he big day has come and gone and what a magical day it was. Having some private time together or heading off on a family moon with the kids after your wedding day is one of the most treasured times of your life. A honeymoon is a reward for all the efforts of putting together such a major milestone event – your wedding!
Now it’s time to wind down and look back on all the moments you both recalls, from an individual and collective perspective. As they say, your day is fleeting and a honeymoon is a great time to relive your day through your collective memories while it’s still fresh in your minds and let’s not forget the months and sometimes years of planning prior to the event. It’s a time to relax, take stock of what’s happened and treasure some time together away from friends and family and work. Best of all, there’s no more wedding planning to do!
Find out more on How To Get Married in Australia – For LGBT Couples
As a same-sex couple, you’ve likely spent time carefully researching community friendly suppliers for your wedding day and your honeymoon is no different. The last thing you want to do is head to a country or area, unknowingly that’s homophobic or maintains laws that do not protect us in the face of discrimination. There are still approximately 70 countries where same sex relations are illegal and, in 8 of those, same sex relations are punishable by death. You can read more about them here 🙁
Whilst some of these countries remain attractive to newlyweds for their icons, food and culture, they’re perhaps less well-known for their ill-treatment of LGBTIQ people. And these countries may come as a surprise to some LGBTIQ couples.
Brunei, a very small nation on the island of Borneo, is one of these countries. It has some fabulous features for tourists: a low crime rate, magnificent beaches, and unbelievable rainforests. And it has direct flights from Melbourne. However, it’s one of the countries where same-sex relations are a capital offence. It’s certainly a country to be wary of, if you’re thinking of having your honeymoon there as a newlywed LGBTIQ couple.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is another place where it’s illegal to have same sex relations. Dubai is both a city and emirate within the UAE. Who wouldn’t like to honeymoon there and experience what it’s like to float in the Dead Sea? Or take in the views from the tallest building in the world at Burj Khalifa or relax in a hot air balloon at sunrise to experience Dubai’s majestic views. But to do so as an LGBTIQ couple has its dangers.
Egypt is full of things to do and see while on a honeymoon. We’ve all read books and seen travel videos of the ancient temples, the sphinx, the sailing trips on the Nile, the pyramids and so on. But Egypt is a highly homophobic country – the interpretation of its laws acts against LGBTIQ people from being out and proud. I believe it could be potentially dangerous for a same sex couple to head to Egypt for their honeymoon, despite the tourism attractions.
When we think of the Caribbean, we automatically think of Jamaica as a magical place to spend time with your loved one on your honeymoon. Lots of dancing, luxury resorts, perfect climate, amazing food, crystal blue seas, loads of activities for honeymooners to engage in. But for LGBTIQ honeymooners, there are significant potential dangers. Jamaica is a deeply homophobic country. It has laws that make same sex relations illegal. And that, for many LGBTIQ honeymooners, is a deal-breaker.
Morocco conjures up thoughts of narrow winding lanes, interesting bazaars, magical restaurants, leather goods, spices – a place with a buzz. It’s a great honeymoon spot for people who love something a little off the beaten track, something a little mystical. But for LGBTIQ couples, Morocco is a place where homosexuality is still criminalised, and where being out and proud is putting yourselves in danger.
Think of Kenya as a honeymoon destination and it’s hard to think of anything else but wildlife safaris, luxury tent camping, campfires at night, the magical experience of being in a hot air balloon as it glides over the landscape at sunrise, helpful staff attending to your every wish. Although a Christian country, same sex relations are illegal in Kenya, making it another one to add to the list in which your safety could be compromised if you’re an LGBTIQ couple trying to enjoy your honeymoon.
Fiji, a country of more than 300 islands, invokes thoughts of idyllic beaches and clear, tropical blue sea waters, incredible weather, amazing underwater snorkelling, resort living, a gentle blending of native Fijian and introduced Indian cultures and foods, friendly and warm people, and village markets. But scratch below the surface and you will find that, whilst homosexual activity between consenting adults was decriminalised a decade ago, the country remains socially conservative and there is little support for marriage equality.
Indonesia is like a magnet to straight Australian honeymooners, who are eager to make the most of the cheap flights, fabulously priced, all-inclusive resorts with packages, lovely beaches, subtropical climate, friendly people and mix of foods that are available. However, in recent years, LGBTIQ people in Indonesia have faced rising threats to their safety and lives, making it difficult for them to come out and live their lives as they wish. Some of those difficulties have come from their national government – being LGBTIQ is not currently protected by Indonesian law. LGTBIQ married couples looking to safely and proudly honeymoon in Indonesia may find it difficult doing so.
Same-sex weddings are notorious for how fun, vibrant, emotional and out of the box they are.
Malaysia is one of the world’s most heavily booked places for straight couples looking to spend their honeymoon. An abundance of resorts with endless swimming pools and beaches, gorgeous food that faithfully represents to coming together of numerous cultures, jungle tours, vibrant nightlife, and cheap flights from Australia – what more could you ask for, in terms of a wonderful honeymoon destination? But the reality is quite different for LGBTIQ couples looking to spend their honeymoon there. There is no legal protection for LGBTIQ people in Malaysia. Trans people have been beaten and arrested for “cross-dressing”. In this country where same-sex relations are illegal, there is little appetite for marriage equality.
Turkey, an ancient land, with legendary sites that captivate the heart and soul, bazaars that are the heartbeat of cities such as Istanbul, restaurants that feature all that middle-eastern cuisine has to offer – it’s easy to see why Turkey is a country that attracts straight honeymooners. With a vast array of resorts, beaches, the attraction that is ANZAC Cove – all of these can easily be wrapped up into an enticing honeymoon package for Australians. And while Turkey is one of the least conservative countries in the Middle East and same-sex relations are not a criminal offence, it does not recognise same-sex marriage, and homosexuality remains a taboo subject there. Harassment, discrimination, and violence continue to be faced by LGBTIQ people in Turkey.
Located on the Baltic Sea in central Europe, Poland seemingly has it all for couples wishing to spend time and money relaxing and taking in the sights on their honeymoon. From very old cities and historic towns, with vibrant central market squares in which to linger and idle the time away, to fabulous verdant forests, salt mines, castles and the Auschwitz concentration camp, it’d be easy to spend several weeks here exploring the tourist attractions. But in recent times, more than 100 municipalities have made it clear that LGBTIQ people – including honeymooners – are not welcome. Those places have, in fact, declared themselves LGBTI-free zones. It’d be difficult to imagine why honeymooners would choose to spend time there, when every day would be a struggle, wondering if you were safe or not, mentally and physically.
So, there you have it. It must be said that in each of the 11 countries I have chosen, there are pockets of acceptance of LGBTIQ people. But that’s a long way from the general population embracing the LGBTIQ community – whether the local or visiting tourist community. Each couple looking to choose a place to spend their valuable time and dollars for their honeymoon will have different criteria. And for some, the risks of discrimination, harassment or worse are small compared with the tourist attractions that these countries have on offer. Other couples will choose to spend their time and money in countries where they are openly embraced for who they are.