Nowadays you don’t have to be religious to visit paradise: a flight tickets is the only thing you’ll need. Exotic destinations welcome you and glossy brochures show palmtrees and clear blue diving spots. But if you’re gay, it’s not so evident that you will be welcomed with roses on your bed. In these 5 paradises you rather choose to sleep separately…
1. St Vincent & the Grenadines
The beautiful islands of Saint Vincent & The Grenadines have been on my wishlist for a while now. Mostly beacause they are still a bit more exclusive. There are no charters and hardly any last minute offers if you want to visit St. Vincent & The Grenadines. Though tourism is rapidly evolving as a mass industry since the Pirates of The Caribbean-movies were shot here.
The largest industry here however is still agriculture, with bananas as the main export product. Nevertheless this group of islands isn’t a so called banana republic. The parliamentary democracy is an official part of the kingdom of Queen Elizabeth.
Unfortunately the country has it’s own laws and therefore they decided to make homosexuality illegal. You can be sentenced with 5 years of prison. That might arouse you if you like those kind of fantasies, but personally I wouldn’t risk it.
When I was a little boy I once saw a beautiful picture of a blue sea and colorful fish. I was sold immediately and ever since I wanted to go and dive there one day. And it will happen, because the Seychelles are a true divers paradise. Temperature is fairly constant throughout the year, between 23 and 31 (Celsius). The sun will give you that golden tan and you will be the sexiest Adam in paradise in no time.
The Seychelles are also pioneers in the ecotourism industry. This comes at a price and thus you will have the luxury of not having to deal with mass tourism audiences. Even for LGBT-rights the future seems bright on the beautiful islands. In June 2015 the house of the British High Commissioner was the location for the first same-sex marriage on the Seychelles. Not that it was legal, but the official statement was: “not to show any sign of disrespect to the laws, values and beliefs of the people of Seychelles, but … as well as being a joyful occasion, it will also contribute to a healthy dialogue on the rights of non-heterosexual people in Seychelles.”
But still you do not want to come out as gay openly, because in this paradise it means you are still guilty of a felony, and liable to imprisonment for fourteen years. If you are prepared to hang your feathers in a tropical closet, this is a great destination for a secretly gay holiday.
Another group of scuba diving paradises where gays are facing legal challenges, are the Maldives. Only 200 of the 1190 (coral)islands are inhabited, of which 88 are developed for tourism. Even though the luxury-resorts perfectly fit the gay standard for relaxing travel, the Maldives are not promoting to use the pink dollar as an official currency.
Chances are higher that the sea level will rise with 2 meters than that the Islamic country will change the opinion about lgbt travelers. If climate change really destroys the face of the earth, the whole area will soon be the new Atlantis.
Don’t wait for that though if you like scuba diving. Consider sleeping seperately instead and don’t go chasing rainbows as they will be hard to find in this sunny spot anyway.
4. Cook Islands
The 15 islands that are named after explorer Thomas Cook were only named Cook Islands 50 years after Cook named them the Hervey Islands. Tourism is the largest source of income to the islands, but it still remains a forbidden paradise for gays.
A little revenge is taken by the international community though. The Cook Islands are not recognized as an independent country. They have their own parliament but official all residents are New Zealanders. So officially they should be thankful that you are even considering to visit them.
Belize, between Mexico and Guatemala, is the only South American country that has English as the official language. It is the most thinly populated country of the continent with only 300.000 inhabitants (that is half of the population of my hometown Rotterdam, The Netherlands)! That is quite a change, after being a large hub in the Maya empire with over 1 million citizens.
Later Belize became an important trading post for slaves and wood. But because the decrease of the population, nature got a chance to re-develop. Over 5.000 of species of plants are registered and hundreds of animal species make this paradise a tropical adventure reserve.
That biodiversity is not appreciated to the fullest is proven by the homophobic laws. Belize even forbids foreign gays to enter the country. Just so you know.
What does the law say?
In most countries were gays are faced with legal charges, intercourse with someone of the same sex is considered the real crime. Usually they will not prosecute you if you are traveling around with your partner. Though you are advised to not behave extravagant or openly gay. You will not be protected by laws if you end up in a situation where your sexuality is a matter of discussion.
In a few countries homosexuality is prohibited, but you do not have to be afraid to be sent to prison straight away. However you should not expect to be welcomed in the honeymoon suite when you travel there after your wedding. If you want that, ask you travel agency if they could ask for that or contact the management of the hotel yourself. But do not show up without any notice and embarrass local staff.
If we visit destinations like these, we usually are happy to leep in separate bed that we will put next to each other during the night. We even move them back ourselves in the morning, before we leave the premises. It saves a lot of inconvenience and embarrassing situations. It even has its charm: we feel like teenagers again, secretly having sex and making sure that the parents won’t find out 😉