GayWatch: India

Big, bold and beguiling, India rarely fails to transform visitors with its sheer onslaught of sensory stimuli.  

BY Dan Allen

October 30 2009 11:40 AM ET

INDIA ARTIST X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMEach city has its own particular flavor in terms of its gay culture, Doctor adds. “Delhi has a larger NGO/activist scene, because it’s a city more conducive to activists, politicians, and policy makers,” he says. “Delhi also has a larger expat gay scene because of the embassies and allied trades. Bangalore has a lot of gay techies, and some good community-based spaces – it’s a smaller, friendlier city, and that shows.”

For the gay tourist, India is an always dazzling and sometimes bewildering place, not least in terms of finding queer locals. “Lots of foreigners feel that so much in Mumbai is cruisy, everyone looking and giving them the eye, and it’s confusing,” says Doctor. “Some of those guys are looking because you’re foreign, some are looking because they think it’s safer to have sex with foreigners than Indians, some are hookers, some want to sell you a carpet. Very confusing.”

Despite the dearth of exclusively gay venues in India, Doctor says locals have no trouble finding places and ways to meet up. “Most cities have well known parks or places for cruising,” he says. “The big cities have gay parties that are becoming meeting places. And of course, and hugely, there's the Internet. Sites like GayRomeo are particularly popular.”

For travelers who want to meet gay Indians, Doctor says local LGBT organizations are an invaluable resource. “Check at sites like Gay Bombay for the next party or meeting,” he recommends. “Also Time Out, which publishes in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, always has a Queer Page with contacts for organizations.”

Tags: Travel

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