Before you travel.
Here in the UK we have, in comparison to many other countries, quite a liberal attitude to LGBT matters. We all know that these could be better but I think we can agree that things are improving. However, what is often forgotten when travelling abroad is that some countries have a completely different take on such social issues and can be aggressively homophobic. Just because you have a Civil Partnership here in the UK doesn’t mean that when you want to celebrate that wonderful occasion with a honeymoon overseas, they will necessarily greet you with open arms. Please check before you go what the prevailing attitude is before you part with any money. As Steve Jowett – Fleet from the FCO says, “Nothing could be worse than celebrating in a country (or city) that doesn’t want you or that there is more than an aggressive attitude by the hotel manager to your stay. So, although it may be a Civil Partnership may legal in a particular country, it doesn’t mean that it has a Goods and Services act like we have, to protect against individual discrimination, to run alongside it”. Remember that if you meet some one abroad and want to return with that partner… then the Home Office is the place to check out what you’ll need for that to be allowed to happen… but your first point of reference while abroad is the local British Consulate. Just to let you know that you can apply to have your Civil Partnership ceremony at the consulate but, the rule is, that would only happen if the country you.’re in has similar civil partnership laws themselves.
The Foreign Office has a site that is full of up to date information or can guide you to other helpful sites…
Know before you go
The tips are designed to give general advice to GLBT travellers prior to travelling abroad.
1. Check out the FCO Travel Advice, available online at www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo or by calling 020 7008 0232/0233.
2. Make sure you take out adequate travel insurance before you go, checking that the cover provided is appropriate to you and your circumstances.
3. Get to know your destination. There are many gay travel guides on the market and the Internet and gay press can also be a great resource for travel information.
4. Think about your sexual health before you go. Many sexual health products are not as readily available abroad as they are in the UK and quality can differ depending on where you are.
5. More and more hotels are now actively welcoming same-sex couples. But it’s wise to check before you go and make reservations in advance to avoid difficulties when checking in.
6. Bear in mind that some resorts can be quite segregated and, when you’re outside distinct gay ‘neighbourhoods’, open expressions of your sexuality might be frowned upon.
7. Try to avoid potentially risky situations. Be aware of your environment, stay alert and in control.
8. Be aware that criminals have been known to exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of gay ‘neighbourhoods’ and beaches. Don’t leave your belongings unattended and try not to carry large amounts of money around with you.
9. If you get into any difficulties, seek the advice of your tour operator, local police or the nearest British consulate. Our consular staff overseas are there to help all British nationals and your concerns will be taken seriously and handled in a discreet and courteous manner.
10. Have fun! Although attitudes in other countries can be very different to those in the UK, you can have a very positive and enjoyable travelling experience.