Tunisia: Gay and Lesbian

For a Muslim nation in which male homosexuality is still actually illegal, Tunisia is remarkably tolerant, so long as a veneer of reasonable discretion is maintained. The concept of lesbian women in Tunisia is barely even considered, let alone legislated against and Tunisia would probably not be the most comfortable or rewarding destination for single women or lesbian couples/groups.

Not surprisingly, there is no commercial or recognizable gay scene or gay culture, only bars with a certain local reputation and typical cruising areas like the Avenue Bourguiba in Tunis. But like Morocco, gay men have been coming to Tunisia for years and many well-to-do mainland European gay men own property around the Cap Bon area. Gay holidays in Tunisia are clearly a longstanding, if underground possibility. US tour operator Toto Tours even markets Tunisia directly to gay men. For a gay male couple requesting a double room in a Tunisian hotel, the situation may become uncomfortably awkward and apartment or villa rental will be a much more comfortable and relaxing option, hence the leaning towards holiday home ownership.

The strongly male-oriented nature of Tunisian bars and cafes, along with public displays of male intimacy may confuse gay visitors to Tunisia, but once there, an organized gay scene is not so necessary to meet the locals. They will quickly find you. Go out as a single, male Westerner, particularly in tourist zones, and it is highly unlikely you will be alone for long. Single heterosexual men may often also be assumed to interested in male company. Be aware, of course, that such approaches may have only monetary gain in mind, not conversation or companionship and avoid making yourself vulnerable.