It’s important for all people to be safe when they travel. Whether that means staying clear of certain areas, getting back by a certain time, or watching over what you drink. However, for many members of the LGBTQ+ Community, it requires more than staying clear of unsafe streets; people need to be mindful of laws in certain regions and countries. The way to enjoy a good trip to feel comfortable and safe wherever you are, which is why it is important to know where to go and where not to go to feel entirely open and safe in expressing your gender and sexuality.
Where not to go:
Saudi Arabia is ranked as one of lowest amount the nations of the world by Out Traveler. Homosexuality is punishable by prison, death, beatings, banishment, and public flogging. LGBTQ+ activists are punished with imprisonment, if not worse, by the government. Along the same lines with Saudi Arabia, is the UAE. According to a law in place since 1987, male homosexuality is punishable by death. Countries such as Egypt see homosexuality as a crime punishable with 3 years in prison, and activists face prison time as well. The tropical and honeymoon destination, St. Lucia, has practically no queer protections, and condemn homosexual sex with 10-5 years in prison.
It is a large debate in many countries whether homosexuality, and queer expressionism should be allowed. A debate that feels like it should have been left behind long ago, however it is still present in many modern societies. Qatar, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, is ruled under Sharia law, a form of law and legislation that has caused issues for the queer community and for woman and female identifying persons. Large tourist destinations, especially in the Caribbean, rank among some of the worst in the world, with St. Kitts & Nevis, Turks & Caicos, and the Bahamas all receiving a “D-” grade from Out Traveler, with little legal protection and recognition from the governments, and very little, to none at all, rights and protections for members of the trans commnuity.
Where to go:
Places around the world that are safe for members of the LGBTQ+ community are plentiful and beautiful. Countries such as Greece, the home to the queer hub, Mykonos, or even Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, and the United States. Maybe you are feeling the urge to relive the scenes from The Sound of Music, and run through the hills in Austria, or the country that is commonly confused with Austria, Australia. Maybe you and your friends are thinking of going to Dublin for St. Patrick’s day, you’re in luck, since Ireland is ranked 14/193, providing full rights to the LGBTQ+ community, and banning hate speech. Places like Switzerland, if you are looking to go skiing over the Febuary holiday, is one of the safest places to go to, however, the United Kingdom is ranked 10 in the list, if you want to go exploring around our wonderful country. The two safest countries to go to for the LGBTQ+ community are Sweden and Canada, offering full protections, federal and local, banning hate speech, and much more.
No matter where you go, it is important for anyone to research where they are going to travel to. Being safe and feeling comfortable is how one enjoys a trip the most.
By Ian Ziegler (he/him)