Grab your passport, pack your bags, and don’t forget your rainbow tee— these 10 cities around the world are ready to welcome you as your most authentic self. From small tropical getaways to buzzing urban scenes, these are some of the most picturesque places where members of the LGBTQIA+ community can not just feel safe, but totally celebrated. Let’s explore.
Amsterdam is the only place on Earth where it feels like being LGBTQIA+ is the majority. This Dutch capital city is worth a visit for its picturesque canals, unique architecture, and lively LGBTQIA+ scene. Their annual Pride celebration is notorious for its massive street parties and canal parade.
This idyllic New England coastal town is the mecca of East Coast LGBTQIA+ happenings. The town itself is draped in Pride, and rainbow flags fly from nearly every business on main street. During the summer, Provincetown, more affectionately known as P Town, is packed with beach-goers and hosts various themed weeks all summer long like Women of Color Weekend, Bear Week, GLAD summer party, and family week.
NYC is the birthplace of Pride, so it only makes sense that it’s high up on this list. The Stonewall Riots were started in 1969 by Black trans activist, Marsha P. Johnson (Marsha is credited with throwing the first brick). Fed up with the constant harassment and brutality from the police, patrons at Stonewall said enough was enough and took a stand for their rights. This moment in LGBTQIA+ history paved the way for Pride celebrations all over the world and is why we celebrate Pride in June each year. Aside from being a place of significance in history, the city has been a long-standing haven for the LGBTQIA+ community where they can feel accepted and authentically themselves.
I may be biased for wanting to add Lisbon to this list as I’ve lived here for the past year and a half. However, after doing some research, I quickly discovered that Portugal has some of the best LGBTQ+ laws to protect our community’s human rights in the EU. Same-sex marriage and adoption has been legal for 11 years now, and the government outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation 17 years ago. Add some of the most dazzling beaches in Europe, drag shows that will leave you wanting more, and a nightlife scene that just doesn’t quit—a visit is a must! My wife and I have made this welcoming city our base and our love not only feels accepted but celebrated here.
Canada is often known as a welcoming place for people of all kinds of backgrounds, and this is definitely true for the LGBTQIA+ community. With a Prime Minister that is often found at the front of the Pride parades waving a transgender flag, this country sets a positive example of creating spaces that are safe for LGBTQIA+ folks, and Toronto is no exception. With its own official “Gay Village” between Church and Wellesley streets, this area has become a fixture for the Toronto city life.
The gays are out down under, baby! This metropolis is home to a vibrant LGBTQIA+ community and thousands rush to celebrate Pride festivities in the streets of Sydney. Acceptance wasn’t always the case and, similar to what happened at Stonewall, it took the community coming together to stand up for their rights in order to see change. But change has arrived and that can be seen in the flurry of rainbow flags, confetti, and the proud patrons all along Oxford Street.
Berlin has always been a forerunner in the LGBTQIA+ scene. Home to the first gay neighborhood back in the 20’s, gender fluidity and tolerance towards homosexuality was significantly higher here than other countries. Now, Berlin is home to a huge LGBTQIA+ scene with countless spaces for the community including, but not limited to, massive warehouse dance parties and gay bathhouses.
Believe it or not, Fort Lauderdale has the highest concentration of gay couples living in the United States, and the 100+ LGBTQIA+ establishments around the city are definitely catering to this gigantic community. Most often you’ll find folks heading to the Sebastian Street Beach or hitting one of the many gay hangouts at Wilton Manor.
A shining beacon, Taiwan is the first place to pass gay marriage laws in Asia. Taipei has one of the best gay scenes in the east, and it’s based around the Ximen Red House complex with bars like Cafe Dalida and Secret Garden. Late October, Taipei hosts one of the biggest Pride festivals in the world.
Despite Brazil electing a leader who is outwardly intolerant towards the LGBTQIA+ community, São Paulo refuses to follow suit. The black sheep of the country, here you can find one of the biggest Pride festivals where three to four million people take to the streets to celebrate! If dancing is your thing, there are countless clubs where you can dance to Brazilian funk and samba until the early hours. All of this said, it would feel irresponsible to not express some caution while traveling through the city. Though tolerant, general safety should be taken into consideration when out and about.