LGBTQ TRAVEL TIPSIN INDIA: WHAT TRAVELERS SHOULD KNOW BEFORE TRIP!
From the cradle of ancientcivilization to rich cultural heritage, India has been offering a soulfulexperience for centuries. From the lush tea field of Tamil Nadu to the sereneGoa beaches to the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, experience the sights andsounds of its amazing diversity that is embedded in its geography, people andcultures.
Before we even talk about thewelcoming nature of people and mouth-watering food, there is something moreimportant. Although it is a socially-conservative country, the situation withthe LGBTQ community has been improving rapidly, with progress and setbackshappening every few years; so it is understandable that people from thiscommunity might wonder whether it is the best destination for them to visit.
In a landmark judgment on 6September 2018, homosexuality was made legal in India once again after it wascriminalized in 2013 and previously decimalized in 2009. It is excellent newsfor gay travellers, although they must be aware of this fact that it might takesome time for attitudes to catch up.
This article aims to providea summary of the situation in India to support LGBT travellers prepare for atrip to this amazing gem of a country:
It goes without saying thatsome common rules of or can also be considered as common sense- applies. Publicdisplay of affection beyond hand-holding or casual touching is out, gay orstraight. If we talk about urban areas, there are many places where it ispermissible, but it is better to desist. Dressing appropriately and beingrespectful of local customs is something that you must follow.
Understandand Respect Local Culture
Understanding and respectinglocal culture in each place you visit. Why? Well, think about it: you willspend way more time in the company of residents than you are around lawenforcement officers. Comprehending the social opinion of locals will help youto save you from a lot of awkwardness and funny looks in the long run. Whilehomosexuality is legal in India, it remains taboo in the country. It could bedue to religious beliefs, lack of education, etc.
This time, the gay tourismmarket, both local and global, is becoming increasingly lucrative for hotels aswell as tour operators and so staff is being trained to be more open-minded.Global brand hotels, in particular, are ensuring a pleasant atmosphere for gaytravellers.
Whether travelling as acouple or alone, luxury hotels are the best option for a 100% stress-freevisit. Many boutique hotels and even less high-end guesthouses are welcoming toLGBT travellers. It is worth contacting them before arrival and asking if theywill accept a gay couple; in any case, there are unlikely to be an issue.
Here, private apartments canbe your perfect solution if you like to have a more intimate environment andyour space when travelling.
Socialisewith other LGBT People
Socialize with people who canunderstand you and won't judge you. It is the perfect way to adapt to a newplace or culture. Of course, locating the local gay scene can work great; but,not everybody as the guts to walk into a bar on their own and make friends.
Here, you can take help fromsocial media to locate other travellers or locals from the same community.Facebook is an amazing platform for this, where you just need to do an easysearch and find the person in your area.
While there are many datingapps where you can find a travel partner from the same community. But you shouldbe careful- just like anywhere. For instance, do not meet at a privateresidence; instead, plan your meeting at a public spot. Make sure that youwould have informed your hotel front desk, tour operator, or guide that you aremeeting someone. For more safety, provide the public meeting place and time tothem.
For any traveller, India canbe a challenging country- especially if you are coming here for the first time.For LGBTQ travellers, it is a little more complex. For these reasons, it wouldbe better to visit the country on a guided group tour or if travellingindividually, to work with a trusted LGBTQ or LGBT friendly tour operator ortravel agent.
At the moment, India is afascinating destination for gay travellers, not just because it is a beautifultravel spot but because of the changing nature of LGBT rights. Gay travellerswill still need to be aware of how rural the areas they are visiting are, whatthe potential attitudes might be and how to change their behaviour accordingly.
Although, what India needs todayis support and visibility from the LGBT community and if it feels safe, mainlyin developed and more liberal cities, the gay traveller can feel more relaxedto be themselves.