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Published: June 24th 2011
Before shifting gears to the Pantanal, I feel that a brief introduction to the gay scene in Rio de Janeiro is necessary to paint a full portrait of the city (or at least my experience of it).
I'm not sure if it's Carnival, the beach, the attractive people, or the skimpy outfits, but Rio has gained an international reputation over the past decade for being one of the most popular gay destinations in the world. In fact, 'LGBT Magazine' recently identified Rio as THE most popular international gay destination and claimed that 1 out of every 4 tourists in Brazil is supposedly gay or lesbian.
Regardless of whether these claims are true, I was extremely impressed by how LGBT friendly the country was as a whole, particularly considering its religious (mostly Catholic) population. Just a few weeks before my trip to Rio, the Brazilian Supreme Court federally sanctioned same-sex civil unions in a unanimous 10-0 vote, putting it one-step ahead of our dear US federal government. And the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade, which takes places every June, is the world's largest gay pride parade, attracting over 4 million people every year.
But, for better or worse, my
experience with 'Gay Rio' was confined to the gay beach in Ipanema as well as the Rua Farme de Amoedo, a street filled with gay bars and clubs. In many ways, these two areas reminded me a lot of the Santa Monica and West Hollywood neighborhoods in Los Angeles, due to the beach-y culture and barrage of highly attractive people. Unfortunately, my Portuguese was not good enough to take FULL advantage of these areas, but I definitely still enjoyed the stream of eye candy 😊
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