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Gay Holidays In Egypt

by Howie Holben

As home to many sites of cultural, religious and historical importance, Egypt has attracted visitors for hundreds of years. Gay travel in this beautiful country can include a wide variety of activities, such as riding through the desert on the back of a camel, exploring ancient cities, gazing at the monumental Great Pyramids of Giza, taking a boat cruise on the Nile, dining and shopping in large, modern cities or wiling away an afternoon on gorgeous white sand beaches. From exploring the Temple of Edfu or the Valley of Kings burial tombs, to finding the perfect souvenir in the Khan al Khalili Bazaar and viewing the treasures of King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, there is simply no end to the wonders that Egypt has to offer. Anyone partaking in gay travel to Africa simply will not want to miss the opportunity to incorporate this intriguing country into their gay vacation plans.

While a gay vacation to Egypt can be a safe and very fulfilling travel experience, there are some things that LGBT travelers should know. The government of Egypt has increased efforts to persecute and imprison members of the LGBT community in recent years, which includes undercover sting operations at local gathering places, setting men up for arrest through meetings arranged in online chat rooms and some well-publicized trials and imprisonments, such as the Queen Boat raid where over 50 men were arrested in 2001.

While Egyptian men are usually the focus of these raids and online undercover operations, local women and male and female tourists have also been arrested. There are no laws that specifically ban same-sex sexual activity conducted in private between consenting adults; however, laws against debauchery, contempt for religion and other similar behaviors have been used in recent years to persecute members of the LGBT community in Egypt.

With that said, this is not to imply that Egypt should be avoided during gay travel, or that travelers will feel unwelcome amongst the locals. Most visitors find locals throughout the country to be very warm and welcoming and have reported no problems with the government or police during gay vacations. Of course, this ongoing persecution does mean that it is difficult, if not impossible to find any visible LGBT communities; however, there are popular gathering spots in Cairo, Aswan, Dahab, Alexandria, Luxor and other metropolitan areas. It is important to note that while these hangouts do exist, discretion should be used, because the police are also well aware of locations frequented by the LGBT community.

Egypt is a land of mystery with several must-see historical and cultural attractions. To experience some of the best offerings of Egypt, while also helping to ensure a safe trip without hassles, those seeking a gay holiday to Egypt should consider taking in this intriguing country as part of a gay travel tour, or at the very least, going through a travel agency that is aware of issues of concern to the LGBT community and is able to provide the information necessary for safe, fulfilling gay vacations to Egypt.

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