LGBT Travellers

Homosexuality is illegal in most Islamic countries in the Middle East, but in Jordan gay sex is legal, and the age of consent is 16. Public displays of affection by heterosexuals are frowned upon, and the same rules apply to gays and lesbians, although same-sex hand-holding is a common sign of friendship in Jordan.

The legality of homosexuality shouldn't be confused with full societal acceptance, and discrimination and harassment are common. There is a subdued underground gay scene in Amman – if you’re keen to explore it, keep your enquiries discreet. Gay-friendly venues that attract young, gay and straight crowds include the multipurpose Books@café and the Blue Fig Café in Amman.

Check www.gayguide.net/middle_east and the gay and lesbian forum on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree bulletin board (www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree) for more information.