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Lesbian and Gay Travel in the Middle East

Alongside Africa the Middle East is the most difficult continent for gay people to live in the world though Israel, Cyprus, Jordan and Turkey are starting to become more liberal as they align themselves more with European values. In much of the Middle East homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment, or on occasions the death penalty.

Israel and especially Tel Aviv is the most open and liberal in the Middle East with a strong, vibrant and thriving gay community and nightlife. Tel Aviv Pride is one of the most colourful events every June that started in 1993. 

Much of the Middle East does not allow for public displays of affection, of nearly any kind, however with increased tourism to Dubai, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco the major cities now have more diverse visitors and workers that are starting to create an international culture and acceptance. The large international communities in cities like Dubai you can often find discreet events arranged by and for gay people, but these can be hard to come by.

The Middle East is famed for its high-rise modern architecture and cities built on sand. With thousands of years of human history in the region following ancient cultures, religions and societies there is a wealth of significant tourist sites to uncover. Jerusalem, Cairo, Istanbul, and Baghdad are impressive cities today while you can explore the cities of the past of Palmyra, Petra, Baalbek and Ephesus.

Other than ancient cities and cultures, there’s the Sahara desert, River Nile, the Red Sea, and mountains in the North to see.



The country is progressive on gay rights and the tourist board runs a dedicated LGBT travel campaign to lure tourists. Tel Aviv is especially open and liberal with a strong, vibrant and thriving gay community and nightlife. The city has become one of the major gay metropolitans in the world and Tel Aviv Pride is one of the most colourful pride events and largest with over 100,000 visitors every June, that started back in 1993. Other gay prides include Jerusalem Pride and Eilat Pride Parade.

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NewHotel(1125812) - Basics
Four star  

Shenkin Hotel

Tel Aviv

Brown TLV - Top
Four star  

Brown TLV

Tel Aviv



The culture in Turkey is reminiscent of that of ancient cultures, the traditional views means there are those who consider themselves gay and those who will choose gay or more feminine partners, in other words it is still based on active-passive partnerships.

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Soho House Istanbul - Top
Five star  
Bentley Hotel - Top
Four star  

Bentley Hotel


NewHotel(747916) - Top
Four star  

Nippon Hotel



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