Traveling while queer can feel fraught. With more news out of Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East about rising anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, this year’s a tough one. Going stealth isn’t relaxing, and neither is keeping your head on a swivel watching out for risky situations or even law enforcement.
Fortunately, there are more and more places around the world where the atmosphere can be expected to be welcoming. Here are a few to consider as travel continues to open up this year.
Despite Spain’s reputation as a proudly Catholic country, Barcelona has an LGBT district (Giaxample) widely considered a lovely place to stay. Nearby is coastal Stiges, a resort community which caters heavily to the LGBTQ+ community.
Party city, with an openly queer scene over a century old. Visit the ‘rainbow neighborhood’ of Schoneberg, and celebrate your stay.
This is the Las Vegas of the UK, and has long been considered the queer capital of the nation. It’s a fantastic seaside family destination, and also has a robust LGBTQ+ nightlife. It has not one but two major Pride events most years; Trans Pride mid-July and Pride the first weekend of August. (Both, unfortunately, were canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19). It was a popular site for same-sex weddings long before the UK legally recognized them.
The Rainbow Index puts Malta as the most LGBT-friendly country in the world. It has enshrined queer rights in its constitution. This beautiful Mediterranean island group is known for its stunning scenery and inclusive atmosphere. There aren’t many specifically queer spaces anymore, because of lack of need.
Iceland was one of the first countries to grant same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples, in 2006. The Pride celebrations there swell the national population by as much as a third, making traveling while queer practically a national statement. It’s not really the place to go for the bar scene, but a true paradise for adventurous queers who want hot springs, ice caves, and volcanoes.
There are plenty of safe places for LGBTQ+ travelers to go, so don’t be afraid of traveling while queer. The above destinations might be good places to put on your itinerary.
Photo: An image of Valletta, Malta, the nation’s capital. Credit: Shutterstock