LGBT(QI) (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) people often have special concerns or interests when travelling. This page lists three things: events and activities of special interest to, or targeted towards, LGBT* travellers; destinations where being out as LGBT is acceptable; and destinations where it might be dangerous to travel if one's transgender status or nonheterosexual orientation is known.
Queer events and activities
- The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras held annually (Feb/Mar) in Sydney. (The Sydney Mardi Gras does not necessarily take place on Shrove Tuesday or the days leading up to it, as traditional Mardi Gras do.)
- The Rio Gay Pride, in Rio de Janeiro October : held annually in early Oct in Copacabana beach. Around one million people.
- The GLBT Pride Parade in São Paulo held annually in early June is the world's largest gay event. The 2009 parade gathered about three and a half million people.
- Toronto Pride Week held annually (late June) in Toronto : one of the largest pride festivals in the world, attracting over one million people every year.
- The San Francisco Celebration and Parade held annually in June in San Francisco.
- Divers/Cité is an annual LGBT multidisciplinary arts and music festival taking place each summer in the heart of Montréal.
- The White Party held annually (November) in Miami.
- SanJuanBrothas, the annual gay pride event held in San Juan, Puerto Rico each Memorial Day weekend.
- Paris Gay Pride held every summer in the French capital with over 700,000 participants in 2007.
- Helsinki Pride, held annually in Helsinki, Finland at the whole last week of June. Helsinki Pride continues the tradition established by Finnish glbtiq-organization Seta's "Freedom Day" started at 1975. Finnish, Swedish and English speaking.
- Swedish Gay Camp 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 held annually at the first Saturday of August in Amsterdam. The 2009 parade gathered 560,000 people.
- Pride in Brighton and Hove Winter Pride in March and a Summer Festival Week at the end of July: probably the UK's best and most entertaining Pride festival
- The Manila Pride March held annually every Dec in Manila.
- Carnival Week held annually in Provincetown each August.
- Madrid Pride Week Europe's largest pride celebration attracting more than 1.5 million people. First Week of July.
- Gay Days Annual gathering in Orlando, Florida with the primary focus visiting Walt Disney World the first weekend in June, but has since grown to events all over Orlando
- Bear Week Provincetown One of the largest gatherings of bears and admirers in North America. Held in mid-July each summer in Provincetown.
In some parts of the world LGBT visitors are welcome, but this is not true of most African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern countries where it would be a bad idea, and in some cases dangerous, to express who you are completely. In some countries (particularly where LGBT expression or activity is legally restricted), police do little or nothing to investigate brutal anti-gay violence. Sometimes, they are part of the problem.
Most East Asian countries do not have any laws against homosexuality, though with the notable exception of Taiwan, there are also no anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation. Acceptance of homosexuality tends not to be as good as in Western countries, and homosexual relationships are generally not given legal recognition. Nevertheless, given that the violent crime rate in East Asia is generally low, you are unlikely to get anything more than stares and whispers, and unprovoked anti-homosexual violence is almost unheard of.
Even where homosexuality is legal, there is no guarantee of ready acceptance from locals. Even in the United States and Western Europe where, for the most part, homosexuality is legal, gay-bashing sometimes occurs, though tolerance is - slowly - increasing.
ILGA has more specific information and news about LGBT rights around the world.
Identity documents can be awkward for transgender voyagers, as some national customs or immigration checkpoints blindly assume the traveller's birth sex, gender presentation and stated gender on passports or travel documents will all conveniently match. Voyagers planning sexual reassignment surgery abroad must ensure they're carrying valid documents for the return trip. The willingness of governments to issue passports with gender not stated (X) or documents updated to match a desired name and gender varies. Willingness of foreign governments to honour these documents is just as widely variable.
Searches at security checkpoints have also become far more intrusive in the post-Sept 11, 2001 era. Pre-operative transsexuals should not expect to pass through the scanners with their privacy and dignity intact.
There is also the possibility that specific literature, pornography, adult novelty toys or other items will be blocked by customs when entering countries whose governments discriminate against LGBT persons.
Hotels and accommodation
Laws prohibiting private businesses from discriminating against gay (and, less often, transgender) patrons exist in a few of the jurisdictions where same-sex activity is lawful. Couples have successfully sued innkepers who refused to let one bed/double occupancy rooms in the United Kingdom. Similar protections exist in much of western Europe.
The US varies by state and region; strong protections exist in liberal states such as Hawaii, while voyagers to 14 mostly Southern American states which criminalised homosexuality before a 2003 Supreme Court ruling overturned these laws may encounter residual homophobia or find no law to discourage discrimination by privately-owned businesses.
Legally-binding same-sex marriages, first solemnised in Amsterdam in 2001, are now performed in many countries around the world including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United States and Uruguay as well as parts of Denmark (except the Faroe Islands), Mexico (CA, CH, DF, QR), the Netherlands (except Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten) and the United Kingdom (except northern Ireland). British citizens may have access to marriage in a limited number of British consulates abroad in nations which neither object nor offer same-sex marriage locally. The Irish republic has voted to recognise same-sex marriage by fall 2015. Other countries perform or recognize unions similar to marriage between two same-sex persons, the name and form of which varies considerably around the world.
As laws vary, marriages (and less-than-marriage civil partnerships) from foreign jurisdictions may not be recognized as valid in your home country. Residence or citizenship requirements for marriage (and divorce) also vary between nations. If your own country believes your relationship does not legally exist and the country in which you married only hears divorce cases for its own people, a divorce might not be an option.
This information may change rapidly due to referenda, changes in local laws or court cases making their way through multiple appeals. In some jurisdictions, same-sex couples have gained, lost, then regained the right to marry - sometimes causing a rush to registry offices as the situation may change on each appeal hearing, ending at a national supreme court.
If your plans are elaborate or may be difficult to change, be sure to consult the relevant authorities well before your wedding date.
Queer friendly destinations
If you're not seeking out specifically queer events and activities, but want a hassle-free holiday, consider these destinations:
Few countries are 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 and remote areas.
- Toronto - Canada's largest city is famous for its long-standing social liberalism, tolerance, anti-discrimination policies and multicultural population. It is home to one of the largest GLBT populations in the Americas. The Church and Wellesley district is the epicentre of the gay community in Toronto, and is a major tourist destination in the city. Parkdale and West Queen West are also popular districts featuring many gay bars, clubs, restaurants and other businesses. The annual Toronto Pride Week Festival is one of the largest pride celebrations in the world, attracting over 1 million visitors to the city every year.
- Montreal - North American city with a European flavour, very tolerant and multicultural. The large Gay Village isn't an exclusively gay place any more, it is a place where everybody goes out to have a good time. There is an annual Pride parade in August.
- Vancouver - third largest gay community and on the west coast and is not very discriminatory. The Davie Village in the West End is the centre of the gay community. The annual Pride Parade takes place on the first weekend in August.
- Ottawa - One of the five largest Canadian cities (long contesting the #4 spot with Calgary), yet Ottawa-Hull historically had a small-town mentality compared to its larger neighbour Montréal (200km distant), primarily as a result of its civil service heritage. No clearly-defined "gay ghetto", but there is an annual Capital Pride march (mid-July), a monthly gay/lesbian newspaper (Capital Xtra), various bars and an easily-recognisable cluster of gay-owned businesses on one section of Bank Street in Ottawa-Centretown.
- Winnipeg - no gay district, but had the first North American gay mayor and is very proud of it. Shouldn't have any problems. Annual pride festival held in the middle of the summer.
- 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 lives somewhat in the shadow of its larger neighbour Toronto, but has a growing local GLBT community with many gay owned and operated businesses, two gay nightclubs and a three day Pride Festival in late June.
- Saint John - Saint John, located where the Bay of Fundy meets the Saint John River, is a vibrant harbour city with several gay and gay friendly businesses, including one gay nightclub. Port City Rainbow Pride hosts a pride festival the 2nd week of August every year.
- Moncton - Moncton features New Brunswick's largest GLBT Pride Parade and Festival every summer. Downtown Moncton has one nightclub specifically for the GLBT community and the downtown area is incredibly tolerant and accepting of the GLBT community.
- Halifax - the gay-friendly capital of Nova Scotia and largest city in Atlantic Canada has many gay-friendly and gay-themed events throughout the year such as OUTeast Film Festival, Guerilla GayFare and Halifax Pride Parade. Reflections, Menz Bar/Mollyz, Michael's Bar & Grill and The Company House cater to gay and lesbian patrons. Halifax Pride is active in the community and hosts many events throughout the year.
A largely 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.
- 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. Also the first city in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage.
- 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 Romántica 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.
By and large the USA is tolerant-to-accepting of GLBT travellers, especially in the larger cities, the Northeast, and the West Coast. However, due to strong evangelical influences in some areas, as a whole, the USA is not as gay-friendly as Western Europe, Australia or Canada. Acceptance of homosexuality generally varies from region to region, and in areas where tourists are most likely to visit, acceptance is at least as good as in Western Europe. On the other hand, locals may not be as accepting of homosexuality in some more rural inland areas away from the tourist trail, where the majority of people continue to be deeply religious. Major destinations include:
- Palm Springs - a small desert resort 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
- San Diego - Hillcrest - near downtown, Hillcrest is a vibrant community with the same no attitude relaxed atmosphere that defines San Diego
- San Francisco - largely seen as the "gay mecca" of the USA; the Castro is one of the world's most famous gay neighborhoods.
- Seattle - with a large and well-integrated gay population, welcomes GLBT vacationers who like the perks of the great outdoors during the day and great restaurants and nightlife in the evening.
- West Hollywood - in the heart of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
- Boston - the South End is the largest gay neighborhood, within reach of touristy attractions in the Back Bay and on the waterfront. Annual pride parade in June is the city's second largest festival after the Fourth of July.
- 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
- Philadelphia - the "City of Brotherly Love" and the first destination in the world to create and air a television commercial specifically geared towards GLBT Tourism, with a slogan "Get your history straight and your nightlife gay." Many gay bars and other businesses can be found in Washington Square West.
- New Hope, Pennsylvania - just outside Philadelphia; popular weekend getaway with a decidedly gay focus
- New York City - Greenwich Village is the birthplace of the American gay rights movement; Chelsea is a centre of gay social life.
- Northampton, Massachusetts - a lesbian mecca in Western Massachusetts, known for its art scene and surrounded by farms and mountains.
- Ocean Grove, New Jersey - known as God's Square Mile, The Methodist resort is now a vacation resort and home to a diverse group of people.
- Ogunquit, Maine on the Atlantic seacoast with cute bed & breakfasts
- Provincetown - at the tip of Cape Cod, "P-Town" has long been famous as a queer getaway; now that gay marriage is legal, it's a popular place to tie the knot
- Rehoboth Beach - a small beach town on the Delaware coast with a large and active GLBT community
- Washington, D.C. - Dupont Circle and nearby Logan Circle are 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!
- Chicago - has an annual Pride Parade in the Boystown neighbourhood, which includes some of the city's best clubs and bars
- Saugatuck, MI - small resort town with lots of GLBT friendly B&B's, galleries, restaurants and shops next to Lake Michigan and popular with weekending Chicagoans
- Minneapolis - Hosts the Twin Cities Pride festival every summer, and has numerous gay bars.
- Asheville - a city in western North Carolina with significant feminist and lesbian/gay communities.
- Atlanta - with lots of gay venues, this metropolis has grown rapidly by attracting people from across the South; gays included.
- Ft. Lauderdale - a "Gay HotSpot" in South Florida. The area has a large gay population, gay districts, and tons of gay bars, shops, and restaurants, especially in the City of Wilton Manors.
- 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
- Key West - the southernmost point of the US is also a famously liberal vacation spot with many options for LGBT travelers
- Miami Beach - a glitzy and very queer-friendly beach resort that is also home to the annual White Party
- New Orleans - With a very queer ambiance and a long history of gay life, this French Creole/African/American city hosts Southern Decadence every Labor Day Weekend and has many gay bars in the historic French Quarter. There is even a gay krewe at Mardi Gras.
- 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 guest houses, restaurants, beaches and nightlife in the Condado and Santurce areas, San Juan offers the Caribbean's best gay scene.
- San José (Costa Rica) This is the country's capital and where most of the population in Costa Rica lives. This place is filled with bars and discos for gay people.
- Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica's favourite gay vacation spot for locals and tourists. One of the nicest beaches on the Pacific Ocean, declared National Park for its amazing beauty. Many gay-owned, friendly hotels and commerce. Great nightlife. There used to be a small gay beach, but now security guards from a nearby hotel harass men who go here.
- Buenos Aires - The Argentine capital is one of the most popular gay travel destinations in South America. The city's first five-star gay hotel is currently the only one in Latin America, and the city passed same-sex civil union legislation in 2002, and full same-sex marriage in 2010.
- Rio de Janeiro - Latin America´s main gay mecca, has been chosen as the sexiest gay destination in 2010 by TripOut Gay Travel Awards. In 2009 it was elected as the best lesbigay global destination. There is a famous gay beach. Acceptance of gay behaviour is dates back to the 18th century. During colonial times the first gay ball of the Americas took place in Rio in 1757. Despite all this, many people in Rio are not tolerant of all aspects of LGBT behaviour outside the traditional venues of Ipanema and parts of Copacabana; same-sex displays of affection are likely to attract mocking whistles.
- São Paulo - Home to the largest gay pride festival in the world, with some 3 million participants annually.
- Santiago - Santiago is by far Chile's least conservative city, the only one where the 'Gay parade' and similar events are held. But beware that gay people in Chile should keep a low profile: Same-sex couples kissing in the street or holding hands (especially males) are going to attract stares, and, though homophobic physical attacks are somewhat unusual, there has been some unprovoked violence against gay couples.
- Montevideo - The Uruguayan capital had a sexual diversity monument installed in 2005.
- Tel Aviv Israel's Gay capital. Extremely lively and liberal city, with dozens of gay venues, parties and activities. Many locals are completely blasé regarding sexual diversity.
- Istanbul - has a considerable gay life and tons 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.
Likely the most relaxed about gay and lesbian travel and people should have little problems. Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Britain, France and Spain are 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.
- Copenhagen - More Information about gay-friendly Copenhagen: http://www.queerfriendly-travel.de/index.php/reiseziele/item/54-willkommen-in-copenhagen
No polar bears in Finland but yes, there are gay bears on land and online . Don't be afraid to bear with them in Finland. Famous gay-artist Tom of Finland lived in Helsinki (with a view over the Vuorimiehenpuistikko park from his apartment) for several decades and often ate at the Sea Horse restaurant.
Tove Jansson, author of the Moomin stories, lived in Finland with her female life partner for several decades. Their home was in Helsinki, but they spent many of their summers in a rented cottage on an little rocky island Klovaharun, near the city of Porvoo, 50 km east of Helsinki. She wrote many of her Moomin books there. The characters of Moomin stories are very bohemian and tolerant towards diversity. The island may be open to the public for one week every July.
- Helsinki (capital city of Finland) is the most glbt-lively place in Finland. You can be safely openly gay, or lesbian, or bi, or trans. You can kiss, hold hands ... or if you stay long enough in Finland, you may even end up as member of Parliament, like some openly gay or lesbian, even officially same sex coupled Finns are. Official Helsinki city's tourist information about gay-friendly Helsinki . An annual Helsinki Pride week (end of June) continues the local glbt-community tradition of Freedom day, established in 1975. Both of the glbt-nightclubs in Helsinki are located just around one corner at Mannerheimintie and Lönnrotinkatu streets: Hercules in a basement, right side of the corner and DTM on the second floor, left side of the corner. Gay pub Mann's Street, with its famous gay karaoke, is nearby too .
- Pori - Pori is a small to middle-size city on the western coast of Finland. The annual 9 day Pori Jazz festival in mid-July is full of locals and foreigners. Pori Jazz offers acoustic jazz, electric jazz, blues, soul, funk, hip-hop and a rich, broad contingent of the world's other leading artists ranging from long-established figures to up-and-coming stars. Much of the program is free admission. The first Pori Pride day was held 19 July 2013. Pride, music culture and the Yyteri beach with sand dunes can all be found close to Pori.
- Tampere - Nightclub Mixei (addr. Itsenäisyydenkatu 7-9) has been operating for more than two decades.
- Marseille - The first gay bar in France was in Marseille; it's called "The New CanCan" and it's close to the"Vieux port" (Marseille city centre). Actually Marseille is not really gay summer destination. It's also hard to find gay couples, they tend to hide themselves due to the roughness of gangs at night.
- 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.
- Berlin - Berlin has a pretty widespread gay community, mostly in Schöneberg, but gay couples can be seen pretty much anywhere. The only places where caution should taken are Lichtenberg and Neukölln: historically not very tolerant groups live there, however, NeuKölln is nowadays the new hip part of the city. Clubs/Bars: Rose's - Oranienstraße, Berghain, Kitkat Club (a fetish club for all, where it's not uncommon to see the occasional blowjob) Near Kufürstendamm there are a lot of gay bars.
- Hamburg - The gay heart of the city is called St. Georg with the famous "Lange Reihe" as the gay street in Hamburg. Also the "Pulverfass" has many gay or gay-friendly locations, e.g. bars, shops, restaurants and clubs. For a more sexual connotation visit the local red light district "Reeperbahn" and its many junctions, in particular the "Talstraße" which is the other clearly "gay-labelled" 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 known as the gay capital of Europe, although these days many other destinations are at least as gay friendly. Still, 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.
- Gran Canaria
- Madrid Has a famous gay quarter named "Chueca" with many bars, restaurants, clubs, discos and gay-catered business, although gay life is not restricted to that area. Madrid Pride Week is also famous worldwide and held the first week of July.
- Palma de Mallorca
The Big 3 are widely known as Brighton, London and Manchester.
- London- The second highest percentage of gay people in UK after Brighton, but given the massive size of the city, is not really second to none. Hundreds of clubs with different types of people and nationalities are waiting for you.
- 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.
- 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 Hosts numerous gay bars & clubs spread throughout the city centre.
- Hebden Bridge, a small town in West Yorkshire, has the highest proportion of lesbians in the UK.
Australia is a very safe destination for homosexuals. The majority of Australians are accepting of homosexuality, and acceptance is almost universal among the younger generation. Australia also has anti-discrimination laws on the grounds of sexual orientation. Although same-sex marriage is still not recognised in Australia, de-facto relationships between gay couples are given the same legal recognition as that between straight couples, and are for most practical purposes equivalent to a marriage.
- Alice Springs - its suggested that Alice Springs has the highest number of GLBT people per capita in Australia - so its truly 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 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
- Auckland - the city comes alive around 1:00am, full of incredible restaurants, pubs with live music, and great dancing places in 'K Road'.
- Vinegar Hill - a camping ground in the Manawatu that hosts a large gay and lesbian camp over Christmas/New Year.
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, homosexuals should keep a low profile, as there is heavy censorship of homosexual-themed (or featured) media by the government. Shanghai Pride began in 2009 without a parade, due to fears that the government would not allow it. Same-sex marriage is not recognized by the government.
- Shanghai - Home to the first-ever Pride Festival in mainland China
There are no laws against homosexuality in Hong Kong although same-sex marriage is not officially recognised. In this conservative society sexuality is still generally not discussed in public. For youngsters is quite different; there are some hip gay clubs that could well be in London, New York or Madrid that cater to locals and tourists and the city held its first Gay Pride Parade in 2008.
There are no laws against homosexuality in Japan, though same-sex relationships are also not recognised by the Japanese government. Acceptance of homosexuality among the Japanese public tends to be somewhat lower than in Western countries. That being said, given Japan's low violent crime rate, homosexuals are extremely unlikely to encounter unprovoked violent attacks.
- 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
Nepal was the first nation in South Asia to decriminalize homosexuality and same-sex marriage has been legalized. Recently, the nation's tourism industry has focused heavily on attracting gay tourism in 2011, trying to entice them with gay marriages on Mount Everest. The government is making moves to ensure that the police will enforce laws protecting homosexuals (and not discriminate themselves). Gay travellers in Nepal should still remain conservative; although the government is making changes, local attitudes about homosexuality remain negative and some resent being seen as a "gay travel" destination.
- Manila - Known as the gay capital of Asia. Most gay-friendly or GLBT-friendly destinations are found in the city and are owned by GLBTs themselves.
- Cebu - There are active GLBT organizations and gay-friendly restaurants and cafes in Cebu.
- Cagayan de Oro
South Korea does not have any laws against homosexuality, though there is also no legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Same-sex relationships are not recognised by the South Korean government. Acceptance among the South Korean public tends to be negative, and evangelical Christians in particular will likely strongly disapprove of it. That being said, your chances of encountering anti-homosexual violence is close to none.
As far as East Asian countries go, Taiwan is considered to be one of the most gay-friendly areas. Taiwan does not have any laws against homosexuality, and Taiwan is the only place in Asia where there are anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation. That being said, homosexual relationships are not given legal recognition by the government, and acceptance of homosexuality is somewhat not as good as in many Western countries. Nevertheless, anti-homosexual violence is extremely rare, and younger Taiwanese tend to be more accepting of it.
- Taipei - an annual gay parade event known as Taiwan Pride is held there between September and November
- Bangkok - Known for its gay tolerance, and its gay festivals.
- Pattaya - Many homosexual clubs and bars.
- Phuket - Popular in the transsexual community for medical tourism as skilled practitioners offer sexual reassignment surgery at reasonable cost.
- No laws against homosexuality have ever existed.
- Cape Town - Easily the most liberal and gay-friendly city in South Africa, and considered the "gay capital" of Africa. Gay nightlife centred around the Greenpoint district and holds the Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) every December.
Somewhat safe destinations
Countries listed in this section have laws against homosexuality, though the said laws are not enforced in practice.
Homosexual acts were decriminalized by the High Court of Delhi in a historic judgement on 2 Jul 2009. This judgement was overturned by a 2013 supreme court ruling which reinstated a 153-year-old colonial ban on homosexuality. However, in practice this law is not enforced, and it is unlikely that you will be arrested for it.
- 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.
- Even though India claims to be anti-homosexuality in political and religious aspects, public demonstrations of affection like holding hands or soft kissing are not penalized and are a very common practice between same sex members all over the country (it would be worse if they see you kissing or holding hands with someone of the opposite sex). A study from B.H.U. (that was penalized and quickly disappeared from all media) discovered that almost 90% of the male population has engaged sexual acts with males, because of the great taboo that women are to Indian men.
Homosexuality is technically illegal in Singapore, as a result of colonial-era statutes, with a theoretical punishment of 2 years imprisonment. However, the current government policy is not to enforce the law, and there are some high profile people working in the fashion and entertainment industry who are openly gay. Attitudes towards homosexuals among the general population, however, leave much to be desired, and there is legalised discrimination against gay employees in government departments and the military. Openly flaunting your sexual orientation is likely to draw stares and whispers from the public, but you are extremely unlikely to get anything more serious than that. That being said, acceptance of homosexuality is slowly but surely growing among the younger generation. Given Singapore's low violent crime rate, unprovoked violence against homosexuals is virtually unheard of.
The following countries have criminal laws against sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex. Bold Links and Bold Italic Links denote countries that have LIFE IMPRISONMENT or DEATH PENALTY for homosexual acts.
This list covers just criminalisation of sexual activity; many nations prohibit or criminalise conduct such as wearing garments of the opposite gender (the distinction between transgender and homosexual is lost on a few less-accepting jurisdictions), serving alcohol to gays (as a tactic to shut down LGBT bars) or speaking out on gay and lesbian issues. Gay saunas in some locations are raided under laws intended to shut down houses of prostitution.
Homosexuality illegal: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo, Tunisia.
Nigeria and Uganda have enacted laws that make it a criminal offence for one to know that someone is homosexual and not report it to the police.
Homosexuality illegal: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei (death by stoning for homosexuality or adultery), Malaysia (punishable from 2 to 20 years imprisonment or caning), Myanmar (punishable from 2 years to life imprisonment), Sri Lanka.
Homosexuality illegal, but law is generally not enforced: Pakistan (fine or 2 to less than 10 years of imprisonment for sexual orientation; rarely officially enforced but vigilante action may cause death in some parts).
In Marawi City, Philippines there's a local ordinance forbidding cross-dressing and overtly feminine behaviour among men (bayut) enforced by the local religious police (but not the Philippine National Police) and the Philippines generally has a long history of tolerance and sympathy for queer folk.
Central and South America
Anal sex illegal, regardless of gender: Dominica
Homosexuality illegal: Iran, Iraq (executions ordered by non-state sharia courts and militias, together with defenestration, decapitation and burning alive in daesh-administered areas), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (can also be punishable with prison, fines or whipping), Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
The following destinations pose some problems to LGBT travellers (see also the "Stay safe" section of region and cities articles):
- Cayman Islands - in 2008, 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. It turns out there is no law against homosexuality in CI - a British Overseas Territory - but homophobia there is endemic.
- As of 2013, homophobia and discrimination are growing in much of the former Soviet Union, sometimes with tacit government support:
- While homosexuality itself is not illegal in Russia, various forms of advocacy were banned in 2013, including gay and lesbian pride events. Discrimination is widespread and protests have been met with violence; the 2014 occupation of Crimea has extended these problems to that region.
- While homosexuality is legal in Azerbaijan, discrimination against gays and lesbians is widespread.
- While homosexuality is legal in Belarus, gays and lesbians may be subjected to harsh discrimination from both the locals and the authorities.
- Kyrgyzstan police subject gay and bisexual men to “physical, sexual, and psychological violence; arbitrary detention; and extortion under the threat of violence,” according to a January 2014 Human Rights Watch allegation, and that country's legislature is attempting to ban les/bi/gay advocacy and target foreign-backed NGOs in the same manner as Russia.