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  • Writer's pictureMarc Pulisci

3 LGBTQ Asian Travel Tips

The following is an article “3 LGBTQ Asian Travel Tips” by Marc Pulisci.

With a vibrant cultural diversity, each country having its own inviting and eccentric showcase for visitors, Asia is a hotpot of great tourism experiences. However, along with the diversity comes strict religious and conservative views on homosexuality, labeling is another taboo aspect that can dampen one’s travel plans.

LGBTQ Asian Travel Tips

Sometimes traveling as a gay couple in Asia can be a bit challenging, prompting dagger looks and silent judgment from some locals, but there’s always a way to enjoy your holidays and even gay-friendly places to visit in a large part of Asia.

As the region slowly becomes inclusive, here are some useful tips you can take with you on holiday if you are a member of the LGBTQ community.

Familiarize yourself and do some research.

Unfortunately, some Asian countries still have laws that penalize homosexuality. According to The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Fact Sheet, some countries in East and South Asia have laws discriminating same-sex activity with some even imposing life imprisonment.

Doing a thorough check on your destination’s local laws can help you understand their views on gender and can even help you discover which aspects strict countries can be more lenient on. There are no laws prohibiting tourists to go to Asian destinations regardless of their sexual orientation, but it will go a long way if you know how to protect yourself from being discriminated against, and most laws actually apply to locals anyway.

However, you should always practice caution and refrain from being too showy in public to avoid any untoward hassle during your holiday. Right now, there are currently 72 countries across the globe that have laws against homosexuality, and ten of these are in Asia. Don’t let that tell you that you can’t go out and explore the ⅘ of the region where vibrant LGBTQ communities live grand lifestyles.

Be flexible and adapt.

Like all other tourists, learning to adapt to another country’s culture is always a necessity and not just for LGBTQ members. Be it how you address people or wear your clothes, there’s always a level of respect you must observe in order to be deserving of the same from the locals.

The same goes for traveling gay couples and how they behave in public. Some frown upon seeing same-sex couples engaging in public displays of affection, given that their culture dictates strong conservative views on relationships. While there is some form of discomfort when you can’t really do what you want out of respect for the locals, complying with another country’s cultural expectations is simply another aspect of your discovery and you shouldn’t take it as an offense to the LGBTQ community. Consider them as unusual and old-fashioned laws you should observe in order to enjoy your holiday and adventures. Heck, in China, you can’t really reincarnate without express permission from the government.

Check out the local LGBTQ scene.

80% of Asia is lenient of the LGBTQ lifestyle and there are plenty of communities you can join to enjoy your holiday. Brush up on safe spaces you can visit and even interact with the local LGBTQ communities in big city gay bars, nightclubs, or hotels. Such destinations as Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, and Hong Kong, among many others, have their own lively gay scene you can explore, with rainbow events and celebrations to boot.

We all know Thailand is very trans-friendly and is actually reaping big tourism numbers, but the other countries mentioned also have their own LGBTQ positives, including Japan’s more than 300 gay bars in the “Ni-Chōme” area of the Shinjuku district, or how 73% of Filipinos think that homosexuality should be socially accepted.

LGBTQ individuals traveling in Asia can be a bit challenging with proper precautions and research required, but trust that you can still explore its many great destinations minus the fear of being discriminated against. Come to think of it, Asia is actually a haven for LGBTQ members with its unparalleled beauty, exciting adventures, and colorful cultures which no other community can better appreciate.

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