LGBTQ people have retired overseas all around the globe. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities have created new homes in some of the world’s most exciting and diverse cities. Here are the most LGBTQ-friendly overseas retirement destinations that are safe, welcoming and legally tolerant, with vibrant and active LGBTQ scenes.
Paris is one of the world’s most LGBTQ-friendly cities. It’s a place where you can live the fullest expression of who you are without fear of persecution or discrimination. The Marais in the 4th arrondissement is a fashionable district bedecked in rainbows from chimney to pavement. Even the pedestrian crossing stripes are rainbow-themed. Whether you’re looking for a neighborhood to settle in or just a place to go clubbing on Saturday, this is the ultimate quartier for queer inclusion. The annual Paris Gay Pride Parade is one of the world’s biggest, but there’s also the Techno Parade and the newer Drag Parade. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2013, and LGBTQ people enjoy full adoption rights in this country.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv is home to glorious beaches, memorable cuisine, noteworthy architecture and vibrant art, culture and music scenes. It’s an ideal travel destination, and could also be a top retirement choice, particularly if you’re a LGBTQ person of Jewish descent. Tel Aviv is the most tolerant LGBTQ destination in the Middle East, with gyms, hotels, bars and beaches dedicated to the queer community. The gay scene reaches a fever pitch during Tel Aviv Pride Week, when events bring 250,000 people together to celebrate and show support. The city is open-minded, progressive and safe for members of the LGBTQ community. Israel recognizes unregistered cohabitation between same-sex couples, yet same-sex marriages are not possible.
Sandwiched between two behemoths, Uruguay often gets overlooked in favor of Brazil and Argentina, but this quiet, laid-back country has much to offer retirees. Uruguay is one of the most progressive countries in the world, including when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Gay marriage has been possible in Uruguay since 2013. This is an open-minded country with one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America. Montevideo is a where Uruguay’s gay scene is most active, and is home to bars, clubs and hangouts. This relatively small city of about 1.7 million is one of only a few places in the world with a “homomonument,” a monument dedicated to those who have been persecuted because of their sexuality.
Asia isn’t known for being accepting of the LGBTQ community or protecting its rights, but a handful of places in this part of the world are gay-friendly, most notably Taipei. In 2019, Taiwan made history by becoming the first country in Asia to perform same-sex marriages. There are anti-discrimination laws concerning sectors like education and employment. Gay people have been able to openly serve in the military since 2002, and it became legal to change your gender in 2008. Taipei Pride is the biggest gay festival in Asia, attracting hundreds of thousands of participants. The Mr. Gay Taiwan pageant and WOOW Pool Party are among other annual events that exemplify this city’s open-mindedness.
Spain is a world leader in protecting LGBTQ rights. Spain legalized homosexuality in 1979, and made gay marriage legal in 2005. Spain’s capital city, Madrid, is a European LGBTQ stronghold that is home to the biggest gay community on the Continent. It centers around Chueca, where the LGBTQ community has breathed new life into a previously run-down barrio, opening boutiques, galleries, restaurants and cafes. Madrid is also a place of cultural diversity. Living here, you’d be surrounded by people from all over the world, which can help you to fit in, make friends and find your place in the community.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina is a regional trailblazer when it comes to LGBTQ rights, and the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage in 2010. The country also supports full adoption rights for gay couples. Tango is a cultural institution in Buenos Aires, and you will find milongas (traditional tango halls), like La Marshall, as well as Tango Queer, specifically for LGBTQ people. Buenos Aires Gay Pride is one of South America’s biggest and liveliest pride events, and Network360, a conference for LGBTQ members of the business and tourism industries, takes place with government support every year in August. The city is also home to an exciting nightlife scene, including innovative theater performances reflective of LGBTQ lifestyles.
Lisbon is a top option for overseas retirement, renowned for its warm hospitality, historical charm and lifestyle choices to suit all tastes and budgets. Portugal is also one of the most progressive countries in Europe, making Lisbon a top option for LGBTQ people looking to retire overseas. Homosexuality has been legal in Portugal since 1982, and gay marriage was legalized in 2010. Popular areas include Barrio Alto and Príncipe Real, where you’ll find bars, clubs and parties. Not only does this city have swimmable beaches within an hour of its metro area, it also has a gay beach, called Beach 19, just outside the city.
Homosexuality has been legal in Thailand since 1956, but same-sex marriage isn’t currently recognized. Despite this, you’ll find thriving gay scenes across Thailand, particularly in Bangkok. Bangkok offers everything you could be looking for in an Asian metropolis: eclectic attractions, mouth-watering local food, bustling markets, cultural heritage and exciting nightlife, all at a low cost. It’s also home to a thriving gay scene that centers around the Silom area, where you’ll find hotels, restaurants and other LGBTQ establishments. The biggest beauty pageant for transgender women, Miss International Queen, is held here every year.
The Most LGBTQ-Friendly Places to Retire Overseas:
— Tel Aviv, Israel.
— Montevideo, Uruguay.
— Taipei, Taiwan.
— Buenos Aires, Argentina.
— Lisbon, Portugal.
More from U.S. News