The law vs. reality: Where it’s illegal to be gay

The world is a big place and we want to help you see as much of it as possible

In over seventy countries around the world, being gay is illegal. Even laws supporting gay relationships don't necessarily mean the LGBT community are free to enjoy themselves without any concerns. For this reason, it's vital for you to be aware of the laws of some of the countries you might be longing to explore. It's why every page on our site includes detailed and up-to-date information on the law in each country. Out Of Office handpicks itineraries and works with people we know will keep you safe, even in countries you may have thought would never be an option to you. Enjoying yourself in safety in any country you want from a vast selection, is paramount to the Out Of Office experience.

Gay India

India

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states sex “against the order of nature” is illegal “” this is interpreted to include being gay. This law was deemed unconstitutional by the High Court of Delhi from 2nd July 2009. However, on 12th December 2013, the Supreme Court of India overturned this decision. This regressive move means gay individuals can now be imprisoned for up to ten years.

It means couples that have happily lived together for years now have difficult decisions to make. It means anyone living with HIV will no longer be able to seek treatment without the risk of harassment at best and arrest at worst.

The reality is a little different. Customers can sometimes find a double room turned into a twin room without warning – but only because those responsible think they're being helpful rather than discriminatory. The idea for many of two people of the same-sex sharing a bed just isn't comprehensible. In most instances you'll find the hotel trying to be helpful without realising they are actually being anything but.

For those with their sights set on India for a break, Out Of Office would definitely recommend doing your research beforehand so you feel confident with what the country now deems acceptable. Our itineraries are created with your safety as the foundation, so do not hesitate to talk to Out Of Office about any concerns you may have before travelling. Generally, India is a very welcoming place, and the younger generations especially support the LGBT community. We'll build the perfect itinerary with you so that you can be confident that the double beds won't be separated into twins.

Find out more about our holidays to India.

Laos

In Laos, being gay is legal, but this doesn't necessarily mean attitudes are open. The lack of an anti-discrimination law means that the LGBT community of Laos can still face issues in the work place when it comes to promotion. Likewise, bars are not allowed to be openly gay – for example, you won't see any rainbow flags, nor can advertisements clearly state their target audience. You can still easily locate gay bars by doing a bit of research or ask us for our most up-to-date list when you book.

Find out more about our holidays to Laos.

Istanbul Turkey

Turkey

Pride parades take place annually in Turkey, although 2015's was met with police brandishing water cannons and rubber pellets at the marchers. Some reports claim this was due to the parade taking place over Ramadan, others say some of the crowd were using slurs in reference to their president. Being gay is legal in Turkey, but homophobia is still rife. Travellers may want to avoid being “openly” gay.

Find out more about our holidays to Turkey.

Gay Maldives

The Maldives

The beautiful Indian Ocean islands are a blissful and beautiful place to unwind and experience five star service. It is, again, illegal to be gay in the Maldives – the mainland is under Sharia Law. The reality is somewhat different though with the resorts being very welcoming to people from all walks of life. Indeed, to work on the islands is extremely competitive and so those who make the cut are often the more discerning and well trained.

Incidentally it's also against the law to drink alcohol in the Maldives, but once again that doesn't extend to the resorts. At Out Of Office we've sent many couples to the Maldives successfully and without incidence. It's our belief that if you want to travel to a place then you should – as long as you are mindful of the customs, laws and are sensitive to them.

Find out more about our holidays to the Maldives.

Gay St Lucia

The Caribbean

The Caribbean islands are known for not being tolerant of gay or transgender people. It's recommended for gay couples to avoid showing affection for one another in public as imprisonment is the punishment.

In Barbados, the people are becoming more tolerant as the years go by, but homophobia is regrettably still common for locals. There is no “gay scene” in Barbados, so a holiday here would generally involve keeping a low profile in terms of your sexuality.

We however, have been approached by several gay friendly properties who we've vetted before working with – there's a choice of two in St Lucia. For a holiday with spa treatments every day and the option to get involved in plenty of activities too then you should opt for TheBodyHoliday. If it's a couples' retreat you're hoping for to enjoy time with a loved one then we'd suggest Rendezvous. We've also got the super exclusive Cotton House on the private island of Mustique. We're adding more all the time too and if there's somewhere you want to go in particular let us know and we'll advise you on its suitability.

Find out more about our holidays to St Lucia.

Singapore

The Pink Dot Rally was celebrated for the seventh year running in the summer of 2015. The Rally is made up of crowds wearing pink to support the right of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals to not be discriminated against based on their sexuality or identity. Despite the growing number of people attending this event, a counter event has also been launched. Religious groups have expressed their views through wearing white in opposition to wearing pink. The bedrock of Singapore's society revolves around the traditional “natural” family unit being essential, which explains why as the LGBT community gets louder, so do its condemners.

Singaporean law allows sex between two females but not between two males, although the general consensus seems to be that criminal action is rarely taken.

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