LGBT student advice

Attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travellers around the world can be very different from those in the UK. However, you’re unlikely to have any problems if you prepare well and research your destination before you go.

Where can you find information?

  • invest in a good guide book – many specialise in advice to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travellers
  • the internet and the gay press can also be good resources
  • check out the map on the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s website which highlights potentially dangerous regions and countries
  • your travel agent or tour operator might have an idea about the local LGB&T scene, particularly in the more popular holiday destinations
  • local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups are often best placed to advise you of local laws attitudes
  • the relevant British Embassy can also offer advice

Advice for LGBT travellers while overseas

  • avoid potentially risky situations – don’t do anything that you wouldn’t at home
  • excessive physical shows of affection, by both same-sex and heterosexual couples, are often best avoided in public
  • if you intend to visit cruising areas or internet chat rooms find out about the local situation – police in some countries have been known to carry out entrapment campaigns
  • be wary of new-found ‘friends’- criminals sometimes exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of the gay scene
  • if you receive unwelcome attention or unwelcome remarks it’s usually best to ignore them
  • you’re more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas so it’s best to exercise discretion
  • some resorts can be quite segregated – when you are outside the ‘gay neighbourhood’ expressions of sexuality may be frowned upon
  • some hotels, especially in rural areas, won’t accept bookings from same sex couples – check

What you should do if you have a problem overseas?

British embassy staff will help you if you run into problems overseas, especially if you feel that you can’t approach the local police. They won’t make generalisations, assumptions or pass judgement.

The staff overseas monitor and record incidents brought to their attention by British nationals about the treatment they have received from host authorities and issues of concern are regularly raised with the relevant body.

Why can’t the Foreign and Commonwealth Office provide a list of countries where same-sex relationships are illegal?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office don’t have a list of countries where same-sex relationships are illegal for a number of reasons:

  • same-sex relationships aren’t specifically mentioned in law in many countries, and in others the law is unclear
  • same-sex relationships may be legal, but certain acts may not be legal
  • a same-sex relationship may be lawful but local society can be intolerant of open same-sex relationships
  • in some countries same-sex relationships are illegal, but the law is not strictly enforced
  • a distinction is sometime made in law between men and women

Passport identity of transgender travelers

You will usually be able to get a passport in your new name if you can provide documentary evidence detailing the date and circumstance of the name change. Contact the Identity and Passport Service for more information.

Useful links