Planning a honeymoon can, in some ways, be even more stressful than planning a wedding. Sure, selecting the perfect wedding set for two brides or matching grooms wedding bands can be tough, but what about where you’ll go to celebrate? You want a destination that’s beautiful, serene and romantic but with plenty of options for all your favorite activities – indoor or out. For gay and lesbian couples there’s another issue to consider – how welcoming a city may be. While tolerance and acceptance are becoming the norm in most places, there are still areas where LGBT tourists simply can’t be assured of their safety. So as you plan a gay-friendly honeymoon, think twice about these seven popular, but potentially dangerous, destinations.
The shores of Jamaica and its amazing all-inclusive resorts have made it a popular spot for couples who want a tropical getaway. But for same-sex couples those views and resorts aren’t worth the problems associated with being homosexual in Jamaica. The country has a reputation for intolerance and even violence against gays, lesbians and transgendered people. While there are some notable citizens working to change the way people see members of the LGBT community, it’s still not considered a safe place for gay travelers.
2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Thanks to its growing reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, Dubai has become another popular destination. But its location in the Middle East makes it a bit dodgy for anyone and, in particular, for homosexuals. The area is regulated by Islamic law, which expressly bans homosexuality along, with a litany of other things including smoking, drinking and certain types of clothing for women.
You’d think the birthplace of rum would have a pretty laid back approach to most things, but homosexuality, legally referred to as ‘buggery’ is actually punishable by a life sentence in prison. Honeymooners who want to enjoy the tropics can still check out islands with a more welcoming attitude towards same-sex couples including Puerto Rico, Aruba and the US Virgin Islands.
Belize is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, boasting ancient Mayan ruins and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, it also boasts a terrible reputation for prosecuting and harassing same sex couples. Under Section 25 of the country’s Immigration Act, homosexuals are prohibited from even entering the country and consensual sex between two adult men is punishable by 10 years in prison. Bizarrely, consensual sex between women is totally fine, though culturally even female couples are often on the receiving end of hostile treatment.
With all the news about Russian regulations against homosexuality as well as any acts, speech or depictions that show gay relationships in a positive light, it’s no wonder that the country earns a place on this list. Sadly, the history, culture and amazing sights of Russia remain behind the new Iron Curtain and a Cold War that has given the country an international reputation for intolerance, violence and extremism when it comes to anyone who doesn’t measure up to their homegrown form of morality.
Plenty of couples may have dreamed of seeing the pyramids as a once in a lifetime trip, but intolerance in Egypt makes that a near impossibility. Being gay in Egypt is a crime and they won’t hesitate to enforce it. Even discussing homosexuality or displaying images can lead to a charge of debauchery. The country has made headlines several times over the arrest and detainment of homosexual men, making it not worth the risk.
7. All the Places You Don’t Want to Visit Anyway
There are a number of other countries where you just don’t want to visit, regardless of your sexual orientation. Each of these countries has a terrible reputation for human and civil rights against its own people as well as travelers. These countries include
These countries are hotbeds for political upheaval and random violence even under the best of circumstances. For same-sex couples, the potential for harassment and physical violence is much higher.
It’s unfortunate that we still need to worry about safety and security when planning a honeymoon to celebrate a new life together. On the positive side, there are more countries where couples of every combination are welcomed with open arms and current social movements elsewhere in the world paint a future where the list of ‘No Go’ zones for the LGBT community will continue to dwindle.