Being openly gay in the Arab world is certainly not an easy feat! If it doesn’t land you a jail sentence or even a death penalty, the huge stigma attached to it will likely compromise your job prospects, alienate your family, or worse, make you the target of some pretty nasty homophobic violent crimes.
We have travelled extensively around the Middle East as a gay couple and overall had a positive experience. For example, we climbed the world’s tallest building in Dubai, got lost in the rich culture of Jerusalem, wondered around the souks of Tunis, visited stunning mosques in Abu Dhabi and even found a few gay clubs in Beirut. Of course we were always cautious to avoid any public displays of affection and only booked a double bed in hotels we were certain are gay friendly.
In this article, we’ve set out the 5 most gay friendly Arab countries based on our first hand experience and research. To be clear, this relates to the 22 Arab countries around the Middle East and North Africa, which are also member states of the Arab League. They are: Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the Comoro Islands, Iraq, Djibouti, and the United Arab Emirates. This does not include Israel, Turkey and Iran.
The point of this article is to show that outside of the pink comfort zone of the gay friendly countries of the world, there also exist pockets of LGBTQ friendly destinations, even in the more unlikely of places, like in the Arab world!