Things to Consider About Gay and Lesbian Travel
The biggest safety concern for a homosexual is how the local population will accept them. Many conservative countries, mostly in Muslim nations, have strict laws against homosexuality and penalties are severe. In other countries acts of violence and discrimination against homosexuals is quite common and the police and government do little to prevent it. Although you might come from a place where being proud of your sexuality is common and expected, flaunting it in a conservative country isn’t always a good idea. In these places you should avoid public displays of affection or any other obvious aspect to revealing your sexuality. Avoid everything from kissing to holding hands with someone of the same sex. Hopefully in a few years this will be a thing of the past, but for now every bit of precaution is recommended.
Food and water
When traveling in a strange country eating strange foods and the chance to drink unfiltered water is quite common, as are certain ailments. Medicines to counter these travel illnesses are recommended such as antibiotics and diarrhea medicine. Only drink bottled water in tropical areas, as the chance for cholera and water borne diseases is still high in many tropical countries. If you cannot get bottled water or want to cut down on your plastic bottle waste try iodine tablets, purifying drops, or water filters.
In tropical areas protection/vaccinations for malaria and yellow fever may be necessary. In Brazil you can’t even enter the country or get a visa without a yellow fever vaccination. To combat malaria there are several things you can do. Malaria tablets such as doxycycline or mefloquine are recommended to prevent the sickness, although you need to check which pill works in which part of the world as some mosquitoes are resistant to some medicines. The best protection against malaria though is basic protection against mosquitoes such as bug spray (best with DEET), mosquito nets, wearing long sleeves, mosquito coils, and the countless other remedies.
Sand flies/no-see-ums are tiny little insects common in many tropical areas that dig into your skin and leave irritating little bites that turn into big red welts. There’s no good way of stopping these nasty creatures except wearing long clothes. Some sprays and lotions may help, but none are one hundred percent effective. Always consult with your doctor before entering a strange country.
In many third world countries HIV and other STDs are found in significantly higher amounts of the population than most western countries. Southeast Asia and Africa have some of the highest rates of HIV on the planet and levels appear to be spiraling out of control. Much of the local population lacks the education regarding safe sex and this has allowed diseases to flourish. You should always take every precaution necessary to protect yourself from STD’s. While condoms may be found everywhere, the quality varies so bringing them and other protective measures from home is a good idea.