Seychelles? More like GAYchelles!!
When you think of dream beach getaways and idyllic honeymoon destinations there are a few locations that spring to mind. You might consider the Caribbean, plan to bounce over to Bermuda, or maybe even the Maldives. Unfortunately, the sad truth is all those countries still class being gay as a criminal act. So there’s one clear winner when it comes to the best place to go for a gay beach vacation, the Seychelles aka the GAYchelles!
Gay/LGBT rights in the Seychelles
In May 2016, the Seychelles Parliament voted to amend Section 151 of their Penal Code that named sodomy a felony that was punishable with up to 14 years in prison. While the news wasn’t especially well-received by religious leaders, it was a landmark decision that gives gay travel enthusiasts added confidence in visiting the stunning 115-island country off the East African coast, making it one of the few African countries to decriminalize the gays.
— The Glass Closet (@GlassClosetOrg) March 3, 2016
With male-male intercourse now legal (lesbian sex was always fine apparently) the Seychelles have even legalised same-sex marriage, and gay residents are able to legally adopt children as a couple. That being said, the predominantly Catholic country is still fairly conservative, operating a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to all visitors, but with any hostility directed more towards locals than tourists.
Gay travel in the Seychelles
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Tourism is one of the Seychelles’ most lucrative industries, so it relies on doing it well. The islands are scattered with high-end resorts, catering to the luxury escape fantasy that fills most of our minds when we think of a trip to the Seychelles.
I was lucky enough to stay at the luscious Eden Bleu resort which has always been welcoming of LGBT travellers, offering discrete private beaches and villas long before it was all decriminalized.
While the country is now more accepting of LGBT visitors and locals, it’s still a long way from having any kind of gay scene. The capital city of Victoria can be walked in about 30 minutes (40 if you stop to take photos) so don’t expect a bustling social scene of any kind. That’s not really what tourists come to the Seychelles for.
Two of the islands, Mahe and Praslin, are a little more vibrant and are home to a few nightclubs, bars and discos (oh yeah, discos). While there are no actual gay-only venues local sources say that Barrel is probably the best place to go if you’re looking for an LGBT-accepting crowd and a place to dance the night away before you pass out on a beach.
The Seychelles are a great beach holiday for any gay traveller, and the locals will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. I visited the Seychelles as part of an LGBT press trip, and even wandering around with a big group of gays I never encountered anything but friendly, genuine welcome attitudes.
When to visit the Seychelles
The Seychelles has a tropical climate and has warm temperatures all year round so you’ll never need to pack anything warmer than shorts. The downside being that there are rainy seasons, which is great if you like swimming in the rain or if, like me, your ginger skin is not designed for sunbathing.
Otherwise, April – May or October – November are the sunniest times to go … if you’re into all that sunshine, beaches, and sailing stuff.
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