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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Stonewall riots Although the June 28, 1969, Stonewall riots are generally considered the starting point of the modern gay liberation movement, a number of demonstrations and actions took place before that date. These actions, often organized by local homophile organizations but sometimes spontaneous, addressed concerns ranging from anti-gay discrimination in employment and public accommodations to the exclusion of homosexuals from the United States military to police harassment to the treatment of homosexuals in revolutionary Cuba. The early actions have been credited with preparing the LGBT community for Stonewall and contributing to the riots' symbolic power. See: List of LGBT actions in the United States prior to the Stonewall riots In the autumn of 1959, the police force of New York City's Wagner administration began closing down the city's gay bars, which had numbered almost two dozen in Manhattan at the beginning of the year. This crackdown was largely the result of a sustained campaign by the right-wing NY Mirror newspaper columnist Lee Mortimer. Existing gay bars were quickly closed and new ones lasted only a short time. The election of John Lindsay in 1965 signaled a major shift in city politics, and a new attitude toward sexual mores began changing the social atmosphere of New York. On April 21, 1966, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell president and vice president respectively of the New York Mattachine Society and Mattachine activist John Timmons staged the Sip-In at Julius' Bar on West 10th Street in Greenwich Village. This resulted in the anti-gay accommodation rules of the NY State Liquor Authority being overturned in subsequent court actions. These SLA provisions declared that it was illegal for homosexuals to congregate and be served alcoholic beverages in bars. An example of when these laws had been upheld is in 1940 when Gloria's, a bar that had been closed for such violations, fought the case in court and lost. Prior to this change in the law, the business of running a gay bar had to involve paying bribes to the police and Mafia. As soon as the law was altered, the SLA ceased closing legally licensed gay bars and such bars could no longer be prosecuted for serving gays and lesbians. Mattachine pressed this advantage very quickly and Mayor Lindsay was confronted with the issue of police entrapment in gay bars, resulting in this practice being stopped. On the heels of this victory, the mayor cooperated in getting questions about homosexuality removed from NYC hiring practices. The police and fire departments resisted the new policy, however, and refused to cooperate. The result of these changes in the law, combined with the open social- and sexual-attitudes of the late Sixties, led to the increased visibility of gay life in New York. Several licensed gay bars were in operation in Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side, as well as illegal, unlicensed places serving alcohol, such as the Stonewall Inn and the Snakepit, both in Greenwich Village. The Stonewall riots were a series of violent conflicts between gay men, drag queens, transsexuals, and butch lesbians against a police officer raid in New York City. The first night of rioting began on Friday, June 27, 1969 at about 1:20 am, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar operating without a state license in Greenwich Village. Stonewall is considered a turning point for the modern gay rights movement worldwide. Newspaper coverage of the events was minor in the city, since, in the Sixties, huge marches and mass rioting had become commonplace and the Stonewall disturbances were relatively small. It was the commemorative march one year later, organized by the impetus of Craig Rodwell, owner of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, which drew 5,000 marchers up New York City's Sixth Avenue, that drew nationwide publicity and put the Stonewall events on the historical map and led to the modern-day pride marches. A new period of liberalism in the late 1960s began a new era of more social acceptance for homosexuality which lasted until the late 1970s. In the 1970s, the popularity of disco music and its culture in many ways made society more accepting of gays and lesbians. Late in 1979, a new religious revival ushered in the conservatism that would reign in the United States during the 1980s and made life hard once again for LGBT people. 1980s The 1980s in LGBT history are marked with the emergence of HIV. During the early period of the outbreak of HIV, the epidemic of HIV was commonly linked to gay men. In the 1980s a renewed conservative movement spawned a new anti-gay movement in the United States, particularly with the help of the Religious Right (Evangelicals in particular). While it is a common belief within some circles of the LGBT community that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were anti-gay, some others believe that this is an exaggeration. Ronald Reagan spoke up for gay equality as early as 1978, when he came out against Proposition 6, a ballot initiative that would have dismissed California teachers who "advocated" homosexuality, even off-campus. As President, he allocated 5.727 Billion dollars from 1982 until 1989 for AIDS research. Socially, the Reagans were well known for being tolerant of homosexuals. Robert G. Kaiser's news story in the March 18, 1984, Washington Post. "The Reagans are also tolerant about homosexual men," Kaiser wrote. "Their interior decorator, Ted Graber, who oversaw the redecoration of the White House, spent a night in the Reagans' private White House quarters with his male lover, Archie Case, when they came to Washington for Nancy Reagan's 60th birthday party—a fact confirmed for the press by Mrs. Reagan's press secretary." However, by the later part of the decade the general public started to show more sympathy and even tolerance for gays as the toll for AIDS related deaths continued to rise to include heterosexuals as well as cultural icons such as Rock Hudson and Liberace, who also died from the condition. Also, despite the more conservative period, life in general for gays and lesbians was considerably better in contrast to the pre-Stonewall era. Testifying to improved conditions, a 1991 Wall Street Journal survey found that homosexuals, in comparison with average Americans, were three times more likely to be college graduates, three times more likely to hold professional or managerial positions, with average salaries $30,000 higher than the norm. Decriminalization of homosexuality in the US (1961–2011) The first US state to decriminalize sodomy was Illinois in 1961. It was not until 1969 that another state would follow (Connecticut), but the 1970s and 80s saw the decriminalization throughout the majority of the United States. The 14 states that did not repeal these laws until 2003 were forced to by the landmark United States Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas. wikipedia.org
  10. Early 20th century In 1908, the first American defense of homosexuality was published. The Intersexes: A History of Similisexualism as a Problem in Social Life, was written by Edward Stevenson under the pseudonym Xavier Mayne. This 600-page defense detailed Classical examples, but also modern literature and the homosexual subcultures of urban life. He dedicated the novel to Krafft-Ebing because he argued homosexuality was inherited and, in Stevenson's view and not necessarily Krafft-Ebing's, should not face prejudice. He also wrote one of the first homosexual novels—Imre: A Memorandum. Also in this era, the earliest known open homosexual in the United States, Claude Hartland, wrote an account of his sexual history. He affirmed that he wrote it to affront the naivety surrounding sexuality. It was in response to the ignorance he saw while being treated by doctors and psychologists that failed to "cure" him. Hartland wished his attraction to men could be solely "spiritual," but could not escape the "animal." By this time, society was slowly becoming aware of the homosexual subculture. In an 1898 lecture in Massachusetts, a doctor gave a lecture on this development in modern cities. With a population around three million at the turn of the 20th century, New York's queer subculture had a strong sense of self-definition and began redefining itself on its own terms. "Middle class queer," "fairies," were among the terminology of the underground world of the Lower East Side. But with this growing public presence, backlash occurred. The YMCA, who ironically promoted a similar image to that of the Whitman's praise of male brotherhood and athletic prowess, took a chief place in the purity campaigns of the epoch. Anthony Comstock, a salesman and leader of YMCA in Connecticut and later head of his own New York Society for the Suppression of Vice successfully pressed Congress and many state legislatures to pass strict censorship laws. Ironically, the YMCA became a site of homosexual conduct. In 1912, a scandal hit Oregon where more than 50 men, many prominent in the community were arrested for homosexual activity. In reaction to this scandal conflicting with public campaigns, YMCA leadership began to look the other way on this conduct. 1920s The 1920s ushered in a new era of social acceptance of minorities and homosexuals, at least in heavily urbanized areas. This was reflected in many of the films (see Pre-Code) of the decade that openly made references to homosexuality. Even popular songs poked fun at the new social acceptance of homosexuality. One of these songs had the title "Masculine Women, Feminine Men." It was released in 1926 and recorded by numerous artists of the day and included the following lyrics: “ Masculine women, Feminine men Which is the rooster, which is the hen? It's hard to tell 'em apart today! And, say! Sister is busy learning to shave, Brother just loves his permanent wave, It's hard to tell 'em apart today! Hey, hey! Girls were girls and boys were boys when I was a tot, Now we don't know who is who, or even what's what! Knickers and trousers, baggy and wide, Nobody knows who's walking inside, Those masculine women and feminine men! ” Homosexuals received a level of acceptance that was not seen again until the 1970s. Until the early 1930s, gay clubs were openly operated, commonly known as "pansy clubs". The relative liberalism of the decade is demonstrated by the fact that the actor William Haines, regularly named in newspapers and magazines as the number-one male box-office draw, openly lived in a gay relationship with his lover, Jimmie Shields. Other popular gay actors/actresses of the decade included Alla Nazimova and Ramon Novarro. In 1927, Mae West wrote a play about homosexuality called The Drag, and alluded to the work of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. It was a box-office success. West regarded talking about sex as a basic human rights issue, and was also an early advocate of gay rights. With the return of conservatism in the 1930s, the public grew intolerant of homosexuality, and gay actors were forced to choose between retiring or agreeing to hide their sexuality. Late 1930s By 1935, the United States had become conservative once again. Victorian values and mores, which had been widely ridiculed during the 1920s became fashionable once again. During this period, life was harsh for homosexuals as they were forced to hide their behavior and identity in order to escape ridicule and even imprisonment. Many laws were passed against homosexuals during this period and it was declared to be a mental illness. Many police forces conducted operations to arrest homosexuals by using young undercover cops to get them to make propositions to them. By the 1930s both fruit and fruitcake terms as well as numerous other words are seen as not only negative but also to mean male homosexual, although probably not universally. LGBT people were widely diagnosed as diseased with the potential for being cured, thus were regularly "treated" with castration, lobotomies, pudic nerve surgery, and electroshock treatment, so transferring the meaning of fruitcake, nutty, to someone who is deemed insane, or crazy, may have seemed rational at the time and many apparently believed that LGBT people were mentally unsound. In the United States, psychiatric institutions ("mental hospitals") where many of these procedures were carried out were called fruitcake factories while in 1960s Australia they were called fruit factories. World War II As the US entered World War II in 1941, women were provided opportunities to volunteer for their country and almost 250,000 women served in the armed forces, mostly in the Women's Army Corps (WAC), two-thirds of whom were single and under the age of twenty-five. Women were recruited with posters showing muscular, short-haired women wearing tight-fitting tailored uniforms. Many lesbians joined the WAC to meet other women and to do men's work. Few were rejected for lesbianism, and found that being strong or having masculine appearance – characteristics associated with homosexual women – aided in the work as mechanics and motor vehicle operators. A popular Fleischmann's Yeast advertisement showed a WAC riding a motorcycle with the heading This is no time to be frail. Some recruits appeared at their inductions wearing men's clothing and their hair slicked back in the classic butch style of out lesbians of the time. Post-war many women including lesbians declined opportunities to return to traditional gender roles and helped redefine societal expectations that fed the women's movement, Civil Rights Movement and gay liberation movement. The war effort greatly shifted American culture and by extension representations in entertainment of both the nuclear family and LGBT people. In mostly same sex quarters service members were more easily able to express their interests and find willing partners of all sexualities. From 1942 to 1947, WWII conscientious objectors in the US assigned to psychiatric hospitals under Civilian Public Service exposed abuses throughout the psychiatric care system and were instrumental in reforms of the 1940s and 1950s. wikipedia.org
  11. United States of America 18th and 19th century Before the American Civil War and the massive population growth of the Post-Civil War America, the majority of the American population was rural. Homosexuality remained an unseen and taboo concept in society, and the word "homosexuality" was not coined until 1868 by German-Hungarian Karoly Maria Kertbeny (who advocated decriminalization). During this era, homosexuality fell under the umbrella term "sodomy" that comprised all forms of nonproductive sexuality (masturbation and oral sex were sometimes excluded). Without urban sub-cultures or a name for self-definition, group identification and self-consciousness was unlikely. Mainstream interpretation of Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-7 and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were the justification for the severe penalties facing those accused of "sodomy." Most of the laws around homosexuality in the colonies were derived from the English laws of "buggery," and the punishment in all American colonies was death. The penalty for attempted sodomy (both homosexuality and bestiality) was prison, whipping, banishment, or fines. Thomas Jefferson suggested castration as the punishment for sodomy, rape, and polygamy in a proposed revision of the Virginia criminal code near the end of the 18th century. Pennsylvania was the first state to repeal the death penalty for "sodomy" in 1786 and within a generation all the other colonies followed suit (except North and South Carolina that repealed after the Civil War). Along with the removal of the death penalty during this generation, legal language shifted away from that of damnation to more dispassionate terms like "unmentionable" or "abominable" acts. Aside from sodomy and "attempted sodomy" court cases and a few public scandals, homosexuality was seen as peripheral in mainstream society. Lesbianism had no legal definition largely given Victorian notions of female sexuality. A survey of sodomy law enforcement during the nineteenth century suggests that a significant minority of cases did not specify the gender of the "victim" or accused. Most cases were argued as non-consensual or rape. The first prosecution for consensual sex between people of the same gender was not until 1880. In response to increasing visibility of alternative genders, gender bending, and homosexuality, a host of laws against vagrancy, public indecency, disorderly conduct, and indecent exposure was introduced across the United States. "Sodomy" laws also shifted in many states over the beginning of the twentieth century to address homosexuality specifically (many states during the twentieth century made heterosexual anal intercourse legal). In some states, these laws would last until they were repealed by the Supreme Court in 2003 with the Lawrence decision. Male ideal and the 19th century Homosexual identity found its first social foothold in the 19th Century not in sexuality or homoerotica, but in idealized conception of the wholesome and loving male friendship during the 19th Century. Or as contemporary author Theodore Winthrop in Cecil Dreeme writes, "a friendship I deemed more precious than the love of women." This ideal came from and was enforced by the male-centric institutions of boy's boarding schools, all-male colleges, the military, the frontier, etc. – fictional and non-fiction accounts of passionate male friendships became a theme present in American Literature and social conceptions of masculinity. New York, as America's largest city exponentially growing during the 19th Century (doubling from 1800–20 and again by 1840 to a population of 300,000), saw the beginnings of a homosexual subculture concomitantly growing with the population. Continuing the theme of loving male friendship, the American poet, Walt Whitman arrived in New York in 1841. He was immediately drawn to young working-class men found in certain parks, public baths, the docks, and some bars and dance halls. He kept records of the men and boys, usually noting their ages, physical characteristics, jobs, and origins. Dispersed in his praise of the city are moments of male admiration, such as in Calamus—"frequent and swift flash of eyes offering me robust, athletic love" or in poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, where he writes: "Was call'd by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me / approaching or passing, / Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as / I sat, / Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public assembly, yet never told them a / word, / Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping, / Play'd the part that still looks back on the actor or actress, / The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like, / Or as small as we like, or both great and small." Sometimes Whitman's writing verged on explicit, such as in his poem, Native Moments—"I share the midnight orgies of young men / I pick out some low person for my dearest friend. He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate." Poems like these and Calamus (inspired by Whitman's treasured friends and possible lover, Fred Vaughan who lived with the Whitman family in the 1850s) and the general theme of manly love, functioned as a pseudonym for homosexuality. The developing sub-community had a coded voice to draw more homosexuals to New York and other growing American urban centers. Whitman did, however, in 1890 denounce any sexuality in the comradeship of his works and historians debate whether he was a practicing homosexual, bisexual, etc.[88] But this denouncement shows that homosexuality had become a public question by the end of the 19th Century. Twenty years after Whitman came to New York, Horatio Alger continued the theme of manly love in his stories of the young Victorian self-made man. He came to New York fleeing from a public scandal with a young man in Cape Cod that forced him to leave the ministry, in 1866. Late 19th century We'wha (1849–1896) was a notable Zuni weaver, potter and lhamana. Raised as a boy, they would later spend part of their life dressing and living in the roles usually filled by women in Zuni culture, later living and working in roles filled by men, changing depending on the situation. Anthropologist Matilda Coxe Stevenson, a friend of We'wha's who wrote extensively about the Zuni, hosted We'wha and the Zuni delegation when We'wha was chosen as an official emissary to Washington D.C. in 1886. During this time they met President Grover Cleveland. We'wha had at least one husband, was trained in the customs and rites for the ceremonies for both men and women, and was a respected member of their community. Friends who documented their life used both pronouns for We'wha. wikipedia.org
  12. The emancipation movement in Germany, 1890s–1934 Prior to the Third Reich, Berlin was a liberal city, with many gay bars, nightclubs and cabarets. There were even many drag bars where tourists straight and gay would enjoy female impersonation acts. Hitler decried cultural degeneration, prostitution and syphilis in his book Mein Kampf, blaming at least some of the phenomena on Jews. Berlin also had the most active LGBT rights movements in the world at the time. Jewish doctor Magnus Hirschfeld had co-founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee, WhK) in Berlin in 1897 to campaign against the notorious "Paragraph 175" of the Penal Code that made sex between men illegal. It also sought social recognition of homosexual and transgender men and women. It was the first public gay rights organization. The Committee had branches in several other countries, thereby being the first international LGBT organization, although on a small scale. In 1919, Hirschfeld had also co-founded the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sex Research), a private sexology research institute. It had a research library and a large archive, and included a marriage and sex counseling office. In addition, the institute was a pioneer worldwide in the call for civil rights and social acceptance for homosexual and transgender people. As a leading city for homosexuals during the 1920, Berlin had clubs and even newspapers for both lesbians and gay men. The lesbian magazine Die Freundin was started by Friedrich Radszuweit and the gay men's magazine Der Eigene had already started in 1896 as the world's first gay magazine. The first gay demonstration ever took place in Nollendorfplatz in 1922 in Berlin, gathering 400 homosexuals. Nazi Germany Under the rule of Nazi Germany, about 50,000 men were sentenced because of their homosexuality and thousands of them died in concentration camps. Conditions for gay men in the camps were especially rough; they faced not only persecution from German soldiers, but also other prisoners, and many gay men were reported to die of beatings. Female homosexuality was not, technically, a crime and thus gay women were generally not treated as harshly as gay men. Although there are some scattered reports that gay women were sometimes imprisoned for their sexuality, most would have been imprisoned for other reasons, i.e. "anti-social". Alan Turing In Britain, the view of homosexuality as the mark of a deviant mind was not limited to the psychiatric wards of hospitals but also the courts. An extremely famous case was that of Alan Turing, a British mathematician and theoretician. During WWII, Turing worked at Bletchley Park and was one of the major architects of the Colossus computer, designed to break the Enigma codes of the Nazi war machine. For the success of this, he received the Order of the British Empire in 1945. In spite of all his brilliance and the services rendered to his country, Turing was also openly homosexual and in the early 1950s this fact came to the attention of the British government when he was arrested under section 11 of an 1885 statute of "gross indecency". At the time there was great fear that Turing's sexuality could be exploited by Soviet spies, and so he was sentenced to choosing between jail and injections of synthetic estrogen. The choice of the latter lead him to massive depression and committing suicide at the age of 41, biting into a poisoned apple. It is estimated that an additional 50-75,000 men were persecuted under this law, with only partial repeal taking place in 1967 and the final measure of it in 2003. wikipedia.org
  13. Psychology and terminology shifts The developing field of psychology was the first way homosexuality could be directly addressed aside from Biblical condemnation. In Europe, homosexuality had been part of case studies since the 1790s with Johann Valentin Müller's work. The studies of this era tended to be rigorous examination of "criminals," looking to confirm guilt and establish patterns for future prosecutions. Ambroise Tardieu in France believed he could identify "pederasts" affirming that the sex organs are altered by homosexuality in his 1857 publishing. François Charles's exposé, Les Deux Prostitutions: études du pathologie sociale, ("The Two Prostitutions: Study of the Social Pathology") developed methods for police to persecute through meticulous documentation of homosexuality. Others include Johann Caspar and Otto Westphal, Karl Ulrichs. Richard von Krafft-Ebing's 1886 publication, Psychopathia Sexualis, was the most widely translated work of this kind. He and Ulrichs believed that homosexuality was congenitally based, but Krafft-Ebing differed; in that, he asserted that homosexuality was a symptom of other psychopathic behavior that he viewed to be an inherited disposition to degeneracy. Degeneracy became a widely acknowledged theory for homosexuality during the 1870s and 80s. It spoke to the eugenic and social Darwin theories of the late 19th century. Benedict Augustin Morel is considered the father of degeneracy theory.[72] His theories posit that physical, intellectual, and moral abnormalities come from disease, urban over-population, malnutrition, alcohol, and other failures of his contemporary society. An important shift in the terminology of homosexuality was brought about by the development of psychology's inquisition into homosexuality. "Contrary sexual feeling," as Westphal's phrased, and the word "homosexual" itself made their way into the Western lexicons. Homosexuality had a name aside from the ambiguous term "sodomy" and the elusive "abomination." As Michel Foucault phrases, "the sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species." An addendum to the terminology of homosexuality is the seemingly ever-changing acronym, with its roots in the 1980s when female homosexuals began to identify themselves as lesbians instead of gay. This led to references of "gay and lesbian" every time homosexuals were discussed in the media. Non-heterosexuals such as bisexual people and those who are transgender have also been classed alongside gay people and lesbians, resulting in the popular LGBT acronym (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender). However, the acronym is not set in stone; it has sometimes appeared as LGBTQ (to include questioning or queer people). Homosexuality in eighteenth-century Great Britain Various authors wrote on the topic of homosexuality. In 1735, Conyers Place wrote "Reason Insufficient Guide to Conduct Mankind in Religion." In 1749, Thomas Cannon wrote "Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplified." In August, 1772, "Morning Chronicle" publishes a series of letters to the editor about the trial of Captain Robert Jones. In 1773, Charles Crawford wrote "A Dissertation on the Phaedon of Plato." Molly houses appeared in 18th century London and other large cities. A Molly house is an archaic 18th century English term for a tavern or private room where homosexual and cross-dressing men could meet each other and possible sexual partners. Patrons of the Molly house would sometimes enact mock weddings, sometimes with the bride giving birth. Margaret Clap (?—circa 1726), better known as Mother Clap, ran such a Molly house from 1724 to 1726 in Holborn, London. She was also heavily involved in the ensuing legal battles after her premise was raided and shut down. Molly houses were perhaps the first precursors to the modern gay bar. Decriminalization of homosexuality in France Written on July 21, 1776, the Letter LXIII became infamous for its frank talk of human sexuality. Mathieu-François Pidansat de Mairobert published the letter in his 1779 book, "L'Espion Anglois, Ou Correspondance Secrete Entre Milord All'eye et Milord Alle'ar" (aka "L'Observateur Anglais or L'Espion Anglais") ("The English Spy, or Secret Correspondence Between my Lord and my Lord All'eye Alle'ar [aka The English Observer or The English Spy]"). In 1791, Revolutionary France (and Andorra) adopted a new penal code which no longer criminalized sodomy. France thus became the first West European country to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults. Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde, the Irish author and playwright, played an important role in bringing homosexuality into the public eye. The scandal in British society and subsequent court case from 1895–6 was highly discussed not only in Europe, but also in America, although newspapers like the New York Times concentrated on the question of blackmail, only alluding to the homosexual aspects as having "a curious meaning," in the first publication on April 4, 1895. After Wilde's arrest, the April 6 New York Times discussed Wilde's case as a question of "immorality" and did not specifically address homosexuality, discussing the men "some as young as 18" that were brought up as witnesses. Inspired by Wilde's renown and homosexuality, gay activist Craig Rodwell founded the first United States LGBTQ bookstore on November 24, 1967 and called it the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop. wikipedia.org
  14. The Renaissance The Renaissance saw intense oppression of homosexual relationships by the Roman Catholic Church. Homosexual activity radically passes from being completely legal in most of Europe to incurring the death penalty in most European states. In France, first-offending sodomites lost their testicles, second offenders lost their penis, and third offenders were burned. Women caught in same-sex acts would be mutilated and executed as well. Thomas Aquinas argues that sodomy is second only to murder in the ranking of sins. The church used every means at its disposal to fight what it considered to be the "corruption of sodomy". Men were fined or jailed; boys were flogged. The harshest punishments, such as burning at the stake, were usually reserved for crimes committed against the very young, or by violence. The Spanish Inquisition begins in 1480, sodomites were stoned, castrated, and burned. Between 1540 and 1700, more than 1,600 people were prosecuted for sodomy. In 1532 the Holy Roman Empire made sodomy punishable by death. The following year King Henry VIII passed the Buggery Act 1533 making all male-male sexual activity punishable by death. Florentine homosexuality Florence had a widespread homosexual culture, which included age-structured relationships. In 1432 the city established Gli Ufficiali di Notte (The Officers of the Night) to root out the practice of sodomy. From that year until 1502, the number of men charged with sodomy numbered more than 17,000, of whom 3,000 were convicted. This number also included heterosexual sodomy. This also gave rise to a number of proverbs illuminating the views of the common people towards the practice; among them: "If you crave joys, tumble some boys." Association of homosexuality with foreignness The reputation of Florence is also reflected in the fact that the Germans adopted the word Florenzer to refer to a "sodomite". The association of foreignness with homosexuality gradually became a cornerstone of homophobic rhetoric throughout Europe, and it was used in a calumnious perspective. For example, the French would call "homosexuality" the "Italian vice" in the 16th and 17th centuries, the "English vice" in the 18th century, the mœurs orientales (oriental mores) in the 19th century, and the "German vice" starting from 1870 and into the 20th century. Literature The Church could not repress all expressions of homoerotic desire. One of the most famous examples is a tongue-in-cheek philosophic defense of the practice provided by Antonio Rocco, in his infamous L'Alcibiade, fanciullo a scola (Alcibiades the Schoolboy, in English) a dialogue in which a teacher seeks to use philosophy to convince a male student to have sex with him. However, given the tongue-in-cheek nature of the writing, it seems unclear whether it is meant to be satire or genuine under the pretense of a joke. wikipedia.org
  15. The Middle Ages Same-sex scholarly 'empires of the mind' were common in medieval Middle Eastern cultures, as seen in their poetry on same-sex love. According to John Boswell, author of Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, there were same-sex Christian monastic communities and other religious orders in which homosexuality thrived. According to Chauncey et al. (1989), the book "offered a revolutionary interpretation of the Western tradition, arguing that the Roman Catholic Church had not condemned gay people throughout its history, but rather, at least until the twelfth century, had alternately evinced no special concern about homosexuality or actually celebrated love between men." Boswell was also the author of Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe (New York: Villard, 1994) in which he argues that the adelphopoiia liturgy was evidence that attitude of the Christian church towards homosexuality has changed over time, and that early Christians did on occasion accept same-sex relationships. His work attracted great controversy, as it was seen by many as merely an attempt for Boswell to justify his homosexuality and Roman Catholic faith. For instance, R. W. Southern points out that homosexuality had been condemned extensively by religious leaders and medieval scholars well before the 12th century; he also points to the penitentials which were common in early medieval society, and many of which include homosexuality as among the serious sins. Bennett and Froide, in "Singlewomen in the European Past", note: "Other single women found emotional comfort and sexual pleasure with women. The history of same-sex relations between women in medieval and early modern Europe is exceedingly difficult to study, but there can be no doubt of its existence. Church leaders worried about lesbian sex; women expressed, practiced, and were sometimes imprisoned or even executed for same-sex love; and some women cross-dressed in order to live with other women as married couples." They go on to note that even the seemingly modern word "lesbian" has been traced back as far as 1732, and discuss lesbian subcultures, but add, "Nevertheless, we certainly should not equate the single state with lesbian practices." While same-sex relationships among men were highly documented and condemned, "Moral theologians did not pay much attention to the question of what we would today call lesbian sex, perhaps because anything that did not involve a phallus did not fall within the bounds of their understanding of the sexual. Some legislation against lesbian relations can be adduced for the period, mainly involving the use of "instruments," in other words, dildoes." Persecutions against homosexuality rose during the High Middle Ages, reaching their height during the Medieval Inquisitions, when the sects of Cathars and Waldensians were accused of fornication and sodomy, alongside accusations of satanism. In 1307, accusations of sodomy and homosexuality were major charges leveled during the Trial of the Knights Templar. The theologian Thomas Aquinas was influential in linking condemnations of homosexuality with the idea of natural law, arguing that "special sins are against nature, as, for instance, those that run counter to the intercourse of male and female natural to animals, and so are peculiarly qualified as unnatural vices." Muslim—often Sufi—poets in medieval Arab lands and in Persia wrote odes to the beautiful wine boys who served them in the taverns. In many areas the practice survived into modern times, as documented by Richard Francis Burton, André Gide, and others. Homoerotic themes were present in poetry and other literature written by some Muslims from the medieval period onwards and which celebrated love between men. In fact these were more common than expressions of attraction to women. Persian poets, such as Sa'di (d. 1291), Hafiz (d. 1389), and Jami (d. 1492), wrote poems replete with homoerotic allusions. The two most commonly documented forms were commercial sex with transgender young women or males enacting transgender roles exemplified by the köçeks and the bacchás, and Sufi spiritual practices in which the practitioner admired the form of a beautiful boy in order to enter ecstatic states and glimpse the beauty of god. wikipedia.org
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