World Travel

Gay-friendly: newest pink cities

Lyndon Barnett
Pink Tel Aviv
This week marks pride week, and as diversity becomes more accepted world-wide, the traditional gay-friendly 'pink' cities of San Francisco, London, New York and Sydney are under threat. Here are some new contenders for the title of most pink city:


Spain was the first country in the world to recognise same sex marriage on completely equal terms and no city demonstrates a more liberal attitude than Barcelona. Barcelona's gay district centres around L'Eixample or Gayxample, where revellers have the choice of dozens of pulsating bars including the trendy Punto Barcelona. For a full rundown of the gay scene visit Gay Barcelona 4u.

Tel Aviv

Israel's acceptance of diversity was cast on the world stage when transsexual Dana International won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998, securing the secular party town of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast as the region's pink mecca. Gay culture is so infused in the Tel Aviv society that there is no specific gay area, however the bars and clubs, such as the popular Evita, are mainly concentrated around Rothshild Avenue. Israel's gay and lesbian population also enjoy a raft of equality legislation. Visit Gay Tel Aviv Guide for more details on the Israeli city where there's no need for a yarmulke.

Buenos Aires

It certainly says something when a Spanish hotelier hand picks one city out of the whole continent to open a gay luxury hotel: for his foray into South America, Juan Julia chose Buenos Aires to open his 'hetero friendly' Axel Hotel. The Argentine capital is certainly setting the trend for Latin America, the city was the first region on the continent to permit civil unions. The gay infrastructure is situated in Palermo with clubs such AMERIKA packed every weekend. For information the Buenos Aires gay scene visit the Gay Guide.


When Sally Bowles sang "Life is a Cabaret" in the musical profiling the decadent and uninhibited cabaret scene of the Weimar Republic, she was referring to life that should be celebrated in all its diversity. After a seventy year hiatus, Berlin's famed decadence is back. Whatever you're into, Berlin now has a club to service it, including perennial favourite Hafen located in Schoneburg. The almost half a million gay and lesbian party-goers who descend on Berlin for the Christopher Street Day can't be wrong. On top of all this, even the current Mayor is gay. Visit Berlin Life for more information on latest gay bars and clubs.


On dedicated gay party weekends, such as Winter Party or White Party, 10,000 revellers descend on Miami. The beaches, regularly voted in the top 10 in the world, the art deco architecture and world-class shopping all combine to make Miami a gay hub. Miami Beach is also one of the few cities in the US that has a domestic partnership registry offering specific rights to same-sex couples. For detail on the city reinventing fun in the sun, visit Gay South Beach Information.
Mention the Thai capital and immediately the multi tiered luxury haven, Babylon springs to mind. Then there are the bars in Silom, Telephone, Balcony and DJ Station, where sensational drag queens perform in elaborate costumes. With no laws prohibiting homosexuality and locals who are genuinely friendly and welcoming to all, pulsating Bangkok seems to have established itself as the pink heart of Asia. For more information on the gay scene in the city that welcomes tourists with open arms and celebrates their diversity visit Utopia Asia.

Rio de Janeiro

The million people who gather each year on Copacabana Beach to watch Rio's Pride Parade must be in the know. This is the city that celebrates everything inclusive. Even the Brazilian President was photographed holding the Pride flag last year and it was the Brazilian Government that first lobbied for gay rights at the UN. The beaches are the main attraction here, with Copacabana and Farme famed for fun, frivolity and eye candy. When the sun sets, bossanova beats are heard in myriad clubs including the ever popular Le Boy in Copacabana. For info on the city that knows how to party visit Rio Gay Guide.


Maybe it's the pebbled beach, but the ultra-friendly Brightonians seem to have an appreciation for difference and have created a strong community feeling in their city that is open and welcoming. It's hard to believe that only 70 years ago, homosexuals were known as 'white-socked males'. Today however, there's no need for secret signs, with an array of gay venues smattered throughout Kemptown, including Revenge, which has no problems marketing itself as the south coast's number one gay club. Visit Gay Brighton for more details on the local scene.


When the producers of the American version of Queer as Folk were selecting a suitable city to film what has become a massive commercial hit, they looked no further than the Canadian city of Toronto. The gay scene centres around the intersection of Church and Wellesley Streets, with a generous smattering of pubs, clubs and restaurants including the ever popular Woody's. Ontario was also the first Canadian province to pass same sex marriage legislation, ahead of federal legislation several years later. For a complete run down on the scene visit Gay Toronto.

Mexico City

As the country's first region to legalise same-sex civil unions that allowed for inheritance and pension rights, Mexico City is certainly setting the equality trend. The city's gay infrastructure is based in Zona Rosa, where all one needs to do is follow the pink road to everything gay including the bars Cabaretito and Boybar. The city's Pride Parade is as old as Sydney's Mardi Gras, with a record 350,000 people attending this year and 200 organisations involved. For more detail on this city prepared to defy traditional beliefs and embrace diversity visit Gay Mexico.
User comments
Who wrote this article, cos I can tell you now there is no gay friendliness in Thailand. Quite the opposite in fact. Bangkok may be a place for the tourist decadance and the ladyboys may be able to act confidently, be who they are without harm but that is not true for the rest of the country. I had a young Thai gay boy residing with me for a month this year and if he outed himself the result to his life, his work, his family would be devastating. It has been known for fathers to kill the gay lover of their son. My friend said he loves his country but all his life he will not be able to live openly as a gay man. Not ever
For ISRAELROV, MEXICO. Maybe in your house with yor mom and dad the intolerance and homophobia is awful, but I'm a 34 yrs old Mexico City's native, and I call tell you that Mexico City and Buenos Aires deserve be in the list. Both cities are not the usuall latinamerican towns people imagine with dunkeys in the streerts instead cars, and tupid sterotyoes liek that. Both cities are modern (with problems of aby other big city in the world) but you just don't have any idea of how is the life here. You can see white supremacists in New York, but that doesn't mean that all the city is Neonazi.
ok, so whoever wrote this article was just trying to fill in their missing work because its such a lie. Mexico being a gay mecca? let me laugh at that one for a sec..HAHAHAHAH......Please, i can promise to you that Mexico has one of the most homophobic societies in the world. Just because the law acknowledges gay people it doesn't mean that the culture if up for tolerance. Believe me, in that country if you are gay you are basically done career wise,, socially and family wise. Mexico City might be a bit more liberal than the rest of the country, but if you talk to any of the local residents and ask about the "ZONA ROSA" they will express their disgust at how it used to be a cultural classy place and now its run down because its "full of the gays". As if they were criminals. Same goes for Buenos Aires. How can you have latin american countries on this list? where is Montreal? Paris?, Sydney?, real gay cities, where parades and gay neighborhoods are fully alive, not just the clubs.
Does anyone else ever wonder if Australia will catch up with the rest of the world on this issue instead of banning us from as much as possible?
Another city in the Asian region that can rival Bangkok's rep (and with much less ***) when it comes to being inclusive as well as progressive, is Taipei. Taiwan is one of Asia's most liberal countries as far as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights are concerned, with a high proportion of public opinion approving of homosexual relations. Taiwan is also described as the most liberal after approximately 25,000 attended the Taiwan Pride parade in 2009, making it the largest LGBT event in Asia. Only quibble is that the previous government even planned to introduce same-sex marriage in 2003, but politics stalled it. Tokyo is also worth a mention as a pink city, but Japan as a whole is still very socially conservative. Singapore is emerging as a party town favourite with LGBT locals and visitors in the region...although the government tolerates it, it is still stubbornly conservative and refuses to progress with the times. And where's good old Amsterdam on that list?
I will be more impressed about the rights of all gays around the world when the likes of Iran and Egypt have free and safe gay areas..and the vatican has a gay bar, until then we are all still in prison..
Wow, I didn't realize how wonderfully gay the world has become. It's fantastic to know that the pink triangle isn't only found in pockets of San Fran & Sydney.
Thanks for this article. This will definitely help choose my next holiday destination.