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

 

Kasawan Falls in the Philippines – The Globetrotter Guys

Author: , January 25th, 2019

Kawasan Falls - The Globetrotter Guys

The Philippines are incredible and one of our favourite places that we have travelled to in South East Asia. The Philippines has some of the most beautiful beaches, islands, crystal clear waters and also some of the best adventure activities. One of our favourite adventure activities during our time in the Philippines was going to Kawasan Falls and canyoneering in Cebu. It is a must!

Here is everything you need to know about Kawasan Falls and canyoneering in Cebu (specifically Badian).

About Kawasan Falls, Cebu

Kawasan Falls are considered to be the most famous and one of the most beautiful sets of waterfalls in the Philippines.

Kawasan Falls can be found on the island of Cebu, 130km southwest of Cebu City in the mountains of Badian. People are drawn here by the vibrant turquoise waters, the lush jungle and the chance to have an adventure, including of course, canyoneering Kawasan Falls!

Most people will do a day trip to Kawasan Falls to spend the morning canyoneering and the afternoon relaxing by the falls. You even have the option of jumping on-board a bamboo raft and floating under the falls themselves!

Gay Thailand Like a Local – The Globetrotter Guys

Author: , January 25th, 2019

Gay Thailand Like a Local - The Globetrotter Guys

We have been to Thailand many times and have had nothing but great experiences. Thailand has so much to offer from the crazy capital city of Bangkok, to the jungles of Chiang Mai and the idyllic beaches you will find on the islands in the south, including the island of Koh Phangan, where the world famous Full Moon Party is held every month.

Like most countries, we know we are in a privileged position as a tourist so we wanted to interview an LGBT local to get a more in depth insight as to what it’s really like to be LGBT in Thailand. We got in contact with Bud who was willing to share his experience, read more below:

Hi Bud! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hi! My name is Bud Jungsaitakul. I am a middle aged gay professional and a world traveler from Thailand. I work as a senior operations manager at a large multinational company. I am a Thai National, MBA graduate and I live in Bangkok.

Thanks, so tell us, what is the stereotypical view of a local from Thailand towards someone who is LGBT (either local or tourist – is there a difference)?

Thailand is generally very tolerant towards the LGBT community and is probably the most gay friendly country in Asia.

The LGBT community has been visible in Thai culture for a very long time. Stereotypical views towards gay men in particular is that they are mostly feminine and camp.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Thailand Gay Travel Resources

 

Lesbian Travel to Southern Laos – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , January 18th, 2019

Southern Laos - Once Upon a Journey

Pakse, or Pakxe, is a city in Southern Laos. It’s the capital of the province Champasak and Laos’ second most populous city. Pakse is the perfect hub for your Southern Laos travels to places as the Bolaven Plateau and 4000 islands. But it’s way more than just a hub or gateway.

It’s a charming and peaceful city surrounded by beautiful nature. Pakse means mouth of the river, and its located next to the Mekong and Sedone rivers. We recommend staying at least two days in Pakse, to enjoy everything it has to offer and to enjoy the laid-back Lao culture. Here are our top things to see and do in Pakse. And also our recommendations on where to eat and stay. We fell in love with this city, hopefully, you do the same!

1. WAT PHOU SALAO AKA GOLDEN BUDDHA

Rent a motorbike, bicycle or jump in a tuk-tuk and visit Wat Phou Salao. With it’s giant golden Buddha and stunning views over the city and Mekong river this temple is a must visit.

The big Buddha might be the advertised highlight, we actually loved the many small Buddhas right next to it even more. On the way to Wat Phou Salao from Pakse city, you will cross the Lao-Japan friendship bridge and from there, you can spot the giant golden Buddha on top of the mountain. Sunset and sunrise are definitely the best moments to visit Wat Phou Salao for the best light.

By Roxanne Weijer – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Laos Gay Travel Resources

 

Queer Travel In Asia… Is It Safe?

Author: , January 16th, 2019

Gay Travel in Asia - The Globetrotter Guys

Gay travel in Asia can be confusing to say the least. A lot of people will look up gay rights in Asia and for the most part be disappointed. However, don’t let this discourage you! Back in 2012, we spent 3 months travelling from Thailand through to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Bali. We experienced this part of Asia as a gay couple and only had positive experiences.

We returned to Asia again in 2017 for our honeymoon, where we spent 3 weeks in the Philippines. When it comes to gay travel in Asia, the Philippines is one of the more advanced countries. There is still work to be done, like anywhere, but overall we had a wholly positive experience.

Quite simply, often the laws of the country don’t match the reality of being there as a tourist. While some people may say not to travel to countries until they have better laws, as long as you are safe as a tourist, you could be helping by representing the local LGBT community.

We have compiled our ‘Gay Travel Asia Guide’ to help you navigate the countries we visited. We want to compare the laws to the reality as a gay traveller in Asia. Read on to find out more, and feel free to share your own experiences in the comments.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Asia Gay Travel Resources

Japan Looks to the LGBTQ+ Tourism Market

Author: , January 11th, 2019

Japan - Pixabay

Japan’s tourism industry is looking for ways to attract LGBT visitors from overseas and take advantage of their tendency to spend more than average tourists.

Tourism-related businesses all over the world are “scrambling” to attract LGBT travelers, who have “considerable purchasing and spending power,” said Shintaro Koizumi, chief executive of Out Japan Co., a Tokyo-based marketing firm conducting seminars and other programs to support corporate clients seeking to learn how to handle issues involving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

With data showing that LGBT tourists spend about twice as much as average travelers, hotels and other accommodation facilities in Japan are stepping up efforts to appeal to them. The move is in line with a government target of attracting 40 million foreign tourists in 2020, up from 28.69 million in 2017, estimating total spending of ¥8 trillion during their stays, up from ¥4.42 trillion.

When American tourists visit Japan for 10 days, an average travel agency arranges tours that cost them $3,500 to $4,000 each, excluding airfare, according to industry officials. In contrast, trip arrangements made by a travel agency catering to LGBT clients generally cost more than $7,000.

By Jiji – Full Story at the Japan Times

 

Pakistan Hosts Its First Transgender Pride Parade

Author: , January 7th, 2019

Pakistan Transgender Pride Parade

Transgender people from all over the country gathered in Lahore for the first ever transgender pride parade in Pakistan this past weekend.

The event took place on Saturday December 29th.

By Savas Abadsidis – Full Story at Towleroad

 

Queer Japan – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , December 20th, 2018

Queer Japan - Once Upon a Journey

Travelling nowadays seems like the ultimate dream. We’re living that dream, and it is an absolute fairy tale! But, travelling the world as an LGBTQ+ traveller isn’t as easy as packing your bags and go. We have travelled to countries with anti-gay laws and we refuse to boycott countries for that reason. We believe travelling the world is for everyone!

However, it’s important to do it safely. A few important questions to keep in mind before flying to a new destination: what are the LGBT rights? What’s the public opinion like? Where are the LGBT+ safe spaces? It’s our goal to make you worry less, and have more fun during your travels. So let’s answer the questions and find out how LGBT friendly Japan is for travellers!

PAVING THE WAY TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Japan has some of the most progressive LGBT laws in of all Asia. Homosexual activities are legal, same-sex marriage not yet. Japan has been making great steps forward the past years. Since March 2009, Japanese can get married outside of Japan, in countries where it’s legal. In 2012, a law was passed allowing transgenders to change their gender legally after surgery.

In 2015 Shibuya was the first area in Japan to recognise same-sex partnership with a certificate, making it easier for same-sex couples to find housing and to visit each other in the hospital. Other areas and some major cities followed, nowadays seven cities (Sapporo, Fukuoka, Osaka, Iga, Takarazuka, Naha, and Chiba) and four wards in Tokyo offer them (or will in the near future).

Last October, Tokyo passed an anti-discrimination law concerning gender identity and sexual orientation. Plus, the city decided to conduct public education about LGBT rights. Although discrimination isn’t common in Japan we hope to see this law pass nationally as well. Sadly, adoption by same-sex couples isn’t allowed and lesbians aren’t able to access IVF. Though, the city Osaka is making great steps forward in this topic, since April 2017 same-sex couples are recognized as foster parents. Still, a lot to work on, but a country is more than its laws, so let’s dive into Japan’s public opinion.

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

 

Gay Philippines: Local Gay Stories – The Globetrotter Guys

Author: , December 16th, 2018

Gay Philippines

In 2018 we visited the Philippines for our honeymoon and fell in love with the country. From a tourist perspective, as a gay couple in the Philippines we had no problems at all. However, we are always interested to learn about what it is like to be LGBT in a country from a local perspective and not through a rose tinted tourist lens.

This is why we got in contact with Brix, a Filipino local to learn more about what it is like to be gay in the Philippines. Check out his interview below!

Hi Brix, please introduce yourself to our readers.

Thank for the opportunity to share a bit of my life experience and insights on LGBTQ travel in the Philippines and my hometown. My name is Ruel Perez, my friends call me Brix. I may look young but I am 30 years old. I used to work in tourism & hospitality and trading in different parts of the world. After traveling around 30 countries I came back to my town, built a farmhouse and became a gardener. I am currently running for town Mayor to fight against corruption and raise awareness for LGBTQ rights in the Philippines.

By Sion and Ben – Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Philippines Gay Travel Resources

 

Gay Taipei’s a Foodie Paradise – Mic.com

Author: , December 12th, 2018

gay taipei - crab - pixabay

If your idea of vacation planning is obsessively researching every restaurant, bar, coffee shop and food stand, gay Taipei, Taiwan, belongs on your bucket list. Taiwan’s sprawling capital city is home to 2.7 million residents and what feels like just as many must-visit spots for food and drink.

The island has a contentious history, with bouts of Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese presence or rule, and Taipei’s rich culinary landscape includes nods to its diverse colonial past as well as the traditions of the indigenous population: fresh Japanese seafood at DOZO Izakaya Bar, superstar soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, fine-dining French exports like L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, unbelievable street food like stinky tofu, innovative cocktails from the R&D Cocktail Lab, German beer halls like Buckskin Beerhouse, scenic tea houses atop Maokong mountain — and that barely scratches the surface.

There’s never been a better time to visit. In the first Michelin Guide Taipei, the city had 20 restaurants receive stars, with restaurants ranging from the three-star Le Palais, famous for its expertly executed Cantonese fare, to the one-star Taiwanese-meets-Nordic hit Mume.

Thirty-six joints made Michelin’s Bib Gourmand category, including 10 street food stalls scattered throughout the Taipei’s famous night markets, where tourists, locals and everyone in between sample piping-hot black pepper buns and pearl milk tea. You’ll also find plenty of excellent shops, hotels and tourist attractions — Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building, is definitely worth braving the crowds for — to fill time between meals.

By Meredith Heil – Full Story at Mic.com