Dubai Gay Life – The Nomadic Boys

Dubai Gay Life - The Nomadic Boys

“How dare you promote travel to countries where being gay is illegal Nomadic Boys, you should be ASHAMED!”

…is the typical comment we receive on social media each time one of our posts about gay Dubai, gay Abu Dhabi or gay Iran gets shared. But before you judge, remember that whilst a country has anti-gay laws, that same country still has an LGBTQ community who you risk turning your back on, right when they need you the most.

We have always been adamant that just because a country has spurious LGBTQ laws, this should not prevent us from visiting. We instead believe that it is far more productive to get out there and be a visible and positive representation of our community to show to that society that we are not some freak perversion that needs to be persecuted. Doing this is going to do so much more for the local LGBTQ community’s struggle for visibility against an oppressive government, than boycotting them is going to achieve.

Dubai Gay Life

But look, we get it! We also used to feel this way. After all, the United Arab Emirates is no different than its Middle Eastern neighbours when it comes to LGBTQ rights. In short, there are none. Being gay here is a crime, full stop! Officially it’s punishable by imprisonment, deportation, a fine, and worse, death. Whether or not these are strictly enforced, the very existence of these laws is so insulting that it simply serves to conjure up natural feelings of intense hatred within us – “how can such a government be so loathsome of us that it wants to eradicate and kill us? How dare they?!”

Yet we disagree that boycotting them is the solution. That is what these oppressive governments want us to do: ignore and turn our backs on them so they can continue crushing any LGBTQ visibility and pretend we don’t exist! Instead, from our travels in countries with anti-gay laws, we’ve learnt that the more productive way forward is to get out there and support gay friendly businesses in that country as much as we can and use our platform to give a voice to the local LGBTQ community.

Therefore, for this article, we are super proud that our buddy, Zayed, was happy for us to interview him about what gay life is like in Dubai and what it’s like growing up gay in the UAE. Zayed has however asked that he is anonymous in this interview using ‘Zayed’ as his alias.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Beirut – The Nomadic Boys

Lebanon is one of the most liberal, progressive and gay friendly places in the Arab world. This is saying a lot for a country where homosexuality is still a crime. However, by comparison to its Arab neighbours, Beirut has the best (albeit quite underground) gay scene, including one of the largest gay clubs in the Middle East called POSH.

We visited gay Beirut from Cyprus to celebrate Stefan’s birthday over a long weekend and absolutely loved the food, the people and of course the many gay parties. This is our gay guide to Beirut featuring the best gay bars and clubs, events, gay friendly hotels and best things to do.

Gay Rights in Lebanon

Lebanon doesn’t have the best track record with regards to LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality is illegal, there are no anti-discrimination laws, there is absolutely zero recognition of same-sex partnerships and the LGBTQ community are banned from openly serving in the Lebanese army.

On the plus side, proactive steps are being taken by judges and some politicians to decriminalise homosexuality and it was declassified as an illness in 2013. In addition, the right to change legal gender was introduced in 2016. From our experience travelling in the Middle East, Lebanon definitely ranks as one of the most gay friendly Arab countries, but remember, this is an extremely conservative region of the world when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Middle East Gay Travel Resources

Jerusalem Museums – Globetrotter Girls

Jerusalem Museums

Visiting Israel is always a wonderful idea. You’ll want to see as many historic sites as you can while you are there, and specifically in the holy city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem packs a huge punch in the tourist department – from ancient architecture to modern structures. But the Jerusalem museums are don’t-miss outings. Here are my favorites.

Read moreJerusalem Museums – Globetrotter Girls

Lesbian Tel Aviv – Go Girlfriend

Lesbian Tel Aviv - Go Girlfriend

If Tel Aviv isn’t on your radar as a destination you need to visit, think again. The city is buzzing. It’s vibrant and artsy. It also has great shopping and a growing culinary scene. It’s happens to be Israel’s fastest growing city and its second largest after Jerusalem. Plus, over the past decade, Israel in general has become much safer in terms of security and you can travel without worry.

We consider Tel Aviv to be one of those gateway cities where flights are frequent and plentiful. Like Iceland is a stopover opportunity for many trans-atlantic flights, adding Tel Aviv as a stopover to a Mediterranean vacation can introduce you to a new cultural experience pretty easily.

Tel Aviv may seem far from where you live, but with a bit of planning and foresight, you can plan a trip there quite easily and go for a few days, or even a week, if you have the time. Tel Aviv makes for a great girl’s getaway with your girlfriends or sisters. Or go on a multi-generational trip with one, or both, of your parents and children. While it’s in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is more like New York City than Cairo. It’s modern, with skyscrapers and large buildings, plenty of hotels, and so much to see and do.

By Holly Rosen Fink – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Lesbian Tel Aviv Travel Resources

 

Gay Beruit – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Beruit - The Nomadic Boys

Lebanon is one of the most liberal, progressive and gay friendly places in the Arab world. This is saying a lot for a country where homosexuality is still a crime. However, by comparison to its Arab neighbours, Beirut has the best (albeit quite underground) gay scene, including one of the largest gay clubs in the Middle East called POSH.

We visited gay Beirut from Cyprus to celebrate Stefan’s birthday over a long weekend and absolutely loved the food, the people and of course the many gay parties. This is our gay guide to Beirut featuring the best gay bars and clubs, events, gay friendly hotels and best things to do.

A word of warning to gay travellers to Lebanon, although the country is more progressive than places like Iran, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is still a largely Islamic influenced country where homosexuality remains illegal. Therefore, be careful with public displays of affection and avoid posting anything online that is LGBTQ related before/during your trip to prevent any problems at the airport immigration. Also, avoid having an Israeli stamp in your passport as Lebanon has an outright ban on anything related to Israel/Israelis. Be sure to check out our article about gay life in Lebanon for more practical safety tips.

Gay bars in Beirut

As homosexuality is still illegal in Lebanon, places are careful not to advertise themselves as being openly “gay bars“, preferring “gay friendly” instead, in order to prevent having any problems with the police. These are the main gay friendly bars in Beirut that are thriving despite the anti-gay laws:

Bardo: this is one of the oldest and famous gay bars of Beirut. It is popular with twinks (and their fans) especially at the “Powerpuff Queens” party every Thursday. Generally it doesn’t get busy until after 11pm. But if you come before, it’s a lot quieter, which makes it great for a few cocktails, especially during the week when they have 2 for 1 happy hour offers. Bardo is open every day until 2am and is located in downtown Beirut on Mexico Street, just off Hamra Street.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Gay Beruit Travel Resources

 

Ten Things to Do in Bahrain – Keep Calm and Wander

Bahrain - Keep Calm and Wander

Riches are the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when most people think of the Arab world. However, I’d like to add here that besides all of its oil reserves, luxury hotels, glittering gold, and everything expensive, I found Bahrain rich in culture, too. Wandering through the following 8 locations like the intrepid tourist that I am, I could sense the wisps of Arabian culture and the evolution of Bahrain to be just as fresh as anyone would think.

Let’s get down to the list of my top 10 things to do in Bahrain, shall we?

1. Say hi to the history at the Bahrain National Museum

Hitting on its cultural fabric, I first managed to visit a museum. Not just any museum, but the most popular and diverse museum of all the museums in Bahrain. Its postmodern building had much in store for me and I was literally dazzled by the type of landscaping that’s been done here. My favorite sights from the museum are the archeological relics from Dilmun Civilization and the temporary exhibits on tales.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Gay Iran – Tips for Queer Travelers – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Iran

This is a guest post by fellow gay blogger Michael Demmons of the TheRTWGuys travel blog:

Iran’s human rights record is bad. There is no sugar-coating that. When it comes to gay people, it’s almost as bad as it gets. Most LGBT people who follow the news know the terrible punishments that Iran has imposed for people even suspected of being gay.

Some human rights organisations say that between 4,000-6,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed in Iran since 1979. As recently as April 2017, 30 gay men were arrested in the Isfahan province.

Transgender people fare no better. The only “bright” side is that being transsexual is legal in Iran, but only if accompanied by a gender reassignment surgery. Surprisingly, that surgery can be partially covered by the government. In fact, after Thailand, Iran carries out the most sex reassignment surgeries than any other country in the world.

Is Iran safe for gay citizens? Probably not in general.

Is Iran safe for gay tourists? That’s a little more complicated.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Twenty Seven Hours in Kuwait – Keep Calm and Wander

Kuwait - Keep Calm and Wander

Early this year, I was in Kuwait for 27 hours connecting flight on my way to Sri Lanka. It’s my first time to fly Kuwait Airlines and I was not impressed. My flight was delayed for an hour and a half – and apparently, it’s normal for this airline. That’s according to the Kuwaiti guy who is a frequent flyer sitting next to me. Boo…

What to do in Kuwait? I really have no idea. The country is not known as a tourist destination. There’s only very little information about what to do in the city / country. Even my friend who has been living in the Kuwait City for years can’t really recommend a place to visit. He did tell me to walk along the corniche leading to Kuwait Towers. And that’s exactly what I did in the morning – before the heat could burn me to hell.:D What we all know is that they’re rich in gas and oil.

But, of course, there are things to do in Kuwait. I was just not into exploring the city due to the heat, expensive taxis and in such a short time.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

I Love Beruit – Keep Calm and Wander

I Love Beirut - Keep Calm and Wander

A lot of cities around the world are joining the fad of installing “I Love …” signs. We have that, too, in my city – Toronto. These signs are usually placed in downtown area or where locals congregate. Or in touristy neighbourhoods.

Beirut, of course, has one. Its “I Love Beirut” sign is found at the lovely Beirut Souks. This is a trendy shopping area where fashionistas abound. Boy, I couldn’t get my eyes off those chic Lebanese men here.

But, one thing I noticed is that, shopping here is a bit more expensive than shopping in Toronto or NYC. You’ll find international brands and fabulous restaurants that serve local cuisine. The good thing is, it’s not touristy and crowded.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Lebanon Gay Travel Resources

Lebanese Cuisine – Keep Calm and Wander

Lebanese Cuisine - Alain

Below are photos of Lebanese cuisine / food I ate while in Beirut for three nights. These are all the dinner food we had for iftar. This is not a regular meal for dinner but it’s a food feast (aka, food porn).

Imagine three adults and a child gorging on these delightful cuisine? We had more than enough for all of us. I never went back to my hotel room every night without feeling bloated and exhausted from eating. Hahahahaha…

Thanks to a high school friend of mine and her generous Lebanese husband who spoiled me with these foods. Their hospitality made me gain extra pounds; Man, I’ve got to try what’s on the table, right? So, you can’t put all the blame on me.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Lebanon Gay Travel Resources