LGBTQ+ travel is not exactly the same for everyone. For instance, in addition to pondering the freedom of speech and self-expression that will be allowed in the countries of their dreams, travelers must also slalom between places that show real consideration for their distinct realities and those that simply want to empty their pockets.
Here are a few particularly noteworthy LGBTQ destinations that carry a significant heritage or Pride festivities that are, in other words, simply extraordinary!
San Francisco, United States
Indeed, it seems that San Francisco is not just the international capital of LGBTQ+ travel, but also diversity, inclusion, and general deconstruction of the conservative framework. Here, sexually- diverse and gender-diverse people are not just secluded in one neighborhood. On the contrary: they are everywhere!
That reality is not surprising when considering that the city saw Harvey Milk become the first openly gay elected official in California’s history back in 1977, together with the first battles against HIV-AIDS and for same-sex marriage, respectively. Another key point is obviously the GLBT Historical Social Museum, which is located in San Francisco and recounts the story of over a century of LGBTQ+ history.
And while you’re there, why not discover the California coast and head down to Los Angeles, where the very first pro-gay parade in the United States took place in 1970?
Despite its generally strong Catholic heritage, Spain has been opening its arms to LGBTQ+ tourism for decades now. Following the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco, the country embraced liberal values and democracy that ultimately led to the creation of the Fiestas del Orgullo Gay in Madrid in 1979.
To truly understand why the country is now evidently one of the most welcoming in the world, start with the Madrid Pride! It’s considered to be the most popular Pride in Europe, with over a whopping 3.5 million participants every year.
The Dutch capital surely has the most unique Pride on the planet thanks to its… floating parade! On the first Saturday of August, nearly 80 boats ply the many festively-decked out canals.
Throughout the week, hundreds of thousands of people – not only LGBTQ+ but also an impressive amount of cisgender heterosexuals – celebrate diversity by partying in the streets.
Is that not enough to convince you to visit the first country to legalize same-sex marriage? We should add that firstly, Amsterdam simultaneously offers canals similar to those of Venice. Secondly, an architectural beauty as spectacular as that of Paris. And, thirdly, the impression of being in a small yet big city just like Montreal.
If you’re looking for a new reason to escape winter, book your flights now to experience the Australian summer! In late February and early March, Sydney is alive with the rhythms of Mardi Gras. Besides, the first Pride carnival drew 500 people to Oxford Street in 1978; that makes it one of the oldest Prides on the planet. The event now attracts half a million people in the land of kangaroos, Kylie Minogue and the cult movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Let’s not bury our heads in the sand: even today, Australia remains a country with a conservative mentality. Nevertheless, the metropolis is definitely worth a visit for LGBTQ travelers!
Surprisingly, the Greek island does not have a historical and emotional charge strongly associated with the LGBTQ+ movement. And yet, we cannot ignore the fact that it is without a doubt one of the most popular European beach destinations for LGBTQ+ people, along with Ibiza, Gran Canaria and Sitges.
Year after year, as soon as the summer begins, people flock to the island. Why? Specifically to party, bask on the dazzling beaches, give their taste buds an unforgettable experience, and offer their eyes a unique perspective on the island’s architecture, the beauties in various types of tiny swimsuits and, not to mention, the trendiest things in the world.
New York, United States
It’s impossible not to include the Big Apple in this selection of LGBTQ destinations. After all, the Pride movement was born there, shortly after the June 1969 protests launched by courageous Afro-descendant drag queen Marsha Johnson.
Five decades later, given that heritage, why not go on a pilgrimage type-trip?
Start with a drink at the legendary Stonewall Inn. Take in the Pride festivities. Then, sober up with a Sex and the City brunch. Digest it all with a visit to the High Line. At last, fill your head with art at the Whitney Museum of American Art, known for its inclusiveness and willingness to highlight a wide range of sensibilities.