The Gay European Tourism Association (GETA) has launched an information campaign to educate LGBTI travelers touring Europe.
GETA’s new website explains the ‘difference in legal and social attitudes to homosexuality across Western, Central and Eastern Europe,’ so LGBTI travelers are aware of how homosexuality is treated throughout European countries.
Using countries like Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Russia as case studies of how society and laws might treat LGBTI people differently, GETA advises: ‘It is for individual LGBT travelers to decide what countries they wish to visit but as a rule, the further east you travel in Europe, the more careful you need to be about public displays of your sexuality.’
GETA’s website also advocates proper planning for families and same-sex couples traveling throughout Europe.
‘Most countries in Europe welcome LGBT tourists,’ said GETA’s Executive Director Carlos Kytka, ‘but there are a few simple tips to make sure your trip is safe.’
- Check the legal position of the countries you are planning to visit using ILGA’s Rainbow Europe guide.
- Remember that legal recognition and social acceptance may not be at the same level, particularly as you move east.
- Be particularly careful in the former Soviet Union states where actions that could be construed as being overtly homosexual (like holding hands, kissing in public, and insisting on double beds in a hotel) may bring you to the attention of the authorities and anti-gay vigilantes.
- Be careful when using social media hook-up sites which may be used for entrapment.
- Cities tend to be more gay friendly than the countryside so adapt your behaviour accordingly.
The GETA website also includes a European map from the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association (IGLTA) ranking countries by their respect of human rights.
Gay Star News recognizes many countries we report on have poor LGBTI rights records.
While we don’t encourage gay travelers to visit countries where their safety may be endangered, we acknowledge that LGBTI people live in and travel to countries with anti-gay cultures and laws every day.
We also recognize that every country has its positive aspects and unique experiences to offer to travelers, whatever their sexual orientation. We always encourage our readers to do their research and travel safely, wherever they go.