Gay Travel: Beirut, LebanonIt may seem an unlikely vacation destination for us gay and lesbian travelers, but Beirut is starting to give Tel Aviv a run for its money as the hottest gay and lesbian travel hot spot.
Whilst Tel Aviv has long had a reputation for being a gay friendly destination, neighboring Beirut,Lebanon is very much the new gay kid on the block.
We have recently seen an increase in the number of gay and gay friendly tour operators working in Beirut, attracting visitors from all over the world. Their efforts are starting to position the city as a alternative gay destination in the region. Gay visitors to the region will find a wealth of gay friendly clubs and bars sitting alongside the history of the area.
All sounds good so far, the catch is homosexuality is illegal in Lebanon, making this an interesting choice for gay and lesbian holidaymakers. Personally I feel very uncomfortable visiting a place in which my way of life is frowned upon. The law banning homosexual act is very rarely enforced, but still I don’t want to find myself up on a charge for being intimate with my partner!
Gay and lesbian tour operators are warning their clients to not display certain behaviors when out in public, so basically come on vacation and don’t think about relaxing and being yourself. Obviously you need to balance your own norms of behavior with cultural norms, and should never go out of your way to offend someone, but not being yourself on vacation seems a little strange.
Compare this with Tel Aviv and you will find these locations are worlds apart in catering for gay and lesbian tourists, here you will find gay beaches, open gay bars and great gay nightclubs that don’t pretend to be anything else.