Is India now a Gay-friendly Travel Destination

Is India now a Gay-friendly Travel Destination

Changing mindsets and somewhat friendlier courts in New Delhi have created business possibilities for travel operators, who are now portraying India as an emerging gay-friendly destination. The Toronto Sun reports on a U.S. survey that ranked India as the second most desired cultural or adventure destination for gay couples, just behind Thailand.

When economist Qing Wu visited North India with his partner, he said he “never felt uncomfortable” as a couple. “In India, it is fairly common to see boys holding hands,” said Wu, who lives in San Francisco, via email. “I personally feel pretty safe.”

The special packages provided by LGBT tour companies in India also ensure clients can be completely uninhibited during their visit. The entire staff, if not gay, is gay-friendly. “It is my duty that no taxi driver or guide says anything offensive,” said Abhinav Goel, owner of Out Journeys in New Delhi.

What this means

Homosexuality is still illegal in India, despite what the newspaper article implies, and this law was first enacted by British rulers in 1861. In 2009, a court in Delhi decriminalized homosexual acts but the ruling applies only in the national capital territory and not in the rest of India. Homophobia continues to be practiced widely, such as when India’s current health minister blamed AIDS on aberrant lifestyles.

If you are GLBT person planning a business or recreational trip to India, I encourage you to go. Holding hands with a person of the same gender won’t attract unwanted attention in India but that’s because this practice is accepted among heterosexuals. But don’t flaunt other physical behavior and think before making public statements of your sexual orientation.


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