While there are sadly still many parts of the world where people are unable to express their true selves due to oppressive laws and unwelcoming societies, there are plenty of other open-minded places where anyone is free to be themselves. Pride Month is globally celebrated around the world in June and if you’re looking to jet off on an LGBTQ+-friendly adventure, we unearth some exciting places which should definitely be on your bucket list.
New York, Pride Capital of the World
The modern gay liberation movement started in New York City with the Stonewall riots in 1969 – and 2019 marks their 50th anniversary. The city unites to celebrate with World Pride in June – the ‘Pride of Prides’ and a month-long celebration of the freedom to love who you like.
Outside of that, there’s obviously plenty to see year-round in The Big Apple, but beyond the usual tourist sights, there are a host of LGBTQ+ specific events, iconic clubs and an incredibly informative and emotive LGBTQ History Walking Tour of Greenwich Village.
Same-sex marriage was legalised in Canada in 2005 and the vast country has since become a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travellers. While Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec are all LGBTQ-friendly, Montreal has the biggest and best nightlife scene.
The bulk of Montreal’s gay nightlife is centred around Rue Sainte-Catherine is where most of Montreal’s gay nightlife is centred, including the country’s biggest gay club – Complexe Sky, whose four floors each feature different styles of music.
For most, thinking ‘Canada’ means ‘snow’ – but summer in Montreal is a glorious time to visit with plenty of outdoor opportunities in the widest of wide-open spaces. Montreal Pride 2019 also takes place from 8-18 August.
This little Dutch island in the middle of the Caribbean may be known for its flamingos and crystal-clear water but its LGBTQ+ scene is making a name for itself as well.
The highlight of the LGBTQ+ calendar year is Curaçao’s annual pride which takes place every September. Curacao Pride lasts for five days and there are plenty of parties and get-togethers during those days where you can show your pride for your community.
Every week, the Floris Suite Hotel also hosts an LGBTQIAP happy hour for those planning to vogue the night away. The island also annually hosts the Miss Gay Curacao Competition and the Curacao Drag Show Competition which brings in an array of LGBTQ+ travellers from around the world.
KLM remains the fastest and easiest way to travel to Curaçao with nine flights departing to the island every week. “Curaçao is an island that is fast becoming a popular Caribbean destination for South Africans who are looking for a little piece of paradise, with a hint of Europe,” Shana Chrysler of Emunah Travel says. “Curaçao seems like a destination that is out of reach for so many South Africans but it really shouldn’t be. The great connections and fares out of South Africa as well as the Dutch heritage to Curaçao make KLM the carrier of choice to visit this bucket-list destination of turquoise blue seas and white sandy beaches and with nine flights to the island a week, getting there is a breeze.”
Sunny São Paulo
The Brazilian city of São Paulo is one of the most gay-friendly cities in all of Latin America. Brazil is fast becoming one of the top go-to destinations for South Africans and it’s one of the most fabulous destinations for anyone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
There, you can explore Frei Caneca, also known as “Gay Caneca”, the LGBTQ+-friendly section of the Consolação neighbourhood. Not only is there an array of bars, restaurants and a stunning shopping mall, but it’s also one of the country’s most beautiful locations.
Gay clubs like O Gato, A Lôca (especially busy on Thursdays), Blue Space (the best drag shows in São Paulo) and The Week Club are sure to have you dancing the night away.
Denmark was the first country in the world to recognise same-sex partnerships in 1998, making a pilgrimage to the beautiful cobblestone capital, Copenhagen, a must for any LGBTQ+ traveller.
The city is home to Europe’s oldest openly-gay bar (with origins dating back to 1950) and also the red light district of Vesterbro. It’s vast array of cocktail bars and trendy minimalist boutique hotels offer stylish experiences in the heart of one of the most tolerant communities in Europe – often referred to as ‘the most gay-friendly place on earth’.