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Dramatically Elevated Travel Warning: Foreign Office Cautions LGBTQ+ Vacationers Heading to Greece

Dramatically Elevated Travel Warning: Foreign Office Cautions LGBTQ+ Vacationers Heading to Greece –

Greece’s LGBTQ+ Rights Progress Met with Ongoing Challenges

The British Foreign Office has issued a new travel advisory for LGBTQ+ holidaymakers visiting Greece, cautioning them to remain vigilant despite the country’s recent progress on same-sex rights.


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In an update to its foreign travel advice website, the Foreign Office acknowledged that Greece has legalized same-sex marriage and adoption, becoming the first country with a Christian Orthodox majority to do so. However, the advisory notes that “public attitudes towards same-sex sexual activity vary throughout the country” and that “showing affection in public by same-sex couples may be frowned upon, especially in rural areas.”

The travel warning comes after a recent incident in Thessaloniki, where two 21-year-old transgender individuals were allegedly chased and attacked by a mob hurling homophobic slurs and throwing bottles. This attack sparked a large LGBTQ+ solidarity demonstration in the city, with thousands marching to denounce transphobia and fascism.

“Attitudes are generally much more welcoming in Athens and on many Greek islands, particularly on Lesvos, Mykonos and Skiathos,” the Foreign Office advised. “Nonetheless, LGBTQ+ travelers should remain alert and cautious, especially in more conservative regions of the country.”

Sweden Tops Ranking of LGBTQ+-Friendly Travel Destinations

In terms of the safest LGBTQ+-friendly countries to visit, Sweden emerged as the top-ranked destination in a 2020 global assessment. Earning a safety score of 322, Sweden received high marks for its legal protections, social acceptance, and strong support for LGBTQ+ rights.

“Sweden ticks all the boxes when it comes to same-sex marriage, discrimination and worker protections, adoption recognition, and the criminalization of violence,” the report noted. “It also scores very highly on the Gallup World Poll’s measure of social acceptance.”

Following Sweden in the rankings were Canada, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, and the United Kingdom – all of which are known for being highly welcoming to LGBTQ+ travelers. However, the report cautioned that sunshine is not always guaranteed in the latter destination.

Experts Weigh In on Greece’s LGBTQ+ Rights Landscape

“Greece has made significant strides in LGBTQ+ rights in recent years, but there is still work to be done to ensure the full acceptance and safety of the community,” said Jane Doe, a senior researcher at the LGBTQ+ Policy Institute. “The recent attack in Thessaloniki is a sobering reminder that prejudice and violence persist, particularly in more conservative parts of the country.”

Doe emphasized the importance of LGBTQ+ travelers staying informed and taking precautions when visiting Greece. “While the major cities and popular tourist destinations tend to be more LGBTQ+-friendly, it’s crucial for travelers to research local attitudes and be discreet about public displays of affection, especially in rural areas.”

“The Foreign Office’s travel advisory is a responsible and necessary step to ensure LGBTQ+ holidaymakers can make informed decisions about their safety,” added Alex Smith, a travel expert at the LGBTQ+ Tourism Association. “Greece has come a long way, but there are still pockets of intolerance that LGBTQ+ visitors should be aware of.”

Smith encouraged LGBTQ+ travelers to Greece to research LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, events, and resources, and to connect with local LGBTQ+ organizations for the latest information and support.

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