Many countries around the world are gay friendly and encourage gay tourism. Some cities advertise gay travel and certain countries even encourage gay marriage ceremonies and provide resources for gay couples. Certain places like Denmark have gay bars like the Central Hornet which is about to celebrate it’s 100th anniversary as an openly gay bar and cities like Las Vegas have gay hotels for you to stay at.
Unfortunately, not every country is as friendly and not every hotel will keep you safe or make you feel welcome. Here are some pointers when planning an around-the-world gay vacation and how to stay safe.
#1: Research the Local Laws
In some countries like Cameroon, you can be jailed or even put to death if they find out you are gay. You have two choices if cities and countries that have these laws are on your bucket list.
- You can avoid them, or
- you can hide anything pride wise and hold off during your visit from showing public affection with your partner.
Not every country is progressive or welcomes GLBT visitors which is why it is important, especially in Africa and the Middle East, to research the laws both on a city and country level.
#2: Choosing a Hotel
Although you’d think hotels would treat everyone equally, some hotels just do not want gay people, or do not train their employees to treat gays with respect.
A couple of things you can do are to research the local gay area of the city and see what hotels are nearby. You can then look to see if they have a gay section of their website or visit a gay chat room for that city and ask if the hotel is not only gay friendly, but also close to the local attractions; not to mention you can find out the quality of it.
Sometimes you’ll find out that even hotels in the middle of a gay area end up being the most homophobic and can put you at risk of being attacked physically and verbally. Staying in the gay section of the city usually does help you to find more gay friendly atmospheres with less staring from employees, and comments from staff or other guests.
#3: Be Cautious of Your Clothing and Accessories
Most major cities around the world are gay friendly. However many tourist attractions are not in the major cities.
When you leave a progressive metropolitan area, you will want to think about your clothing. If you tend to wear clothing that is generally geared towards the opposite sex or jewelry that is not as gender appropriate for that region, you could out yourself and put yourself in danger from unfriendly locals. If you wear gay symbols and flaunt them to people, you could also cause a scene and raise tempers.
It might not be right that you cannot be yourself, but remember that you are in a strange place and are the outsider. Sometimes it is better to blend in with the locals than stand out, especially when your own personal safety can be at risk.
#4: Visit a Gay Bar or Gift Shop When You First Get to the City
Gay bars and gift shops usually have maps of the city where you can find gay friendly restaurants, shops, clubs and most importantly, hotels. By using the maps and asking the bartender or shop owner which one is nice, clean and safe, you have a great shot at finding a gay friendly hotel or hostel to stay at.
#5: Find Out When Pride Is
If you plan your travel around gay pride festivals, you should have no problem finding gay nightlife. The one thing you want to make sure you do is to book your trip well in advance as rooms get more expensive and sell out the closer you get to pride.
The pride guides and events you can look up online usually have ads for gay friendly hotels as well. By looking at those ads and seeing if they are in your price range and are somewhere you would want to stay, you can more easily find somewhere safe to sleep.
There are hundreds of amazing gay friendly places in the world. Most major cities have gay areas and almost everywhere has a gay or gay friendly bar. Unfortunately there are also many places that are incredible to visit, but aren’t gay friendly. By blending in to the crowd, being smart about where you stay, doing research about the local laws and customs, you can not only have a better chance at visiting these places safely, but also return safely.