Travelling as a same-sex couple shouldn’t be any different to travelling as a heterosexual couple, but sadly, in many parts of the world, it still is. Let’s be honest, there are still parts of the UK where outward discrimination occurs, so we think it’s a bit silly to call any country “Gay Friendly”. The good news is that there are now an increasing number of destinations with more progressive attitudes towards same-sex couples. Here are some of our recommendations:
Thai culture is renowned for its tolerance and understanding towards the LGBTQ+ community. Bangkok in particular has a thriving gay scene and most travellers experience trouble-free trips. You’ll find most rural communities are relatively tolerant too. Public displays of affection however, should be limited as this is fairly strongly disapproved of across Thailand, regardless of your persuasion.
As expected of the friendliest country in the world, Canadians are warm and welcoming to travellers of any persuasion. Anti discrimination laws are firmly in place and explicitly include gender identity and expression. Toronto and Vancouver in particular have a vibrant night life scene that rivals Brighton’s Kemptown. Once you head out into more remote areas however, attitudes regress a little and if you’re visiting an aboriginal community, it’s best to be discrete.
Same-sex relationships have been legal in Japan since 1880, though any legally-binding partnership is still non-existent. Same-sex couples are unlikely to experience any issues travelling together around Japan. It should be noted though that public displays of affection are generally frowned upon in Japanese culture, no matter what your sexual orientation is. You’re also quite likely to end up with twin beds regardless of whether you requested a double.
Brazil is making something of a name for itself in terms of LGBTQ+ travel. It’s worth remembering though that much of this reputation comes from attitudes in Rio, which has essentially become the gay capital of Latin America. Brazilians are laid-back by nature when it comes to sexual orientation, but some smaller towns and more remote areas do report discrimination, though rarely against tourists. If you’re worried, stick to the cities and places more familiar with tourists.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Argentina since 2010 and anti-discrimination laws are gradually becoming more progressive. Buenos Aires and most of the major cities and tourist areas are liberal when it comes to gay travellers, but like most countries homophobia still exists in some areas. The vast majority of LGBTQ+ travellers however, have completely trouble free trips and feel relatively safe. If in doubt, keep public displays of affection to a minimum.
Attitudes in Costa Rica are best described as tolerant. While Manuel Antonio has its own gay scene most Ticos adopt a “live and let live” attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community. As Costa Rica is well set up for tourists and sees many visitors from across the globe same-sex couples are unlikely to experience discrimination, certainly no more so than you would back home. If you’re heading to a rural community however, discretion is advised.
Attitudes towards same-sex relationships are relatively laissez-faire in Cambodia. That said, acceptance is certainly on an upward trajectory with a small scene in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and regular Pride parades since 2004. As with most of Asia, displays of affection between partners of any sex or gender are generally taboo and therefore best avoided in public.
Why do we offer destinations where LGBTQ+ relationships are illegal?
We’re passionate about Making Travel Meaningful in order to make the world a better place. We believe that travel really does broaden the mind and that different cultures interacting with each other in a meaningful way builds tolerance and understanding. While some cultures may have a less liberal view of LGBTQ+ rights than us, we do not think that this will be resolved through boycotting or avoidance. We believe it’s better to interact with local people in a meaningful way that will broaden their minds as well as our own and hope that through meaningful travel experiences we can make the world a little better for everyone.