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The Mediterranean and North Africa

The Mediterrean
and North Africa

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

This is one of several pages created to share insights from gay and lesbian scuba divers, about diving sites worldwide. For other locations, please go to our dive location index.

 

 

For advice about political stability, check the State Department's travel advisories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Greece

Wreck diving is fun, but can be dangerous.With its long, irregular coastline and countless islands, Greece offers plenty of spots for diving. But even the best diving in these over-fished waters, such as on the island of Corfu, offers less variety than can be found in many other locales. Greece would be a logical destination only for those who are primarily attracted to the historic sites on land. From a gay perspective, put away those fantasies of naked men wrestling, and women flocking around Lesbos, in ancient Greece. While there is a small but visible gay culture in the largest cities and in some tourist areas (most notably Mykonos), neither the culture at large, nor the legal system, are gay-friendly.

  Turkey

Like Greece, Turkey has several good dive sites, but the variety of underwater life is more limited than at many other locations. Turkey is a logical destination if you want a vacation that mixes diving with sightseeing at historicBrain coral surrounded by other hard corals. spots on land, and Bodrum, on the Asian side, is a good base for such a trip. From Bodrum, you can dive to several underwater wrecks, and perhaps even spot some broken amphorae from ships that met their end here, two millennia ago.

In attitudes toward gay people, Turkey falls somewhere between the progressive approaches of western Europe, and the barbarism found in the worst of the Middle East countries. Homosexuality is not specifically illegal, but police can use a "social morals" law to prosecute behavior they don't like, and anti-gay attitudes remain common. For gay visitors, these attitudes are counter-balanced by a deep-seated Turkish tradition of hospitality to all guests. Discretion, however, is still advisable.

  Egypt 

Let's ignore the diving for a moment, and first look at Egypt on the human rights of gay people. Like many Arab countries, Egypt does not explicitly outlaw homosexual activity, but various "morals" clauses give authorities considerable latitude to make arrests should they so choose. For many years, the Egyptian scene has been simple: Lots happens, and it's never spoken about, and as long as it stayed private, authorities weren't concerned.

In late 2000, however, the internet enabled a more visible gay community to take shape in Egypt. Since that time, arrests of gay men have sharply increased, often at the very clubs that police once overlooked. The general population remains entirely unsympathetic to the gay community, taking the Muslim attitude that homosexuality is a sin that deserves punishment. (A theology professor was quoted in the New York Times, in 2001, as suggesting that homosexuality should be punished by death.) It remains to be seen whether the new crackdowns represent an aberration, or a new and alarming trend, but gay visitors should either exercise considerable discretion, or be ready to spend time in an Egyptian jail.

From a diver's perspective, Egypt is a tempting destination, with 1200 miles of coatline along the Red Sea. Hurghada is the best-known destination for divers. Safaga, to the south, is a less touristy option. But until the political climate changes, we encourage gay and lesbian divers to find another host country.

  Western Europe

The nations of western Europe are generally more progressive on gay issues than the rest of the world. The diving here, however, is generally less interesting and less apt to draw most recreational divers.

 

 
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