Elska takes an intimate trip to the world’s most legendary queer city, San Francisco

Graham Robson March 9, 2023

Lead Pic: Jake T

Elska Magazine, a publication dedicated to sharing the bodies and voices of LGBTQ communities around the world, has put the spotlight on San Francisco for its latest issue.

Inside readers can get up close and personal with a cross section of ordinary local men from what is arguably the most legendary gay city on Earth.

‚ÄúEarly on,¬†Elska had become known for featuring less ‚Äėobvious’ cities,‚ÄĚ says Elska editor and chief¬†photographer Liam Campbell. ‚ÄúFor example we chose to spotlight places like Yokohama, Japan¬†(and not Tokyo), or Haifa, Israel (instead of Tel Aviv), and our first US city was actually Providence,¬†Rhode Island.

“San Francisco is a much more obvious choice, but to me the point of Elska‚Äôs choice¬†of locations is to show that LGBTQ+ life is everywhere ‚ÄĒ in the less known cities Elska reveals that¬†we exist there as well and find ways to thrive; in the more known cities Elska shows that we all¬†have the same wants, hopes, and needs.


“In a sense we can prove with this edition how ‘normal’ or¬†‚Äėnormalised’ we can be. For a place with such a huge gay history like San Francisco I find it¬†especially empowering to see just how free we are able to be. Of course we‚Äôve not conquered all¬†the barriers put before us, but we can witness especially in San Francisco how strong and¬†unerasable our community is.”

Inside Elska San Francisco, 11 local guys who are part of the city’s LGBTQ+ community today are introduced, allowing readers to truly get to know some of the people who live in this renowned beacon of gay life. Each was photographed in their own neighbourhoods and in their own homes, revealing some of their city and their intimate environment; and wearing their own clothes, revealing their style, or sometimes not dressed at all, revealing their bodies and facing all vulnerabilities.

The photography provides a most honest way to get to know a slice of real San Francisco queer life, which is then taken further by the inclusion of personal stories penned by each of the participants.

Kevin L

Some of the people you’ll meet include:

‚Äʬ†Adam N, who talks about what led him to restart his life in San Francisco and why it was¬†the best decision he ever made;

‚Äʬ†Kevin L, who reveals a history of his San Francisco through listing off all the ‚Äėfirsts’ he¬†experienced there;

‚Äʬ†E C R, who takes us along on a journey of the excitement of new love, including private¬†jets, blackjack in Vegas, and hotel bed luxuriating;

‚Äʬ†Victor T, who opens up about his feelings regarding getting older, and whether the intense¬†nostalgia for his past life is spoiling his ability to enjoy his ostensibly great current life;

‚Äʬ†Jake T, who describes a typical day out experiencing one of San Francisco‚Äôs many queer¬†festivals, revealing how what would be unacceptable anywhere else is absolutely typical¬†here.

Elska San Francisco is 196 pages and is available from a select group of shops around the world as well as for order online from the Elska website. Also available is a companion zine called Elska Ekstra San Francisco, containing four more men and their stories plus hundreds of pages of outtakes and behind the scenes tales.

The list of stockists and details of the subscription service can also be found on the Elska website.