LGBT Travellers

Homosexuality has historical precedents in Tibet, especially in Tibetan monasteries, where male lovers were known as trap’i kedmen, or ‘monk’s wife’. The Dalai Lama has sent mixed signals about homosexuality, stating in his book Beyond Dogma (1996) that, for practicing Buddhists, gay sex is ‘sexual misconduct’, ‘improper’ and ‘inappropriate’, but also openly supporting gay sex and marriage from the point of view of wider society.

The official attitude to gays and lesbians in China is also ambiguous, with responses ranging from draconian penalties to tacit acceptance. Travellers are advised to act with discretion. Chinese men routinely hold hands and drape their arms around each other without anyone inferring any sexual overtones.

HE Travel This US-based company has organised gay and lesbian group trips to Tibet in the past.

Out Adventures A Canada-based company that can organise tailor-made tours to Tibet.

Utopia (www.utopia-asia.com/tipschin.htm) Has a good website and publishes a guide to gay travel in China, though with little specific to Tibet.