If there’s anywhere in India where you can feel comfortable as an LGBT+ traveller, it’s in unconventional Goa. Being gay in Goa is as widely accepted as being a hippie or being a vegan or being a stoner. Because in Goa – well, pretty much anything goes!
You see, Goa is unlike anywhere else in the country, and truth be told it’s not the ‘real’ India. Goa is the haven to escape to when you need a break from the ‘real’ India. It’s a place to party, unwind, and enjoy the magnificent beaches that adorn the 100km coastline.
At the same time, Goa is a place where minorities can feel more relaxed. Having tattoos, piercings, blonde hair, white skin, dark skin or a same-sex partner isn’t going to attract much-unwanted attention here. Eccentric Hippies have been visiting Goa since the 1960s, and the tourism boom has resulted in a far more relaxed and accepting culture relative to other parts of India.
We recently spent a bit of time in Goa, and after backpacking through the likes of Jaipur, Mumbai, and Varanasi, we were grateful for the dose of freedom. While we never felt uncomfortable in any part of India purely because of our sexuality, there were indeed times where we felt out of our comfort zone. That’s just India. So it was nice to retreat to open-minded Goa and let our hair down.
In this travel guide, we outline all the best places to go in Goa as an LGBT+ traveller. You’ll find a list of gay-friendly hotels and bars and our top tips as an LGBT+ couple in Goa. We will also touch on LGBT+ rights and social opinions in India, to help you prepare for an incredible, and most importantly, a safe, trip of a lifetime.
LGBT+ Rights in India
OK, before we get stuck into our LGBT+ travel guide for Goa, let’s quickly talk about LGBT rights in India. As an LGBT+ traveller, it is vital to familiarise yourself with the current legal & social situations in any country you plan on visiting. By understanding the situation and acting in tune with your surroundings, you can avoid any unnecessary issues along your travels.
When it comes to LGBT+ rights in India, the past 20 years have been a long and volatile road. A series of significant wins and disappointing setbacks meant that LGBT+ activists, along with the LGBT+ community, took one step forward and two steps back again.