Connect with us

Travel

What are the friendliest countries for LGBT travelers?

Thanks to legal improvements for trans- and intersex persons, as well as anti-hate crime initiatives, this is the first time that Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.

Published

on

Photo by Hendrik Morkel from Unsplash.com

Portugal, Sweden and Canada are the most LGBT-friendly travel countries in the world, according to the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019.

Thanks to legal improvements for trans- and intersex persons, as well as anti-hate crime initiatives, this is the first time that Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.

Portugal joined the top countries, managing to jump from 27th place to the top to share the first place with Sweden and Canada.
Photo by roya ann miller from Unsplash.com

The top 10 countries in the list (sharing same rankings) are:

1) Canada
1) Portugal
1) Sweden
4) Austria
4) Belgium
4) Denmark
4) Finland
4) Iceland
4) Luxembourg
4) Malta

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is updated annually to inform travelers about the situation of LGBT people in 197 countries and regions.

Canada continues to rank as an LGBT-friendly travel country.
Photo by mwangi gatheca from Unsplash.com

One of this year’s rising stars is India. This is largely thanks to the decriminalization of homosexuality and an improved social climate; the country rose from 104th to 57th place.

In 2018 the criminalization of homosexual acts was abolished in Trinidad and Tobago and Angola as well.

With the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, Austria and Malta were also able to secure a place at the top of the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019.

However, the situation for LGBT travelers in Brazil, Germany and the US has worsened. According to SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019, in both Brazil and the US, the right-wing conservative governments introduced initiatives to revoke LGBT rights achieved in the past. These actions led to an increase in homophobic and transphobic violence. There has also been an increase in violence against LGBT people in Germany, and inadequate modern legislation to protect transgender and intersex persons, as well as the lack of any action plan against homophobic violence caused Germany to drop from 3rd to 23rd place.

READ:  HIV+ men with undetectable viral load do not transmit HIV to their partners, says new study

Countries such as Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and Switzerland are under special observation because situations in these countries are expected to improve in 2019 as a result of the discussions on the introduction of legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Thailand already moved up 20 places to rank 47 thanks to a campaign against homophobia and the introduction of laws to recognize same-sex civil partnerships. The country already announced introduction of same-sex marriage laws could make it one of the most LGBT-friendly travel destinations in Asia.

In Latin America, the decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR/CIDH) to require nearly all Latin American countries to recognize same-sex marriage may have made news, but to date, same-sex marriage is legal only in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and in some individual states of Mexico.

Some of the most dangerous countries for LGBT travelers in 2019 include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and the Chechen Republic in Russia.

Thanks to the decriminalization of homosexuality and an improved social climate, India rose from 104th to 57th place.
Photo by Tiago Rosado from Unsplash.com

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is assembled using 14 criteria in three categories: civil rights (e.g. marriage equality); reported LGBT discrimination (e.g. travel restrictions for HIV positive people and the ban on Pride parades or other demonstrations); and threats to individuals by persecution, prison sentences or capital punishment. Evaluated sources include Human Rights Watch, UN ‘s “Free & Equal” campaign, and year-round information on human rights violations against members of the LGBT community.

READ:  All EU countries required to recognize rights of gay spouses, according to ECJ

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Top 10 US cities LGBT travelers are booking for Pride this year

With 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots, what are the best places in the US to go to for Pride?

Published

on

Heading to the US to experience (the largely commercial) Pride?

There are over 150 cities in the US that celebrate Pride, with events that can be political or… plainly commercial/for partying. This ought not be a surprise, considering that the country is now largely credited for starting the modern LGBTQIA movement, thanks to the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots in Manhattan, New York, where members of the community stood up against police forces to fight for their rights.

And with 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots, what are the best places in the US to go to for Pride?

Travel booking site Orbitz did an online survey to determine where LGBTQIA travelers were booking this year for Pride. And here are the top 10 cities LGBTQIA travelers are looking to book this year based on data compiled, along with the dates for each city’s respective Pride events.

  1. Provincetown, Massachusetts, May 31 – June 3
  2. St. Petersburg, Florida, June 21-23
  3. Atlanta, October 11-13
  4. Long Beach, California, May 18-19
  5. New York City, June 1-30
  6. Minneapolis, June 22-23
  7. Columbus, Ohio, June 14-16
  8. Miami, April 1-7
  9. Houston, June 22
  10. San Francisco, June 29-30

Other key findings:

  • 79% of LGBTQIA travelers plan to attend this year’s Pride events with a group
  • 57% of the travelers prefer staying in a hotel during Pride
  • 54% of the travelers are looking at car-sharing to attend a Pride event
  • 80% of the travelers are willing to sacrifice their cell phone and break the “pics or it didn’t happen” rule of Instagram during Pride celebrations in exchange for free parade tickets, meals and hotel accommodations
  • 30% are looking to spend less than $100 on Pride travel and accommodations
  • 67% claim experience is the most important consideration when traveling for Pride
READ:  What it’s like to be trans in Taiwan

Continue Reading

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

San Francisco LGBTQ quick facts

San Francisco is one of the most famous LGBQT cities in the world. For anyone planning a visit, we take a look at a few quick facts about the place.

Published

on

The city of San Francisco often is referred to as the gay capital of the world, thanks to its thriving LGBTQ community and transformative laws. For anyone planning a visit, there is more to the city than just street fairs, nightclubs and gay bars. The city is a living monument to change with a history that many have forgotten.

Here are a few quick facts about San Francisco and the LGBTQ community.

The First Gay Bars open in 1908

The first gay bars in the US opened in San Francisco back in 1908. One of the most famous was a place called “The Dash” which was only known by insiders and had a secret location. 64 years later, the Twin Peaks Tavern was the first to open their doors to public and it was as popular then as Lucky Nugget Casino Canada is now.

The Castro Theatre becomes a City Icon – 1920

In 1920 the Castro Theatre gets its grand chandelier and becomes a haven for moviegoers around the city. The theatre would then go on to screen powerful and transformative LGBTQ films produced locally and abroad.

The Birth of Drag Shows – 1933

In 1933, San Francisco was becoming one of the most sexually liberal cities in the country. At the time a nightclub/bar named Finocchio’s was the first to offer female impersonation shows, which later became known as drag.

READ:  All EU countries required to recognize rights of gay spouses, according to ECJ

Leather Bars appear in 1938

The Sailor Boy Tavern was the first pro-leather bar to open in San Francisco. The name was not misleading at all since it was primarily a place where navy men could “hook up”.

The City Becomes a WWII Stronghold

During the height of the Second World War, the city of San Francisco became a huge military stronghold with major bases established like Fort Mason and Fort Funston. Often the city was the last place the soldiers would see before heading off to war, and the first place they returned to after combat. The city became a symbol of freedom and place where love could be found.

Becomes the Gay Capital of America

In 1964 Life Magazine officially labelled San Francisco as the gay capital of America, as more people join the movement for equality and gay rights.

The First Pride March in 1970

The first Gay Pride march was more of demonstration of defiance than a symbol of freedom. In 1970, thirty people risked their reputation and their physical wellbeing to march down Polk Street to City Hall. This powerful display led to a nationwide rally and the awareness of a counterculture.

Harvey Milk Makes History 1977

In 1977, Harvey Milk makes history by becoming the fist openly gay man to be elected as an official of the California government. He was later gunned down, but his legacy remains.

Same-Sex Marriages

The first same-sex marriage licences were issued in San Francisco in 2004. The city became a marriage mecca for US same-sex couples. In 2016, after years of court battles, California’s Proposition 8 was successful as the U.S Supreme court ruled to make same-sex marriage legal across the country.

READ:  How long does sex last?

Continue Reading

Travel

LGBT-friendly cruise destinations

There are now endless options to choose from, so feel free to plan your next cruise vacation, and get your bucket list ready for some action.

Published

on

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels.com

Building on data suggesting that the number of LGBT community members who take cruises is the same as – or even a little higher than – the number of heterosexual travelers who cruise; it is really no surprise that the cruise industry has fully embraced its LGBT vacationers.

Cruise lines all over the world host trips to a myriad of destinations, with hundreds of options to choose from. So, what are some of the most LGBT-friendly cruise destinations, you ask? Let’s examine some of them below.

Sailing the Greek Islands

You might have heard this already: Mykonos is the absolute top among the gay islands in Greece, known to welcome a large LGBT audience every year. But there’s more; Santorini ranks second most gay-friendly island in Greece, and it is definitely one of the most romantic destinations all around the world, famous for its breathtaking sunsets and magnificent volcanic beaches. A cruise trip to Greece will definitely be an enriching experience through azure waters, and in addition, can also give you the chance to visit the small hidden ports of Milos, Sifnos and Spetses.

The Magical World of Turkey 

The beating heart of Turkey – Istanbul – holds the ultimate experience of Turkish gay life. Istanbul encompasses everything from LGBT-friendly cruising spots, bars and clubs, cafes and restaurants, sauna and bath houses, gyms, beaches, shopping finds, as well as events and parties. Marmaris, Antalya, and Bodrum are just a few of the iconic cruise destinations Turkey has to offer. Choose a cruise that will allow you to enjoy a double dose of Turkey – land and sea – and you will not regret it.

READ:  What it’s like to be trans in Taiwan

Panama Canal Wonders

Panama Canal cruise destinations are usually at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. A man-made 82 km (51 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, the canal is a true witness to engineering genius. Going on a cruise to one of the world’s greatest marvels will give you the chance to also experience some exciting tropical destinations rich with culture, history, and beauty. Those nearby destinations include Cabo San Lucas, Cartagena, and Costa Rica.

Festive Barcelona

Since Barcelona is already well established within the LGBT culture, it would be absolutely wrong to not mention it when talking about LGBT-friendly cruise destinations. Barcelona has a cosmopolitan and welcoming environment for all types of travelers from all walks of life. The coastal city has so much to offer; from gay beaches, tapas tours, Barcelona’s gay neighborhood “Eixample,” to the Circuit Festival – one of the largest and most famous gay festivals in the world. Taking a Mediterranean cruise with Barcelona as a destination promises an unforgettable trip.

Beyond the Rainbows  

Looking back on a time when the best option for a “gay-friendly” cruise would be a self-organized trip with friends, it is now very normal to welcome LGBT crowds aboard most cruises; ones actually organized, promoted and hosted by the cruise lines and their teams. There are now endless options to choose from, so feel free to plan your next cruise vacation, and get your bucket list ready for some action.

READ:  Your ultimate camping checklist for this summer's vacation

Continue Reading

FEATURES

What it’s like to be a queer woman in Brunei…

Generally speaking, “living in Brunei as a woman – no matter what background, what orientation – everyone knows that being a woman is hard… and its definitely not any easier being a queer woman.”

Published

on

As a queer woman in Brunei, Naz always expressed herself in a stereotypically masculine manner. That is, she has short hair and doesn’t always present herself in what’s deemed “feminine”.

Perhaps because of this “classic assumption that a girl is queer or a tomboy by the shortness of her hair”, Naz was sexually harassed at work. And when she told the story of her harassment to her sister, the latter just (dismissively) told her: “He probably knows you’re gay so its ok for him to touch you.”

This dismissiveness, this disregard is (apparently) but an example of how – in Brunei – women (and particularly queer women) “tolerate sexism and homophobia everyday,” said A.B., who produced and directed “The Visible”, a documentary that looks at how women are treated in Brunei. Included in the interviewees is a queer woman and a transgender woman.

Brunei made the news recently, of course, with the implementation of a dated, and even barbaric law that will see the stoning to death of members of the LGBTQIA community, along with adulterers. The laws, parts/elements of which were first announced in 2013 and adopted in 2014 (and have been rolled out in phases since then), will be fully implemented this month. Ruled for 51 years by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the Southeast Asian nation plans to implement a severe interpretation of Islamic sharia law. Under the strict laws, adultery, sodomy, robbery, rape and insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad would all be punishable by death. Those who are caught having gay sex or committing adultery would be executed by stoning.

READ:  What it’s like to be trans in Taiwan

Upon hearing the implementation of this law, “I was honestly very surprised; at first I thought it was just old news being brought up again for whatever reason,” A.B. said. “But as it turned out, the law was put on hold from 2013 due to international criticism and is just now being implemented.”

For A.B., “it’s messed up because it seemed like no one in Brunei knew.” Her family, for one, “found out through international news. If you look at news articles about Brunei it’s all about the Sharia law; but if you look at news from Bruneian newspapers, there’s nothing about it. I’m living abroad and found out from friends sending me articles, it was only after a few days when there had finally been an official statement from the prime minister’s office.”

Brunei made the news recently, of course, with the implementation of a dated, and even barbaric law that will see the stoning to death of members of the LGBTQIA community, along with adulterers.

A.B. was born in Brunei, but she was raised abroad. And “it was only recently that I got to experience what life was really like for a queer woman like me in Brunei. For years I would view it from a distance, visiting for a few weeks once a year and always thinking ‘I can put up with it, I’ll be back home (in France) in two weeks.’ But moving back changed everything for me.”

READ:  Kagay-an PLUS: Reaching out to key affected populations

It changed because – in her experience in Brunei – women and queer women of tolerate sexism and homophobia everyday.

Naz’s case, for instance, rattled A.B., who said that “it’s unacceptable how issues like this are still predominant in Asia.”

“It’s a bit hazy with the law when it comes to that,” A.B. said, “because, in fact it is being caught in the act of (gay) sex that is banned, not just being LGBTQIA.”

If being LGBTQIA means living under scrutiny in Brunei, how do LGBTQIA people express themselves (if at all)? “It’s a bit hazy with the law when it comes to that,” A.B. said, “because, in fact it is being caught in the act of (gay) sex that is banned, not just being LGBTQIA. I always found everyone was capable of expressing themselves, to an extent; meaning, private accounts on social media (are available) but not necessarily changing the way you dress or express yourself. It’s more a ‘show don’t tell sort of situation’.”

Generally speaking, though, “living in Brunei as a woman – no matter what background, what orientation – everyone knows that being a woman is hard… and its definitely not any easier being a queer woman.”

Producing the documentary, by itself, was challenging.

“When we were in pre-production, I was unable to attend a meeting due to my family because ‘a woman is not allowed to be picked up by a man in Brunei’. During a production meeting I was stopped halfway by a family member because ‘a woman is not allowed to hang around with just men in Brunei’,” A.B. said. “So everything had to proceed with caution.”

READ:  Vest: Reinvigorated street dining

But even if things are challenging, “we pushed on. I was not going to let the opinions of others stop me from voicing a story that needed to be told. You find loopholes, you get back up again and keep going…”

A.B.: “I always found everyone was capable of expressing themselves, to an extent; meaning, private accounts on social media (are available) but not necessarily changing the way you dress or express yourself. It’s more a ‘show don’t tell sort of situation’.”

A.B. also noted the “bravery” of women in Brunei – in particular, her cast, who “really set an example for the women and the LGBTQIA community in Brunei, (explaining) to me that they never felt a sense of ‘danger’, just a sense of being cautious.”

Naz, for one, said that “despite the law, religion and her sexual orientation, she is still a muslim and won’t be doing anything to break the law.”

A.B. added that “it’s also important to note that no one has been executed in Brunei for anything since 1957.”

All the same, A.B. is pushing for the opening of minds.

“Being LGBTQIA is just who you are, it’s what you feel, it’s what you know, it’s something you should never be ashamed of,” she said. “The only ‘Western imposition’ is the fact that being LGBTQIA is a crime, which was brought by the British when they decided to colonize half of Asia. It’s like how our generation are standing up for gender quality; yes, in Brunei, that’s considered an influence from the West because you’re supposedly ‘going against the tradition’ of being a slaved housewife, when in reality it’s not just women of the West that have been fighting for rights, women all over the world have.”

And in the end, “it’s not really for me to say what’s right and what’s wrong (for Brunei). Brunei really is a lovely and beautiful country, but it also has a way to go… like all of Asia.”

Continue Reading

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Brunei to stone LGBTQIA people, adulterers to death

Ruled for 51 years by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the Southeast Asian nation plans to implement a severe interpretation of Islamic sharia law. Under the strict laws, adultery, sodomy, robbery, rape and insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad would all be punishable by death. Those who are caught having gay sex or committing adultery would be executed by stoning.

Published

on

Photo by 1966666 from Pixabay.com

Days after Brunei’s decision to implement new laws that would punish members of the LGBTQIA community – along with adulterers – with the death penalty, the United Nations (UN) has joined the chorus of international voices condemning the country.

The laws, parts/elements of which were first announced in 2013 and adopted in 2014 (and have been rolled out in phases since then), will be fully implemented this month. Ruled for 51 years by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the Southeast Asian nation plans to implement a severe interpretation of Islamic sharia law. Under the strict laws, adultery, sodomy, robbery, rape and insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad would all be punishable by death. Those who are caught having gay sex or committing adultery would be executed by stoning.

According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the change in law is “cruel and inhuman.”

“I appeal to the government to stop the entry into force of this draconian new penal code, which would mark a serious setback for human rights protections for the people of Brunei if implemented,” Bachelet said in a statement.

Earlier, celebrities like George Clooney and Elton John reacted to this issue, calling – among others – for a boycott of Brunei-owned businesses until the law is reconsidered.

But in a statement provided to Reuters, Brunei defended its antiquated practices.

“The (Sharia) Law, apart from criminalizing and deterring acts that are against the teachings of Islam, also aims to educate, respect and protect the legitimate rights of all individuals, society or nationality of any faiths and race,” the statement said.

READ:  Law granting rights to trans people passed in Uruguay

Some aspects of the laws will apply to non-Muslims.

Continue Reading

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Cayman Islands legalizes same-sex marriage

The ruling is hoped to have an implications for LGBTQIA rights on other British overseas territories, which have their own legal systems. With this ruling, of the 20 jurisdictions over which the UK has a legal relationship, 15 now permit same-sex marriage.

Published

on

Photo by Marc Babin from Unsplash.com

Everyone equal under the law.

The Cayman Islands legalized same-sex marriage after Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled that prohibitions on such relationships was unconstitutional.

The judgment was delivered after a case was filed by Chantelle Day and Vicky Bodden, who were refused a marriage license because they are a same-sex couple. The country’s senior judge decided in their favor, stating that not to allow them to marry is a “violation of the petitioners’ rights to continue”, and for the “indignities” that they and their daughter have been subjected to be “put to an immediate end”.

Smellie’s decision also noted that in refusing the petitioners a marriage license, the government had breached several of their human rights, including the right to a private family life and freedom of expression, and that it had discriminated against them on the basis of their sexual orientation, while also violating the women’s rights as enshrined in the Cayman Islands Constitution.

The chief justice noted in his ruling that no justification had been established by the government in its response to the petition to sustain what he said was the “severe form of discrimination”. He also made it clear that many inequities have existed in the name of tradition but that neither tradition or religion could form the “rational basis for a law”. Besides, he added, marriage is a secular institution.

Smellie ordered the modification of the law, instantly legalizing same-sex marriage in Cayman Islands. Specifically, Smellie ordered that section 2 of the Marriage Law be changed to state that “marriage” means “the union between two people as one another’s spouses”.

READ:  New to the driver's seat? Read this

The ruling is hoped to have an implications for LGBTQIA rights on other British overseas territories, which have their own legal systems. With this ruling, of the 20 jurisdictions over which the UK has a legal relationship, 15 now permit same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland permits civil partnerships, while four overseas territories in the Caribbean – British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla – permit neither marriage or civil partnership. Bermuda supreme court legalized same-sex marriage in 2018.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Most Popular