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  1. Today
  2. Criminalization The following countries have criminal laws against sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex. Bold Links and Bold Italic Links denote countries that have life imprisonment or the death penalty for homosexual acts. This list covers just criminalisation of sexual activity; many nations prohibit or criminalise conduct such as wearing garments of the opposite gender (the distinction between transgender and homosexual is lost on a few less-accepting jurisdictions), serving alcohol to gays (as a tactic to shut down LGBT bars) or speaking out on gay and lesbian issues. Gay saunas in some locations are raided under laws intended to shut down houses of prostitution. Africa Homosexuality illegal: Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo, Tunisia. Male only: Kenya, Sierra Leone, Eswatini (Swaziland), Tanzania (except Zanzibar, where lesbianism is also punishable), Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Nigeria and Uganda have enacted laws that make it a criminal offence for one to know that someone is homosexual and not report it to the police. Asia Homosexuality illegal: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei (death by stoning), Malaysia (punishable from 2 to 20 years imprisonment or caning), Sri Lanka. Homosexuality illegal, but law is generally not enforced: Pakistan (fine or 2 to less than 10 years of imprisonment for sexual orientation; rarely officially enforced but vigilante action may cause death in some parts), Myanmar (punishable from 2 years to life imprisonment, incredibly rarely enforced, however.) Male only: Maldives, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. Homosexuality illegal (for Muslims only) in one province of Indonesia: Aceh. In Marawi City, Philippines there's a local ordinance forbidding cross-dressing and overtly feminine behaviour among men (bayut) enforced by the local religious police (but not the Philippine National Police) and the Philippines generally has a long history of tolerance and sympathy for queer folk. Central and South America Homosexuality illegal: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Male homosexuality ("buggery") illegal: Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia. Anal sex illegal, regardless of gender: Dominica Middle East Homosexuality illegal: Iran, Iraq (executions ordered by non-state sharia courts and militias, together with defenestration, decapitation and burning alive in Daesh-administered areas), Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (can also be punishable with prison, fines or whipping), Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. Male only: Gaza Strip. In Oman homosexuality is illegal, but is practiced and talked about with discretion. The larger cities will be more liberal on this issue than the rural regions, but for the LGBT traveler, play it safe and treat homosexuality the same as you would with Saudi Arabia or other Middle Eastern nations. Oceania Homosexuality illegal: Samoa, Solomon Islands Male only: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu Homophobia The following destinations pose some problems to LGBT travellers (see also the "Stay safe" section of region and cities articles): Cayman Islands – in 2008, two men kissing caused one to be "arrested" by an off-duty police officer for "a public offence." The one man taken from the Royal Palms, Grand Cayman was in fact detained and not arrested. It turns out there is no law against homosexuality in CI – a British Overseas Territory – but homophobia there is endemic. Homophobia and discrimination are growing in much of the former Soviet Union, sometimes with tacit government support: While homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, various forms of advocacy were banned in 2013, including gay and lesbian pride events. Discrimination is widespread and protests have been met with violence; the 2014 occupation of Crimea has extended these problems to that region. Arrests and a few deaths have been reported in the Muslim-majority region of Chechnya. While homosexuality is legal in Azerbaijan, discrimination against gays and lesbians is widespread. While homosexuality is legal in Belarus, gays and lesbians may be subjected to harsh discrimination from the locals and from the authorities. Kyrgyzstan police subject gay and bisexual men to “physical, sexual, and psychological violence; arbitrary detention; and extortion under the threat of violence,” according to a January 2014 Human Rights Watch allegation, and that country's legislature is attempting to ban les/bi/gay advocacy and target foreign-backed NGOs in the same manner as Russia. While a court decision in Trinidad and Tobago decriminalised homosexual activity in 2018, this case is being appealed and gays may remain targets for violence or discrimination. There have been reports of mass arrests in Indonesia in 2017. While homosexuality is only illegal in part of the country (Aceh), police have been using other laws (such as laws targeting pornography) to attack gay saunas with the tacit support of local political leaders. wikivoyage.org
  3. Countries listed in this section have laws against homosexuality, though the said laws are not enforced in practice. Asia India While homosexual acts were decriminalized by a 2018 supreme court ruling after years of litigation, discrimination continues to exist in many rural villages. Much gay activity was underground and focused on public cruising, but conventional scenes are quickly developing in cities such as Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. On June 29, 2008, four Indian cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Pondicherry, and Kolkata) saw coordinated pride events, and on 16 August 2008 the gay community in Mumbai held its first ever formal parade. Engaging in public displays of affection for both the straight and the gay and lesbian community is met with strong rejection. If you are being open as gay/lesbian couple in the open as in many areas, laws do not tend to have such a positive effect. Even though India claims to be anti-homosexuality in political and religious aspects, public demonstrations of affection like holding hands or soft kissing are not penalized and are a very common practice between same sex members all over the country (it would be worse if they see you kissing or holding hands with someone of the opposite sex). A study from B.H.U. (that was penalized and quickly disappeared from all media) discovered that almost 90% of the male population has engaged in sexual acts with males, because of the great taboo that women are to Indian men. Indonesia While homosexual acts are not illegal (except for in the province in Aceh and the city of Palembang), many still hold homophobic attitudes, as Indonesia is a religious Muslim country. However, there are gay scenes in Jakarta and Bali. Singapore Male homosexuality is theoretically illegal in Singapore, as a result of colonial-era statutes, with a punishment of 2 years imprisonment. However, that law is not enforced in practice, and there are some high profile people working in the fashion and entertainment industry who are openly gay. There are also several gay bars operating in Chinatown, particularly in the vicinity of Neil Road. Attitudes towards homosexuals among the general population, however, leave much to be desired, and there is legalised discrimination against gay employees in government departments and the military. Openly flaunting your sexual orientation is likely to draw stares and whispers from the public, but you are extremely unlikely to get anything more serious than that. That being said, acceptance of homosexuality is slowly but surely growing among the younger generation. Given Singapore's low violent crime rate, unprovoked violence against homosexuals is virtually unheard of. Every year, the LGBT community holds the Pink Dot Rally in support of LGBT rights. This rally is held on a Saturday in May, June or July at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park. They are usually counter-protested by Christian and Muslim groups. However, foreigners who are not permanent residents are not allowed to attend the rally due to a ban on foreigners engaging in political activity in Singapore. wikivoyage.org
  4. Europe Likely the most relaxed about gay and lesbian travel and people should have few problems. Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Britain, France, Spain and Portugal are likely the most accepting. Tolerance declines markedly as one goes further east. In Russia the spurious and ill-defined act of "advocating homosexuality among minors" has been forbidden since 2013; this may include expressing your orientation in the presence of minors. Ibiza, Gran Canaria, Sitges (all in Spain) and Mykonos (Greece) are the hottest gay holiday destinations that Europe has to offer. Austria Vienna Belgium Antwerp Brussels Czech Republic Prague Brno – Gibon and Philadelphia clubs. Denmark Copenhagen Finland Like elsewhere LGBT acceptance has risen quickly. A former chairwoman of an LGBT rights association has been president, Tom of Finland art is sold in flagship fashion shops, marriage law is gender neutral (since 2017) and explicitly gender neutral toilets are becoming common in some cities. Official Finland and a majority of the population have a very supportive or at least relaxed attitude on LGBT issues. This does however not mean acceptance everywhere. Helsinki (the capital) is the most LGBT-lively place in Finland. You can be safely openly gay, or lesbian, or bi, or trans. The tourist office has info for LGBT folks. Both of the LGBT nightclubs in Helsinki are located just around one corner at Mannerheimintie and Lönnrotinkatu streets. Pori is a nice mid-sized town. Pride, music culture and the Yyteri beach with sand dunes can all be found here. Oulu – Oulu Pride is the northernmost Pride event in the world. France Lyon Montpellier Nîmes Paris – Over 300 different gay and lesbian venues, concentrated around Le Marais, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. Provence – Southern France brings gay travellers a new experience in travelling with the French gay and lesbian community in Provence sharing their love and knowledge of the country. Germany Berlin – Berlin has a pretty widespread gay community, mostly in Schöneberg, but gay couples can be seen pretty much anywhere. The only places where caution should taken are Lichtenberg and Neukölln: historically not very tolerant groups live there, however, NeuKölln is nowadays the new hip part of the city. Near Kufürstendamm there are a lot of gay bars. Hamburg – The gay heart of the city is called St. Georg with the famous "Lange Reihe" as the gay street in Hamburg. Also the "Pulverfass" has many gay or gay-friendly locations, e.g. bars, shops, restaurants and clubs. For a more sexual connotation visit the local red light district "Reeperbahn" and its many junctions, in particular the "Talstraße" which is the other clearly "gay-labelled" street in Hamburg with gay cinemas, bars and clubs Greece Athens Mykonos Lesvos Hungary Budapest – Thermal bath and spa capital of Central Europe with a lively gay scene. Ireland Dublin Iceland Reykjavik (pop 200,000) holds a pride parade in early August, see Reykjavik#Festivals. Italy Bologna – Widely recognised as the 'gay capital' of Italy. Milan Rome Netherlands Amsterdam is known as the gay capital of Europe, although these days many other destinations are at least as gay friendly. Still, many clubs have special gay nights every week. A certain area known as Reguliersdwarsstraat, though quite modest in size, is full of cafés where gay people are more common than heterosexuals. Every summer there is the Gay Pride Parade, taking place in the canals in the city centre. Norway Oslo Poland Warsaw Portugal Lisbon Spain Barcelona Ibiza Gran Canaria Madrid Has a famous gay quarter named "Chueca" with many bars, restaurants, clubs, discos and gay-catered business, although gay life is not restricted to that area. Madrid Pride Week is also famous worldwide and held the first week of July. Palma de Mallorca Sitges Torremolinos Sweden Stockholm, see LGBT Stockholm Göteborg Malmö Switzerland Bern Lausanne Zürich Turkey Istanbul had a considerable gay life and tons of gay bars and clubs mainly around Taksim and Beyoglu districts. A big gay & lesbian parade (Pride Istanbul) ran from 2007 to 2014. The situation has deteriorated as a result of widespread crackdowns on free speech, journalism and dissent after a failed 2016 coup attempt. Public protest has been silenced; the Ankara governor’s office imposed a ban on all LGBTI cultural events in 2017. Open threats of violence from ultra-nationalist groups also pose a risk. United Kingdom The Big 3 are widely known as Brighton, London and Manchester. Same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United Kingdom and British law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. London – The second highest percentage of gay people in UK after Brighton, but given the massive size of the city, is really second to none. Hundreds of clubs with different types of people and nationalities are waiting for you. Manchester – One of the gay party capitals with a huge amount of gay nightlife. The largest major city gay population outside London. Reportedly largest gay village in Europe. Brighton – The highest percentage of gay people in Europe, with a lot of style, creativity, and great nightlife. Edinburgh – One of the most tolerant cities in Europe. The second highest major city gay population outside London, after Manchester. Birmingham Has a large and vibrant gay scene and gay village in the Hurst Street/China Town district of the city. Sheffield Hosts numerous gay bars & clubs spread throughout the city centre. Hebden Bridge, a small town in West Yorkshire, has the highest proportion of lesbians in the UK. Oceania Australia and New Zealand are among the world's most LGBT-friendly destinations, with acceptance of LGBT people on par with Western Europe. On the other hand, most other countries in the region are strongly-conservative Christian moral societies, and thus tend to strongly disapprove of homosexuality. Australia Australia is a very safe destination for LGBT people. The majority of Australians are accepting of homosexuality, and acceptance is almost universal among the younger generation. Same-sex marriage was legalised on 12 December 2017 following the results of a nationwide postal ballot. Australian law also prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Alice Springs – it's suggested that Alice Springs has the most LGBT people per capita in Australia – so it's truly a friendly place. The area has several queer friendly accommodation establishments and is also home to the Alice is Wonderland festival – held just after the Sydney Mardi Gras. Sydney – host of the country's largest tourist event, the annual Sydney Mardi Gras, which attracts millions of queer-friendly visitors to the city every year. The majority of gay bars are located along Oxford Street in the CBD. Melbourne – a cultural hub of fantastic museums, art exhibits, and restaurants. The gay community is mostly centred in the suburbs of South Yarra and Prahan, which unsurprisingly is home to most of the gay nightclubs. Gay pubs, on the other hand, are largely concentrated in the areas of St Kilda and Fitzroy. Brisbane – while not as well-known as Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane is also a gay-friendly city, with much of the LGBT community being concentrated in the suburbs of Fortitude Valley, New Farm, and Teneriffe. Perth – although there is no dedicated gay district, Perth is in general a gay-friendly city, with several gay nightclubs and bars located in the main night life area of Northbridge. The suburbs of Maylands and Bayswater are also known for their large number of LGBT residents. Cairns – one of the best spots to see the Great Barrier Reef from, using one of the many gay-friendly local operators Adelaide – although there is no gay district, by and large the general population is accepting of homosexuality, and the vast majority of bars and nightclubs are gay-friendly. New Zealand New Zealand is a gay-friendly destination, with same-sex marriage having been legalised since 19 August 2013. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation has been illegal since 1993. Auckland – the city comes alive around 1AM, full of incredible restaurants, pubs with live music, and great dancing places in 'K Road'. Vinegar Hill – a camping ground in the Manawatu that hosts a large gay and lesbian camp over Christmas/New Year. Asia China There are no laws against homosexuality in China, and people are generally tolerant towards gays and lesbians with unprovoked violence against homosexuals being extremely rare. Still, homosexuals should keep a low profile, as there is heavy censorship of homosexual-themed (or featured) media by the government. Shanghai Pride began in 2009 without a parade, due to fears that the government would not allow it. Same-sex marriage is not recognized by the government. Shanghai – Home to the first-ever Pride Festival in mainland China Hong Kong There are no laws against homosexuality in Hong Kong although same-sex marriage is not officially recognised. In this conservative society sexuality is still generally not discussed in public. For youngsters is quite different; there are some hip gay clubs that could well be in London, New York or Madrid that cater to locals and tourists and the city held its first Gay Pride Parade in 2008. Anti-homosexual violence is virtually unheard off, and gay and lesbian couples should generally not run into any major issues. Israel Tel Aviv Israel's gay capital. Extremely lively and liberal city, with dozens of gay venues, parties and activities. Many locals are completely blasé regarding sexual diversity. Japan There are no laws against homosexuality in Japan, though same-sex relationships are also not recognised by the Japanese government. Acceptance of homosexuality among the Japanese public tends to be somewhat lower than in Western countries. That being said, given Japan's low violent crime rate, homosexuals are extremely unlikely to encounter unprovoked violent attacks. Tokyo – Shinjuku ni-chome is the largest gay district in the nation Osaka – Doyama-cho is Osaka's gay district Sapporo – Home to a few gay establishments and hosts its own annual Pride Parade. It has the largest gay community in northern Japan Fukuoka – Kyushu's largest city and most gay-friendly city, you'll find many of its gay venues in the Sumiyoshi ward Nagoya – Sakae yon-chome in the Joshidai area is home to Nagoya's gay venues Nepal Nepal was the first nation in South Asia to decriminalize homosexuality, and same-sex marriage has been legalized. In 2011, the nation's tourism industry focused heavily on attracting gay tourism, trying to entice them with gay marriages on Mount Everest. The government is making moves to ensure that the police will enforce laws protecting homosexuals (and not discriminate themselves). Gay travellers in Nepal should still remain conservative; although the government is making changes, local attitudes about homosexuality remain negative and some resent being seen as a "gay travel" destination. Philippines Manila – Known as the gay capital of Asia. Most gay-friendly or LGBT-friendly destinations are found in the city and are owned by LGBTs themselves. Cebu – There are active LGBT organizations and gay-friendly restaurants and cafes in Cebu. Cagayan de Oro South Korea South Korea does not have any laws against homosexuality, though there is also no legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Same-sex relationships are not recognised by the South Korean government. Acceptance among the South Korean public tends to be negative, and evangelical Christians in particular will likely strongly disapprove of it. That being said, your chance of encountering anti-homosexual violence is close to none. Taiwan As far as East Asian countries go, Taiwan is considered to be one of the most gay-friendly areas. Taiwan does not have any laws against homosexuality, and became the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2019. Anti-homosexual violence is extremely rare, and younger Taiwanese tend to be more accepting of homosexuality. Taipei – an annual gay parade event known as Taiwan Pride is held there between September and November Thailand Thailand is a long-established popular destination for LGBT tourism, and there are no laws against homosexuality in Thailand. However, same-sex marriage is not recognised by the Thai government. Bangkok – Known for its gay tolerance, and its gay festivals. Chiang Mai – The heart of northern Thailand, much more relaxed than the capital, and held its first gay pride parade in 2019. Pattaya – Many homosexual clubs and bars. Phuket – Popular in the transgender community for medical tourism as skilled practitioners offer sex reassignment surgery at a reasonable cost. Vietnam No laws against homosexuality have ever existed in Vietnam. Hanoi – Hosted Vietnam's first gay pride parade in 2012. Ho Chi Minh City – Has the largest and most visible LGBT community in Vietnam. Africa There are few good choices in this region; many African governments continue to hunt homosexuals as criminals, and extreme homophobia continues to be very widespread among the general population. As a notable exception, South Africa has sought to break with this history by constitutionally prohibiting discrimination as part of a larger effort to sever ties to the country's apartheid-era past. South Africa Cape Town – Easily the most liberal and gay-friendly city in South Africa, and considered the "gay capital" of Africa. Gay nightlife centred around the Greenpoint district and holds the Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) every December. wikivoyage.org
  5. The following cities are considered gay-friendly destinations. Many host public gay events, have gay venues, and/or have active LGBT organizations. They're also considered to be hassle-free for gay travelers who are not seeking out specifically queer events/activities: North America North America is a mixed bag when it comes to LGBT rights. While Canada and the more liberal parts of the Untied States are among the most LGBT-friendly destinations in the world, many of the Caribbean island nations can be hotbeds of homophobia. Canada Few countries are more tolerant and gay-friendly than Canada, both in legislation and attitude, including legal same-sex marriage. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been illegal since 1996, while discrimination of transgender people has been illegal since 2017. That said, not everyone has followed suit, particularly in rural and remote areas. Toronto — see LGBT Toronto Montreal — North American city with a European flavour, very tolerant and multicultural. The large Gay Village is a place where everybody goes out to have a good time. There is an annual Pride parade in August. Vancouver — third largest gay community on the west coast. The Davie Village in the West End is the centre of the gay community. The annual Pride Parade takes place on the first weekend in August. Ottawa — One of the five largest Canadian metropolitan areas, yet Ottawa-Hull historically had a small-town mentality compared to its larger neighbour Montréal (200km away), primarily as a result of its civil service heritage. No clearly-defined "gay ghetto", but there is an annual Capital Pride march (mid-August), various bars and an easily-recognisable cluster of gay-owned businesses in the "Old Ottawa South" section of Bank Street. Edmonton — A gay-friendly city with its own Pride Festival. St. John's — has a small gay population but is one of the most tolerant cities in Canada and a great place to vacation also holds gay pride events during the peak tourist times. Moncton — Moncton features New Brunswick's largest LGBT Pride Parade and Festival every summer. Downtown Moncton has one nightclub specifically for the LGBT community and the downtown area is incredibly tolerant and accepting of the LGBT community. Halifax — the gay-friendly capital of Nova Scotia and largest city in Atlantic Canada has many gay-friendly and gay-themed events throughout the year such as OUTeast Film Festival, Guerilla GayFare and Halifax Pride Parade. Halifax Pride is active in the community and hosts many events throughout the year. Mexico A largely Catholic country, Mexico is getting more gay-friendly all the time. Medium-sized and big cities as well as coastal resorts have gay bars and sometimes gay discos. Mexico City – This huge city offers a vast array of gay bars and clubs, from stylish and slick to unassuming and friendly, in the elegant Zona Rosa and elsewhere. Also the first city in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. Acapulco – Apart from the natural beauty of the Quebrada divers, this party place has hectic night clubs, strip joints and friendly bars. Most of your fellow travellers are Mexican. Puerto Vallarta – Commonly considered the most gay-friendly destination in Mexico. The area known as the South Side or Zona Romántica in the southern part of the old city is the epicentre of gay nightlife and the popular gay beach, which consists largely of the Blue and Green chair restaurant/bar areas with their many palapas along Playa Los Muertos beach. United States By and large the USA is tolerant-to-accepting of LGBT travellers, especially in the larger cities, college towns, the Northeast, the West Coast and Hawaii. However, due to strong evangelical influences in some areas, as a whole, the USA is not as gay-friendly as Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. Acceptance of homosexuality varies greatly from region to region, and in areas where tourists are most likely to visit, acceptance is at least as good as in Western Europe. On the other hand, locals may not be as accepting of homosexuality in some more rural inland areas away from the tourist trail, where the majority of people continue to be deeply religious. Legally speaking, homosexual relationships are equivalent to heterosexual relationships, and same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since June 26, 2015 as a result of a Supreme Court decision. Laws preventing businesses from discriminating against LGBT people are however absent in states where acceptance is low. Major destinations include: West Palm Springs – a small desert resort two hours east of Los Angeles, it has among the highest proportion of Gays and Lesbians in its population of any American city – also home to the annual White Party at Easter. San Diego-Hillcrest – near downtown, Hillcrest is a vibrant community with the same no-attitude, relaxed atmosphere that defines San Diego San Francisco – largely seen as the "gay mecca" of the USA; the Castro is one of the world's most famous gay neighborhoods. Seattle – with a large and well-integrated gay population, welcomes LGBT vacationers who like the perks of the great outdoors during the day and great restaurants and nightlife in the evening. West Hollywood – in the heart of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Portland - widespread acceptance throughout the city. Northeast Boston – the South End is the largest gay neighborhood, within reach of touristy attractions in the Back Bay and on the waterfront. Annual pride parade in June is the city's second largest festival after the Fourth of July. Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove – Two of the seventeen villages located on the Fire Island National Seashore (70 mi (110 km) from New York City) that are predominantly gay Philadelphia – the "City of Brotherly Love" and the first destination in the world to create and air a television commercial specifically geared towards LGBT tourism, with a slogan "Get your history straight and your nightlife gay." Many gay bars and other businesses can be found in Washington Square West. New Hope, Pennsylvania – just outside Philadelphia; popular weekend getaway with a decidedly gay focus New York City – Greenwich Village is the birthplace of the American gay rights movement; Chelsea is a centre of gay social life. Northampton, Massachusetts – a lesbian mecca in Western Massachusetts, known for its art scene and surrounded by farms and mountains. Ocean Grove, New Jersey – known as God's Square Mile, the Methodist resort is now a vacation resort and home to a diverse group of people. Ogunquit, Maine on the Atlantic seacoast with cute bed & breakfasts Provincetown – at the tip of Cape Cod, "P-Town" has long been famous as a queer getaway; now that same-sex marriage is legal, it's a popular place to tie the knot Rehoboth Beach – a small beach town on the Delaware coast with a large and active LGBT community Washington, D.C. – Dupont Circle and nearby Logan Circle are gay central in a very gay-friendly town, where you can subvert the national political culture, dancing the night away with gay Republican politicians and their staffers! Midwest Chicago – has an annual Pride Parade in the Boystown neighbourhood, which includes some of the city's best clubs and bars Saugatuck, Michigan – small resort town with lots of LGBT friendly B&Bs, galleries, restaurants and shops next to Lake Michigan and popular with weekending Chicagoans Minneapolis – Hosts the Twin Cities Pride festival every summer, and has many gay bars. Pine City – small resort town hosts East Central Minnesota Pride every June, and has a quaint downtown shopping district. Columbus - Capital of Ohio, most LGBT friendly city in Ohio with an annual pride festival. South Asheville – a city in western North Carolina with significant feminist and lesbian/gay communities. Atlanta – with lots of gay venues, this metropolis has grown rapidly by attracting people from across the South; gays included. Austin – very accepting, liberal city in Texas with lots of gay venues in the downtown area Ft. Lauderdale – a "Gay HotSpot" in South Florida. The area has a large gay population, gay districts, and tons of gay bars, shops, and restaurants, especially in the City of Wilton Manors. Galveston – a small island city just out side of Houston Texas that has some "Gay Only" hotels and some beaches that are generally queer only Key West – the southernmost point of the US is also a famously liberal vacation spot with many options for LGBT travelers Miami Beach – a glitzy and very queer-friendly beach resort that is also home to the annual White Party New Orleans – With a very queer ambiance and a long history of gay life, this French Creole/African/American city hosts Southern Decadence every Labor Day Weekend and has many gay bars in the historic French Quarter. There is even a gay krewe at Mardi Gras. Puerto Rico San Juan – the 500-year-old island capital of Puerto Rico and “Gay Capital of the Caribbean”. San Juan is a definitively Latin American city and Spanish is predominant throughout the island. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory with border-free access from the mainland and direct air links to Canada and Europe. With gay guest houses, restaurants, beaches and nightlife in the Condado and Santurce areas, San Juan offers the Caribbean's best gay scene. Costa Rica San José (Costa Rica) This is the country's capital and where most of the population in Costa Rica lives. This place is filled with bars and discos for gay people. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica's favourite gay vacation spot for locals and tourists. One of the nicest beaches on the Pacific Ocean, declared National Park for its amazing beauty. Many gay-owned, friendly hotels and commerce. Great nightlife. South America Argentina Buenos Aires – The Argentine capital is one of the most popular gay travel destinations in South America. The city passed same-sex civil union legislation in 2002 and the country legalized same-sex marriage in 2010. Brazil Rio de Janeiro – Latin America's main gay destination, it was chosen as the sexiest gay destination in 2010 by TripOut Gay Travel Awards. In 2009 it was elected as the best lesbigay global destination. There is a famous gay beach. Acceptance of gay behaviour dates back to the 18th century. During colonial times the first gay ball of the Americas took place in Rio in 1757. Despite all this, many people in Rio are not tolerant of all aspects of LGBT behaviour outside the traditional venues of Ipanema and parts of Copacabana; same-sex displays of affection are likely to attract mocking whistles. São Paulo – Home to the largest LGBT pride festival in the world, with some 3 million participants annually. Chile Santiago – Santiago is by far Chile's least conservative city, the only one where the 'Gay parade' and similar events are held. But beware that gay people in Chile should keep a low profile: Same-sex couples kissing in the street or holding hands (especially men) are going to attract stares, and, though homophobic physical attacks are somewhat unusual, there has been some unprovoked violence against gay couples. Uruguay Overall, the country is accepting of LGBT people. Harassment is rare and same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013. Montevideo – The Uruguayan capital had a sexual diversity monument installed in 2005. wikivoyage.org
  6. Same-sex marriage Legally-binding same-sex marriages, first solemnised in Amsterdam in 2001, are now performed in many countries around the world. Including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay as well as parts of Mexico (CA, CH, CDMX, QR), and the Netherlands (except Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten). Some other countries perform or recognize unions similar to marriage between two same-sex persons, the name and form of which varies considerably around the world. British citizens may have access to marriage in a limited number of British consulates abroad in nations which neither object to nor offer same-sex marriage locally. Very few countries in the modern era grant captains of ships flying their flag in international waters the right to officiate marriage. Weddings aboard ships at sea were briefly offered by the Bermuda-flagged Carnival line (Cunard, Princess and P&O) vessels; as of 2018, their legal status has been oscillating as the Bermudan government continues to legislate against same-sex marriage and court decisions strike down those laws. The willingness of individual churches and temples to solemnise same-sex marriage varies. One option is a non-religious wedding, such as a civil wedding (at a city hall or court house) or a secular humanist officiant who may conduct a wedding in the venue of your choice. The Metropolitan Community Church was founded to reach out to the LGBT community, the Unitarian/Universalist churches and the Society of Friends (Quakers) are usually supportive and a few other groups (such as an Affirming United group within the United Church of Canada) embrace equality. Some of these groups have marched in local Pride events. In some religious communities same sex marriage is an area of dispute; e.g. in Finland the Lutheran church has not decided officially on the matter (there is not a big enough majority either way) and some priests do wed same-sex couples despite some bishops thinking they do not have the right to do so. As laws vary, marriages (and less-than-marriage civil partnerships) from foreign jurisdictions may not be recognized as valid in your home country, and indeed, a married same-sex couple may not be recognized as such in some countries. Residence or citizenship requirements for marriage (and divorce) also vary between nations. If your own country believes your relationship does not legally exist and the country in which you married only hears divorce cases for its own people, a divorce might not be an option. Any of this information may change rapidly due to referenda, changes in local laws or court cases making their way through multiple appeals. In some jurisdictions, same-sex couples have gained, lost, then regained the right to marry – sometimes causing a rush to registry offices as the situation may change on each appeal hearing, ending at a national supreme court. If your plans are elaborate or may be difficult to change, be sure to consult the relevant authorities well before your wedding date. wikivoyage.org
  7. Air travel and borders Identity documents can be awkward for transgender voyagers, as some national customs or immigration checkpoints blindly assume the traveller's birth sex, gender presentation and stated gender on passports or travel documents will all conveniently match. Voyagers planning sex reassignment surgery abroad must ensure they're carrying valid documents for the return trip. The willingness of governments to issue passports with gender not stated (X) or documents updated to match a desired name and gender varies. Willingness of foreign governments to honour these documents is just as widely variable. Searches at security checkpoints have also become far more intrusive in the post-September 11, 2001 era. Pre-operative transgender people should not expect to pass through the scanners with their privacy and dignity intact. There is also the possibility that specific literature, pornography, adult novelty toys or other items will be blocked by customs when entering countries whose governments discriminate against LGBT persons. Hotels and accommodation Laws prohibiting private businesses from discriminating against gay (and, less often, transgender) patrons exist in a few of the jurisdictions where same-sex activity is lawful. Couples have successfully sued innkeepers who refused to let one bed/double occupancy rooms in the United Kingdom. Similar protections exist in much of western Europe and some liberal states in the USA. Conversely, a few destinations may have hotels which market specifically to the gay community or bed and breakfast hosts who are same-sex couples themselves. Public toilets The legality of using public toilets of one's gender choice differs greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For instance, in more liberal states of the United States such as California and New York, transgender persons are free to use public toilets of their choice by simply declaring their gender identity, and some places even have gender-neutral toilets for gender non-conforming people. In some other areas like Singapore and Thailand, transgender people may only use public toilets of their choice after undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Some areas, including most Middle Eastern Muslim countries, do not permit transgender people to change their legal gender at all, and thus in theory require all individuals to use public toilets of their legal birth sex – though a transgender woman in skirt with a male birth certificate may not be well received in the male toilet. wikivoyage.org
  8. In some parts of the world LGBT visitors are welcome, but this is not true of most African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern countries where it would be a bad idea, and in some cases dangerous, to express who you are completely. In some countries (particularly where LGBT expression or activity is legally restricted), police do little or nothing to investigate brutal anti-gay violence. Sometimes, they are part of the problem. Most East Asian countries do not have any laws against homosexuality, though with the notable exception of Taiwan, there are also no anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation. Acceptance of homosexuality tends not to be as good as in Western countries, and homosexual relationships are generally not given legal recognition. Nevertheless, given that the violent crime rate in East Asia is generally low, you are unlikely to get anything more than stares and whispers, and unprovoked anti-homosexual violence is almost unheard of. Even where homosexuality is legal, there is no guarantee of ready acceptance from locals. Even in the United States and Western Europe where, for the most part, homosexuality is legal, gay-bashing sometimes occurs, though general intolerance of anti-gay acts is – slowly – increasing. ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) has more specific information and news about LGBT rights around the world. Global Affairs Canada has an in-depth information page for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad, which may be relevant also for other nationalities. wikivoyage.org
  9. In the largest cities, there is often one neighbourhood which was traditionally a "gay ghetto" or "gay village" with many small, independent businesses operated by LGBT proprietors or serving a primarily LGBT clientèle. Some (such as Castro Street in San Francisco) were nationally famous in their heyday. In many cities, there was an alternative local weekly or monthly newspaper which served as a printed index of all of the other LGBT offerings in the "ghetto", "village" or community. There were specialised book stores with books and media from gay authors; there were women's book stores which specialised in feminist texts from small, independent niche publishing houses which espoused the cause of women and sexual minorities. There was gay apparel, there was gay pornography, there were all manner of unusual items which might not have been readily available anywhere else. There were places to eat which were owned by LGBT proprietors, gay bars (which were the primary meeting places of yesteryear when there were few other LGBT options) and bed and breakfasts which were owned and operated by LGBT couples or were welcoming to LGBT travelers. The big-city LGBT commercial district was most known for its nightlife – the endless bars, the hilarious drag shows – but was also the home of many non-commercial community organisations ranging from LGBT discussion groups to gay sports teams, swim clubs, choirs or other activities which brought members of the community together under one or more common interests. In the 21st century, a bit of this gay local colour is beginning to fade. As the level of discrimination declines, the need to concentrate the community in one big-city neighbourhood is gradually vanishing. Neighbourhoods which were once LGBT enclaves are being gentrified; the original residents who made the community what it was are being increasingly priced out of the market and into nondescript, mainstream suburbs. Pride parades which were once small but daring expressions of political dissent have become huge, commercialised events; they're larger than ever, but the original message has been lost in a demographic marketing gold rush in which big corporate sponsors brand and monetise the parades to sell more beer or other consumer commodities. The small alternative local newspapers, periodicals and alternative book stores are declining just as dramatically and rapidly as all other print media; many publications have abandoned their print editions to go Internet-only. People who used to meet at LGBT bars (or at the gay saunas and bathhouses which were infamous as hotbeds of sexual activity) are now increasingly instead meeting on-line. Nonetheless, an LGBT neighbourhood or "village" still exists quite openly in most large metropolitan areas with colourful independent local businesses and community organisations which are out, loud and proud. It's worth checking local listings before you go to see what's on offer. wikivoyage.org
  10. Cities of all sizes hold gay pride parades (or simply pride parades), festivals, and events. Many of these are held in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969, one of the main events that led to the fight for LGBT rights in the U.S. There is an up to date calendar of gay pride events all over the world. Africa Johannesburg held the first Pride events on the African continent on 13 October 1990; Cape Town has also held Pride events sporadically since 1993. South Africa's post-apartheid 1996 Constitution provides for equality and freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the only country on the continent to do so, but the original sense of Pride as political protest has not been lost. (Africa, Arabia and the Caribbean are among the worst regions on Earth for criminalising LGBT minorities. South Africa, while not free of de facto discrimination, officially seeks to make a clean break with its apartheid-era past.) Asia The Manila Pride March held annually every Dec in Manila. Australia The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras held annually (Feb/Mar) in Sydney. (The Sydney Mardi Gras does not necessarily take place on Shrove Tuesday or the days leading up to it, as traditional Mardi Gras do.) Europe Paris Gay Pride held every summer in the French capital with over 700,000 participants in 2007. Helsinki Pride, held annually in Helsinki, Finland at the whole last week of June. Helsinki Pride continues the tradition established by Finnish LGBT organization Seta's "Freedom Day" started at 1975. Finnish, Swedish and English speaking. Swedish Gay Camp A camp for gay and bisexual men held every summer in Sweden, open to international participants. Swedish and English speaking. Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade held annually at the first Saturday of August in Amsterdam. The 2009 parade gathered 560,000 people. Pride in Brighton and Hove Winter Pride in March and a Summer Festival Week at the end of July: probably the UK's best and most entertaining Pride festival Madrid Pride Week Europe's largest pride celebration attracting more than 1.5 million people. First Week of July. North America Toronto Pride Week held annually (late June) in Toronto: one of the largest pride festivals in the world, attracting over one million people every year. The San Francisco Celebration and Parade held annually in June in San Francisco. Divers/Cité is an annual LGBT multidisciplinary arts and music festival taking place each summer in the heart of Montréal. The White Party is held annually (November) in Miami as an HIV/AIDS fundraiser. Puerto Rico Pride, the annual gay pride event held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Carnival Week held annually in Provincetown each August. Southern Decadence is a six-day annual LGBT event in New Orleans which concludes with a parade through the French Quarter on the Sunday before Labor Day. Gay Days, an annual gathering in Orlando, Florida, with the primary focus visiting Walt Disney World the first weekend in June, but has since grown to events all over Orlando. Bear Week Provincetown: one of the largest gatherings of bears and their admirers in North America. Held in mid-July each summer in Provincetown. South America Rio Gay Pride, held annually in Rio de Janeiro in early October on Copacabana beach. Around one million people. The LGBT Pride Parade in São Paulo held annually in early June, is the world's largest gay event. The 2017 parade gathered about 3 million people wikivoyage.org
  11. "LGBT" is used as a consistent, all-inclusive term. Some individuals and groups add other letters to explicitly include other groups ("Q" for "queer" and "questioning", "I" for "intersex", "A" for "asexual", etc.), but this quickly becomes unwieldy. "Gay" is often understood to refer to homosexual men, but it is sometimes used as an umbrella term, such as in "gay pride parades" or "gay culture", to include all parts of the LGBT community. Some other languages use terminology borrowed from English with slightly different interpretation. Many cultures have domestic concepts for sexual minorities. Many major Western cities have vibrant, world-famous gay districts that are major tourist attractions, and often worth visiting even if you are not gay. See 1 Stonewall National Monument and Stonewall Inn, New York City, USA. The Stonewall Inn was the site of the Stonewall riots in 1969, a landmark moment in LGBT history. 2 Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism (Denkmal für die im Nationalsozialismus verfolgten Homosexuellen), Berlin, Germany. A cuboid made of concrete. On the front side of the cuboid is a window, through which visitors can see a short film of two kissing men. The video will be changed every two years and will also show kissing lesbians. 3 The Turing Mosaic, Milton Keynes, England. A mosaic celebrating World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, and the only memorial thus far to acknowledge his life as a gay man. During Turing's life, homosexuality was illegal in Britain, and he was convicted and sentenced to chemical castration. In 2013 the government issued a posthumous pardon and apology, almost 60 years after his death by suicide. wikivoyage.org
  12. Testing positive It can be hard to talk about testing positive for an STI. It’s important, however, to remember that contracting an STI is much more common than people might think. The shame and embarrassment many feel around testing positive stem from the fact that there’s not enough openness and conversation about how common it is. When someone tests positive, it becomes their responsibility to share this status with past partners who may have been exposed and current partners who could be exposed. That said, the person sharing the news shouldn’t be made to feel badly about their status. For many who have had an STI in the past, they took medication, no longer have it, and therefore can’t transmit it. For others, they might have an STI with chronic symptoms they need to manage in an ongoing way. Open, honest, nonjudgmental communication will lead to better sex. Plus, there are tons of ways to stay safe even if someone has an existing STI. Each person deserves access to information and services that affirm and support their sexual and gender identity while also caring for their overall sexual health. The right educational tools for the community and training for medical providers and mental health professionals can ensure LGBTQIA communities are better equipped to understand how to protect themselves and how to practice safer sex. Practicing safer sex and protecting yourself won’t only increase the chances you and your sex partners stay STI-free. It’s also a tangible way to practice self-care and self-love. healthline.com
  13. Preventive care Self Staying informed about your STI status and overall sexual health is an important goal. In order to maintain good sexual health, it’s important for people to know their own body and pay attention to it. Finding a healthcare provider who’s the right match can be another key factor in sexual health and wellness. Establishing care with a healthcare provider who’s the right fit creates space for open communication between patient and provider and can make regular checkups for general overall health more appealing. Likewise, if someone is sexually active, STI testing should be a regular occurrence. It’s also important to know that there are at-home STI tests and other types of testing centers that allow people to get tested without seeing a doctor. In the United States, minors who are 12 years old or over can seek out sexual health and STI testing without a parent’s permission. Many of the clinics serving youth and young adults offer a sliding scale, so people can pay what they can afford. Partners Talking about STIs with a partner(s) isn’t always easy or comfortable, but it’s an important thing to practice. Going to get tested with a partner is a great way to open up the conversation about STIs while also staying informed about your own status. Doing it together can foster trust, vulnerability, and confidence — three things that also lend themselves to great sex! Knowing your status and your partners’ STI status will also provide important guidance around the sexual protection barriers, medications, or combination of both that will keep everyone safest. Ways to discuss STI testing “Before I forget and get lost in our conversation, I wanted to ask — when was the last time you got tested?” “I realized we’ve never gotten tested together and thought it could be a nice thing to do.” “Hey, I was thinking we’d stop by this testing center on our way out today. What do you think?” “I recently read something about these new at-home STI tests. Want to give them a try?” “I’ve been meaning to get tested soon! When’s the last time you were tested? Maybe we can go together?” healthline.com
  14. Protection for trans bodies Body parts and genitals vary in shape, size, color, and texture among all humans. Trans people use the same methods cisgender people use to engage in safer sex: outside condoms, inside condoms, gloves, and dams. Some trans and nonbinary-identified people choose to use gender-affirming interventions, such as hormones and surgery, to change their body to align with who they are. There are other trans-identified people who don’t feel the need to change their bodies to feel alignment and congruence around gender. There are also many who would like to but can't due to other factors, such as finances, medical reasons, and legal issues (depending on where in the world they live). For those who are able to and choose to pursue gender-affirming interventions (and for their partners), it’s important to have access to information about how those changes impact pleasure, sexual functioning, sexual health, and risk of STI transmission. As mentioned before, there’s no gender or sexual identity that automatically places someone at more of a risk for STI infections. It’s the sexual behaviors someone engages in — not how they identify — that make them more or less at risk. Each person is responsible for doing their part to understand their most appropriate forms of protection for their body. This only leads to safer and more fun sex for them and their partner(s). healthline.com
  15. Dams (also known as dental dams) A dam is a sexual protection barrier used during oral sex to help decrease the risk of contracting or transmitting an STI, such as gonorrhea, HPV, or herpes. Dams can be used with lots of different body parts, including a front hole/vagina, clitoris, and anus. Even though oral sex involving a penis has a higher risk of STI transmission, it’s important to know that oral sex involving other body parts still presents risks. Dams can be harder to find in stores than outside condoms. You can create your own dam by cutting open an outside condom and using it as a barrier between body parts. Check out this step-by-step guide to get you started. How to use a dam Open the dam packaging gently. Be careful to only tear the wrapper, not the dam. Unfold the dam all the way, ensuring it’s large enough to cover the area of the body where oral sex will be performed. Apply a small amount of lube to the genitals or anus of the partner receiving oral sex. This increases pleasure and serves as a form of protection. Place the dam over the body part where oral sex will be performed, keeping it in place between the mouth and body part using one partner’s hands. During oral sex, be sure to keep the side of the dam that’s against a body part facing the body. Don’t switch sides. When finished, throw the dam away. Don’t reuse it on another body part or with another partner. Gloves Gloves are a great way to prevent the risk of infection when having sex with hands and fingers. They protect genitals from the germs found on hands and also keep hands safe from the bodily fluids that the genitals and anus release during sexual activity. Gloves can also provide a smooth texture that often increases pleasure during sex with hands. How to use gloves After washing and drying your hands, place the glove over the thumb, fingers, and palm. Apply lube to increase pleasure and avoid friction that could cause the glove to rip or tear. Use one glove for only one body part. If you switch body parts, put on a new glove. When finished, pinch the base of the glove below your palm and pull it toward your fingers, causing the glove to turn inside out. This helps the bodily fluids that were on the outside of the glove stay inside. Tie a knot at the bottom of the glove to keep bodily fluids from dripping out. Throw the glove in the trash. Lube Lube by itself isn’t the most effective sexual protection method, but it can still act as a protective factor during sex. This is because it prevents excessive friction from occurring, which can break down condoms and cause small tears in the genital area. If using a latex barrier with lube, you’ll want to make sure to use lube that’s safe for latex. Non-water-based lubes can break down latex, causing the latex barrier to become less effective. Water-based lubes, however, are always a good choice. They can be used on latex, toys, and body parts. When the correct lube is used, it can both enhance pleasure and add an extra element of protection. Using lube is easy! Just apply it to a barrier or body part as needed to prevent friction, cuts, and tearing. If used for oral sex, make sure it is an edible lube. healthline.com
  16. Outside condoms (commonly referred to as ‘male condoms’) An outside condom is a sexual protection barrier that can be used for penetrative and oral sex involving a penis. Outside condoms are designed to contain the bodily fluids (such as semen or ejaculate) that are released during sex. This prevents sexual partner(s) from being exposed to anyone’s fluids but their own. Outside condoms can be purchased at convenience stores, grocery stores, and drugstores. They can be purchased at any age and are often free at many health centers and STI testing clinics. For those with a latex allergy, use a non-latex condom made with polyisoprene or polyurethane. How to use an outside condom Make sure to use a new condom that’s not expired. Open the condom gently. Be careful to only tear the wrapper, not the condom. Take a look at the condom before putting in on, keeping your eyes out for any tears or unusual bumps. Place the rim of the condom over the penis, holding the tip in order to leave a small space to capture the bodily fluids that will be released. Roll the condom over the outside of the penis, until the rim of the condom meets the base. Apply lube to the outside of the condom, even if the condom came with existing lubricant. This will help reduce the amount of friction on the condom while also increasing pleasure. At the end of sex, make sure to secure the rim of the condom with your hand as it’s slowly pulled out from your partner’s body. Carefully tie a knot in the condom so bodily fluids can’t escape the barrier. Throw it in the trash. Inside condoms (commonly referred to as ‘female condoms’) An inside condom is a sexual protection barrier that can be used for penetrative sex involving a front hole/vagina or anus. Inside condoms are designed to line the wall of the front hole/vagina or anus in order to prevent bodily fluids from coming into contact with the toy or body part penetrating it. Inside condoms are often harder to find than outside condoms. Only one brand is available in the United States, but health clinics often have them. They’re also available by prescription. How to use an inside condom Just like with outside condoms, make sure to use a new condom that’s not expired. Open the condom gently. Be careful to only tear the wrapper, not the condom. Take a look at the condom before putting in on. Keep your eyes out of for any tears or unusual bumps. Unlike an outside condom (which has one rim/ring), inside condoms have two rims/rings. One rim is closed, and the other is open. This creates a space between the two rims that protects the penetrating toy or body part from the bodily fluids secreted by the front hole/vagina or anus. Apply a small amount of lube to the outside of the closed end of the condom. This is the part of the condom that will be inserted inside. Different people have different preferences about the best way to insert an inside condom into the front hole/vagina or anus. A couple options include inserting it while sitting on the edge of a chair, standing, or lying down. Before inserting the condom inside, pinch the closed rim/ring with your fingers so the width is small enough to place inside the hole opening. Push the closed, pinched rim as far back as possible, allowing the condom to line as much of the internal hole as possible. After it’s placed as far back as possible, remove your finger and allow the open rim of the condom to hang out of the hole opening. There should be around an inch of condom hanging. When used for sex, a partner will insert a body part or toy into the open rim of the inside condom. After sex, the penetrating partner should remove the toy or body part from the inside condom slowly. Gently pinch the open rim of the condom together as you pull the remaining part of the condom from inside the body. Throw the condom in the trash. Use a new one for another sexual act. healthline.com
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  18. Knowing how to properly protect yourself is key to both safe sex and staying in good sexual health. There are a number of different types of sexual protection barriers, including: outside condoms inside condoms dams gloves lube Water-based lubes are always best with latex condoms. This is because they reduce the chance that the lubricant will break down the barrier and reduce its effectiveness. These methods of protection can and should be used for all kinds of sex, which means everything from touching genitals to penetrative sex. Using barriers during sex helps reduce the risk of getting or giving STIs to sex partners, providing peace of mind that can make sex more fun and pleasurable for everyone. Barriers should also be used with sex toys, if sharing between two or more persons. In order to get the most out of sexual protection barriers, they need to be used correctly and for the appropriate sexual activity. healthline.com
  19. Types of sex and ways to make sex safer We frequently hear about the importance of paying attention to our physical and mental health. For many people, it’s important to add sexual health to that list. Sexual health is an important part of your overall health. Sexual health includes: discovering sexual identity and attractions finding ways to communicate them to others preventing the transmission of STIs Having access to information about how to stay safe during sex gives people the comfort and confidence to explore and fulfill their sexual desires with less anxiety and worry. Understanding different types of sex and ways to make it safer is the first step in taking charge of your sexual health. Tips for safe oral and penetrative sex Talk with your partner about the last time they were tested for STIs. Don’t participate in this type of sex if you notice cuts, sores, bumps, or high-risk bodily fluids — such as blood — on their genitals or in their mouth, as this can be signs of an infection and can increase the chances of transmitting an STI. Safe penetrative sex in a front hole, vagina, or anus Penetrative sex, also known as intercourse, is the act of inserting a body part or toy inside someone’s front hole, vagina, or anus. It’s important to be aware that the person being penetrated, also known as the receptive partner, or “bottom,” is typically at a higher risk for contracting STIs than the partner who’s penetrating, also known as the inserting partner or “top.” The risk for transmitting HIV to a bottom during unprotected anal sex is 15 in 1,000 compared with 3 in 10,000 for transmitting HIV from a bottom to a top. Ways to make penetrative sex safer Use a barrier such as a condom. Most condoms are made out of latex, but there are others made out of polyisoprene or polyurethane for those with a latex allergy. Use a new barrier or condom with each new sexual partner and sexual activity. Be sure to put the condom on correctly. Pinching the reservoir tip of a condom before rolling it over the penis will leave space to collect semen and reduce the chances the condom will break when the semen is released. The condom should be rolled down to the base of the penis so the barrier is covering the entire body part. Secure the base ring of the condom when removing the condom-covered penis from the other person’s body. This helps prevent bodily fluids from sliding out of the condom and having contact with your partner. Never put more than one condom on a penis at one time. Using two condoms on the same penis at this same time increases friction and the likelihood that one or both condoms will break. Apply lube. Lube cuts down on the amount of friction on a condom, which helps prevent the chance that the condom will break. When using a condom for penetrative sex, it can be helpful to place lube on the front hole, vagina, or anus before inserting. This will decrease pain and friction while increasing pleasure. Safe oral sex on a clitoris, front hole, vagina, penis, scrotum, or anus Oral sex is when someone uses their mouth to stimulate a partner’s genitals or anus. Ways to make oral sex safer Place a latex barrier between the mouth and body part oral sex is being performed on. Apply lube to both sides of the barrier to enhance pleasure and decrease the chances of transmitting an infection. Safe sex with hands Fingers and hands can be used during sex to stimulate parts of the body such as the penis, front hole, vagina, mouth, nipples, or anus. Ways to make sex with hands safer Apply a generous amount of lube to help prevent cuts and pain. Wash your hands and trim your fingernails before using them during sex. important to note that sex with hands and fingers isn’t a common way of transmitting STIs, but we always want to be as safe as possible. Use a hand or glove that’s different from the one you used to touch yourself, when touching your partner(s). Safe sex with toys One way to have sex with yourself and with partners is by using toys such as vibrators (can be used on the front hole and vagina), dildos (can be used on the front hole, vagina, and anus), plugs (can be used anally), and beads (can be used anally). These toys can help stimulate body parts both internally and externally. Ways to make sex with toys safer Use a barrier such as a latex condom on toys being used for penetration in the front hole, vagina, anus, or mouth. If a toy’s been exposed to bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, saliva, or blood, try not to share it. This can reduce the risk of transmitting an STI. If you do decide to share a sex toy that’s been used by or with a previous partner, be sure to clean and sanitize it thoroughly, following manufacturer’s instructions. Toys are made out of many different materials and therefore require different methods for sanitization. Some should be cleaned using soap and water while others should be boiled in hot water for a period of time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to sanitize each toy in the safest, most effective way healthline.com
  20. An STI is an infection that’s passed from one person to another through sexual contact and activity. Although there’s often a lot of negative stigma — and sometimes shame — around contracting STIs, it’s actually quite common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 20 millionTrusted Source new STIs contracted every year in the United States, and 50 percent of these cases occur among people aged 15 to 24. Talking about STIs can be scary, but it’s super important to get tested regularly and talk with your healthcare provider about STIs if you’re sexually active. Ways STIs can be transmitted Skin-to-skin contact vaginal/front hole sex anal sex oral sex contact with bodily fluids, such as blood or semen needles Testing is also important, because many people with an STI may not know they have one. There are a number of STIs that don’t come with significant or visible symptoms, which is why getting tested is the most effective way to stay STI-free. There are great websites, such as Get Tested, that’ll help you locate a local testing center. STD Test Express and SH:24 are great resources for those interested in at-home STI kits and testing. Most STIs can be treated with medication and many are cured with antibiotics. But when risk factors are ignored and STI symptoms go untreated, serious health issues can arise. Some of the most common STIs gonorrhea chlamydia human papillomavirus (HPV) herpes HIV syphilis hepatitis C Each of those infections falls into a class of either bacterial STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) or viral STIs (HPV, HIV, herpes, and hepatitis C). Treatment for a bacterial STI is typically a course of antibiotics. Unlike bacterial STIs, most viral STIs can’t be cured with antibiotics. The only one that can be entirely cured with treatment in most cases is hepatitis C. When someone becomes a carrier of a viral STI other than hepatitis C, that person remains a carrier of the virus. Medications are used to help decrease the chances of transmission and protect against the serious health issues that could surface if the STI is untreated. But the virus remains inside the body. Thanks to effective medications and safe sex precautions, most people with viral STIs are able to effectively manage symptoms and reduce their risk for transmitting the infection during sex. Ways to prevent STIs frequent STI testing condoms and gloves used correctly with each sex act dams medications such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) vaccinations Talking with a healthcare provider about these options and their effectiveness may help someone decide which combination of methods makes the most sense for them. Previously, there’s been a significant amount of research and data pointing to increased rates of STIs within the LGBTQIA community. More recent studiesTrusted Source, however, suggest that flaws in the language, questions, and topics included in past research result in questionable conclusions related to STI disparities and contribute to stigma surrounding the LGBTQIA community. The language used in research should shift away from using gender and sexual identities to categorize certain sexual activities and experiences and instead focus on the sexual acts and behaviors that present the most risk for transmission and contraction of STIs. healthline.com
  21. Consent Sexual consent is the act of agreeing to participate in any kind of touching or sexual activity. Sexual consent should take place in every sexual encounter and with all types of sexual activity and touching. Yes, even kissing! Often, consent involves a lot more than just a simple yes or no. It’s important to remember that the absence of a no doesn’t mean yes. There are often multiple behaviors to a sexual interaction, and consenting to one stage doesn’t necessarily mean someone is consenting to everything. Checking in with your sexual partner before and during sexual behaviors can help create a safe environment where sex can be a mutually pleasurable and positive experience grounded in respect and understanding. If you’re worried about ruining the mood or moment, take time before things get heavy to talk about consent and sex as well as barriers and protections. This strategy allows sexual partners to stay in the moment while also having clarity about what’s OK and what isn’t. Though consent is a serious thing, it doesn’t have to be a buzzkill. They are lots of ways to provide consent and finding the ones that work for you and your partner(s) can help create the trust and open communication that’s necessary to explore and have fun with sex. Consent can come in different forms, and it’s important to become educated on the various types in order to decide which form is the best fit for a particular person, group of people, or situation. Verbal or expressed consent is the act of using words to confirm agreement that you want something. The main thing to remember about this form of consent is that everything about the agreement is verbalized using words and there are no elements that are assumed or implied. If it wasn’t stated in the conversation or question, it wasn’t consented to. Implied consent is conscious and intentional agreement that someone wants something through their actions or body language. This type of consent can be tricky because the way body language and actions are interpreted varies from person to person. For example, one person may view flirtatious body language and touching as implied consent for more touching of other parts of the body, whereas someone else may view it as simply consenting to the flirtation and touching that’s currently happening. For this reason, it’s always best to get verbal consent too. Talk with your partner about how they feel about implied consent and the ways they use their body to communicate consent in a given sexual interaction. Enthusiastic consent involves both the verbal act of agreement and communicating the level of desire associated with that agreement. In simplest terms, it’s telling someone what you want and how badly you want it. The idea behind enthusiastic consent is that taking ownership and stating personal needs and desires is an important part of the consent process. Not only does this guide someone in knowing their partner’s wants and desires, both generally and in a given moment, but it also establishes a system of open communication for conveying preferences, turn-ons, and fantasies before and during sex. Contractual consent involves creating a written contract that outlines the sexual preferences of the partners involved and clearly states the sexual acts that can and can’t be performed, and in which situations. For some people, contractual consent means consent isn’t needed in the moment. For others, verbal, implied, or enthusiastic consent still need to happen. It’s important to remember that anyone can opt out of the contract or change the terms of the contract at any time. It’s helpful to revisit contractual consents regularly to ensure each person is still on the same page. Practicing contractual consent allows partners to engage in sexual encounters knowing what’s agreed upon, both in terms of consent and sexual activity. That’s why contractual consent is nice for many partners who prefer not to talk about consent in the midst of sex. This can help people feel more prepared and comfortable, while also eliminating the need to interrupt a passionate moment. healthline.com
  22. Sexual orientation Sexual orientation describes someone’s emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to another person or group of people. Sexual orientation doesn’t tell us anything about the types of sex someone prefers or what body parts someone has. It simply gives us an idea of the range of people someone is attracted to. Here are some common sexual orientations: Heterosexual, also known as straight, is a sexual orientation to describe the physical, emotional, and sexual attraction to people who have a gender that’s different from their own. Gay is a sexual orientation to describe a person who’s emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to people of their same gender and sometimes used by a person who identifies as man and who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other men. Lesbian is a sexual orientation to describe a person who identifies as a woman, and who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other women. Bisexual is a sexual orientation to describe a person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to two or more genders; often used to mean attraction to people with one’s own gender and other genders. Queer is a sexual orientation to describe a person whose feelings of emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction don’t fit into predetermined categories. Asexual is a sexual orientation to describe a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction or desire towards other people but may experience romantic attraction. Pansexual is a sexual orientation used to describe a person who’s emotionally, romantically, or sexually attraction to people regardless of their gender or sex. healthline.com
  23. Gender identity Gender identity is one component of gender and refers to the internal state of being a male, female, some combination of both, neither, or something else completely. Gender also includes gender expression and gender roles. Gender is different from sex, which is related to biological traits such as chromosomes, organs, and hormones. While a medical professional attending a birth assigns sex by looking at an infant’s genitals, gender is something each person comes to understand about themselves. It’s important to remember that gender has to do with who someone is, and sexual orientation has to do with who someone is attracted to. Here’s a list of more common gender identities and a quick description to better understand them: Cisgender is the word used to describe someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex that was assigned to them at birth. Trans is an umbrella term that often includes anyone who might identify as transgender (a gender identity describing someone who doesn’t exclusively identify with the sex they were assigned at birth), genderqueer, nonbinary, transfeminine, transmasculine, agender, and many more. Sometimes people wonder if trans people are always gay, while other times people assume trans people can’t be gay. Just like cisgender people, individuals who identify as trans can have any sexual orientation — straight, gay, bisexual, queer, lesbian, or asexual. Also, different people use gender identity labels differently, so it’s always good to ask someone what that term means to them in order to get a better understanding. Genderqueer is a gender identity used by people who do things that are outside of the norm of their actual or perceived gender. Sometimes this label overlaps with the sexual orientation label. Nonbinary is a gender identity label that describes those who don’t identify exclusively as male or female. This means that a nonbinary person can identify as both male and female, partially male, partially female, or neither male nor female. Some nonbinary people identify as trans, while other don’t. If you’re confused which one of these terms to use for someone, as always, just ask! Transfeminine is an umbrella term used to describe someone who was assigned male at birth and identifies with femininity. Someone who identifies as transfeminine may also identify as a trans woman or female. Transmasculine is a gender identity describing someone who was assigned female at birth but identifies with masculinity. Someone who identifies as transmasculine may also identify as a trans man, trans woman, or male. Agender is the word used to describe those who don’t identify with any gender or can’t relate to gender terms or labels at all. Sometimes people assume those who identify as agender also identify as asexual, but this isn’t true. Agender people can have any sexual orientation. healthline.com
  24. Why we need an LGBTQIA-inclusive safer sex guide Traditional safe sex guides are often structured in a way that presumes everyone’s gender (male/female/nonbinary/trans) is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth (male/female/intersex or differences in sexual development). Sex education resources often use videos, pictures, and diagrams as a way to convey important information, though these images and videos have historically failed to reflect or provide information about same-sex and queer relationships. In fact, the GLSEN 2015 National School Climate Survey shows that only about 5 percent of LGBTQ students saw LGBTQ representation in health class. These guides also often unnecessarily gender body parts as being “male parts” and “female parts” and refer to “sex with women” or “sex with men,” excluding those who identify as nonbinary. Many individuals don’t see body parts as having a gender — people have a gender. And as a result, the notion that a penis is exclusively a male body part and a vulva is exclusively a female body part is inaccurate. By using the word “parts” to talk about genitals and using medical terms for anatomy without attaching a gender to it, we become much more able to effectively discuss safe sex in a way that’s clear and inclusive. For the purposes of this guide, we’ve chosen to include alternative words for readers to use for their genitals. For example, some trans men choose to use the words “front hole” or “internal genital” instead of “vagina.” Alternatively, some trans women may say “strapless” or “girl dick” for penis. This usage is meant for one-on-one communication with trusted persons, such as your doctor or partner, not for broad discussion. In this guide, whenever we use the medical term “vagina,” we’ll also include “front hole” as clinically recommended by researchers in the BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth journal. The lack of representation and anti-LGBTQIA bias that LGBTQIA and nonbinary people often see in safe sex guides stigmatizes certain sexual behaviors and identities. It’s also directly related to the health disparities and higher rates of HIV and STIsTrusted Source reported within these communities. Discrimination in the sex ed world along with lack of access to healthcare tailored for LGBTQIA people and their needs plays a role in health disparities observed in LBGTQIA communities. For these reasons, it’s imperative for safe sex guides to become more inclusive of LGBTQIA and nonbinary people and their experiences. This will help address barriers to accessing care and effective educational tools, while simultaneously normalizing and acknowledging the true diversity that exists with regard to gender and sexuality. healthline.com
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  26. Opposition to the term homophobia People and groups have objected to the use of the term homophobia. Non-neutral phrasing Use of homophobia, homophobic, and homophobe has been criticized as pejorative against LGBT rights opponents. Behavioral scientists William O'Donohue and Christine Caselles stated in 1993 that "as [homophobia] is usually used, [it] makes an illegitimately pejorative evaluation of certain open and debatable value positions, much like the former disease construct of homosexuality" itself, arguing that the term may be used as an ad hominem argument against those who advocate values or positions of which the user does not approve. Philosopher Gary Colwell stated in 1999 that "the boundary of the term 'homophobia' is made so elastic that it can stretch around, not just phobias, but every kind of rational fear as well; and not just around every kind of fear, but also around every critical posture or idea that anyone may have about the practice of homosexuality". In 2012 the Associated Press Stylebook was revised to advise against using non-clinical words with the suffix -phobia, including homophobia, in "political and social contexts." AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn said the word homophobia suggests a severe mental disorder, and that it could be substituted with "anti-gay" or similar phrasing. The AP's decision was criticized in some media outlets, especially those in the LGBT area, who argued that homophobia did not necessarily have to be interpreted in a strict clinical sense. Heterophobia The term heterophobia is sometimes used to describe reverse discrimination or negative attitudes towards heterosexual people and opposite-sex relationships. The scientific use of heterophobia in sexology is restricted to few researchers, notably those who question Alfred Kinsey's sex research. To date, the existence or extent of heterophobia is mostly unrecognized by sexologists. Beyond sexology there is no consensus as to the meaning of the term because it is also used to mean "fear of the opposite" such as in Pierre-André Taguieff's The Force of Prejudice: On Racism and Its Doubles (2001). Referring to the debate on both meaning and use, SUNY lecturer Raymond J. Noonan, in his 1999 presentation to The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) Conference, states: Stephen M. White and Louis R. Franzini introduced the related term heteronegativism to refer to the considerable range of negative feelings that some gay individuals may hold and express toward heterosexuals. This term is preferred to heterophobia because it does not imply extreme or irrational fear. wikipedia.org
  27. Distinctions and proposed alternatives Researchers have proposed alternative terms to describe prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people. Some of these alternatives show more semantic transparency while others do not include -phobia: Homoerotophobia, being a possible precursor term to homophobia, was coined by Wainwright Churchill and documented in Homosexual Behavior Among Males in 1967. The etymology of homophobia citing the union of homos and phobos is the basis for LGBT historian Boswell's criticism of the term and for his suggestion in 1980 of the alternative homosexophobia. Homonegativity is based on the term homonegativism used by Hudson and Ricketts in a 1980 paper; they coined the term for their research in order to avoid homophobia, which they regarded as being unscientific in its presumption of motivation. Heterosexism refers to a system of negative attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favour of opposite-sex sexual orientation and relationships. It can include the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior. Sexual prejudice – Researcher at the University of California, Davis Gregory M. Herek preferred sexual prejudice as being descriptive, free of presumptions about motivations, and lacking value judgments as to the irrationality or immorality of those so labeled. He compared homophobia, heterosexism, and sexual prejudice, and, in preferring the third term, noted that homophobia was "probably more widely used and more often criticized." He also observed that "Its critics note that homophobia implicitly suggests that antigay attitudes are best understood as an irrational fear and that they represent a form of individual psychopathology rather than a socially reinforced prejudice." wikipedia.org
  28. Efforts to combat homophobia Most international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, condemn laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime. Since 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In 2008, the Roman Catholic Church issued a statement which "urges States to do away with criminal penalties against [homosexual persons]." The statement, however, was addressed to reject a resolution by the UN Assembly that would have precisely called for an end of penalties against homosexuals in the world. In March 2010, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, described by CoE Secretary General as the first legal instrument in the world dealing specifically with one of the most long-lasting and difficult forms of discrimination to combat. To combat homophobia, the LGBT community uses events such as gay pride parades and political activism (See gay pride). In August 2019, the Pride in London community took a different initiative to “show solidarity with the LGBT+ community” and colored the crossings in rainbow colors for the annual parades. The first permanent crossings have been put on roads in Lambeth. Others were painted in Royal Borough of Greenwich. One form of organized resistance to homophobia is the International Day Against Homophobia (or IDAHO), first celebrated May 17, 2005 in related activities in more than 40 countries. The four largest countries of Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia) developed mass media campaigns against homophobia since 2002. In addition to public expression, legislation has been designed, controversially, to oppose homophobia, as in hate speech, hate crime, and laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Successful preventative strategies against homophobic prejudice and bullying in schools have included teaching pupils about historical figures who were gay, or who suffered discrimination because of their sexuality. Some argue that anti-LGBT prejudice is immoral and goes above and beyond the effects on that class of people. Warren J. Blumenfeld argues that this emotion gains a dimension beyond itself, as a tool for extreme right-wing conservatives and fundamentalist religious groups and as a restricting factor on gender-relations as to the weight associated with performing each role accordingly. Furthermore, Blumenfeld in particular stated: Drawing upon research by Arizona State University Professor Elizabeth Segal, University of Memphis professors Robin Lennon-Dearing and Elena Delavega argued in a 2016 article published in the Journal of Homosexuality that homophobia could be reduced through exposure (learning about LGBT experiences), explanation (understanding the different challenges faced by LGBT people), and experience (putting themselves in situations experienced by LGBT people by working alongside LGBT co-workers or volunteering at an LGBT community center). wikipedia.org
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