Travel Picks: Top 10 places to celebrate gay rights

Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:15am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - What better way to celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month than to pay tribute to cities, states and countries where monumental strides in gay rights have taken place. Online travel advisers CheapFlights ( offer their top 10 list of gay-friendly destinations. Reuters does not endorse this list:

1. Athens, Greece

Some of the first-recorded mentions of same-sex relationships, unions and marriages trace back to ancient Greece. Socially accepted relationships between older men of status and teenage boys were prevalent throughout society in Athens, as were more formal unions among couples now cited in ancient Greek writings. Though relationships between two men were eventually banned thousands of years later, Greece is back on track. In 2011, more than 10,000 activists marched at the annual Athens Gay Pride parade to show their support for gay rights.

2. Los Angeles, United States

One of the first national gay rights organizations, the Mattachine Society, was founded in Los Angeles by Harry Hay in 1950 to help improve the civil rights of homosexuals. Eventually expanding to San Francisco, Chicago, D.C. and New York, the group assisted victimized men and women, and educated citizens on the treatment of gays and lesbians during the 50s and 60s. Today the City of Angels still brims with art and culture nurtured by its active gay community.

3. New York City, United States

The Stonewall Riots in New York's Greenwich Village incited the first gay rights movement in the United States in 1969. When police raided a local gay bar that summer, compelled activists around the downtown neighborhood and beyond fought back. Organizations in New York and nationwide formed, and -- to honor the one-year anniversary of the riot -- activists marched from downtown to Central Park in the first-ever gay pride march in the country. Today Greenwich Village, or "The Village,' offers restaurants, theaters and a thriving art scene cultivated by the liberated men and women who were called to action more than 40 years ago.

4. Minneapolis, United States

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their case, Jack Baker and James Michael McConnell stopped at nothing to be married in the state of Minnesota in the 1970s. After the court's ruling, the two men applied for a marriage license in a different county and in 1971 were married before a Methodist minister in Minneapolis. Though unrecognized by many, including the IRS, the couple is a symbol -- and reference for lawyers -- of the fight for marriage equality. And how far Minneapolis has come; The Advocate named it the gayest city in America in 2011.   Continued...

<p>Participants take part in a gay parade in central Athens June 13, 2009. REUTERS/John Kolesidis</p>