India has long enjoyed a unique, non-judgemental culture where men feel comfortable walking hand-in-hand with other men down the street, and even sharing the same bed while traveling, without raising an eyebrow. Straight men, that is. But for centuries, under antiquated morals imposed under British rule, India’s LGBT communities had remained deeply closeted. Fortunately for 17% of the world’s LGBT community, that is changing, and rapidly. Last year, the much hated British-era “Section 377” banning same-gender relations was ruled unconsitutional by the Supreme Court, and a refreshing wave of emergence, identity and community pride is sweeping across the country.
Now is the perfect time plan a trip to India; a rare opportunity to experience this historic birth and transformation among our community. And, of course, to explore the treasures that are unique to India: Her dazzling festivals, spiritual heart, fascinating craft bazaars, dynamic and living history, cultural and ethnic diversity, and spectacular natural landscapes and wildlife.
Out Journeys, an LGBT-dedicated tour operator based in New Delhi with over three years of group and independent tour design experience, is launching a global campaign to raise awareness of India as an LGBT-welcoming destination.
“We started Out Journeys not simply as a business venture. We are doing this because we want to share the dynamic, exciting LGBT-welcoming perspective of India with the world,” said Abhinav Goel, founder of Out Journeys. “The Out Journeys team prides itself in having a keen eye for unusual experiences, such as a romantic full moon evening at the Taj Mahal. Additionally, we’re partnering with LGBT events such as Pride and Film Festivals to bring unique community-based connections. We send our guests home with a lifetime of warm memories of our country and our genuinely friendly people.”
Enormous Interest Among LGBT Travelers
Recent research among 3,865 American LGBT consumers conducted by Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI) demonstrated the pent-up LGBT travel demand for visiting India. Among the findings:
- Culture, history, temples/religion/spirituality and cuisine are the top activities and interests
- When past LGBT visitors to India were asked if they would return, over 80% indicated, “yes.”
- 35% of past LGBT visitors to India had been there multiple times.
“The research found that among gay men, India ranks as the #2 desired cultural/adventure destination in a select list behind Thailand, and followed by China, South Africa and Japan,” Said Tom Roth, President of CMI. “India is the #1 desired destination on this list among lesbians surveyed. Out Journeys is reaching out to welcome the global LGBT community, to meet this demand.”