While Western countries debate the merits of gay marriage, countries in Southeast Asia remain far less accepting of homosexuality. In socially conservative Singapore, where sexual contact between men is still punishable with up to two years' jail time, an online-only magazine targeted to gay men in Asia launched last month, with a second issue due in June. It is something of a test case for media and cultural barriers. For a population that both shows signs of slowly accepting of gay culture, and embraces the digital media formats that allow the publisher to bypass local media licensing requirements for print publications, the timing may be right for Element, a magazine that covers fashion, entertainment, fitness, and issues relevant to the Asian gay community. In Singapore, given that it's a very digital society, a purely e-magazine can have the same effect as a printed version. By limiting the publication to an electronic version -- available on digital platforms such as the Apple App atore and the Android Market -- and using an Internet host server based in the United States, Element bypasses licensing requirements set by the Singapore government, which regulates locally produced content, and eliminates the need for a print distribution.
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Pakistan is not the kind of place that most people would associate with gay liberation. But some say the country is a great place to be gay - even describing the port city of Karachi as "a gay man's paradise". Underground parties, group sex at shrines and "marriages of convenience" to members of the opposite sex are just some of the surprises that gay Pakistan has to offer. Under its veneer of strict social conformity, the country is bustling with same-sex activity. Danyaal, as he's asked to be known, is a something businessman who lives in an affluent part of Karachi, and uses his smartphone to organise Karachi's gay party scene. Back then I found a group and made contact with 12 people in this city," he says.
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