The LGBT community is said to be one of the most profitable in the travel and tourism industries, however, not every destination is LGBT friendly. From gay meccas like Provincetown and Palm Springs, to less friendly spots like Egypt, we’re discussing the Cady Herons and Regina Georges of LGBT destinations.
Locally known as “P Town,” Provincetown is a top weekend getaway for Big Apple and Bostonian gays. With a local population just under 3,000, Provincetown relies heavily on LGBT tourism to support the city. Gay author, Reed Woodhouse, describes the allure of P Town; “To such an extent that Provincetown is, for anything, known for us, known for being one of the two or three places on the continent where gay people can be seen in something like their native habitat. It is one of our hometowns.” Provincetown is just that, an LGBT hometown. Feel comfortable to hold hands with your lover while perusing the small restaurants and boutiques line the downtown area. Anything goes in Provincetown, making this the perfect East Coast getaway.
Just a stones throw from Los Angeles, Palm Springs has crafted itself as a LGBT paradise. Palm Springs, which is home to the late Liberace’s estate, is the epitome of small-town, West Coast glamour. This desert community boasts many gay bars and clothing optional resorts. If you’d like to venture away from the LGBT hotspots, PS has many secular fine-dining, nightlife, and shopping establishments in the downtown area.
Love does not discriminate, and certainly not in the city of love. Although Paris is popular enough to cater to more than the LGBT community, there is a deep LGBT history mortared into the city’s landscape. Landmarks like the Palace Des Vosges, which features a statue of one of France’s most famous gay men: King Louis XIII, offers a historical references to the LGBT sub-culture. The City of Light passed a marriage-equality bill in 2013, so now you can get married instead of eloping underneath the illuminated Eiffel Tower.
The balmy weather and relaxed pace of Jamaica would lead travelers to believe the island would be down to support just about anything. Unfortunately, the relaxed connotation does not resonate with opinions toward the LGBT community. Specifically, sexual acts between men are punishable for up to ten years of imprisonment. Surprisingly – there is no punishment for sexual acts between two women, however, one could doubt that Jamaica encourages lesbian activity.
One would think that Abu Dhabi would place on this list because of the Western and gay-culture affiliation with Sex and the City 2. Alas, SATC2 is not real life, Abu Dhabi is an intolerant destination, with punishment for homosexual activity ranging from jail time to the death penalty.
Although Dubai is considered to be the ultra-modern neighbor to Abu Dhabi, the city holds the same laws and punishments. In 2008, a lesbian couple vacationing in the city were given a month-long jail sentence for engaging in public displays of affection. More recently in 2012, several men were sentenced and / or deported for crimes surrounding homosexual activity. Dubai is beautiful, but it may be best to admire from afar.
Being a citizen of the Western World, it can be easy to forget some parts of the world are still intolerant of others’ sexuality. As with all travel, remember to proceed with caution and research your destination before committing. Let’s take a moment to appreciate current LGBT-friendly destinations while holding hope for future locales.