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Attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travellers around the world can be very different from those in the UK. However, you’re unlikely to have problems if you prepare well and research your destination before you go.
Please note that this information was correct at time of posting 09 January 2021. All content on this page is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated and remains Crown copyright. Updated content may be available by clicking here
Holiday with Pride is a member of a number of industry bodies which both help provide us with local LGBT+ information and in some cases financially protect your holiday or travel plans. For information on financial protection please click here
IGLTA, The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association
Provide free travel resources and information while continuously working to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ tourism worldwide. IGLTA’s members include LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, transport, destinations, service providers, Travel Advisors, tour operators, events and travel media located in over 75 countries.
GETA, Gay European Tourism Association
Helping businesses within the European market to access detailed local information, provided by locals on local attitudes, safety, businesses and attractions. The GETA is a pan-European association and one we are very proud to be part of.
Where you can find information
- invest in a good guide book – many specialise in advice to LGBT travellers
- online discussion forums, blogs and the LGBT media can also be good resources
- check out the map on the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s website which highlights potentially dangerous regions and countries
- ask your Holiday with Pride travel designer we have travelled right across the world and may even have visited your chosen destination and have an idea about the local LGBT scene, particularly in the more popular holiday destinations
- the websites of local and regional LGBT groups can often offer the best information and advice on local laws and attitudes
- check the ‘LGBT+ Customs’ section of our destinations section for local information provided by multiple sources including gov.uk. Visit our destinations page by clicking here
Advice for LGBT travellers while overseas
- in all circumstances find out about the local laws and social attitudes towards homosexuality and gender identity in the country and area you’re visiting
- In some countries, homosexuality and/or homosexual relations are illegal and can be subject to severe penalties. In countries where homosexual relations are legal, levels of tolerance and acceptance within society may still vary hugely. In some places, it may be best for all couples to avoid overt public displays of affection so as not to attract unwanted attention. Many of our destination pages offer local LGBT+ Customs as standard (click here to visit our destinations pages) contain country-specific information for LGBT travellers
- even in LGBT friendly countries, take the same precautions you would at home. For example, don’t leave drinks unattended and be wary if you’re offered drinks by a stranger
- if you intend to meet other LGBT people while abroad, find out about the local situation and take sensible precautions if you meet someone. In countries where attitudes to LGBT people are hostile, right-wing groups and police have been known to carry out entrapment campaigns
- if you receive unwelcome attention or unwelcome remarks about your sexuality or gender identity, it’s usually best to ignore them and move to a safe place. Depending on the country or area you’re in, you may then want to report it to the authorities
- in some countries, you may be more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas so it’s best to exercise more discretion
- some hotels, especially in rural areas, may refuse bookings from same sex couples – check before you go
- if you are in need of advice or care whilst under duress overseas, please research local LGBT-inclusive charities, organisations and/or in the last resort contact the local UK Embassy.
Passport identity of transgender travellers
Transgender travellers sometimes face difficulties or delays at border controls overseas if they present as a different gender to what is stated in their passport. This may occur even when your gender presentation is consistent with the gender marker in your passport and you have the correct documentation. If undertaking facial surgery, obtain a letter from your overseas medical team explaining the reason for any changes in appearance.
Check out our country-specific information about this in the gov.uk travel advice pages before making travel plans.
HM Passport Office offers information and advice for transgender and transsexual customers applying for a passport in an acquired gender. You do not need to have a Gender Recognition Certificate to change the gender marker in your passport.
What you should do if you have a problem overseas
If you have a problem overseas, you can ask the local British Embassy or consulate (click here for listing) for help. Embassy and consulate staff won’t make generalisations, assumptions or pass judgement. However, consular staff do not routinely visit British nationals in hospitals for pre-planned treatment. The support consular staff can provide to all British nationals is set out in the publication ‘Support for British nationals abroad: a guide’
Staff overseas monitor and record incidents brought to their attention by British nationals about the treatment they have received from host authorities and issues of concern are regularly raised with the relevant body.
Why can’t the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provide a list of countries where same-sex relationships are illegal?
FCDO doesn’t have a list of countries where same-sex relationships are illegal for a number of reasons:
- same-sex relationships aren’t specifically mentioned in law in many countries, and in others the law is unclear
- same-sex relationships may be legal, but certain acts may not be
- a same-sex relationship may be lawful but local society can be intolerant of open same-sex relationships
- in some countries same-sex relationships are illegal, but the law is not strictly enforced and social attitudes may be relaxed
- a distinction is sometimes made in law between men and women
- there is more precise, detailed and up to date advice in many of the local laws and customs sections of our destinations pages (click here to visit the destinations page) for individual countries
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - provides information on LGBT rights around the world
- International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association - travel advice for gay and lesbian people
- Gay European Tourism Association - travel advice for LGBT people travelling in Europe
- Equaldex: is a collaborative knowledge base (wiki) that compiles information about LGBT rights by country
- Stonewall - global workplace briefings that outline the legal, socio-cultural and workplace conditions for LGBT people in different countries
- Asher Fergusson – outlines the best and worst places for safe LGBT travel