That’s right, we’re putting the L in LGBT travel. Whilst there’s plenty of general advice out there for same-sex couples on gay-friendly destinations, this is the rundown for all you queer ladies setting your sights on world exploration!
1) Location, location, location
We’ll start with the elephant in the room. Yes, there are 72 countries where same-sex intimacy is illegal. (See the full list here) Progress is being made daily: Trinidad is the most recent country to overturn its criminalization laws, and here’s hoping India and Kenya will be next based on recent landmark legislation progress!
All this aside, you’re entitled to consider whether you’re safe travelling anywhere on the list, particularly in those countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.
If you would love to experience these parts of the world though, it’s relatively low-risk when you avoid PDA and keep the same wits about you as you generally already would being a female traveller!
2) Perks of being a lesbian or bisexual female traveller
Leading on from tip number 1, gay girls do benefit from a certain amount of privilege, in particular for those who are femme-presenting. This means it’s highly likely for people to assume gay women travelling together are sisters or friends, and you’ll get less eye raises at reception when you’re checking into a double room with the one bed to share. However, if you are a bad-ass butch, not all countries have the same stereotypes associated with women with short hair as in the West, so there’s no need to feel like you have a giant flashing neon sign over your head announcing your homosexuality.
3) City gay culture
Go where the people are, and you will find gay bars. The rainbow flag’s welcoming presence can be seen above doorways of gay-friendly establishments in most large cities, even in ones where suburbia is a little less open-minded. There are not so many lesbian-specific liquor spots, but bartenders should be able to give you the lay of the land for where to socialize and party with other like-minded queer women. Cities like San Francisco and New York have unrivalled LGBT scenes.
4) Hit up lesbian hotspots
Pay homage to our queen Sappho and head for Greece, where there’s ample celebration of lesbian life to be had at Eressos Women’s Festival. L-Beach in Germany and Ella Festival in Spain are also specific events for lesbian and bisexual women. Alternatively, use this international gay pride calendar to find out when your dream destination will be hosting a celebration of all things LGBT.
5) Have fun smashing some stereotypes
Even in the most open-minded parts of the world, people will assume you’re heterosexual. When your newly-made friends at the bar ask if you have a boyfriend, enjoy setting the record straight – even if you aren’t! On the other hand, if you’re tired of coming out moments, just tell them you’re single and feel free to move the conversation on to more interesting aspects of your identity! After all, you’re there to relax, so it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable sharing about yourself with strangers– but for the most part, anyone worth getting to know will barely bat an eyelid.