Gay Country Rank: 142/193
Istanbul is a city that has many cultures, religious sites, rich history and an intriguing gay nightlife! This bright city is known for it’s hammams and other traditional activities, but is well worth discovering the deeper parts of this city! This openly gay friendly city has many attractions from the Topkaki Palace where the sultans lived to Tek Yon, the biggest gay dance club in Istanbul. If you want a thorough history lesson in the day time and a wild gay night on the streets in Beygolu, Istanbul is the place for you!
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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Turkey face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT persons. Same-sex sexual activity was legalised in the Ottoman Empire (the predecessor of the modern-day Republic of Turkey) in 1858 and in modern Turkey, homosexual activity has always been a legal act since the day it was founded on 29 October 1923. LGBT people have had the right to seek asylum in Turkey under the Geneva Convention since 1951, but same-sex couples are not given the same legal protections available to heterosexual couples. Transsexuals have been allowed to change their legal gender since 1988. Although discrimination protections regarding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression have been debated legally, they have not yet been legislated. Public opinion on homosexuality has generally been conservative, and LGBT people have been widely reported to experience discrimination, harassment and even violence in recent years.
Istanbul is the "cultural capital" of Europe, and thanks to its rich history, countless places of religious importance and ancient architecture, it is not surprising. The city acts as a bridge between Europe and Asia and as such is heavily influenced by both continents. Istanbul also has a thriving gay scene, with many gay bars and gay clubs populating its gay neighborhoods. Since 2003, there has been an annual pride demonstration in the city, which usually takes place in June or July and attracts large crowds of LGBT + people and allies.
Istanbul's main gay district is Taksim, where gay travelers will find plenty of places to suit gay visitors. Beyoglu is another gay district of the city known as a hub for creativity and the arts, and many of the locals are fashionable young professionals. Travelers should feel completely at ease and comfortable in these gay neighborhoods
If you have not been to Istanbul before, it is recommended to start with understanding the special gay culture of this city. Being the most crowded city of Turkey, Istanbul is the heart of Turkish gay life. Although Turkey is undergoing a rapid change, certain things are still very traditional and peculiar in this country. The gay culture is a good sample of this. Taking immigration from all over the country, Istanbul is a summary of the whole Turkey. Istanbulgay.Com is published by local people living in Istanbul and updated frequently with the latest information about the gay venues in Istanbul which you can not find anywhere else. We are not only listing the existing venues, but also the places which have already been closed down for various reasons, still being listed on other websites and printed gay-guides as well.
The mixed Asian and European cultures combined with the unique history is sure to entertain any traveler. Although the gay scene in Istanbul takes place in two areas, the greater area is wonderfully metropolitan, making this city fairly gay friendly! One is the main tourist area called Beyoglu, and the second is Pera, which is a historical area. As for the city’s gay clubs and bars, they are located in close proximity to Taksim which is Beyoglu’s main neighborhood. For the hammams, they are not openly gay places but they can be considered places for gay men to meet, therefore exploring may be necessary for this part of Istanbul’s gay culture. A cool new addition to the gay scene in Istanbul is Bigudi
, which is the first exclusively lesbian hotspot here. They are accepting of everyone but have nights dedicated to the lesbian women of Istanbul. Although gay culture is accepted, Istanbul is still a fairly religious place so it is an important to act appropriately in certain circumstances!
Beyond the Gay Scene of Istanbul
The architecture in this city is definitely eye catching. Because this is the city connecting Asia and Europe, many cultures have left their mark on this land. They didn’t leave their mark on just fancy historical sites, they left their mark on the amazing cuisine. There are a few gay owned restaurants, but all of the food in this city is unique to their mixed heritage. As for sites, their religious monuments are world renowned. They have beautiful mosques and churches surrounding the city that attract a lot of tourists. It is important to remember that not everyone in the outer city of Istanbul is totally accepting of gay people, so PDA may only be acceptable in the vibrant clubs.
After Hours in Gay Istanbul
When thinking of a place to stay, the best and easiest option for gay couples would be to stay near Beygolu or Taksim Square (most if not all hotels in this neighborhood are gay friendly). In this neighborhood you have all of the best bars, clubs, and of course gay hotspots in Istanbul. The Ottopera Hotel
is a wonderful boutique hotel for all of your gay needs! It is a good way to get a real feel of the Istanbul culture, and is a 10 minute walk from Love Dance Point
, a popular gay club that comes alive at night.
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