Gay Friendly Asia – Nomadic Boys

Author: , June 20th, 2019

Gay Friendly Asia - The Nomadic Boys

We spent 2 years travelling around Asia and completely fell in love with the continent. It offers so much in terms of cultural experiences, food and landscapes, with some of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.

But when it comes to LGBTQ rights, Asia has some serious work to do! In quite a lot of countries in Asia, being gay is either illegal or an arrestable offence, like in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. If it’s not illegal, then it’s such a strong taboo that you have to stay in the closet to avoid jeopardising your job prospects and embarrassing your family like in China, Russia and Indonesia.

Despite this, there are a number of countries in Asia that are paving the way forward in relation to LGBTQ rights. We’ve selected the top 10 most gay friendly countries in Asia, which we’ve based on the following criteria:

  • Where are they at with same sex marriage legislation, along with other LGBTQ laws?
  • What is the gay scene like and do they have any notable annual LGBTQ festivals?
  • Our personal experience travelling there as a gay couple, with reference to the most recent Spartacus Gay Travel Index.

We have taken it as a given that homosexuality is legal in the countries we’ve selected, which is why we haven’t included Singapore despite it having quite a vibrant gay scene and a famous LGBTQ PinkDot festival in June/July.

We have also included two “places” (Taiwan and Hong Kong) rather than “countries”, because although they’re not officially recognised “countries”, they can still be regarded as a “country” given they have their own flag, currency, national anthem, set of laws etc.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Asia Gay Travel Resources

Queer India – Fodors

Author: , January 28th, 2019

queer India - pixabay

It is generally accepted that clichés often have an element of truth to them. This holds in the case of India too. You won’t necessarily find elephants and snake charmers jostling for elbow room in the city (probably), but you can expect contradictions that boggle the mind. Here, various aspects of diversity intersect in a web so layered and complex that even natives struggle to get their head it around at times. You can expect color, noise, laughter, food, crowds—for everything else, leave those preconceptions at home.

India is no herald of LGBTQ+ rights. This is despite evidence of a spectrum of sexualities in historical times. While transgender individuals are legally allowed to self-identify as male, female, or other, it was only in September 2018 that Section 377, a British-era remnant of homophobia, was read down by the Supreme Court. But Section 377 or not, there are an estimated 100-million+ queer individuals in India. And just like in any other part of the world, they have continued to fall in love, built lives together, and traveled with their near and dear for eons. And ironically, their biggest threat—a deeply conservative society—is also what keeps them safe. In other words, if one is willing to pick one’s battles and co-opt certain cultural norms to one’s advantage, traveling as a gay (gay referring to a range of sexualities) individual or couple can be exactly the adventure you imagine. In short: when in India, do as (gay) Indians do.

The Cloak of Invisibility

The worst thing that has ever happened to Ashdeen, 38, while traveling with a partner, is being given separate beds. “Annoying,” is the word he uses, and he laughs as he says it. He might as well, because this is very likely the only battle you will fight as a queer couple in India. Not many travelers see it as overt homophobia, though. “I think people are just used to a certain idea of what the norm is,” says John, 53, who’s partner was noted as “Mrs” in a fancy hotel. “If it was a dive, I understand that, but this was, you know, supposedly a five-star.” John, who’s from the US, and whose husband is Indian (they married in the US), did get the mistake corrected.

By Payal Dhar – Full Story at Fodors

Queer India Travel Resources

 

Visiting India After the Decriminalization of Gay Sex – Gay Star News

Author: , September 6th, 2018

India - pixabay

India made history by becoming the next country to decriminalize gay sex. The seventh largest state’s supreme court overturned Section 337 today (6 September 2018) after hearing petitions from lawyers representing LGBTI activists. The ban dates back to colonial times and outlawed sexual activities ‘outside the order of nature’. This included homosexual sex.

But its repeal is a landmark in civil rights for the LGBTI community in India. 1.35 billion people live in the country, making it the largest decriminalization in history. So to celebrate, let’s look at just how beautiful India is.

1 Yumthang Valley, Sikkim

Also known as the Valley of Flowers, this beautiful spot is filled with hot springs, yaks, and meadows, centered on a river and surrounded by the Himalayas.

2 Tea Gardens, Munnar

If you can’t think about starting your day without a cup of tea, then you need to visit these Tea Gardens. Rolling hills of green make it one of the most beautiful places to visit in India.

By Tom Capon – Full Story at Gay Star News

India Gay Travel Resources

Gay India – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , April 7th, 2018

Gay India - The Nomadic Boys

We spent several months travelling in India as a gay couple, from North to South, and absolutely loved it.

We visited world famous monuments like the Taj Mahal and stunning palaces across Rajasthan. We were in awe at the intense spirituality in Varanasi, chilled in the popular backwaters of Kerala, and loved all the delicious Indian food we tried. But our absolute highlight was the people. The Indians stole our heart. As well as being full of charm and character, they were very hospitable and never disrespectful to us. We found them to be welcoming, curious, very friendly, and eager to show off their country to these two foreigners.

On the face of it, India does not appear to be very gay friendly, particularly as the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 to uphold the colonial laws dating back to 1861 banning sex between two consenting men. Whilst this law was decriminalised by the High Court of Delhi in 2009, it was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court because the judges concluded that such an amendment should be left to parliament to decide, and not the judiciary. The law is thankfully being reviewed again in the Supreme Court – a testament to how strong the LGTBQ community is in India.

In practice, gay relationships do of course exist and thrive in India, as they do in any other country. However, social norms in India tend to discourage public display of affection no matter sexual orientation.

But do the maths – this is a country with a population of over 1.3 billion people, which means statistically there are around 130 million gay boys waiting to welcome you.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

India Gay Travel Resources

Sandakphu on a Budget – Seattle Lesbian

Author: , March 9th, 2018

India - Pixabay

A trek in the hills is the perfect getaway from the dull city life. The crisp mountain air and the thrill of scaling summits – such is the magnetism of trekking in the hills. If you are an adventure-seeker keen on experiencing the outdoors, Sandakphu is close by. Easy to reach from the eastern part of India, it features on the bucket-list of many eager travelers.

Trains ply to the New Jalpaiguri Junction, the railway station nearest to Sandakphu. From New Jalpaiguri, you will find buses and cars to take you to the charming hill station of Darjeeling. Plan your trek from there. It does not have to cost the earth. With careful planning and prior bookings, you can trek to Sandakphu on a budget and also squeeze in a mini-vacation in Darjeeling. Here is how you complete a trek to Sandakphu on a humble budget.

THE SONG OF SINGALILA

Sandakphu is the highest summit of the Singalila Range. This trek is also called the Singalila Trek as it will take you along the Singalila Range. Visitors flock to Sandakphu for panoramic views of the Himalayas – Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu.

By Samantha Martin – Full Story at Seattle Lesbian

India Gay Travel Resources

India Adventure Hikes – Breakaway Backpacker

Author: , August 7th, 2017

India village

India is a huge country and there is a lot of room to explore various trails and scenery while you are there. If you want, it’s the perfect playground for hiking enthusiasts. Since a country that big can easily get confusing for a newbie, today we’ll take a look at some of the most exciting hiking trails to try. In the end we hope that you will find this country to be as fun and beautiful as we did!

The Grand Indrahar Pass

This is one of the most popular destinations for hiking in the entire country. This pass is in the Dhauladhar Range in the Himalayans, and you will start your trek at the Galu Temple.

During the journey you can rest at a camping ground, but don’t forget to look around at the Lahesh Caves, which is a place where hikers like to explore. The Pir Panjal Mountains are also something you will see, along with the forests and Deodar and Rhododendron flowers! Your trip will wrap up at Chamba.

One more thing you will see is the Mahesh Kailash peak, which has snow on top and looks amazing! You will want to visit here anywhere from May to October for the best hiking.

By Jaime Davila – Full Story at Breakaway Backpacker

India Gay Travel Resources

Visiting Gay India – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 5th, 2017

Gay India - Alain

Early this year, I had a 10-day trip to India. Yes, I know, for a huge country like India, 10 days is a joke, right? That’s why, I chose to explore New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. These three cities are the usual tourist destinations for those who have little time in the country. They’re called “The Golden Triangle” route due to their location from each other. This tourist route can be done in 7 days – then I went to Varanasi for 2 days and back to Delhi on my last day. Here’s how I explored gay India.

Weather in January/February

I flew there in February – winter time. A light jacket was fine in the morning and in the evening. I survived wearing t-shirts and shorts during the day while exploring the sights.

Taking the trains in India

Do not trust taking trains from one city to another at wintertime. The delays were horrendous and gave me wrinkles and tested my patience. My train from New Delhi to Agra was delayed for 30 minutes – which was fine for me. But, from Agra to Jaipur, our train was delayed for 9 slow hours! Bejesus, my butt almost exploded from sitting down at the filthy train station! The train ride from Jaipur to Varanasi was the worst – 15 hours delayed! It was the longest train ride I’ve ever had in my backpacking life! A total of 24.5 hours were wasted. I lost so much time that I had to limit the places I wanted to go and see. All of these delays have one reason: fog! Or pollution?

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

India Gay Travel Resources

New Delhi’s First LGBT Cafe

Author: , June 2nd, 2017

Chez Jerome – Q Cafe

New Delhi’s first LGBTI cafe will leave you hungry for moreChez Jerome – Q Cafe is the first LGBTI cafe in India’s capital, New Delhi. India’s capital, New Delhi, now has its own LGBTI cafe which along with an amazing menu will be a safe space for all people in the rainbow community.

Chez Jerome – Q Cafe has been open since late last year but word is still catching on about this unique space for LGBTI people. Chez Jerome is the brainchild of Sambhav Dehlavi who is also the head waiter and chef.

‘I want this to be a safe space for women, too, for anyone who wants to be part of an inclusive culture,’ Dehlavi told the Hindustan Times. The 27-year-old came out 10 years ago and said that tough experience has given him a great resilience. ‘We first realised about negativity when we came out of the closet. I came out when I was just 17,’ he told The Indian Express. ‘Now that I’ve come through all of it, these tiny hurdles [opposition to the cafe] feel like nothing.

By Shannon Power – Full Story at Gay Star News

India Gay Travel Resources

Sarnath – Where Buddha Preached His First Sermon – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , April 12th, 2017

Sarnath

In Sarnath, Buddha preached his first sermon to his followers. Right after he attained Nirvana under a Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, he traveled to Sarnath to preach. That sermon he gave became the central belief of Buddhism: The Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path.

Today, Sarnath is synonymous to Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. There’s a humongous stupa in the place where he used to sit and preach. This stupa is the most preserved in the area and it towers over the land where temples once stood.

The surrounding area still carries the ruins of the Buddhist Temples of ancient yore.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

India Gay Travel Resources

Morning on the Ganges – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , April 3rd, 2017

Ganges

The Ganges River in Varanasi is everything to the Hindus who live in the city. They consider it holy but they don’t treat it like one. It’s murky and polluted. For a visitor like me, I see the flowing river crying for help. Strolling along the banks, I saw a lot of things that’s not normal in many ways. I guess, it’s just the foreign eyes in me, eh?

There were things that crept me out. But,one particular incident was when I saw a dead body wrapped in a cloth floating in the river. The boat man pointed this to me and I was mortified! Why? Because few meters from us were people bathing and swimming like it’s the most natural thing to do in the world.

Ok, well, it’s a very natural thing to do for them, at least, right? I talked to my fellow travellers at the hostel – and they, too, have seen a floating body or two. One guy told us that he saw a dog devouring a human hand. “I could never unsee that in my lifetime,” he said.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

India Gay Travel Resources