By: Bryan Herb – Zoomvacations
When it comes to traveling, the LGBTQ+ community may have additional considerations in choosing the right destination. Although several countries have become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, discrimination, and homophobia still exist in many corners of the world. Ironically, it often seems like the LGBTQ+ community places particular value in international travel. While there may be several reasons for this, perhaps the most obvious is that many of us grew up not feeling accepted for who we are, and it became crucial for our own self-worth to celebrate the fact that we were different. I think this made us celebrate and appreciate diversity wherever we saw it, and it added to our sense of wanderlust.
The desire to see and experience the world is a common characteristic in all wanderlust-type travelers. However, visiting places that are accepting and appreciative of your culture and identity becomes a richer and more diverse experience. Traveling as a member of the LGBTQ+ community can help break down barriers and stereotypes. It also exposes individuals to different ways of life and beliefs; an enriching experience that can transform into an appreciation of other cultures and values.
When LGBTQ+ travelers visit other countries and meet others from our community, we often feel a unique sense of camaraderie and community. We connect with others who share similar experiences, and this provides support and a sense of belonging. Especially since it is so easy these days to keep in touch no matter where you are, meeting fellow LGBTQ+ individuals can lead to lifelong friends.
Traveling to destinations that celebrate diversity and individuality can be significant in reinforcing one’s self-worth. It allows us to be ourselves without fear of backlash, thereby promoting self-acceptance and confidence. Destinations such as Provincetown in Massachusetts and Mykonos in Greece are known worldwide as openly gay-friendly. But there are also several unexpected, supportive, and inclusive places that are welcoming to people of all sexual orientations. The following are some surprisingly gay-friendly destinations where you can relax, discover new cultures, and be yourself without fear of being judged.
Taipei is a beautiful city that exhibits Asian culture at its best. The capital of Taiwan is known for its vibrant LGBTQ community and a wide range of activities and events that are held there every year. Taipei Pride is one of the largest pride festivals in Asia, and it attracts thousands of people from all over the world. The city is also home to many gay-friendly hotels, restaurants, and bars, making it an excellent destination for gay travelers.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
Israel may not seem like a gay-friendly destination at first glance, but the city of Tel Aviv is a haven for LGBTQ travelers. The city has a vibrant gay scene that dates back to the 1980s, and it hosts a pride event that is the largest in the Middle East. Tel Aviv is also famous for its gay beaches, where you can soak up the sun and enjoy some quality time with your partner. There are plenty of LGBTQ-friendly bars, restaurants, and hotels here, making for a gay-friendly experience.
Iceland is a country that is known for its outdoor activities, glaciers, and hot springs. But the country is also incredibly inclusive and accepting of the LGBTQ community. Reykjavik has an active LGBTQ scene with many bars, nightlife spots, and events that cater to the community. The city also hosts several LGBTQ-friendly events, including Bears on Ice and Reykjavík Gay Pride. Iceland, in general, has increasingly liberal laws when it comes to LGBTQ rights.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Rio de Janeiro is a city that oozes sexiness, sensuality, and diversity. Its gay scene is lively and diverse, with many bars, clubs, and events that cater to the LGBTQ community. Rio de Janeiro Pride is one of the country’s biggest LGBTQ events, featuring an enormous parade, music, and colorful performances. The city of Rio de Janeiro is also one of the most inclusive and tolerant cities in Brazil, making it a safe and welcoming destination for LGBTQ travelers.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Town is a city that is full of surprises, and it welcomes people of all sexual orientations with open arms. The city has a thriving LGBTQ community and hosts several events throughout the year. Cape Town is also home to several gay-friendly beaches, bars, and restaurants that are specifically catering to the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ scene in Cape Town is diverse, inclusive, and welcoming, making it a fantastic location for gay travelers.
Scotland is one of the UK’s least talked about gay-friendly destinations, but it’s rising quickly on the hit list of popular travelers! The Equality Network, Scotland’s national LGBT organization advocates for gay rights and creates Scottish-themed pride items. The country also has a massive Scottish Transgender Alliance, which represents trans persons while they are still getting their healthcare status changed.
The world is continually changing, and thankfully, more destinations are becoming accepting and welcoming of the LGBTQ community. These five destinations are just a few examples of where gay travelers can relax, discover new cultures, and be ourselves. From the vibrant city of Taipei in Taiwan to the sensual city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, each location offers unique experiences that cater to the LGBTQ community.
Many countries may never become as gay-friendly as we want them to be in our lifetime, and if you want to visit these places, make sure to do your research to stay safe and respectful of local cultural norms, customs, and rules. I highly recommend traveling with a trusted gay group travel company that is very experienced in the destination you would like to visit. For instance, Zoom Vacations offers gay group tours to places not typically considered particularly gay-friendly such as Egypt, Morocco, India, Kenya, and more! So, pack your bags and explore the world without fear!
Bryan Herb is co-owner
of Zoom Vacations®,
a US company that creates stylish
international private events and gay group vacations to the world’s hottest destinations. Learn more about them at www.zoomvacations.com or call 773.772.9666.