On one are two women or two men holding hands, on the other gender pictures symbolizing same-sex love. The installation of such traffic lights was timed to the gay parade held in those days in the English capital. In which cities is the green light on gay tourists? Gay bars, rainbow crosswalks, themed film festivals, urban areas that gays consider being “their own” – we set off on a rainbow journey.
Perhaps not the most obvious choice for someone – Mexico. Same-sex marriage has been allowed here since 2009, and the gay parade, held annually in Mexico City at the end of June, attracts up to a million guests. The figure only looks incredible – the Mexican capital is the third-largest metropolitan area in the world, with more than 21 million people living here. “Local” gay community considers its Zona Rosa district, where the LGBT entertainment industry is concentrated. Seething, cheerful, democratic – this is how gay tourists describe Zona Rosa. With security here, contrary to conventional wisdom, things are even better than in some major US cities.
The Chicago district of Boystown several reputable thematic publications two years ago was recognized as the best gay quarter in the world. It is here at the end of June parade. In addition to the usual set of entertainment for gay quarters: bars, restaurants, shops, hotels
– there are several themed theaters in Boystown at once: Bailiwick Repertory Theater, Annoyance Theater, The Playground Theater, and the Laugh Factory comedy club. Yes, and of course local secondhand are required to visit, or, as they are called in Chicago, thrift stores – if you don’t buy something, then look. An interesting selection of things and gizmos – if you wish, you will definitely find something vintage and designer.
Those who want to go to the gay parade this year should go to Las Vegas at the end of October. Last year, same-sex marriages were legalized here, but despite this, the local gay community complains about the underdeveloped entertainment industry for LGBT tourists. The weekly LGBT pool parties at the Luxor Hotel, the famous Fruit Loop, Piranha, and Freezone clubs and a dozen of gay-friendly hotels – this is still not enough for serious competition for the title of the global gay capital. This title is not the first year retains another North American city – San Francisco. San Francisco is the epicenter of American gay culture. In this city, the world’s first openly gay Harvey Milk was elected to a public office. It was at the local gay pride in 1978 that the rainbow flag first appeared, which later became the international symbol of the LGBT community. Now the rainbow flags in San Francisco seem to be everywhere. Even pedestrian zebras – and those are painted in multi-colored stripes. The quarter where clubs, bars, restaurants, film studios, museum are concentrated – all with the prefix “gay” – is called Castro. An additional appeal of the city is provided by the Californian climate, a combination of Victorian and modern architecture and world sights.
The second largest gay community in the world lives in Sydney. The reputation of Sydney as a benevolently gay city has been shaped by the generation of participants in the famous Mardi Gras parade. The Darlinghurst area is considered the noisiest and busiest part of the city, here is Oxford Street – the center of Sydney’s gay life. Sherri-Hills is known for its shops, wine boutiques, and galleries. And, of course, beaches, the main of which for gays is Bondi Beach Sydney.
Barcelona – the traditional direction of summer gay tourism, known primarily for its gay sandy beaches, located just 20 minutes from the city. The most famous of them are Nova Icaria, San Sebastià and Barceloneta, as well as the nudist beach Mar Bella. In Barcelona itself, the gay community is concentrated in the Gayxample area. By the way, international LGBT sports, swimming, volleyball, basketball, football, and squash will be held in the Catalan capital from 16 to 18 September.
Tokyo in the rating of gay-friendly cities boasts Shinjuku and Ni-chōme – areas with the highest concentration of gay institutions in the world – where there are more than 300: bars, restaurants, saunas (they are called Hatte Nba), nightclubs, massage parlors, hotels, etc. The main cultural event in the gay life of Tokyo in addition to the parade, the Rainbow Reel Tokyo Film Festival (Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival), which this July has already been 25 times. However, traditionally restrained Japanese culture dominates outside these areas and the outward manifestation of belonging to the gay community is not welcome.
in Berlin, on the contrary, gay couples who openly express their feelings can be found in any part of the city, except perhaps the quarters of compact residence of the Turkish community. Every year at the end of July more than half a million residents and visitors of the city go to the gay parade or Christopher Street Day. Schonenberg and Kreuzberg (both located in the western part of the city) are considered to be the largest residential areas for gays in the German capital. For gay tourists, there is a specialized information service (Mann-O-Meter), a travel company that organizes city-themed tours of various places (Rainbow Berlin Tours), and a museum of the history of the LGBT community movement. November 19 there will be an international volleyball tournament among gay teams. And in February, in the framework of the Berlin Film Festival – thematic films.