with homoerotic ideals. (…) Unlike modern times where men are frequently forced into seclusion for who they are, Phallikos affords men the opportunity to live in a time when prejudices and public opinion weren’t as they are now. It is our history, it is our lives, it is how we wish to express ourselves and find contentment with others like ourselves. (Czarhahn Yao)
Phallikos island begins to be a bit more “difficult”: side by side with an intriguing rebuilding of ancient historical environments you will find some people playing a BDSM inspired RPG. Probably a bit uneasy for casual visitors is the offer for “slaves” who can give much from romantic to “hard core”. I didn’t verify directly, but this kind of offers are often to be considered to be paid services (male escort),but it is non unlikely to find people doing this for innate passion. In every case the island is part of a mini archipelago including other historical reconstructions (see the video) which are worth to be visited. If you want to avoid “bad” surprises normally it is advisable to avoid the “dungeons” or secluded places where “adult” experiences are normally consumed. Environment quality is high and original. One thing impressed me some positions and animations to produce the wine the way it was produced two millennia ago! 🙂
Brokeback Babylon:Brokeback Babylon was officially born in 2006 but the project had been brewing under the name « Babylon » since the death of my partner in 2003, a victim among so many others of the hatred linked to homophobia.Its final name was insipired by Ang Lee’s movie « Brokeback Mountain » (…)
Brokeback Babylon is first and foremost an Educational project whose main goal is to fight against the plague of homophobia through cultural actions and encounters.
The main cause of homophobia is ignorance, Brokeback is an open place where straight and gay people can meet, talk, learn and share life experiences freely in a spirit of respect, understanding and friendship.
Second Life was the natural outcome of the success the website received since it offers many way to interact between people from different backgrounds. (Draghan Marksman)
I found this interesting place in SL search and it is surely an interesting land because instead of usual “meat market” shows an intest towards a bit less “light” aspects such as AIDS prevention, fight against omophobia and various activities and annual exhibitions. Interesting the presence of sport events such as Olympics. Here you can also find artistica exhibitions (see video), but also secluded places for adult entertainment.
You can find an exhaustive history of this incredible archipelago here : http://gay-archipelago.com/about/, trying to resume its interesting history we can say that this association is followed very closely by Linden who provided a specific plase outside from the mainland. It is reachable also in facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_340961292840&ap=1
Here we count hundreds of different sims, many of which are just renting land to residents, but you can find also interesting noprofit initiatives. Maybe it will be worth a dedicated future post.
As you see there is a very wide liberty of choice. I include attaced an extract of all these lands.un prossimo articolo.
Come vedete c’è un’ampia possibilità di scelta. Alla fine un estratto di queste land.
Hope I didn’t get you bored 🙂
Appendice elenco sim del Gay Archipelago
L’elenco completo delle SIM di questo arcipelago è qui: http://gay-archipelago.com/gay-archipelago/ga-sims/ con i relativi tp,