August 5, 2013

“I've been downsizing for the past three years and am ready now to retire and move abroad with my partner. What are the best gay-friendly countries to retire to?”

--William M., United States

We get this question often. Here's what our correspondents in different parts of the world have to say:

Regarding Latin America, Panama Letter Editors David Sexton and Denis Foynes have this to say:

“Without doubt, Panama is more socially conservative than the United States. That said, I don't think a gay person from D.C., for example, would be uncomfortable living in Panama City, and D.C. is one of the most gay-friendly cities on the planet. They may not be as happy here, but I just don't see anything in Panama City that I'd interpret as hostility toward the gay community.

“Outside Panama City, in other parts of Panama, would be a different story. But that's true worldwide. Younger, urban populations don't really care if someone's gay. It's not even interesting, let alone a source of hostility. I believe this is true in Panama City, Buenos Aires, Bogota, etc. Stick to major international cities, and you should be fine.”

Regarding Europe, Euro-Editor Lucy Culpepper suggests:

“Spain, especially Catalunya, could be a good choice, and any medium to large town in France would be fine. In fact, my parents live in a small village in France where there is a number of gay couples.”

In Asia, Wendy Justice advises:

“Avoid Malaysia, where all forms of gay sexual activity are illegal and punishable by fines, prison, even whipping or caning. Legally, you can't even watch a film depicting homosexuals unless the characters either ‘repent' or die.

“Thailand would be a much better option. This country has an active gay scene.”

***

“Kathleen, I enjoyed your account of buying carpets in Turkey. I had a similar experience in China, which started with a complete tour of the silk factory—from hand-selecting the biggest and healthiest silkworm cocoons from a conveyor belt...to spinning the thread...to creating the carpet...to the presentation in the sales room. It's amazing how low the cost was (even with raised decorative details), considering some of these carpets took a year for one woman to create. As for shipping, the two I purchased beat me home and were waiting in California less than a week later.”

-- Bob M., United States and Mexico

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