Jun 26, 2011

New York passes same-sex marriage bill!


While I already blogged about the landmark UN resolution a few days ago, I couldn’t resist blogging about another really good news (thanks to an anonymous comment), this time coming from the United States. Last Friday night in New York (Saturday morning in the Philippines), with a vote of 33-29, the state of New York has passed the Marriage Equality Act, recognizing marriages between people of the same sex. This law makes New York the 6th U.S. state currently recognizing same-sex marriage along with Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. California used to recognize same-sex marriage but Prop 8 killed it in 2008 (though it’s currently under legal wrangling as of now).

Discreet Manila joins the New Yorkers in celebrating this historic milestone. And what great timing this is! This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, which is considered as the birth of the modern gay rights movement. That’s the reason why LGBT people everywhere celebrate June as the Pride Month.

Here’s to more good news in the coming years! :-)

Jun 22, 2011

The landmark UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity


In a historic vote of 23 for to 19 against, with 3 abstentions, the United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a landmark resolution (A/HRC/17/L.9/Rev.1) “expressing grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.” The resolution, passed just 4 days ago on June 17, seeks to conduct a study of discriminatory laws and violent activities against LGBT people all over the world and to provide recommendations to prevent such.

While the resolution does not have any real teeth, this is still a really important follow-up to the proposed 2008 UN declaration since the resolution actually propels the UN Human Rights Council to take an action. Even if that action is just a study, it will shed light on discriminatory practices and acts of violence committed against people simply because they have a different sexual orientation or gender identity.

This is easily the best single LGBT-related news I have read this Pride Month! As I have said before, while some people are fighting for the recognition of gay marriage and other gay rights, let’s not forget the fact that LGBT people in other parts of the world are actually harassed, tortured, or even murdered just for being gay. This isn’t just an issue of gay rights: it is, first and foremost, an issue of human rights.

(In other news, this is my 200th post on Discreet Manila. Hooray!)

Jun 20, 2011

Action Sauna (Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)


I went to Hong Kong early this year for vacation. It was my first time to visit the former British colony and I must say that the city’s skyline is quite breathtaking! I wish I could have stayed for more than the few days I spent there, but I couldn’t stay away from work too long and the budget wasn’t enough. I will definitely go back there one day. :-)

Anyway, I’ve read that the gay scene in HK is quite big (my main source of information is Utopia Asia) and so I definitely included visiting some of the PLU establishments in my itinerary. However, I didn’t have enough time since there was so much else of HK to see, so I was only able to visit 2 gay bathhouses out of a total of around 15. The first bathhouse I was able to visit was Action, and the second was CE.

I really, really wanted to visit the Towel Club ever since I’ve heard about it (and CC’s review only reinforced my desire), but the place apparently closed down in the meantime. Too bad.

For the rest of this blog post, I will talk about Action. CE will be tackled in the future. :-)

Action, located in the Causeway Bay district, is the newest establishment of the largest chain of gay bathhouses in Hong Kong, ABC-gateway. The other bathhouses are ABC in Tsim Sha Tsui, Alexander in Mongkok, and Gateway in Wanchai. Action is open 24 hours on Saturdays and it was on a Saturday afternoon that I found myself there.

I don’t remember anymore how much the entrance fee was (I think it was about 100 HK$, around 500 pesos) but that was all I paid to get inside. No membership registration was required and I didn’t have to show any ID, just like with 24 Kaikan in Tokyo. (This is the main difference between local and foreign bathhouses I’ve visited.)

As far as bathhouses go, Action’s amenities are better than any bathhouse in the Philippines. Only Club Bath comes close. Of course, Action has a CR, a set of shower stalls, and a locker area. The place also has a sauna, a steam room, and a tanning machine. The locker room has a nice vanity area having complete supplies: alcohol, powder, hair gel, earbuds, skin lotion, mouthwash, etc. There’s a den with a sofa, a TV showing local shows, and magazines. There’s also an Internet room with 3 PC terminals. Action has an AV room with matresses covering the floor and a TV showing porn. There’s a dark maze and an kink room featuring a sling. And there are several rooms with beds where people can lock themselves up to have some private fun. In all the rooms where you can expect guys to have sex, there is an ample supply of condoms, tissue and lube. Nice!

By the way, while Action is billed as “The Nude Sauna,” towels were actually provided so I didn’t go around in the buff.

Surprisingly, it seemed that the whole place was manned by only one staff member (at least during the time I visited), and he was the one minding the counter at the entrance.

How was the crowd? I guess I went there not at the busiest time since there were only several other guys there. All were Asians except for this one chubby white dude. The age range was from the late 20s to 40s, and most were of average looks. I am partial to chinito guys but I didn’t find anyone there that I would really have a crush on. I did however managed to have fun with the attention and servicing I got. Hehe. :-P

Given the choice, I’d probably try the place again. It’s a clean and comfortable place to spend some time in and I really want to see how the clientele is during peak times. :-)

Action is located at the second floor (called the 1st floor in Hong Kong) of the Overseas Building along Hennessy Road. You get to the second floor via a really old elevator. The building’s entrance can be seen in the following Google Street View:

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