Sunday, June 8, 2014

Gay Destinations Outside SE Asia

Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, Singapore sure know how to define fun. SE Asian cities such as KL Malaysia, Bangkok Thailand, Jakarta Indonesia, Singapore and many more are not the only cities our gay friends can enjoy travelling.

The Florida Panhandle
One major gay destination is South Beach, L.G.B.T. travelers have for countless years gathered there and, just lately, to Fort Lauderdale as too. “One might not instantly think of Florida’s Panhandle as gay-welcoming due to its conservative nature, but it has long been a refuge for gay Southerners looking for a beach getaway,” Desiree Sousa, the owner and editor in chief of Gay Travel Information, wrote in an email. Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola are among the places Ms. Sousa sees as up-and-coming gay-friendly destinations, “especially for L.G.B.T. families with children,” she wrote. “There isn’t a plethora of gay nightclubs (Pensacola is home to the only gay nightclubs in the area, which include the popular Emerald City),” Ms. Sousa wrote, but the area is notable “because of its overall welcoming attitude toward the L.G.B.T. traveler, something I have experienced time and time again.” Ms. Sousa said she has stayed in a number of area resorts, including the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, and always felt welcome and safe when traveling with her wife.

Harlem, New York
The first places that will come to your mind when you think of especially L.G.B.T-friendly neighborhoods in New York, Greenwich Village, Chelsea and, more recently, Hell’s Kitchen or Clinton. Warning, these places are very gay!!! According to Alan H. Beck, the president and publisher of Columbia FunMap and, add to the list Harlem, which is bit by bit regaining the reputation that it had for being a gay haven during its renaissance nearly a century ago. Mr. Beck wrote in an email, “FunMaps,” which creates gay-centric maps of various destinations, is planning a Harlem map to come out this summer. Harlem has even had its own gay pride celebration, though New York City already has a big annual event since 2010.

“I understand Pittsburgh probably conjures up images of steel mills, football and heart attack-inducing sandwiches,” wrote Jim Werner, a co-founder of a travel website that offers information about a number of gay-friendly cities as well as reviews, event listings and special deals. But, he pointed out, Pittsburgh is, in fact, “quirky, progressive, and yes, remarkably gay-friendly.” It’s also the hometown of Andy Warhol, a gay icon, and home to the Andy Warhol Museum. And, as of this month when a judge struck down the state’s gay-marriage ban, Pennsylvania is the last state in the Northeast to allow same-sex marriage. Pittsburgh will celebrate its PrideFest on June 15 (the event drew about 75,000 people last year, Mr. Werner wrote). The city doesn’t feature a large, centralized gay area, but the overall vibe is welcoming, he said. Still, Mr. Werner added, “if you want to increase your chances of finding fellow gays, head downtown to Liberty Avenue or to the Shadyside or Lawrenceville neighborhoods. Most of the bars in those neighborhoods are within walking distance of each other.”

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