Tag Archives: gay travel

Sydney – An LGBT Mardi Gras Experience

Wave Your Equality Flag!
Wave Your Equality Flag!

In celebration and support of Marriage Equality and Civil Rights FOR ALL – regardless of gender, sexuality, color, creed, (or the religious institutions that attempt to use an omnipotent invisible power as an excuse to limit the rights of wonderful, loving human beings) – here is a brand spankin’ new post on Sydney, an LGBT Mardi Gras Experience by Max Kelerstein, social@Ogilvy’s Digital Strategist Extraordinaire and LGBT Travel Guru.

Kylie Minogue at Mardi Gras Sydney
Kylie Minogue at Mardi Gras Sydney

Ever thought about escaping winter’s bitter cold for some hot summer fun? If you answered with a resounding ‘yes’, like me, then you must consider going to Sydney’s Mardi Gras. Did I mention it’s all gay? I just came back from experiencing the gayest Mardi Gras celebration on earth and it all happens Down Under. This year, celebrated Australian artist and gay icon Kylie Minogue was the guest of honor – and although I’m not a huge fan – you can imagine how crazy Australians reacted at seeing her in the parade and ensuing parties. Previous years’ guests have included Rupert Everett, Margaret Cho, Adam Lambert, and Lily Tomlin, among others.

Just chillin in Sydney
Just chillin in Sydney

The celebrations last for about 2 weeks with a whole range of events including a film festival, concerts, cultural events, and must-see parties.  One of these was the Sydney Harbour Party, a 6-7 hour event on a beautiful venue that overlooks that stunning Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Then there’s the parade, similar to what a NY Pride parade would be. People from all over the world come to Sydney for this celebration, generating over A$30 million for the state’s economy. Not too shabby.

Besides the official Mardi Gras activities, the variety of gay bars and clubs around Oxford Street provided plenty of nightly entertainment. Midnight Shift, my favorite of the gay clubs there, had one of the best drag shows I have seen, featuring choreographed performances by three glamorous queens and two beautiful back up dancers. The beaches are also a must go and South Bondi Beach is the place to be seen, though for a more local crowd (and HOT surfers), follow the rocky path to Tamarama beach. Whether you get a tan at the beaches or you party the night away at one of the many parties and clubs, Sydney should be on your top list of places to visit for LGBT travel – just remember you need a visa (that’s very easy to get)… and plenty of sun block!

Max Kelerstein - LGBT Travel Correspondent
Max Kelerstein – LGBT Travel Correspondent

By Max Kelerstein

Twitter: @TheMaxK

If you’re interested in another LGBT travel story, check out my Tel Aviv post.

Tel Aviv: The Sunny Gay Friendly Haven of Israel

Max Kelerstein - Social Media Expert & Travel Aficianado

This week, Max Kelerstein, Social Media Expert, Chilango (Native of Mexico City), and Travel Aficionado living in NYC, brings our readers the gay friendly side of Israel. Kelerstein currently works for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide within their 360 Digital Influence group and you can follow him @TheMaxK.

When you think of Israel, you may not think of Tel Aviv as the gay friendly capital of the Middle East, but it certainly has developed itself as the most tolerant city in the region.  Quickly becoming much more popular, especially now that tourist destinations are realizing the spending power that the gay demographic represents. With a staggering spending power of $743 billion in 2010, according to Witeck-Combs Communications and Packaged Facts, destinations are finding that catering to the gay traveler can also be very profitable.

I recently traveled with my family to Tel Aviv, Israel this past September. Although we weren’t there to partake in the gay travel scene, I ventured out to see what gay-related things there were to do in the city. Normally I do this for every new place I go, simply in the off chance that I want to go to a venue where I can meet people I can relate to, and to get a sense of how gay-friendly the area is in case I want to go with my partner. To my surprise, Tel Aviv is a booming gay-friendly destination.

Safety First! (Note: Protection in their shorts) (c) http://www.serguapos.com

With a simple Google search, I was able to find one of the best gay destination sites I’ve ever encountered. Gay Tel Aviv Guide promotes GLBT tourism to the city and does a fantastic, even fabulous, job at it. It lets you know what things are happening in each calendar day, what kind of people go to each place, it even goes as far as to let you know what each bar and restaurant is good for, if it has specials, and which hours are the best. If I had any questions about where to go, this site had all the answers. Another convenient website is, Guide Gay Tel Aviv (www.serguapos.com).

Shpagat - Tel Aviv

Did I mention they even have a map of the gay spots in the city? I was able to find the nearest spots to where I was staying. All in all, this website showed me how great and easy it is for a tourist destination, like Tel Aviv, to attract and convince gay travelers that they should visit. One thing is for sure, Tel Aviv has jumped to the top of my list for when I want to vacation with my partner. Now if only other destinations can take Gay Tel Aviv Guide as an example, it will surely boost their favorability with gay travelers.