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ICYMI (because you don't have TV, or an Internet connection, or social media on your smartphone): This morning the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) in favor of same-sex marriage. Yes, it's now the law of the land in all 50 states, and gay people everywhere can enjoy this wonderful, tax-saving institution! Oh, and you know, celebrate being able to love who they love. #LoveWins.
In honor of this happy and historic day, we’re highlighting some of our top Gay Travel stories — since, you know, you might want to plan a vacation to celebrate. (Or elope?) Read through them, enjoy them, share them, and with every exhale feel the elation of equal love!
Over 1,000 gay people all coming together in paradise?! Count us in! TropOut is a “sophisticated” option for the gay community that just announced its inaugural week-long travel experience in Bang Tao Beach, Thailand in April 2016.
Pride festivities are already underway in many cities, but AFAR Magazine picked out its “5 Best Cities to Celebrate Pride in America.” With options ranging from Boston to San Francisco, you know you’re getting some quality gay travel time if you’re in any of these destinations.
The story behind this sovereign state is pretty crazy. We’re not sure we love the idea of self-imposed segregation – but if you’re gay, you’re able to travel to this island with no indigenous inhabitants. Or you could live there, too. (Be sure to tell Emperor Dale hello for us!)
Back in 2013, we detailed Fort Lauderdale and what makes it a great destination for LGBT travelers. It was a cold season when we wrote it – not beach season – so we took the liberty of profiling some of the best off-the-beachen-path options for gay travelers.
All we need to say is in the headline, really.
While the news about Russia’s anti-LGBT culture is a couple years old now, many gay travelers still have qualms about heading there for a vacation. We outlined a few of our tips for traveling to Russia in 2013. If you're a gay traveler who has visited since, tell us about your experience — did you feel safe? — in the comments.
Now excuse us while we go paint the sidewalks rainbow and continue celebrating today’s milestone! [Image via Flickr]
Around the world, equal rights for gays and lesbians continue to be won every day. (In fact, over the weekend Ireland became the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage — and the first to do so by popular vote.) But LGBT travelers must still make special considerations when traveling internationally. Even if they’re not visiting one of those countries where homosexuality is still punishable by, you know, prison or death, gay tourists are often acutely aware of the potential for discrimination on vacation. No one deserves to have the sweet kiss of a romantic sunset selfie interrupted by jeering passerby — or worse.
So welcome the latest travel series that aims to ensure fun and inclusive outings for the gay community: TropOut, a “sophisticated” entry that just announced its inaugural week-long travel experience in Bang Tao Beach, Thailand in April 2016. Over 1,000 participants are expected to join the outing (pun intended) in southern Phuket, staying at the five-star Angsana Laguna Phuket while enjoying an itinerary that includes DJ parties at nearby Nikki Beach, walking tours and cave explorations, bay cruises, cooking classes and muscle-melting spa treatments. Head here to check out the packages and special add-ons, which start at $1,295 per person for six nights (April 3-9).
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With legality of gay marriage before the Supreme Court today, contributor TipsyTraveler takes a look at an island near Australia for gay people, and created by gay people in protest of Australia's refusal at the turn of this millennium to recognize same-sex marriage.
As a member of the cisgender homosexual male species, I can get down with some LGBTQ cultural enrichment. Actually it’s a huge part of my existence. I live the lifestyle. I’ve done extensive volunteering and full-time work in the LGBTQ nonprofit sector. I educate myself daily on the current sociopolitical matters affecting LGBTQ people all over the world. It matters greatly to me.
So imagine my WTFreakout when I learn there is a place on planet earth – a bundle of islands scattered over some 500,000 kilometer slice of the sea – where only people like me, the mo’s of the world, are allowed to go. And live. Forever. Just a giant gay community on big chunks of sand strewn amongst the ocean.
This is the Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands.
And I kind of hate it.
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You guys, the temps are starting to drop as fast as crimson and golden leaves from trees, so it's high time to daydream about sand beaches, sunny skies, and fruity cocktails. We already talked about how hot the city of Fort Lauderdale is for the average sun seeker, but more and more it's overtaking Miami as an LGBT destination.
The city was recently named the "The Destination of the Year" by ManAboutWorld, as the top city for gay, lesbian and transgender visitors. Broward, the county that Fort Lauderdale calls home, is one of the most progressive in the U.S., from electing openly gay officials to passing same-sex domestic partnership benefits and barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity.
Fun fact: Fort Lauderdale was first US city to have a dedicated travel page for LGBT tourists, even integrating gay-friendly images to their mainstream tourism campaigns.
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We skimmed the headline at first. "British tourist jailed for 'homosexual acts,'" it read. Our natural assumption was to think the person in question had been caught in public, in flagrante delicto, somewhere in the deep Middle East where any open expression of love is frowned upon, if not outright prohibited.
Alas, we did read the news, only to be shocked to discover that the destination imprisoning a 69-year-old retired Briton, who was arrested while waiting for a bus, is Morocco. The arrest happened in Marrakech, the most popular city with foreign tourists for its major transportation connections, excellent shopping, and historical sites.
Now that the man, Ray Cole, has been sentenced to four months in prison, cries for a boycott of tourism to Morocco are in full swing.
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It's already nearly mid-June and thus well into the season for donning some rainbow hues and head out in the the "wild pink yonder" to Gay Pride festivals all over the country. Even if the parades, floats, and glitter are not your thing, it's important to recognize that now is also the time travel companies market extra hard for your dollar.
Sure, it's simple to book a regular flight, train trip, or even cruise without having to proclaim your sexuality, but it's good to have options.
Here's your one-stop reference for websites of airlines, trains, and cruise lines specifically dedicated for the gay traveler:
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Is that a wrench in your pocket or are you just happy to see this airplane?
That's a question for the 12 men chosen to star in the newest naughty calendar from Thai budget airline Nok Air.
Just as they recently partnered up with Playboy Thailand for a 2014 calendar of ladies, so too has the low-cost carrier done a deal with gay lifestyle magazine Attitude to produce a 2014 calendar of hot men.
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"Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay." It's a cute slogan, and believe it or not it comes from the tourism board of Philadelphia, PA.
The words are backed up by a new commercial following the "selfie" antics around the city by drag queen Miss Richfield 1981, all with the aim of driving Gay Travel to Philly. So what's the big deal? Well, this is actually only the third commercial by a US destination focused on the LGBT audience, and yet here we are in 2013.
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Russia travel is a white-hot topic as of late, after the nation's government outlawed any type of gay "propaganda." We've talked about the warnings for any LGBT travelers visiting the country in the coming months, even leading up to the this Winter's Olympic games in Sochi. As you can imagine, the debate is only gaining momentum as some celebs throw their weight behind a boycott.
While we aren't going to get into the back-and-forth of celebrities flexing their political muscle, we do understand they are allowed to voice a personal stance on the topic.
Shortly after the law passed, Tilda Swinton snapped some pics of her holding a rainbow flag in the Russian capital in an act of political defiance, but she's not the only celebrity to stand up for equal rights. This week, Bravo exec Andy Cohen announced that he will be turning down the Miss Universe hosting gig this year because it will be in Moscow and, as a gay man, he wouldn't feel right about "stepping foot into Russia."
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The island nation of New Zealand Travel may have become one of the newest countries to extend marriages to same-sex couples and now the national airline has gotten in on the fun. The creative Kiwis at Air New Zealand have come up with a fabulous new way to celebrate the passing of the country's marriage equality law allowing same-sex couples to say their "I dos" in a memorable way.
Last week, the airline announced they will host a contest for gay couples to vie for the chance to wed at 30,000 feet onboard a flight from Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island to the North Island's Auckland.
Similar to contest run by SAS a few years ago, the lucky couple will get to tie the knot in the air and, just like the Scandinavian equivalent, Air NZ will set aside some seats for the winner's families to witness the nuptials. Along with memorable matrimony, the winners will also jet off to Palm Springs for a honeymoon to escape the Southern Hemisphere winter.
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With plenty of victories on the same-sex marriage front on our own shores and now the UK getting one step closer to full recognition, it's easy to get caught up in the jubilation that is progress. One country that standing in the way of such celebrations, however, would be Russia. Recently President Putin signed new laws onto the books prohibiting the spread of any type of "gay propaganda."
What can this mean for foreign LGBT nationals traveling to the country to get some snaps of the Saint Basil's Cathedral or even heading to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi? In short, we would recommend to watching your back and being more vigilant than what western Europe travel would require. Since bad things can happen to good people regardless of sexual orientation, here are a few tips to ensure your safety if traveling abroad:
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Now that we've shared all of the over-the-top festivities celebrating all things LGBT in North America, we can now profile the hottest international Gay Pride parties. If you are looking to get a few more passport stamps while still letting your rainbow shine, this is when you'll want to be paying attention.
Here are our picks of the must-do LGBT celebrations all throughout the Summer and, fortunately, a few more that extend well into autumn: