Gay Tbilisi – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Tbilisi - The Nomadic Boys

That Soviet hangover, so prevalent amongst gay bars and clubs across East Europe and Russia: your entry based solely on a bouncer’s snap decision as to whether you’re cool or hip enough to enter inside.

Yet in Tbilisi, it’s also a way the club bouncers and promoters monitor who comes inside in order to prevent any violent homophobic clashes happening.

Face control aside, we completely fell in love with Tbilisi, as do most travellers who visit, both gay and straight. This is a city with a crumbling, yet super picturesque old town – Instagram opportunities abound on every other street corner. There is an evolving queer scene with a super active LGBTQ community, growing massively in confidence by the minute! Tbilisi’s also super cheap, making it a popular base with many expats, digital nomads and property developers looking for the next big “up and coming” investment base in East Europe.

We came to gay Tbilisi to celebrate my birthday and quickly fell in love. This is a city you will want to return to, and for good reason. We know we will! 

We’ve put together our gay guide to Tbilisi based on our first-hand experience and embellished with other nuggets of information passed on to us by gay locals we met along the way.

Is Tbilisi gay friendly?

Compared to Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam, not really, no! But compared to the rest of Georgia and most other places in East Europe, we say a big ‘hell yeah!’ It’s all a matter of perspective of course. As a country, Georgia is renowned for being quite homophobic, largely because of the strong influence of the extremely conservative (and backwards!) Orthodox Church.

However, as a gay couple in Tbilisi, we were surprised by how more liberal and progressive the city is in comparison to the rest of the country. There is not only a growing queer scene here (including the largest gay club in the Caucasus), an annual Pride event, but thanks to the rise in tourism, more and more hotels are embracing LGBTQ travellers.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Gay Bali – The Nomadic Boys

Gay Bali - The Nomadic Boys

“The Island of the Gods!” And in our humble opinion: “The Island of the Gays”!

Bali is the quintessential tropical island getaway high up on most travellers’ bucket lists, particularly amongst those of us inspired by the Julia Roberts movie, “Eat Pray Love”. Surprisingly, Bali is also a popular gay haven in Asia: remember this is part of Indonesia, a country which has over the years become increasingly more homophobic.

Gay Bali stands strong in the face of this rising tide of hatred towards our LGBTQ community in Indonesia thanks to its unique Hindu heritage and the diverse international community across the island.

For LGBTQ travellers, Bali offers a tropical paradise, gorgeous beaches, world-class restaurants, plenty of welcoming gay hotels and an entire strip of lively gay hangouts in Seminyak. We’ve put all of this right here in our lengthy gay travel guide to Bali based on our first-hand experience.

Why is gay Bali so gay friendly?

Before visiting Bali, we were wondering how such a gay haven can possibly exist in a country like Indonesia, where the Islamic government has been working ruthlessly to oppress its LGBTQ community. Over the years, more anti-LGBTQ laws are being passed in Indonesia. Whilst homosexuality wasn’t historically illegal in this former Dutch colony, the government has been ruthlessly trying to introduce laws that effectively criminalise consensual same-sex.

Despite what’s happening on the mainland, Bali continues to thrive, largely unaffected. Unlike the rest of the country, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, Bali is mainly Hindu – a religion which is more tolerant of our LGBTQ family! In addition, Bali is also very touristy, with a vast international community living/working here all year round. As a result, a gay scene has been able to thrive here for many years, along with several gay/male-only hotels.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Bali Gay Travel Resources

Queer Ashland and Southern Oregon

Central Point Sunset

In September, we drove up to Southern Oregon to visit some dear friends who live in Central Point – a little town just north of Medford. We spent a few days up there, and visited their town, a little bit of Medford, and the towns of Jacksonville and Ashland.

Read moreQueer Ashland and Southern Oregon

Sedona’s Tlaquepaque

Tlaquepaque entrance

We just spent a few days in Sedona – my first time there since I was about fourteen – and I gotta say, I love this little town. There’s so much art here, both in galleries and shops and out in the public sphere.

Tlaquepaque - Statue

Sedona has two main shopping districts – there’s downtown, which has a few gems but is kinda filled with tourist traps selling t-shirts and cheap pottery.

But there is a great place to find an amazing array of quality souvenirs, from affordable kitchenware up to high-end sculpture and on-canvas art. It’s called Tlaquepaque – say it with me: Tah-Laa-Kwe-Packeee” – and it’s a gorgeous outdoor shopping center on the southern end of town.

Tlaquepaque - Plaza

Tlaquepaque is built in a Spanish Mission style, and it’s a pleasure to just wander the grounds, taking in the art and spending time sitting at the many fountains on a hot day and trailing your hand in the cool water.

Tlaquepaque Plaza

There are so many great places here.

If you get here at lunchtime, start out at the Oak Creek Brewery – the food is good, and the second-floor location offers some gorgeous red rock views through the picture windows.

Tlaquepaque - Oak Creek Brewery

Tlaquepaque - Oak Creek Brewery View

A short list of our favorite stores here: Cucina Sedona (really cool kitchen stuff); Esteban’s Pottery (OMG – we so almost came home with some of their gorgeous work); and The Inner Eye Gallery (just really cool art).

Tlaquepaque - Esteban's
Esteban’s

Tlaquepaque - The Inner Eye Gallery
The Inner Eye Gallery

We spent about an hour at Tlaquepaque, but I could have wandered around all afternoon.

A must-see while you are in Sedona. Here are some more examples of the public art that litters the place, and some of the nice views – enjoy!

 

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art