How to Pack For a Perfect Summer LGBT Road Trip

It’s summer which means that it’s time for that LGBT road trip of the year, and we cannot be more excited than that. You have probably decided on your destination, but depending on the destination that you chose, you will have to pack accordingly. Some people like to go to cold places during the summer months, such as Scandinavian countries for example, and if this is the case, make sure to pack both something warm and something for when it’s hot. However, we will focus on those who will go someplace hot where they will show plenty of skin. What to pack and what to have always in mind?

The essentials

The first things that you need to put in your bag are the essentials that you cannot travel without. These include your passport, your ID, your medical insurance, your plane tickets and the booking of your accommodation. Have these in one place and don’t forget them as you cannot buy new ones there. This is particularly important for your passport and your medical insurance. As far as the tickets and the booking confirmation are concerned, it’s always good to have them with you at all times, unless you want to run around trying to find a place to print them out. Also, have a backup copy on your phone.

Clothes

As far as clothes are concerned, make sure to have something for every single occasion. This means that you want something long-sleeved in case it gets chilly, something formal, something sporty, something sexy. It’s summer and you probably don’t need a lot of clothes, but bringing something of everything will definitely make your stay there more interesting. Also, you can bring some women’s boots if you want to have a crazy night out in drag or if that’s your cup of tea. However, make sure that the things you wear are comfortable, as comfort comes before anything else.

Something formal

Since it’s your summer holiday, there will be a time when you will go out together on a formal dinner at a good restaurant, and this is why you need to pack something that’s a bit more formal as going there in flip flops and shorts just won’t do. Now, you don’t have to pack your whole suit, but make sure that you have one pair of good pants and a shirt that accentuates all of your best features. As far as shoes are concerned, you can choose sneakers as these go well with suits and also because athleisure.

Vanity table items

Now, what about the small things that you think take no space but when you double check you see that they are taking way more than they are supposed to? We are talking about shampoos, skin care products, perfumes. First, check if there are shampoos in the hotel or apartment you will be staying at, and if yes, there is no need to bring your own. You will need some space for the sunscreen and other things that are important for the summer. Of course, don’t forget your signature perfume as you will need it every night. You don’t have to bring more than one – it’s summer and more often than not you will not be needing it. 

For sexy time

And finally, an LGBT trip is nothing without the possibility of getting between someone’s sheets, of course, if you’re single and going without a partner. If this is your case, do not forget to pack your favorite pair of underwear as you will never know when you will be needing them. Apart from that, bring condoms and lube – you might find these there, but it’s always better to bring some with you. Also, have at least one condom always with you in your wallet. 

 

Well guys, hopefully, you will have the time of your life. LGBT trips are amazing, and there are things that you will remember from every single one of them. This is why you should make this summer another summer to remember!

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Gay Summer Vacation Outfits and Style Tips

We love summer for so many reasons, and one of them is because we get to wear amazing summer clothes! This is even more exciting when we’re planning what to pack and bring with us when we go to our long-awaited summer vacation! No more sweaters, caps and winter shoes for a while, it’s time for something lighter and more comfortable! Check out this cool and stylish list about what’s hot this year regarding gaycation fashion! 

Classic jean jacket

You can find denim in most closets! Yet, when we’re talking about a jean jacket, not everyone can pull off this ever-classy piece of clothing in the same way, and many people don’t combine it in such a way to get the most out of the outfit. Maybe your first instinct would be to pair it with regular blue jeans. This is acceptable. However, match it with a pair of black jeans instead if you want to be even more stylish.  

A classic jean jacket is perfect for breezy summer nights or as a chic layer to get that look which is both casual and stylish at the same time. 

A lightweight hoodie

Even if you see that the temperature is going to be ideal during your stay, you should still consider packing your favorite hoodie! You might need it during the morning hours when it’s a bit colder, or to offer you a little warmth on the beach when the wind gets too cool. If you feel cold during your promenade with your partner, you won’t enjoy it as much. However, bring your lightweight hoodie and feel completely carefree!

Nautical striped knit shirt

This is one of those items of clothing that look good on whoever wears them. If you want to be complimented on your perfect getup, know that this piece, which is a combination of navy and white, and is also known as a French sailor shirt, goes perfectly with blue or black jeans. 

Cotton short-sleeved shirt with buttons

This is something everyone has, probably more than one. If you do not own anything like this, it’s time you go shopping and buy more of them, each in a different color! It’s dressier than other items on this list, and it requires a pair of nice-looking quality shoes. You can wear this if you want to go out, since it’s perfect for a club or maybe if you’re having a dinner with your partner. If you want to experiment a bit, try a floral pattern or maybe a checkered one. It’s audacious and people will notice you for sure!

Branded underwear

Whenever you want to invest in quality branded men’s underwear, know that you can’t make a mistake. While fashion keeps changing every once in a while, good old branded underwear is always in! It doesn’t matter that no one can see it but yourself (if we are not including your significant other), when you know you’re wearing underwear of the highest quality, you simply feel better and more stylish! You deserve the best, and if you already pay attention to wearing only trendy clothes, underwear should be included here undoubtedly! 

Hopefully, you’ll find this stylish list helpful and inspiring. You can always check out pictures in magazines and on the internet to see how famous people have combined these items. You’ll find a lot of amazing looks and you’ll want to copy them for sure. However, if you don’t want to be a copycat, you can always experiment and do things differently. Be creative and unique and have fun as others stare at you in amazement on your vacation.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

5 Exciting LGBT Friendly Destinations

Because of the growing LGBT population, there are so many places that are gay-friendly to visit nowadays. From smaller towns to bigger cities, wherever you go a lot of fun is guaranteed if you know how to enjoy to the fullest. There are some that are more suitable for singles, while others would be better for couples and families. Check out this list of five cool places to visit, because they are quite welcoming.

Margaret River in Western Australia

We know that Australia is quite awesome, and people know this small town best for its boutiques, craft breweries and wineries that surround it. If you like how all this sounds, you should also know there is a must-try craft beer in Margaret River that is worth your while. Beaches and surf breaks are beautiful and there is even a period when whales that are migratory can be seen (from June to October). You can also see two lighthouses, one on the north and another on the south of the town. It is good for peaceful long distance walks and it is both an LGBT and family friendly place that everyone likes.

Berlin, Germany

If you want to have the time of your life or a honeymoon that came right out of a dream, maybe start thinking about Europe. Berlin is a great city to visit if you are looking for open-minded people. European gay scene is definitely amazing and something everyone should experience. There are many popular gay clubs that are perfect for singles or people in a partying mood. For older gays and transgender people, or just the ones who are more interested in exploring the place’s history and classical culture, you can have tours where you can learn more about German history. It is actually pretty interesting. When it comes to hotels, Mercure Hotel Berlin City comes highly recommended, but there are also many other exquisite options.   

Koh Samui, Thailand

This is definitely for someone who prefers exotic and distant places. A magical island Koh Samui in Thailand is maybe the one that’s most worth mentioning. You can find accomodation over Ebab that is gonna fulfill all of your demands.  Look for accommodations that have a terrace that overlooks the beach and has a splendid view where you can look at the ocean. If you like swimming, you can check out the places with a great swimming pool, or the neighboring beach in order to enjoy an exotic swim in the ocean. You also have a considerable number of spas, gyms and restaurants. There is no way you get bored here!

Toronto in Ontario, Canada

Canada is known to be a very friendly country, so it is not a surprise that you can visit its cities, like Toronto in Ontario, for it has a very gay-friendly reputation. They say you can expect extremely welcoming people here and the LGBT community is pretty strong. If you like drag shows and karaoke, Crews and Tangos is a bar where you can go to have some fun. For the more sedate atmosphere, you have the Beaver for patio and bingo parties. The Pride Month in Toronto is definitely something you don’t want to miss but even if you visit it later in the years, Halloween on Church – the city’s festive Halloween celebration – has got you covered.

Guadalajara, Mexico

This is the second largest city in Mexico and you can expect a lot of gay cuties here, just like the rest of the LGBT population. It is a remarkable cultural destination that brings you mariachi and tequila, and we love both of those. For those of you on the prowl for good-looking singles, just hit some of the city’s many bars and nightclubs where you can let loose. They hold the popular Pride celebration in June.

 

No matter what your cup of tea is, there are always great LGBT friendly places to visit. Luckily, you can find both family or singles friendly ones, too. Hopefully, this list was helpful. Have a nice time wherever you choose to go!

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

How to Plan a Perfect LGBT Honeymoon

No matter if you’re a sucker for weddings or not, we can all agree that the honeymoon is the best part of any wedding. This is the time to make the best memories, relax and start your marriage on the right foot. However, without ample planning, your trip can end up being a total bust. So, here are a few practical tips on how to plan a perfect LGBT honeymoon.

Plan well

All the best honeymoons are planned while both parties are on the same page. So, make sure to talk it over before you start contacting travel agents! Do you want to unwind and relax or have a wild adventure that will fill you with adrenaline? Do you prefer bright lights of the city or the quiet of the beach and nature? You must know what you want as a couple and what you prefer as travelers. This will allow you to plan the best honeymoon to mark the beginning of your life together.

Research your destination

Here’s the harsh truth, it’s still illegal to be LGBT in over 80 countries and in 13 you can be sentenced to death for being gay. However, traveling as a gay person can be risky no matter where you go. This is not scaremongering, but even ultra-liberal destinations like NYC, London and Amsterdam have instances of anti-LGBT violence. Now, you can’t miss your honeymoon because you’re scared! But, what you can do is pick a more gay-friendly destination—we just want you to be safe, alright!

Choose LGBT-friendly accommodation

Not every destination has obviously gay resorts and hotels, so make sure to do your research. When in doubt, check with Ebab or go through Fodor’s and Frommer’s selections. You’ll get to find all sorts of LGBT sections, area-specific tips and no-nos for gay romance.

Pack well

If you’re going to a tropical island or anywhere where you’re planning to spend the majority of your time at the beach, you don’t need much. However, you still want to be stylish and even maybe show off your love. For instance, lesbian couples can check out one piece swimwear online and grab matching swimwear. You’ll look so fabulous together (you might look like walking lesbian stereotypes, but who cares!). However, if you’re planning to have fancy dinners in the city, you’ll need something more formal, preferably with sleeves. Additionally, don’t forget to pack all your sex toys and gear. You might get a chance to renew your collection at your destination, but who knows whether they sell anything. You just can’t risk it.

Organize something special

Just because you tied the knot, that doesn’t mean you can leave romance and grand gestures behind you! Take time to surprise your spouse with something very exciting and show just how much you love them. Use your knowledge of their preferences to come up with something amazing that will surely make them happy. If you have a hopeless romantic for a husband, plan a private evening with bubbly, roses and a lot of cuddling. On the other hand, if your wife loves adventure, a field trip to nature will make her feel over the moon.  

Don’t forget why you’re doing this

The most important thing about honeymoons is the feeling of doing something together, as a couple. So, no matter how much you hate organizing stuff, make sure to stay engaged and give your feedback. This planning time will not only allow you to grow as a couple but also bring you closer together. If you plan it together, it will make your honeymoon even more perfect. So, don’t forget why you’re doing this—to celebrate your beautiful love and your victory over haters!

Sure, planning a perfect honeymoon is not something you can do in one afternoon, but if you stay focused and do your homework, you’ll end up in real LGBT heaven!

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

5 Sex Tips for Young Gay Couples

Yes, when you first started dating, everything was sexy, just looking at your boyfriend made you want to rip his clothes off and have him right there and then. Perhaps there were even times when you couldn’t even control yourself and you would just do it in a bathroom at a friend’s party. However, this ‘hot and heavy’ stage always fizzles out. No one knows exactly why – perhaps you become too comfortable with each other, you become too secure in your relationship and the knowledge that you can have sex whenever you want actually leads to a lack of sex, or at least adventurous sex, which is actually kind of paradoxical if you think about it. Well, whichever the reason, the lesson we must all remember at all times is that, in a relationship, you have to work at keeping the fires of passion and adventure alive. Great sex doesn’t just happen, and sometimes you have to work at it either to rekindle the fires or keep the flame alive even before it dies. So, what can you do to improve your sex life? Stay tuned and find out. Spoiler alert: it’s not difficult.

Sleep naked

According to a survey published in the Huffington Post sleeping naked with your partner doesn’t only make you sleep better but can actually improve your sex life. The reason is simple: just being in close proximity to your partner and not be ‘separated’ by layers of clothing will entice and excite you. This in turn could actually lead to a lack of sleep (if you know what we mean), because once you caress your boyfriend’s skin, you won’t be able to help yourself and you’ll want them immediately. We have oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’ to thank for this. When you sleep naked together higher levels of this hormone are released and you’ll feel not only aroused but also more connected to your partner.

Time to play

Even straight couples have discovered the benefits of bringing sex toys into the boudoir, and we all know that when it comes to sex, gays are always ahead of the straights. So, even if the levels of pleasure are at a satisfactory level, introducing some pleasure enhancers is never a bad idea. There is a huge number of toys you can play with that will make sex an unforgettable experience, such as a prostate massager, a butt plug and a cock ring (these are plain amazing). Once you’ve included toys into your sex life, there will never be a dull moment in bed ever again, and your toy collection will just become bigger until you have to replace the ‘goodie drawer’ with a ‘goodie closet’.

When out of ideas

If you think you’ve tried it all and you’re fresh out of ideas as to what new thing to do – watching pornography is a great way to get some inspiration. Perhaps you’ll discover some new positions to try, but above all else, watching to guys (or more if that’s your kind of thing) being all hot and heavy will instantly arouse you to the point of eruption and you won’t be able to contain yourself. Just like when you were hot and heavy at the very beginning and couldn’t get to the end of a ‘regular’ movie, you won’t be able to finish this one either.

Talk about it

Once you’re in the ‘relationship’ stage as opposed to just casually dating and you are comfortable enough with your boyfriend to tell him all about your childhood memories and perhaps even share some emotional scars, you can be comfortable enough to talk about your fantasies. Fantasies are a healthy for a relationship, and in addition to that, if you go along with one or all of them, you might find unknown levels of pleasure. You may actually discover that you enjoy being tied up or are aroused by a certain fetish or role play that never crossed your mind before.

Never skip on foreplay

Sometimes the sheer anticipation of a touch is enough to get you going. Never forget to take your time, kiss like there’s no tomorrow, touch, play and tease one another to the point where you just can’t stand it anymore, and then tease each other some more. Sometimes there is nothing better than delayed gratification.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Peters Guide durch Sydney

Während meines ersten Stopps in Sydney konnte ich sofort sagen, dass es eine Stadt ist, in die ich mich leicht verlieben könnte. Mit meinen ständigen Reisen um die Welt ist es schwer, einen Ort zu finden, an dem man wirklich sein Zuhause findet oder zumindest den bevorzugten Ruhepunkt vor dem nächsten großen Abenteuer.

Das Kleinod von New South Wales ist die größte Stadt Australiens, voller Leben und einer Kultur, die so vielfältig und großartig ist, dass jeder seinen Platz in seinem von Naturelementen und künstlerischen Entwürfen durchsetzten Beton-Dschungel findet. Hier gebe ich euch meine Tipps, um Sydney wie ein Einwohner und nicht nur wie ein Tourist zu erleben. Damit wird es euch gelingen, Geist, Körper und Seele mit der zeitlosen Kultur dieser Stadt zu erfüllen.

Werde Teil der Kunstszene

Wenn es um Kunst und Kultur geht, ist Sydney eine Stadt wie keine andere. Abgesehen davon, dass jeder Stadtteil eine eigene ‘Kunstinstallation’ ist, bei der beliebte Graffitikünstler ihre Gebäudefassaden prägen und zahlreiche Maler, Musiker und Künstler ihr künstlerisches Talent in der Nähe der berühmten Touristenattraktionen der Stadt zeigen, gibt es eine Reihe von Möglichkeiten, die dynamische Kunstszene von Sydney selbst zu erleben.

Sydney bietet dir neben renommierten Theatern wie dem Sydney Opera House und der Sydney Lyric in Pyrmont auch abgelegenere Orte wie dem Glen Street Theatre in Newtown und dem Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli. Wenn du Musik liebst, vergiss nicht, auch die City Recital Hall zu besuchen.

Entdecke die Architektur

Fest steht, dass Sydney ein architektonisches Wunder ist. Während du durch die großen Boulevards aber auch kleinen Gassen läufst, die geprägt sind von einem vergessenen viktorianischen Ambiente, führt dich die Stadt auf eine Reise durch die Jahrhunderte. Du wirst alle Typen architektonischer Meisterwerke finden, welche Sydney zu bieten hat – vom Sydney Tower Eye über die Sydney Harbour Bridge bis zum Monument of Lysicrates und vielen anderen Denkmälern, Sehenswürdigkeiten und architektonischen Wunderwerken. Nimm’ dir einfach einen Stadtplan und beginne mit der Entdeckungsreise durch die Jahrhunderte.

Entspannen wie ein Einheimischer

Wenn es um Freizeit geht, egal ob du in entspannter Atmosphäre neue Freunde treffen willst oder mit einem eiskalten Craft Beer vom Laptop aus arbeiten möchtest, gibt es zahlreiche Möglichkeiten, die du erkunden kanst. Mein absoluter Lieblingsort für jeden Nachmittag (,weil ich weiß, dass ich dort für eine Weile bleiben werde) befindet sich im Stadtteil Darlinghurst.

Falls du es noch nicht wusstest, Darlinghurst ist einer der lebendigsten Bezirke der Stadt, wenn du so willst, ein ‘perfekts’ LGBT-Paradies. Ich gehe hier am liebsten ist das Della Hyde. Dort gibt es alles, ich meine wirklich alles, um dich wie ein echter Aussie zu fühlen – australisches Essen, australisches Craft Beer, australische Cocktails … und noch viel mehr. Tagsüber ist das Ambiente entspannt und gediegen; mit einem Hauch von echtem australischen Spirit in jedem Gebräu und jedem Detail. In der Nacht verwandelt sich die Bar in eine echte Partylocation mit Live-Musik oder Djs und tanzenden Menschen, die den pulsierenden Raum mit Energie, guter Stimmung und einer Prise von dem, was kommen wird, füllen. Es ist der perfekte Ort, um tagsüber zu arbeiten und am Abend einfach auf eine Party zu gehen.

Feiern wie ein Rockstar

Und wenn wir gerade vom Feiern sprechen, was wäre Sydney ohne sein Nachtleben? Eine so große und lebhafte Umgebung ist die Heimat eines Nachtlebens mit unzähligen Möglichkeiten entweder mit deinen Freunden eine Kneipennacht zu verbringen oder in einem Club tanzen zu gehen.

Du kannst eine wilde Nacht mit ‘pre-club drinks’ in Darlinghurst beginnen und anschließend eine Tour durch die coolen Clubs in der George Street machen. Vergiss’ dabei nicht die Chinese Laundry und das ARQ. Und wenn du die ganze Nacht lang feiern willst, schlage ich dir das Pacha Sydney vor.

Egal wohin du in Sydney gehst, es gibt immer etwas, zu entdecken. Es gibt keinen Mangel an wilden, rihungen, innovativen und genussvollen Erlebnissen in der größten Stadt von Down Under. Also nutze meine Tipps, um dich bei deiner nächsten Reise nach Sydney wie ein echter Aussie zu fühlen.

Übrigens, was ich auf keinen Fall vergessen darf: die diesjährige Mardi Gras Party wird in die Geschichtsbücher eingehen! Alle rund um Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras freuen sich, dass der Pop-Superstar und die LGBTQI-Ikone CHER im Rampenlicht der offiziellen 2018 Mardi Gras Party am Samstag, den 3. März 2018, stehen wird.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Peter’s Guide Through Sydney

The first time I touched down in Sydney, I could tell right away that it was a city I could easily fall in love with. With my constant travels around the world, it’s tough to find a place you can really call your home, or at least your preferred rest stop before the next big adventure.

The gem of New South Wales is the largest city in Australia, full of life and a culture so diverse and magnificent that anyone and everyone is bound to find their place in its concrete jungle riddled with natural elements and artistic designs. Here is my guide to experiencing Sydney like a traveller rather than a mere tourist, and imbuing your mind, body, and soul with its timeless culture.

Follow the art scene

When it comes to art and culture, Sydney is a city like no other. Aside from the fact that every district is an art installation on its own, with popular graffiti artists leaving their marks on building facades and numerous painters, musicians and performers showcasing their artistic talents near the city’s famous tourist sites, there are a number of ways in which you can experience the vibrant Sydney art scene.

You want to visit everything from renowned theatre centres such as the Sydney Opera House and  Sydney Lyric in Pyrmont, to the more secluded places like the Glen Street Theatre in Newtown and Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli. Additionally, if you’re into music, don’t forget to visit the City Recital Hall as well.

Experience the architecture

There is not much to say about Sydney except that it is an architectural wonderland. It will take you on a journey through the ages as you walk down its vast boulevards and little alleyways that will lead you through a forgotten Victorian setting. You can find all sorts of architectural masterpieces in Sydney, from the Sydney Tower Eye, through the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to the Monument of Lysicrates and many, many other monuments, landmarks and architectural wonders. Just grab a map and get moving.

Relax like a local

Now, when it comes to leisure, no matter whether you are looking to meet some new friends in a relaxed setting or work from your laptop while sipping on an ice-cold craft beer, there are numerous options to explore. My absolute favourite place to be on any given afternoon (because I know I’m going to stay there for a while) is an adorable not-so-little place in the middle of Darlinghurst.

In case you didn’t know, Darlinghurst is one of the most vibrant districts in the city, a LGBT paradise if you will. My place of choice there is Della Hyde. Now, this place has got it all, Australian food, Australian craft beer, Australian cocktails… I mean everything. The ambience is relaxed and comfortable during the day, with a touch of true Aussie spirit with every brew and every detail. At night, the bar turns into a proper party venue, with live music and enthusiastic groups of people imbuing the vibrant space with energy, positivity and a dash of what’s to come. It is the perfect place to work during the day and easily transition into a party in the evening.

Party like a rockstar

And speaking of partying, what’s Sydney without its nightlife? Such a vast and vivid environment is home to numerous off the hook nightlife experiences, and whether you’re up for a pub night with your friends or you feel like dancing in a club, you can find it all.

You can easily start your wild night with pre-club drinks at Darlinghurst and then move on to the clubs at George Street. Be sure to visit the Chinese Laundry and ARQ, and if you’re up for partying all night long, hit the Pacha Sydney for a night of pure ecstasy.

No matter where you go in Sydney, there’s always something to knock your boots off. There is no shortage of wild, tame, innovative and pleasurable experiences in the biggest city of the Land Down Under, so make sure you follow this guide to an Aussie adventure of a lifetime.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Orlando Shooting Proves Homophobia Remains A Worldwide Phenomenon

June is celebrated as Pride Month in US to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969. But this June was a tragic reminder of how vulnerable the LGBT community remains even in so called safe spaces when a gunman went about shooting people at a gay club called Pulse in Orlando, US. The exact motive of the gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, remains unclear, but homophobia surely was the driving force behind the attack that killed 49 people.

Omar’s father said that he had got agitated after seeing two men kiss, possibly pointing to his hatred towards the LGBT community as the motive. Then again, there have been claims by various gay men and his own wife that Omar was gay himself, leading some to believe that internalised homophobia might have driven him to this extreme step. Him owing allegiance to ISIS minutes before being killed further complicates the matter. ISIS has been know to murder homosexuals in gruesome manner in territory controlled by it. Whichever angle one looks at, homophobia remains at the centre of it.

orlando homophobia

The Orlando shooting comes within two months of another gruesome murder of LGBT activists in Bangladesh. The general notion is that LGBT community is vulnerable in countries with homophobic laws, or in third world countries, while the West is considered as much safer. But the Orlando incident shows that it is not just in Islamic or African countries where the LGBT community remains unsafe. Despite advances, LGBT community is vulnerable even in the West. Homophobia remains a cause of concern worldwide.

Despite all this, we must remember that we must not cower or hide back in the closet. We must win over people and their “phobias” by educating them, by being open and showing them that there is no basis of their hatred. Such attacks want to install fear in our minds. We must be resilient and defeat such people through our fearless actions.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

Section 377 & India : How Safe Is India for a Gay Tourist?

India is referred to as a sub-continent because of the varying weather, terrain, people and languages that you find in the country (well, actually the India sub-continent includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh too, but India is still no less of a sub-continent on its own). The country has 29 different states, each with its own distinct culture, language, food, sub-languages, dialects etc. The variety is so huge that if you move from one state to another, you might even be mistaken that you are in a different country!! During one of my own solo trips in South of India, I met two young German students who were stunned by the diversity they found in India and remarked that in Europe, you find a totally different culture and language only when you move from one country to another.

All this makes India an ideal travel destination for  a number of tourists. But India is also a country that criminalises anal and oral sex through Section 377 – a legacy of the times that Britain ruled over India. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises “unnatural sex against the order of nature” and includes all non peno-vaginal sex. Although ideally the law should apply to straight people engaging in oral and anal sex, the law is widely perceived to be targeting LGBT people only. If convicted under this particular law, you could be sentenced to a maximum of life imprisonment.

However, the Indian LGBT community has been fighting this law in the courts for more than a decade now and met with success in 2009 when the Delhi High Court said that Section 377 should not apply for consensual sex. However this verdict was challenged in the Supreme Court by various religious groups, and the Supreme Court reversed the Delhi High Court judgement in Dec 2013 and re-criminalised anal and oral sex. Currently, the Supreme Court has agreed to re-examine its own verdict by a larger bench of five judges.

Section 377 in India has largely been a tool for the police to extort money from gay men at cruising spots and harass them by threatening to implicate them under Sec 377 if they do not pay them bribes. Recent crime data though shows that a number of cases were filed under Section 377 by the police, there is no distinction though if it was filed against LGBT people or in cases of child abuse (Section 377 is also often invoked in cases of child abuse).

Foreigners taking part in Delhi Queer Pride 2015
Foreigners taking part in Delhi Queer Pride 2015

Despite the existence of Section 377, more and more Indian cities are organising pride marches, LGBT film festivals, parties and other events. Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore see some of the largest pride marches of the country. There is a thriving LGBT culture in the larger cities, and people mingle and meet in parties, social events, and also via apps like grindr and planetromeo. A number of gay travel portals exist with a largely foreign clientele.

Apart from the legal front, socially, India is still a largely conservative country where public display of affection is generally frowned upon. But you will find a lot of homo-social behaviour which often stumps people visiting from West. Two men holding hands while walking on the road might imply they are gay in Western countries, but such a gesture holds no meaning in India.

India is a vast and beautiful country, a little chaotic may be, but definitely worth visiting. And when you make that trip, do check out the local LGBT scene as well.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

Internet and the Gay Rights Movement

Internet has been a boon to mankind in many ways. Its effects on the lives of humans have been, in some cases, revolutionary. It has not only connected the world and brought all information on our fingertips, but it has also been a refuge for many to find like-minded people. This has specially been true for movements and communities which have traditionally been shunned by the larger society.

For the LGBT community, the internet has certainly been a boon in many ways. The pre-internet days, for the LGBT community, meant cruising in parks, bars, toilets, or other joints to meet like-minded people. But this also meant that they could be easy targets for homophobic violence by police or others. There was little safety in meeting the way they did, and many indeed had horrible experiences as well. The best example of it remains the Stonewall Inn, a bar popular among the gay and trans community, but also targeted by the police regularly.

The internet suddenly provided the safe space that people craved for. There was now no need to go anywhere to meet or find other gay/bi/lesbian/trans individuals. There were a number of sites you could just log in and start a conversation with people. You could be in the privacy and safety of your room, and still ‘feel’ connected. What you chose to reveal, depended entirely on your comfort level. There was no fear of being ‘outed’ or being seen visiting a gay bar/club. A young gay kid could gather all the information and (virtual) support needed to come to terms with his/her sexuality.

The early days of internet had yahoo chat rooms and email lists. These also acted as forums for discussions of various kinds, on matters related to LGBT community. But soon, as the internet matured, there were “gay dating sites”. What these sites eventually turned out to be were hook-up sites. Conversations mostly began with “Hi”, followed by “ASL”. Attempts to connect with the person were restricted mostly to knowing the preferences on bed. The sudden access to a large pool of men also meant one was always looking to meet more men. The advent of mobile applications like Grindr have brought about further changes. A simple ‘Hi’ can be greeted by instant blocking. Everything increasingly became more self-centered.

sex positionOn the other hand, for queer organisations, reaching out to the LGBT population became easier. This is especially true for countries where homosexuality is still either criminalised, illegal, or is socially frowned upon, and most people prefer the privacy of the internet. In such countries, internet becomes the primary tool for dispensing information related to LGBT events (parties, film festival, pride march) to a larger queer audience. The advent of social networking sites like Facebook and their widespread use has further helped to mobilise the queer community, hold discussions on various topics, things that the gay dating sites lack. Features like “secret group” have ensured that people can be part of such groups and discussions without others in their network being aware of it, and that only trusted contacts get added to such groups.

Despite all this, what is also true is that the internet has stripped  people of the warmth and closeness, and to some extent, the feeling of a close-knit community. The bars and other spots in the pre-internet days were not just cruising spots, but also a place where “real” relationships and bondings happened. You cared about these people, because you knew them somehow, or would have seen them hanging out at the same place. This also gave a greater sense of community to people. This is also a reason why a police “raid” at Stonewall soon turned into a riot. Is such a Stonewall possible today?

gay hugThose who have experienced the pre-internet days rue about the lack of warmth in internet conversations now. Some still prefer to visit the old spots. Contrast this with the chats you have on Grindr or any other such service. Probably what we need is to complement our online activities with bonding with people over community events in the real world.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”