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LGBT Visitors Now Welcome in Saudi Arabia

LGBT Visitors Now Welcome in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Now Welcomes “LGBT” Visitors

The country still punishes same-sex sexual relations with death, however.

The official tourism website of Saudi Arabia now says “LGBT” visitors are welcome in the country.

“Everyone is welcome to visit Saudia Arabia and visitors are not asked to disclose such personal details,” reads under a section asking if “LGBT visitors” are welcome in the country.

Unmarried couples are also now welcome in the country. The site says unmarried couples traveling together are “able to share accommodation,” but stresses “it is important to respect local customs and act in a culturally appropriate manner,” and then provides a link to a page with further information.

Saudi Arabia now welcomes LGBT visitorsSaudi Arabia now welcomes "LGBT visitors"SOURCE: VISITSAUDI.COM

While the country may welcome outside LGBT visitors, it remains one of the least-welcome places for LGBTQ+ people.

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Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the world, where same-sex sexual acts and identifying as LGBTQ+ are punishable by death, lifetime prison sentences, flogging, and chemical castration. Marriage equality is not recognized and there are no protections in the workplace or society for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Equaldex gives Saudi Arabia a 13 rating out of 100 on its Equality Index which rates countries on their overall LGBTQ+ climate, with a zero out of 100 for LGBTQ+ rights.

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Saudi Arabian society is deeply conservative and not supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. An ILGA report found that 58 percent of Saudi society opposed marriage equality and 49 percent thought homosexuality should be a crime.

MIlky Way galaxy over a ruin in Saudi ArabiaPHOTO BY OSAMA AHMED MANSOUR/SHUTTERSTOCK

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Donald Padgett

Managing Editor at OutTraveler. Also write for Out, The Advocate, and Plus magazines.

Managing Editor at OutTraveler. Also write for Out, The Advocate, and Plus magazines.