Is Russia Safe for Queer Travelers? – Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Russia for queer travelers

Editor’s note. We had some trepidation about posting this, given Russia’s current role in world affairs. But sunlight is the best disinfectant, and Russia is home to an active queer community, however suppressed it may be. So we decided it was important to shine a little light on that community.

Stefan’s coming out song in February 2003 was “All The Things You Said”, a pop hit by Russian girlband t.A.T.u, who were marketed as a lesbian couple. For the video of this song, the two band members, Lena Katina and Julia Volkova, were running around in the rain dressed in school girl outfits and making out.

Obviously the band were (quite successfully!) targeting a very specific heterosexual male demographic. But despite this, the very fact that such a public homosexual image was being shown and accepted across Russian society in the early 2000s, speaks volumes about attitudes to LGBTQ in Russian society…so what the hell went wrong since?!

Just before travelling on the Trans Siberian across Russia in 2014, almost every other person warned us “you better be careful in Russia boys, probably best avoid going altogether!”

With hindsight we are so glad we ignored this advice.

Yes, we were nervous when we first touched down at Domodedovo airport in Moscow. After all, we all know Russia has a terrible reputation for LGBTQ rights, particularly in light of the awful anti-gay propaganda law passed in 2013. Nonetheless, we were absolutely fine during our travels there. We were even pleasantly surprised that there are thriving gay scenes in Moscow and St Petersburg.

This is our advice about travelling safely in Russia for gay travellers based on our first hand experience exploring the country as a same sex couple.

Is it legal to be gay in Russia?

The good news first: it is legal to be gay in Russia! In fact it has been legal since 1993. In addition, the age for sexual consent (16 years old) has been the same for both straight and gay couples since 1993, except in Chechnya. It’s also legal for a single gay man to adopt, you can change your legal gender, and gays are allowed to serve in the Russian military (under a “don’t ask don’t tell policy) unlike in some European countries like Cyprus, which has a total LGBT ban in its army!

Another surprising fact about Russia is that gay men are allowed to donate blood without any restrictions. In the UK, we are required to have 3 months of no sexual relations before we can even be considered.

By AUTHOR – Full Story at SOURCE

LOCATION Gay Travel Resources

Should Gay Honeymooners Stop Avoiding Anti Gay Countries?

Author: , July 30th, 2015

Gay Travel

With the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, a new crop of honeymooners has entered the market. The travel industry has positioned itself to capitalize, having recently launched several targeted marketing campaigns featuring gay couples, including Hotwire’s “Lucky Me” commercial, Airbnb’s #HostWithPride film, and Marriottt’s Love Travels campaign.

But with gay marriage fully legal in just 20 countries – and homosexuality illegal in 75 — gay newlyweds face extra hurdles in deciding where to celebrate their nuptials. Many feel compelled to research discrimination laws before making overseas travel plans. In fact, four out of 10 U.S. LGBT travelers said local discriminatory laws and homophobic sentiments affect where they decide to fly “to a great extent,” according to a survey by LGBT marketing group Out Now. As one lesbian couple expressed in Airbnb’s #HostWithPride film, “For our honeymoon, I don’t want to be attacked. We want to be able to express our love, and be able to be affectionate, and feel comfortable and safe.”

But are such fears founded? Certainly, in some nations around the world, including popular honeymoon destinations, local LGBT people are harassed, arrested and even killed with impunity. But for Americans, these threats are minimal. Both the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and the International Gay and Lesbian Alliance have no reports of gay American honeymooners being assaulted during international travel. Even the U.S. State Department, which posts warnings for LGBT travelers, has little evidence of such incidents.

By Michael Luongo – Full Story at The Washington Post | Gay Travel Resources