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LGBTQ TRAVEL TIPS IN INDIA: WHAT TRAVELERS SHOULD KNOW BEFORE TRIP!

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LGBTQ TRAVEL TIPS IN INDIA: WHAT TRAVELERS SHOULD KNOW BEFORE TRIP!

From the cradle of ancient civilization to rich cultural heritage, India has been offering a soulful experience for centuries. From the lush tea field of Tamil Nadu to the serene Goa beaches to the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, experience the sights and sounds of its amazing diversity that is embedded in its geography, people and cultures. 

Before we even talk about the welcoming nature of people and mouth-watering food, there is something more important. Although it is a socially-conservative country, the situation with the LGBTQ community has been improving rapidly, with progress and setbacks happening every few years; so it is understandable that people from this community might wonder whether it is the best destination for them to visit.

In a landmark judgment on 6 September 2018, homosexuality was made legal in India once again after it was criminalized in 2013 and previously decimalized in 2009. It is excellent news for gay travellers, although they must be aware of this fact that it might take some time for attitudes to catch up.

This article aims to provide a summary of the situation in India to support LGBT travellers prepare for a trip to this amazing gem of a country:

A Little Modesty

It goes without saying that some common rules of or can also be considered as common sense- applies. Public display of affection beyond hand-holding or casual touching is out, gay or straight. If we talk about urban areas, there are many places where it is permissible, but it is better to desist. Dressing appropriately and being respectful of local customs is something that you must follow.

Understand and Respect Local Culture

Understanding and respecting local culture in each place you visit. Why? Well, think about it: you will spend way more time in the company of residents than you are around law enforcement officers. Comprehending the social opinion of locals will help you to save you from a lot of awkwardness and funny looks in the long run. While homosexuality is legal in India, it remains taboo in the country. It could be due to religious beliefs, lack of education, etc.

Accommodation Options

This time, the gay tourism market, both local and global, is becoming increasingly lucrative for hotels as well 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 gay travellers.

Whether travelling as a couple or alone, luxury hotels are the best option for a 100% stress-free visit. Many boutique hotels and even less high-end guesthouses are welcoming to LGBT travellers. It is worth contacting them before arrival and asking if they will accept a gay couple; in any case, there are unlikely to be an issue.

Here, private apartments can be your perfect solution if you like to have a more intimate environment and your space when travelling.

Socialise with other LGBT People

Socialize with people who can understand you and won’t judge you. It is the perfect way to adapt to a new place 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 from social 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 easy search and find the person in your area.

While there are many dating apps where you can find a travel partner from the same community. But you should be careful- just like anywhere. For instance, do not meet at a private residence; instead, plan your meeting at a public spot. Make sure that you would have informed your hotel front desk, tour operator, or guide that you are meeting someone. For more safety, provide the public meeting place and time to them. 

Resources

For any traveller, India can be 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 would be better to visit the country on a guided group tour or if travelling individually, to work with a trusted LGBTQ or LGBT friendly tour operator or travel agent.

At the moment, India is a fascinating destination for gay travellers, not just because it is a beautiful travel spot but because of the changing nature of LGBT rights. Gay travellers will still need to be aware of how rural the areas they are visiting are, what the potential attitudes might be and how to change their behaviour accordingly.

Although, what India needs today is support and visibility from the LGBT community and if it feels safe, mainly in developed and more liberal cities, the gay traveller can feel more relaxed to be themselves.

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