When love knows no caste, creed, age or distance, then why should know gender? With 377 exactly where it should be in India, it is time to let love shine! This Valentine’s Day Explore These LGBTQ Friendly Destinations With Love…. because why not?
Canary Islands, Spain
Gran Canaria, Spain is often called the playground for LGBTQ+ community. Offering awesome weather through the year and friendly locals, the islands make for a perfect destination for the queer community. The place sees adult toy shops and costumes on display, and turns it into a gay night spot by the night.
February and March see Maspalomas Gay Pride; the drag queen galas too are a major draw . Los Almendros and Villas Blancas are exclusively open to the LGBTQ+ community.
The East Village, New York
Known for its avant-garde culture, New York houses certain neighbourhoods where the LGBTQ flag flies high. The East Village is one such area.
The nabe sees a vibrant community of LGBTQ community including students, artists, and professionals, lined with quirky hangouts. La MaMa—the experimental theatre, is a performance space, that began the Off-Off-Broadway movement in the 1960s and regularly stages LGBTQ+ shows. While the place is cheerful, colourful and exuberant, The Wild Project’s East Village Queer Film Festival, held in August, is worth attending.
Surprise, Surprise! After the hullabaloo around 377, and it finally being decriminalised, the capital city breathes freedom for the LGBTQ community. Events curated exclusively for the gay community are being publicised- Andaz Delhi, The Lalit New Delhi and Mister & Arthouse, India’s first boutique guesthouse and art gallery exclusively for gay guests, are a couple that are the flag bearers, while hangouts such as PDA and Depot48, which have recently started hosting events for their LGBTQ+ patrons.
One of the first few places to have led one of the world’s first gay pride events in 1919, the place is still popular among members of the queer community, more neighbourhoods such as Kreuzberg and Motzstraße are joining the bandwagon.
Visit the Schwules Museum (Gay Museum) in Schöneberg or pay tribute at the memorial for LGBTQ victims of the Nazis just across the street from the Holocaust Memorial. QueerBerlin Map organises walking tours that highlight the city’s gay-friendly attractions— from museums and galleries to nightclubs and bars.
Cuba once notoriously homophobic, like India, also saw haggling for decriminalisation in 1979. The new constitution now allows same-sex marriages. The capital, Havana, is at the epicentre of the LGBTQ movement in the country. Mi Cayito, sandwiched between the tourist beaches of Santa Maria del Mar and Boca Ciega, is one of the hotspots for the city’s LGBTQ+ community.
Habana Vieja, Centro Habana, and Vedada are home to many LGBTQ-friendly hotels and homestays. Hotel Nacional de Cuba and Hotel Club Atlantico offer comfortable accommodation close to the gay-nightlife hangouts in the city. Cabaret Las Vegas (Calzada de Infante, 104, Vedado) is a favourite for late-night drag shows.
The most unlikely Middle Eastern city of Tel Aviv has come a long way since its foundation in 1909. The city is regularly listed among the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the world, being rated as the Best Gay City in the World by GayCities in 2011.
Israel’s contemporary outlook towards the LGBTQ community has led to acceptance of same-sex couples. The support lent by Tel Aviv municipality has played a pivotal role in recognising the city as a refuge for homosexuals of some neighbouring countries. The city has bountiful spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to express themselves freely. The best time to enjoy this freedom is in June when a whole week is recognised as the Tel Aviv Pride Week, which witnesses a grand Pride Parade.
This Dutch-Caribbean island takes pride in its cosmopolitan outlook, the credit for which lies in the modern Dutch heritage. Having voted for the LGBT Civil Union, a civil law amendment that grants civil partnerships to same-sex couples. The nation even promotes LGBTQ vacations on its official website.
A popular honeymooning destination, Aruba boasts miles of plentiful white-sand beaches and outdoor activities like snorkelling, diving, windsurfing and kiteboarding. Many of the hotels are Travel Alternatives Group (TAG)-approved, which means they are well accepting of the rainbow diversity. The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino and Renaissance Aruba Resort & Spa are among the properties that employ members of the LGBTQ community. The capital, Oranjestad, has several gay bars and nightclubs, including 7 Club Lounge and Gusto Night Club Aruba, which hosts drag shows and bingo nights.
Whether you belong to the rainbow world or not, these places are a breath of fresh air in the aspect of free thinking and free living.