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Gay and lesbian travel

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In the western hemisphere, no country is more tolerant and gay friendly than Canada, both in legislation and attitude, including legal same-sex marriage.  That being said, not everyone has followed suit with the movement, particularly in rural areas.
In the western hemisphere and throughout the world, no country is more tolerant and gay friendly than Canada, both in legislation and attitude, including legal same-sex marriage.  That being said, not everyone has followed suit with the movement, particularly in rural areas.
* [[Montreal]] - North American city with a European flavour, very tolerant and multicultural. The large [[Montreal/Gay Village|Gay Village]] isn't an exclusively gay place anymore, it is a place where everybody goes out to have a good time. There is an annual Pride parade in August.
* [[Montreal]] - North American city with a European flavour, very tolerant and multicultural. The large [[Montreal/Gay Village|Gay Village]] isn't an exclusively gay place anymore, it is a place where everybody goes out to have a good time. There is an annual Pride parade in August.
* [[Toronto]] - Big 'village' in the big city.  Also the location for the annual Pride Week festival which is host to about 1 million visitors every year. []
* [[Toronto]] - Big 'village' in the big city.  Also the location for the annual Pride Week festival which is host to about 1 million visitors every year. []

Revision as of 03:58, 15 August 2010

    This article is a travel topic

GLBT's (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender) often have special interests when traveling. This page lists three things: events and activities of special interest to, or targeted towards, homosexual travelers; destinations where open homosexuality is acceptable; and destinations where it might be dangerous to travel, or at least to publicly display affection for a same-sex partner.

Queer events and activities

An up to date calender of gay prides all over the world you can find here [1].

  • The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras held annually (February/March) in Sydney.
  • The GLBT Pride Parade in São Paulo June 7, 2010 : held annually in early June is the world's largest gay event. The 2009 parade gathered 3 to 3.5 million people.
  • The San Francisco Celebration and Parade held annually (June) in San Francisco.
  • Divers/Cité [2] is an annual LGBT multidisciplinary arts and music festival taking place each summer in the heart of Montréal.
  • The White Party [3] held annually (November) in Miami.
  • SanJuanBrothas [4], the annual gay pride event held in San Juan, Puerto Rico each Memorial Day [5]weekend.
  • Paris Gay Pride [6] June 28, 2008 : held every summer in the French capital with over 700,000 participants in 2007.
  • Swedish Gay Camp [7] July 20-27, 2008 : A camp for gay and bisexual men held every summer in Sweden, open to international participants. Swedish and English speaking.
  • Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade [8] August 7, 2010 : held annually at the first Saturday of August in Amsterdam. The 2009 parade gathered 0.56 million people.
  • Pride in Brighton and Hove [9] Winter Pride 7th – 15th March 2009; Summer Festival Week 25th July – 2nd Aug 2009: probably the UK's best and most entertaining Pride festival
  • The Manila Pride March held annually every December in Manila.

GLBT laws

Throughout most of the world GLBT visitors are welcome, but there are some African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern countries where it wouldn't be the best idea to express who you are completely. In some countries where homosexuality is legal it doesn't necessarily mean the country is completely tolerant to gays. Even in the United States where, for the most part, homosexuality is legal, gay-bashing sometimes occurs, though tolerance is - slowly - increasing.

Queer friendly destinations

If you're not seeking out specifically queer events and activities, but want a hassle-free holiday, consider these destinations:

North America


In the western hemisphere and throughout the world, no country is more tolerant and gay friendly than Canada, both in legislation and attitude, including legal same-sex marriage. That being said, not everyone has followed suit with the movement, particularly in rural areas.

  • Montreal - North American city with a European flavour, very tolerant and multicultural. The large Gay Village isn't an exclusively gay place anymore, it is a place where everybody goes out to have a good time. There is an annual Pride parade in August.
  • Toronto - Big 'village' in the big city. Also the location for the annual Pride Week festival which is host to about 1 million visitors every year. [10]
  • Vancouver - third largest gay community and on the west coast and is not very discriminatory.
  • Winnipeg - no gay district, but had the first North American gay mayor and is very proud of it. Shouldn't have any problems.
  • Edmonton - Is a gay-friendly city with its own Pride Festival.
  • St. John's - has a small gay population but is one of the most tolerant cities in Canada and a great place to vacation also holds gay pride events during the peak tourist times.
  • Hamilton - Hamilton has a growing LGBTQ community with many gay owned and operated businesses. With two gay nightclubs and many friendly businesses and the introduction of a three day Pride Festival celebrating UNITY 2009. Their pride festival has been going for over a decade with this year's being for the full weekend of June 19-21


A traditionally Catholic country, Mexico is getting more gay-friendly all the time. Medium-sized and big cities as well as coastal resorts all have gay bars and sometimes gay discos. Watch out, the extrovert Mexicans are never shy of flirting.

  • Mexico City - This huge city offers a vast array of gay bars and clubs, from stylish and slick to unassuming and friendly, both in the elegant Zona Rosa and elsewhere [11]
  • Acapulco - Apart from the natural beauty of the Quebrada divers, this party place has hectic night clubs, strip joints and friendly bars. Most of your fellow travellers are Mexican.
  • Puerto Vallarta - Commonly considered the most gay-friendly destination in Mexico. The area known as the South Side or Zona Romantica in the southern part of the old city is the epicentre of both gay nightlife and the popular gay beach, which consists largely of the Blue and Green chair restaurant/bar areas with their many palapas along Playa Los Muertos beach.

United States

File:Chicago Pride 2010.JPG
Pride Parade in Chicago's Boystown

By and large the USA is tolerant-to-accepting of LGBT travellers, especially in the larger cities, the Northeast, and the West Coast. Major destinations include:

  • San Francisco - the "gay mecca" of the USA; the Castro is one of the world's most famous gay neighborhoods.
  • New York City - Greenwich Village is the birthplace of the American gay rights movement; Chelsea is a center of gay social life.
  • Chicago - has an annual Pride Parade in the Boystown neighbourhood, which includes some of the city's best clubs and bars
  • Minneapolis - Hosts the Twin Cities Pride festival every summer, and has numerous gay bars.
  • West Hollywood - in the heart of the Los Angeles metropolitan area
  • Philadelphia - the "City of Brotherly Love" and the first destination in the world to create and air a television commercial specifically geared towards LGBT Tourism, with a slogan "Get your history straight and your nightlife gay."
  • Fire Island Pines / Cherry Grove - Two of the seventeen villages located on the Fire Island National Seashore (70 Miles from NYC) that are predominantly gay
  • Palm Springs - a small desert mecca two hours east of Los Angeles - it has amongst the highest proportion of Gays and Lesbians in its population of any American city - also home to the annual White Party at Eastertime
  • Provincetown - at the tip of Cape Cod, "P-Town" has long been famous as a queer getaway; and now that gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, it's a popular place to tie the knot as well
  • Key West - the southernmost point of the US is also a famously liberal vacation spot with many options for LGBT travellers
  • Miami Beach - a glitzy and very queer-friendly beach resort that is also home to the annual White Party
  • Ocean Grove, New Jersey Known as Gods Square Mile, The Methodist resort is now a vacation resort and home to a a diverse group of people.
  • Ogunquit, Maine
  • Rehoboth Beach - a small beach town on the Delaware coast with a large and active LGBT community
  • Galveston - a small island city just out side of Houston Texas that has some "Gay Only" hotels and some beaches that are generally queer only
  • Asheville - a city in western North Carolina with significant feminist and lesbian/gay communities.
  • San Juan - the 500 year-old island capital of Puerto Rico and “Gay Capital of the Caribbean”. San Juan is a definitively Latin American city and Spanish is predominant throughout the island. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory with border-free access from the mainland and direct air links to Canada and Europe. With gay guesthouses, restaurants, beaches and nightlife in the Condado and Santurce areas, San Juan offers the Caribbean's best gay scene.
  • Washington, D.C. - Dupont Circle is gay central in a very gay-friendly town, where you can subvert the national political culture, dancing the night away with gay Republican politicians and their staffers!

Central America

Costa Rica

  • San José (Costa Rica) This is the country's capital and where most of the population in Costa Rica lives. Filled up with bars and discos for gay people, this place will turn you on.
  • Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica's favorite gay vacation spot for locals and tourists. One of the most amazing beach on the Pacific Ocean, declared Natioanl Park for its amazing beauty. Many gay owned . friendly hotels and commerce. Great nightlife and a mini gay nude beach.

South America


  • Buenos Aires - The Argentine capital is quickly surpassing Rio as the most popular gay travel destination in South America. The city's first five-star gay hotel is currently under construction, and the city passed same-sex civil union legislation in 2002.


  • Sao Paulo - Home to the largest gay pride festival in the world, with some 3 million participants annually.


  • Montevideo - The Uruguayan capital had a sexual diversity monument installed in 2005.

Middle East


  • Tel Aviv Israel's Gay capital. Extremely lively and liberal city, with dozens of gay venues, parties and activities. Locals are completely blasé regarding sexual diversity.


Likely the most relaxed about gay and lesbian travel and people should have little problems. UK, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Belgium and likely the most accepting. Travellers should bear in mind, that - in general - the further east you go, the less tolerant it is. Ibiza, Gran Canaria, Sitges (all in Spain) and Mykonos (Greece) are the hottest gay holiday destinations that Europe has to offer.


Czech Republic





  • Paris - Over 300 different gay and lesbian venues, concentrated around Le Marais, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.
  • Provence - Southern France brings gay travellers a new experience in travelling with the French gay and lesbian community in Provence sharing their love and knowledge of the country.


Cologne Pride afterparty
  • Berlin
  • Cologne
  • Hamburg - The gay heart of the city is called "St. George" with the famous "Lange Reihe" as the gay street in Hamburg. Also the "Pulverfass" has many gay or gayfriendly locations, e.g. bars, shops, restaurants and clubs. For a more sexual connotation visit the local redlight district "Reeperbahn" and it's many junctions, in particular the "Talstraße" which is the other clearly "gay-labeled" street in Hamburg with gay cinemas, bars and clubs




  • Budapest - Thermal bath and spa capital of Central Europe with a lively gay scene.




  • Amsterdam is also known as the gay capital of Europe, but will probably greatly disappoint one's expectation. Many clubs have special gay nights every week. A certain area known as Reguliersdwarsstraat, though quite modest in size, is full of cafés where gay people are more common than heterosexuals. Every summer there is the Gay Pride Parade, taking place in the canals in the city centre.







  • Istanbul - has a considerable gay life and tens of gay bars and clubs mainly around Taksim and Beyoglu districts. In the summer of 2007, local GLBT association Lambda Istanbul organized a big gay & lesbian parade (Pride Istanbul) out in the streets with the legal permission of local authorities.

United Kingdom

The Big 3 widely known as Brighton, London and Manchester.

  • London- The second highest percentage of gay people in UK after Brighton.
  • Edinburgh - One of the most tolerant cities in Europe. The second highest major city gay population outside London, after Manchester.
  • Birmingham Has a large and vibrant gay scene and gay village in the Hurst Street/China Town district of the city.
  • Sheffield
  • Manchester - One of the gay party capitals with a huge amount of gay nightlife. The largest major city gay population outside London. Reportedly largest gay village in Europe.
  • Brighton - The highest percentage of gay people in Europe, with a lot of style, creativity, and great nightlife.
  • Hebden Bridge, a small town in West Yorkshire, has the highest proportion of lesbians in the UK.



  • Alice Springs - its suggested that Alice Springs has the highest number of G & L people per capita in Australia - so its truely a friendly place. The area has several queer friendly accommodation establishments and is also home to the Alice is Wonderland festival - held just after the Sydney Mardi Gras.
  • Sydney - host of the country's largest tourist event, the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which attracts millions of queer-friendly visitors to the city every year
  • Melbourne - a cultural hub of fantastic museums, art exhibits, and restaurants
  • Cairns - one of the best spots to see the Great Barrier Reef from, using one of the many gay-friendly local operators

New Zealand

  • Auckland - the city comes alive around 1:00am, full of incredible restaurants, pubs with live music, and great dancing places in 'K Road'. Use Auckland as your base to discover the local Maori culture, and organise further travel into the world-famous South Island of New Zealand, with its breathtaking scenery.
  • Vinegar Hill - a camping ground in the Manawatu that hosts a large gay and lesbian camp over Christmas/New Year.



  • Homosexual acts were decriminalized by the High Court of Delhi in a historic judgment on 2 July 2009[12]. Much of the activity is underground and focused on public cruising, but conventional scenes are quickly developing in cities such as Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.
  • On June 29, 2008, four Indian cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Pondicherry, and Kolkata) saw coordinated pride events, and on 16 August 2008 the gay community in Mumbai held its first ever formal parade.
  • Engaging in public displays of affection for both the straight and the gay and lesbian community is met with strong rejection. Watch out for the cops, especially if you are being open as gay/lesbian couple in the open as in many areas, laws do not tend to have such a positive effect.
  • India can't be considered a gay-friendly country as yet as the decriminalization took effect recently in 2009. Hopefully, it will be a gay and lesbian tolerant country in the forthcoming years.


  • There are no laws against homosexuality in China, and people are generally tolerant towards gays and lesbians with unprovoked violence against homosexuals being extremely rare.
  • Still not considered gay-friendly as homosexual themes are usually censored in the media. Gay pride events are generally non-existent.
  • Public display of affection is frowned upon for both homosexuals and heterosexuals.


  • Tokyo - Shinjuku ni-chome is the largest gay district in the nation
  • Osaka - Doyama-cho is Osaka's gay district
  • Sapporo - Home to a few gay establishments and hosts its own annual Pride Parade. It has the largest gay community in northern Japan
  • Fukuoka - Kyushu's largest city and most gay-friendly city, you'll find many of its gay venues in the Sumiyoshi ward
  • Nagoya - Sakae yon-chome in the Joshidai area is home to Nagoya's gay venues


  • Manila - Known as the gay capital of Asia. Most gay-friendly or LGBT-friendly destinations are found in the city and are owned by LGBTs themselves.
  • Cebu - There are active LGBTQ organizations and gay-friendly restaurants and cafes in Cebu.
  • Cagayan de Oro


  • Bangkok - Known for its gay tolerance, and its gay festivals.
  • Pattaya - Many homosexual clubs and bars.
  • Phuket - Well-known for Transgenders as the place to get a gender change.


  • Taipei - an annual gay parade event known as Taiwan Pride is held there between September and November


South Africa

Dangerous destinations


The following countries have criminal laws against sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex. Bold Italic Links denote countries that have a DEATH PENALTY for homosexuals.


Homosexuality illegal: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia.

Male only: Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania (except Zanzibar, where lesbianism is ALSO punishable), Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Homosexuality illegal: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka.

Male only: Maldives, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

Homosexuality illegal for Muslims only, one province: Indonesia (Province: Aceh)

Central and South America

Homosexuality illegal: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.

Male homosexuality ("buggery") illegal: Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia,

Anal sex illegal, regardless of gender: Dominica


Chechnya (more info needed)

Middle East

Homosexuality illegal: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Male only: Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine.


Homosexuality illegal: Samoa, Solomon Islands

Male only: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu


The following destinations pose some problems to queer travellers (see also the "Stay safe" section of region and cities articles):

  • Cuba - homosexuality is legal but repressed;
  • Cayman Islands - recently two men kissing caused one to be "arrested" by off-duty police officer for 'a public offence.' The one man taken from the Royal Palms, Grand Cayman was in fact detained and not arrested. Turns out there is no law against homosexuality in CI - a British Overseas Territory but homophobia there is culturally endemic.
  • While homosexuality is legal in Belarus, gays and lesbians may be subjected to harsh discrimination from both the locals and the authorities.
  • Malta - A conservative country with a strong Roman Catholic faith, Malta is very hostile towards LBGT visitors, despite homosexuality being legal since 1974.
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