i’m going to try and keep this post PG but there may be content some readers may find slightly NSFW.
you may know by now that i love exploring abandoned places — sadly, it’s been way too long since i’ve had the opportunity to, so when we passed by this building in [Middle East city redacted] several times i really wanted to head in and get my abandonment on! luckily my travel buddy this trip was more than happy to indulge me, but as he’s not into abandoned places like me, he waited for me outside.
i returned quicker than either of us expected.
what an amazing building! in the middle of downtown, with open windows where you could get a vantage point over the city, not too crumbly or dangerous-looking. perfect!
it was kind of curious, though, since there were a handful of people milling about the place, which didn’t make sense for it being well, nothing. i approached and started taking pictures.
indeed i was getting excited — abandonment, finally!
i started climbing up the main set of stairs and ran into two people descending at the same time.
ha! who knew there were so many abandoned building enthusiasts in [Middle East city redacted]?! you’d think they’d be kinda used to it by now, i thought to myself. i noticed one of them was itching his crotch. gross!
one of them continued down, the other (with the itchy crotch) remained on the stairs; i continued up. as i got closer, i noticed he wasn’t ITCHING…he was…erm, manipulating. lots and lots of manipulation. and staring at me. i looked up and also saw a guy standing outside one of the abandoned rooms, looking at me.
i quickly figured out what this place was — a venue for gay male hookups. i had to quickly make a decision. keep going for the sake of exploring? or turn around and run? i decided to finish climbing to the next level and leave after that.
as i passed the erm, manipulator, i got slightly worried he might shove me off the staircase (which had no railing, of course) because he saw me taking pictures, but instead a felt him brush his hand up my butt cheek! i quickened my pace.
WOW. i don’t remember the last time i was felt up — maybe in a gay club 15 years ago? i took a few more pictures and then quickly descended, running out of the building. i’m not sure what i was afraid of, but it was legitimately one of the few times i’ve been afraid doing urban exploration — maybe even more afraid than getting caught by a security guard at an abandoned ink factory over a decade ago?
i’m withholding the name of this city, though if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know what it is. i don’t know if the authorities know about this place, though i’d be surprised if they didn’t; it’s right in the middle of downtown — but in case they don’t, i’d rather do the local queer community a solid and not do too much to reveal the location of their
hideout* secret club.
thinking about it
with the great strides the gay community has made recently at home in the US — legalized gay marriage as of less than two months ago — it’s easy for people like me to continue riding on a high, only to be in a country where it’s very not legal and be faced with the reality of the situation for so many people around the world. i don’t not visit a country solely because i object to its political or legal situation (whatever it may be — related to my personal life or not), but when i’m in a country where i may be persecuted for who i am, most of the time i don’t even think about it. it’s only in situations where it’s made salient like this, or when i was in Russia during the height of the Kremlin’s anti-gay rhetoric, that i really do count my blessings to be from a place where i don’t have to live in fear (most of the time).
and it’s not even that bad in this country compared to some of its neighbors. and by “not that bad” you can still be jailed here for having gay sex — at least you can’t be put to death.
(i did hear this year’s Eurovision winner on the radio today, so maybe that’s at least a sign of change? ha, i can be optimistic i guess?)
i’m not sure if this place was a brothel or if it was just a place where people meet to have casual sex, but either way, it got me to thinking about how terrible it is to be a second-class citizen through no fault of your own and how lucky i am, as a gay Asian male, to have lived my entire life in a place where the discrimination i’ve experienced has been minimal to none, especially compared to people here. truly, i do feel very lucky today. (and not only because i was able to get out of there without being even yelled at…)
*i should note that i felt compelled to change the word “hideout” above, even though that’s really an apt descriptor. it makes me so sad that people have to hide who they are. terrible.
oh yeah, the rest of the few pictures i was able to take…