Elska editor Liam Campbell tells GSN about the process of putting together the latest issue of his queer magazine Elska…
‘Ever since we did our Bogotá issue, I was desperate to get back to Latin America. The men I found in Colombia were probably the most open and proud gays I found anywhere and I hoped to find the same sort of freeness elsewhere in the region. But it was really hard to choose a city.
‘What led us to picking Guadalajara as our feature city this time was down to a reader who wrote us a passionate letter imploring us that we should come to his city and that it (and not Mexico City) was the gayest city in the country. He then got a load of his friends to write in as well. And then we sort of couldn’t resist checking it out.
‘Of course Latin America is a huge and diverse place. But Mexico did have at least one thing in common with Colombia, where we shot our first and until now only Latin American issue… Elska Bogotá was our issue with the most nudity. And Elska Guadalajara has even more. It seems the guys here are just really liberated. They don’t care what others think.
‘After 23 issues so far, this is our first showing so much skin on the cover. There’s three reasons why we decided to go for a naked cover. First, the guys here were so naked anyway, with all but one of them wanting to do a naked photoshoot. Second, I loved the background because everywhere in Guadalajara (indoors and outdoors) was full of tropical plants. And third, it’s those pink socks. They set off the green really perfectly and add a bit of whimsy.
‘Having a naked cover makes me worry a bit about whether some shops will be unable to stock this issue. But hopefully they can just put a sticker over the “offensive bits”. I’m also a little worried about what the cover boy will think.
‘His pics were really quite filthy’
‘We also met another guy, Gustavo, whose pics and story wouldn’t quite fit into the main magazine. So he’s inside (and on the cover of) our companion zine, Elska Ekstra Guadalajara, which is available from our website. The reason he wasn’t in the main mag, apart from space, is that his story was so poetic that it was pretty much untranslatable. Also, his pics were really quite filthy. We felt that a naked cover was already enough naughtiness for one issue!
‘Elska Guadalajara contains one of my top three favourite stories ever contributed yet for Elska. And that’s really saying something now that we’ve featured over 400 men and their stories. It’s the one by Alejandro G, which I connect with so perfectly. I can feel exactly what he’s feeling. Compounding heartache with clinical depression. But still holding on somehow to hope.
‘I really fell in love with Guadalajara, so much so that tomorrow I’m actually starting Spanish lessons. I’m hoping this will help me to make more issues in Latin America. And maybe it’s also time to make one in Spain.’
To see a list of where Elska Magazine is sold around the world or to order a copy online, visit elskamagazine.com.