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Illustrations by Paco May

Article by Alexey Kim.

In 2017, actress Alyssa Milano, asked her female Twitter followers to reply with #MeToo if they had been sexually abused.

Even though civil rights activist Tarana Burke originally founded the Me Too movement on Myspace in 2006, only after the hashtag went viral in 2017 did the Me Too movement become part of today’s dominant cultural and social media conversations. Me Too has unarguably contributed to the growth of today’s cancel culture, where many public figures face the backlash of the general public based on something offensive they’ve either done or said, or based on certain allegations. …


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Article and photos by Alexey Kim

Every once in a while there comes a moment in life that changes the course of history, and 27 years ago that pivotal moment happened in downtown Manhattan’s queer night scene, when Bar d’O opened its doors. Not only has Bar d’O served as a stepping stone for many of its now-legendary performers’ careers, but it served as a shining example of how something made purely out of love can become much bigger than yourself.

A Bit of History

Once upon a time, in 1992, to be precise, Jean-Marc Houmard took over Indochine restaurant with two partners. …


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All photography by Kuan-Lun Chang

Foreword by Sidewalkkilla founder Alexey Kim

On October 31 of this year, over 130,000 people took to the streets of Taipei to celebrate Pride, making it the world’s largest in-person Pride celebration in 2020. Taiwan has been extremely successful at curbing its COVID-19 infections and on October 30, 2020, just one day before the 18th annual Taipei Pride, the island hit a milestone of 200 days without any locally transmitted cases of the disease.

A local photographer Kuan-Lun Chang set out to capture this year’s festivities.

“The theme for this year is ‘Beauty, My Own Way (成人之美)’, and it has a double…


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Written by Alexey Kim. Illustrations by Felix Santos

“It is no longer the science that is limiting a cure for AIDS, but a failure of leadership and the lack of imagination,”

says Kambiz Shekdar, an Iranian-born cellular biologist who invented biotechnology that puts innovative stem cell therapy into practice. His nonprofit organization RFTCA (Research Foundation To Cure AIDS) is the first charitable biotechnology venture that obtained a license to use cellular technology to research, develop, and commercialize a global cure for HIV/AIDS for all those in need, regardless of ability to pay.

I first met Kambiz during World AIDS Day in 2019. His nonprofit was hosting a fundraising gala at Indochine, the iconic NYC restaurant. During his opening speech at the gala, I was taken aback by his bold statement that getting rid of HIV/AIDS was plausible and scientifically conceivable. There are only two reported cases of people cured of AIDS. Timothy Ray Brown, otherwise known as the “Berlin patient” was cured in 2007, and Adam Castillejo, also known as “London patient” was cured in 2019, as reported by The New York Times. It was hard to believe that a cure might be just around the corner, when the success rate of getting rid of the disease was so miniscule. Nonetheless, I wanted to find out more about Kambiz and the work that he was doing with RFTCA. …


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“Where was God when I was raped?”

A question I ask myself every night for two years. Having stopped believing in a God as a teenager, why was I still burdened with this existential question of spirituality?

After being sexually assaulted at seventeen, I sought answers about my identity, as I tried to understand what it means to be queer living with both religious and sexual trauma. Becoming a self-anointed “Martyr,” I found my identity through drag, art, and my own interpretation of piety. By sharing my story, I hope to help others who have experienced similar traumas find both solace and courage to begin speaking out.

Making of a Martyr

Religious trauma is ingrained in many a queer person’s experience. Being raised Catholic myself, I knew the guilt and shame of a queer identity within the church firsthand. I was taught the horrors of Sodom and Gomorrah, punished for seeing two men being affectionate, and forced to perform corrective masculine behavior. From forcing the “swish” in my walk to disappear, or being allowed to play with G.I. Joe over Barbie, most of these punishments were subtle. The one odd example that sticks out was when I grew out my nails a bit too long. At the ripe old age of nine, my dad accused me of being a gay coke dealer due to my slightly longer pinky nail. He would then restrain me while he clipped them. …


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Drag artists Popcorn (top) and Nymphia Wind

In 2019, Taiwanese-based music label and event organizer Smoke Machine celebrated 10 years of success in the music business. The label is mostly known for its annual techno Organik Festival. The 3-day event is celebrated on the black beaches of Hualien County on the east coast of Taiwan, surrounded by a stunning mountainous vista.

In 2017, Smoke Machine launched another festival, queer-centered Spectrum Formosus. …


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Works by Asafe Pereira, Ish Peralta, Jason Elizondo, Marianna Peragallo, Michelle Girardello, Joseph Kaminski, Sean O’Connor, Shannon Stovall, Steve Harwick, and William Donovan

“We thought, what can we do to get through this pandemic?”

Says Michael Cruz, one-third of the organizing force behind @ARTpartmentNYC, a gallery space that he newly launched out of his home. Growing up in the Philippines, Michael pursued a singing career and enjoyed a successful run on Filipino singing competition series Star in a Million. After moving to NYC, Michael started an event production venture, settling in Williamsburg right above The Rosemont bar, beloved by Brooklyn queers. Then the pandemic happened.

“Me and my partner Aaron thought, how can we do something productive and come up with a creative project involving the community while we are at home?”

says Michael.

“We thought about gathering some of the best artists that we knew and curating an exhibit.”


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NYC nightlife drag person CT Hedden by The Met steps

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most-anticipated fashion events of the year, the Met Gala helmed by Anna Wintour, has been postponed. Leave it up to the NYC drag queens to take matters into their own hands and keep the fantasy alive.

CT Hedden, one of New York City’s prominent drag nightlife personas, came up with an idea to throw his own version of the Gala, inspired by social distancing.

“I feel like as an entertainer, it’s our job to entertain even in tough times,” says CT on the idea of throwing an apocalyptic homage to the actual Gala, “people look to us to lift their spirits. I’ve been doing live shows and I had this woman talk about how she was going to have elective surgery for cancer, and she’s been watching my shows and laughing about it. …


Taipei Holds First Pride Parade After This Year’s Passed Legislation On Same-Sex Marriage

Around 200,000 people attend Taipei Pride, to celebrate this year’s major win for the island as the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

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Photography: Sidewalkkilla

By Alexey Kim

Due to Taiwan passing same-sex marriage legislation on May 24 of this year, Taipei Pride was slated to be the biggest one yet. The tumultuous history of getting marriage between same-sex couples legalized spanned almost two decades, culminating in the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the Civil Code’s clauses relating to marriage were unconstitutional. The person responsible for setting the landmark precedent in Asia is 61-year-old gay / AIDS pioneer / activist Chi Chia-wei, who set the train in motion by applying for a marriage license back in 2013. …


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During September’s “Global Week for Future,” over 6 million people all over the world took to the streets demanding their governments take action to address climate change. A series of passionate speeches by climate strike youth leader Greta Thunberg were a catalyst to last week’s series of global protests. The first youth-led wave of climate strikes on September 20, ahead of the UN’s Climate Action Summit on September 23, amassed over 2 million marchers. …

About

Sidewalkkilla

Sidewalkkilla features unexpected stories about LGBTQIA+ lifestyles and creativity.

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