A Personal Experience: Being Gay in Indonesia – Everything To Sea

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Any man’s life, told truly, is a novel…” We are thrilled to publish a personal story from the heart. A journey of being gay in Indonesia, from Everything To Sea’s Support Specialist, Ron.

What’s it like to be gay here? For a lot of people who have never been to Indonesia and only hear news from the internet, this sounds like not a good place to live for gay people. Although a single province at the northwest tip of the country called Aceh practices Sharia law, and some gay accommodations were recently closed by a local authority in Bali, things are not as bad as they sound in the media. While it’s hard to call Indonesia gay-friendly (there is no legal representation for LGBTQIA+ folks, and being “out” is rare), it can be considered a gay-tolerant country – and the island of Bali is more so.

Thinking about my life as an Indonesian gay man living in Bali, I feel like I have more freedom to express my gay side, compared to others who live outside the island. I can go to gay bars, and I can openly socialize with gay friends. Although I’m not completely out – some people whom I work with know that I am gay, some don’t – I feel like I don’t have to announce it to everybody. There was a time I wasn’t comfortable saying that I’m gay – even to myself. Now I know who I am, but the journey has been a long road.

Looking back at the time when I first discovered myself as a gay man, I was about 20 years old and had just graduated from university. It was a true revelation. Being born and raised in a rural area in East Java, I was taught to be subtle, humble, and respectful to others. We were not supposed to talk about sex or sexual desires. Now, I have always been polite, curious, and striving for the best. These values were strictly taught to me by my father, while my mother was more relaxed, and gave me greater space to make my own decisions. As a high school student, I was attracted to a girl, and fell in love with her – but I knew in the back of my mind that I was actually excited by the thought of being with men. Driven by a big curiosity over several months, I telephoned a prominent gay professor in the town of Surabaya. He invited me to a bi-monthly gathering for gay men. It was quite nerve-wracking as it was my first time, but the LGBTQIA+ people there were very friendly and welcomed me with wide-open arms.

I didn’t fully embrace myself as a gay man until I met my first boyfriend, a very intelligent gentleman from the USA, who taught me to think and question. In this way, my brain was stimulated.  It wasn’t an easy process, because questioning is against Indonesian cultural values. We had a lot of conflicts in the beginning over small issues, but somehow we made it through. We traveled together in Indonesia, taking trains and airplanes. It didn’t bother us what people thought – even when we’d check into accommodations and request a king-size bed.  I remember there was a time when we traveled by train and were near a group of younger Indonesians in their thirties. From the way they looked at us, the men and women smiled. They seemed to know we were a gay couple, and I felt very comfortable.

And yet being gay in Indonesia, there are still challenges that I currently face. When they surface, they are from family – and society in general. The family issue is that I would be happy to come out as a gay man, yet I’m not sure how my mother, brother, and sister would handle it. I’m sure they would accept me and embrace me, but what I fear is ultimately how sad they would be. Their idea is that it’s not good to be gay, as it’s against their religion: for them, being gay is seen as an unnatural choice against God, and ultimately a sin. Surely there would be a period of shock. And then there’s the cultural thing: my mother would later share the news with those around her. Although neighbors wouldn’t hate her or hate the rest of my family, they’d certainly talk about us amongst themselves. And I’m not sure my mother would be able to handle the ensuing pressure.

I guess the policy “don’t ask/don’t tell” works very well here. Also, Indonesians – straight or gay – don’t display affection in public. So although I say I have more freedom living in Bali instead of Java or any other Indonesian island, there are still cultural challenges that exist throughout the nation. Indonesians in general still have negative attitudes towards the literal gay sex act. We still don’t have legalized gay marriage, but the younger generation here is definitely more accepting of the LGBTQIA+ population. In the end, I sincerely hope time will be the agent for change. 

By Ron Roeslan, Support Specialist, Everything To Sea

Check out more stories at Everything To Sea.

Everything To Sea runs all-male, clothing-optional trips on traditional wooden yachts in the calm seas of Indonesia. As a travel operator, they specialize in excursions for men of all orientations, that center around freedom, camaraderie, and friendship. 

Since January 2019, Everything To Sea has been exploring natural environments and giving guys one-of-a-kind, life-changing experiences. Trips range from private journeys for individuals to small-group departures for up to 12 men. Their ships are also available for existing men’s groups, such as yoga or tantric communities, who are seeking unforgettable journeys.

Gay Taiwan – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Taiwan - The Nomadic Boys

When it comes to welcoming queer travelers, gay Taiwan is the only place in Asia that we think tops Thailand. They even have a temple dedicated to a gay god!

Taiwan is super gay – it has the largest gay Pride in Asia, it was the first place in Asia to legalize marriage equality and has a massive LGBTQ+ scene in Taipei. That’s before we’ve even mentioned the delicious food, breathtaking scenery and really friendly charming Taiwanese people – who will make you smile every time you speak to them!

In short, Taiwan gave us everything we wanted from our Asian gaycation. We’d go back in a heartbeat and know you will want to as well. Regardless of whether or not you’re a seasoned traveler or maybe thinking about your first adventure, Taiwan is a place to consider. In this queer country guide to Taiwan, we’ve put together our fabulous discoveries from our adventures together with safety advice, culinary inspiration and the best gay events to seek out.

Rights in Gay Taiwan

The first thing to note is that LGBTQ+ rights there are very progressive. More progressive than some Western countries so we even rate it as one of the most gay friendly places in the world. It’s no wonder that Taiwan is so welcoming to LGBTQ travelers. This was immediately apparent to us from the moment we touched down at Taipei’s airport. We never had any issues whatsoever and we felt so comfortable while we were travelling around.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Celebrating The Male Form – Everything To Sea

Everything To Sea’s Eddie Rahadian talked with Patrick Emmanuel, the founder of MaleBodyPoetry.net, in which he rejoices both male nudity and the beauty of nature.  Check out our Q&A with the Hilderbeg-based guy below.

Can you tell us more about yourself? Where did you grow up? Perhaps tell us about your childhood?

I was born in Chicago as the son of a Swiss father and an Austrian mother. When I was three, I came to Germany, to Heidelberg. My father was a father at university, so he was called there. I grew up in Germany, so I feel more or less like a German.

My childhood was kind of Christian, and also I developed a strong personal relationship with God. Which then led to the fact that I gave my life to God. Through this, I started to do a spiritual ministry for several decades, which means 25 years, with like-minded people, who, like me, were thinking in a very anti-institutional way. In a way, it was different from the usual Christian setting; but at the same time, many of the teachings were very conservative and classical, such as the rejection of homosexuality, so I didn’t live my homosexuality until I was 47. I was still a virgin.

When did you realize that you wanted to do what you’re doing right now?

Maybe I should separate that into parts. The first part was when I was kicked out of this spiritual ministry. I then started the journey to find myself, looking for conversion therapy and finally ending up with the gay community and embracing my sexuality. This was the first part.

The second part was not only about homosexuality but also sexuality as a whole, because I had always seen it as something negative. I was not able to live it because in my world only heterosexual marriage was the only way to live your sexuality. So for me, it was a very important step to embrace that when I started to accept my sexuality for the first time with a good conscience and praising God, celebrating it.

The third part was what I could refer to when you say, “What am I doing right now?”. When you refer to my photographic work… it was through several very deep psychedelic trips that I realized that I don’t want to do anything that is not totally myself. I’m also no longer taking into consideration whether people think this is appropriate or not appropriate because it is just myself. I always like to be naked in nature. I always like to take pictures. And nude pictures, I already did that when I was 17. But of course, I wouldn’t allow myself to publish anything like that or even show it to somebody. It was only through these deep inner experiences that I broke through to do it. And I realized that people would not diminish their appreciation of me; it’s the opposite. They liked people who honestly and authentically live who they are.

Tell us more about Body Poetry…

When I started to do my photography, I soon realized that what I was interested in was to display the beauty of the male body and the surrounding reality, most of the time in nature. These two kinds coming together, I believe, speaks about something beyond the visible. Because where does beauty come from? It shows a reality or a harmony that’s beyond. This is my real interest in naked pictures.

For many people, including myself for many years, nudity and also sexuality is considered dirty, something to be hidden. It was so important in my coming out process to realize that in reality, [sexuality] is something wonderful, something to have a positive attitude about, something I can celebrate. This is the reason why I also like to put nudity or even eroticism sometimes into a holy context, where everybody knows that this cannot be profane or vulgar because if it was, it would be total blasphemy.

Recently, I took pictures at a cemetery like this. I think it’s a message in itself. About the name, when I started to do it, I had a friend who is a poet and said, “This is like poetry.” So then I was thinking of a name like Body Poetry. It already existed on the internet, so I took Male Body Poetry as I am clearly focusing on the male form. This is how it was created.

I just realized that at a certain point that I did have the desire to share these pictures, because I consider them as art. So when it was about sharing on the internet, I simply wanted the pictures to be traced back to me, that it was clear where they came from, because everything on the Internet is shared around. So I needed a name and this is how Male Body Poetry was created.

By Eddie Rahadian – Full Story at Everything To Sea.

Everything To Sea runs all-male, clothing-optional trips on traditional wooden yachts in the calm seas of Indonesia. As a travel operator, they specialize in excursions for men of all orientations, that center around freedom, camaraderie, friendship, and honesty. 

Since January 2019, Everything To Sea has been exploring natural environments and giving guys one-of-a-kind, life-changing experiences. Trips range from private journeys for individuals to small-group departures for up to 12 men. Their ships are also available for existing men’s groups, such as yoga or tantric communities, who are seeking unforgettable journeys.

Gay Slovenia – The Globetrotter Guys

Gay Slovenia - The Globetrotter Guys

We spent two weeks in Slovenia during ‘’Pink Week’’ (focused on gay travel in Slovenia) and were simply amazed by its natural beauty – it was like being in a fairy-tale.

It’s is the third most forested country in Europe and one of the most water rich with numerous thermal springs, mineral springs and subterranean waters.

We loved the diversity and beauty of all the landscapes across the country, from rolling green hills to bright blue lakes and crystal-clear water along the coast – this country easily surpassed our expectations.

Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the east and Croatia in the south – all of which can easily be reached

In our guide to gay Slovenia we will cover how we found the country as a couple, if a queer scene exists, share the best activities to do, where to stay, suggestions of where to go and practical tips – we highly recommend that you visit!

Gay Slovenia Travel Guide

Is Slovenia Gay Friendly?

From our experience as a gay couple, we felt very welcome and safe. We barely gave being gay in Slovenia a second thought; and that is a good thing!

In fact, it is stated on the tourism boards website:

‘’Slovenia, especially Ljubljana, is friendly and open to all visitors. As guests who are members of the gay and lesbian community, you are welcome here. All the services provided by our country to its guests are also available to you.’’

By Sion & Ben – Full Story at the Globetrotter Guys

Gay Split, Croatia – The Globetrotter Guys

Gay Split, Croatia - The Globetrotter Guys

We spent 4 nights in the beautiful city of Split in Croatia and loved every minute.

Split is Croatia’s second largest city in the Dalmatia region after Dubrovnik and home to 250k people.

The historical walled old town lays on the water’s edge and is a maze of pretty cobbled streets, beautiful buildings (including the famed Diocletian’s Palace), monuments and is also a great point from which to travel to the other islands along the coast.

In our guide to gay Split we will cover how we found the city as a gay couple, if a gay scene exists, share our experience of the gay beach, cover the best activities to do in (and from) Split, where to stay and practical tips – we highly recommend that you visit!

Is Split Gay Friendly?

As a country, Croatia is not particularly well known for being progressive and gay friendly compared to other countries in Europe such as Spain.

However when visiting the tourist hot spots, like the case in many countries, we felt very safe and had no trouble at all. We have been to Croatia twice with no issue.

In fact, our trip to Croatia was for a gay sailing trip which finished in Split (the trip goes each year) and we had a huge pride flag flying for the whole journey and never had an issue!

By Sion & Ben – Full Story at the Globetrotter Guys

Gay Split Travel Resources

Why is Bianca Del Rio Not On The First Drag Cruise to Gay Puerto Vallarta?

Drag Superstar and self proclaimed “Clown In A Gown” sensation Bianca Del Rio Tells GAYPV Travel Magazine about her first appearance in Puerto Vallarta. The Almar Group is bringing her as part of the entertainment during Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride held May 24-31, 2021. However, she is NOT included in the group of legendary drag superstars headlining the 1st drag cruise stopping in Puerto Vallarta in January 2022.

Was there a catfight over top billing credits Or was it something more deliberate by Bianca Del Rio? Is Lady Bunny pissed and not speaking to Bianca anymore? Find out why here.

Photo credit of Bianca Matt Crockett

Gay Florida Keys – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Florida Keys - The Nomadic Boys

We’ve travelled the world extensively, and can hands down say that when it comes to stunning sunsets, the Keys of South Florida is the best place to come. There are of course many other reasons to visit the Keys: the terrific gay scene of Key West, the diving in the many coral reefs, beautiful beaches, and of course the star culinary highlight, the divine Key Lime pie! But for us, those magnificent sunsets stole the show.

The Florida Keys are a string of thousands of tropical islands stretching about 120 miles (193km) off the southern tip of Florida, between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The word “Keys” comes from the Spanish word “cayo”, which means ‘small island’.

The Keys begin at the southeastern coast of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami. They then extend from Key Largo, all the way to Key West, which is the westernmost of the inhabited islands.

This is our gay travel guide to the Florida keys, where we set out the best gay hotels to stay, our favourite gay hangouts and top things to do.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Florida Keys Travel Resources

Gay Sarasota, Florida – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Sarasota, Florida - The Nomadic Boys

This is the home of Siesta Key Rum, the Siesta Key beach, the massive Ringling Circus Museum, and so much more! Sarasota is a destination that most gay travellers to Florida are likely to overlook. 

We’ll be very honest, before coming to Sarasota we knew very little about it. However, it turned out to be the hidden gem of our trip, a place we would definitely love to return to. As well as being a cultural hotspot of Florida with so many things to do, Sarasota also has a small fun gay scene worth checking out, with annual events like the “Harvey Milk Festival”and “Sarasota Pride”.

Following our trip, we’ve put together this detailed travel guide to Sarasota featuring the best gay bars, events, things to do, gay friendly hotels to stay, and more.

Gay Sarasota Neighborhood?

The Sarasota gay scene is very small with only a handful of gay hangouts spread around the city. As such, there is no official gay neighborhood in Sarasota. The focal point of the city where you may want to consider basing yourself is by the pretty Bayfront Park. It’s close to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens as well as a few queer-friendly bars like the Pangea Alchemy Lab and the Westin hotel rooftop bar.

Purple Rhino is the main gay bar of Sarasota, which is located around 10 minutes taxi ride south Bayfront Park. Even further south is the Oasis club, which is close to famous Siesta Key beach.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Sarasota Gay Travel Resources

Gay Maspalomas, Canary Islands – wolfyy

gay maspalomas

The Canary Islands are a fantastic destination for gay travelers, especially once the bustling summer tourism season slows down in mainland Europe. Maspalomas is known for being a completely gay resort town in Gran Canaria, the largest of the Canary Islands. Full of outgoing, friendly guys, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good time.

What’s so special about the Canary Islands? Well, other than breathtaking landscapes (check out the Maspalomas Dunes), summer never really ends here in the Canaries. Spain’s southernmost territory, they’re just off Africa’s Western Sahara coast! With so much warm weather to spare, Maspalomas actually hosts two gay pride festivals every year.

Before summer even begins, Maspalomas hosts their first pride of the year, typically in May. As November rolls around, travelers ditch the cold weather up north for sunny dance parties at Maspalomas Winter Pride. I had an absolute blast dancing at the enormous Yumbo Centre. I made dozens of international friends through the week, many of whom I’ve planned more travel with!

gay maspalomas winter pride

Maspalomas Gay Events & Hotels

Gran Canaria has way more to offer than just gay pride weeks. There’s a bunch of other gay event weeks to choose from. Summer Fiesta, Bear Carnival and Festish Week Maspalomas are just a few. What makes these events even more special though, is how conveniently close most Maspalomas hotels are to the main events. It’s easy to find a hotel or resort in the center of the action. Having everything within arm’s reach makes a party-filled vacation so much more relaxing.

Gay hotels in Maspalomas are pretty easy to find, but there are definitely a few crowd favorites. Especially if you want to have convenient access to the main event locations on foot, you might want to consider booking in a certain part of town. I’ll give you all the details about where to stay based on your personal preferences and preferred vibe!

Full Maspalomas Gay Travel Guide on wolfyy – by Louis Lafata

Gay Canary Islands Resources

Miami Beach Pride’s Biggest Events – The Nomadic Boys

BLOG - Miami Beach Pride's Biggest Events - The Nomadic Boys

“Miami Beach Pride is one of the biggest and best gay events in South Florida which you will not want to miss!”

While Miami Beach Pride may not be one of the biggest pride events in the world, it’s certainly one of the most exciting and unique…how many Pride events do you know that take place along a beach?

My partner Teraj is a Miami native so, naturally, we have visited this vibrant city many times over the past few years. In particular, we love going to Miami Beach Pride and always attend in full glitter and rainbow paraphernalia! In this guest post, I’ve set out why we love it so much, from all the many special events, social mixers and must-attend parties.

Here’s my rundown of the most anticipated parties during Miami Beach Gay Pride.

Official Miami Beach Pride Pool Party

Nothing says “Miami” quite like a pool, a few cocktails and of course, lots of hot guys! Miami Beach Pride gets this spot on with the official Pride Pool Party. What I love about it the most is that they always feature amazing international DJs every year, like DJ Ralphi Rosario, Dan Slater and Dani Brasil. This is where you want to see and be seen (especially if you enjoy watching hotties in skimpy bathing suits)!

General admission is usually only around $40. For a bit more, you can also get a VIP access, which includes an open bar with a private terrace. 

You will naturally find us in the VIP area getting our dose of Vitamin D and soaking up all those yummy cocktails!

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Miami Beach Gay Travel Resources