Is the Southern USA LGBTQIA+ friendly?

As a whole, The United States is mostly a safe destination for travellers who identify as LGBTQIA+. Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, and there are some anti-discrimination laws to protect sexual orientation and gender identity. However, compared to the Northeast and West, the South has the most turbulent policy landscape when it comes to the rights and treatment of queer-identifying people.

Parts of the Southern USA belong to a region called the "Bible Belt," where very conservative Christianity plays a strong role in society, and many communities can remain stuck in their conservative ways. In more rural areas and smaller towns, overt displays of affection can attract negative responses, and on the highways, you might witness the occasional "out there" billboard.

Although the political climate in the Southern USA can often seem worrisome, the vast majority of folks in the larger cities will help provide a safe and comfortable travel experience, extending warm southern hospitality regardless of your sexual or gender identity. 

Queer culture in New Orleans

Wild and wacky Mardi Gras museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

For decades, New Orleans has been a mecca of queer social activities and festivals and is proudly home to the country's oldest continually operating gay bar (Cafe Lafitte), one of the largest Pride parades in the country, and dozens of LGBTQIA+ krewes that are the highlight of the Mardi Gras celebration.

Every year, you can expect Pride celebrations throughout the month of June, including the NOLA Pride Parade that starts at Elysian Fields and travels through the Marigny to the French Quarter. Other events include the annual Fat Monday Luncheon, one of Louisiana's oldest queer events dating back to 1949, held every February and the Southern Decadence, a Labor Day weekend festival that has record-breaking attendance year after year.

Queer culture in Atlanta

Atlanta is home to a vibrant queer community and home to the national headquarters of LGBTQIA+ South. The midtown neighbourhood is the epicentre of LGBTQIA+ life in Atlanta (lovingly referring to itself as Atlanta's original gaybourhood) and is bursting with queer nightlife, theatre and arts. Atlanta is home to the largest Pride festival in the South, with a week-long extravaganza taking place every October during Queer History Month.

You can visit Discover Atlanta for more info on queer culture.

Queer culture in Nashville

Rainbow flag over the Nashville skyline, USA

While greater Tennessee falls behind when it comes to LGBTQIA+ legislation, the city of Nashville is a proudly liberal utopia with a tight-knit queer community that thrives in one of the US' most unprogressive states. The largest queer scene in Nashville is on and around Church St., which is home to dozens of bars, clubs and restaurants that happily welcome everyone.

Nashville Pride, which happens in June, is a month-long celebration of the queer community with a large parade and music festival, usually with some top performers in attendance.

Solo travel and room sharing

If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at the time of booking, and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex before you travel.

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