New App Looks To Protect Gay Travelers

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Want to travel the world, but don’t know the safest places to do it? One developing app is trying to help you do just that.

According to Nordic and Asian news source, Swedish friends Elin Wibell and Stelios Vasilantonakis are developing a new app, called Gayze, that will combine safety and travel advice with social networking and gay dating.

Both creators want the app to help tourists to navigate the different laws, cultures, and customs while traveling. In addition, they seek to give gay travelers the knowledge to stay safe while walking around the world.

“What’s unique about Gayze is that it is a travel app, but there is also a possibility of dating, finding friends, and learning about the LGBT situation in the region, and the safety and local advises on how to behave. So, it is pretty broad,” said Wibell to ScandAsia.

It was Vasilantonakis who came up with the idea for the app two and a half years ago. This was after hearing of traveling horror stories such as gay couples being arrested for photographing themselves pantsless in Thailand or gay people being arrested in Egypt. Wibell then eagerly jumped to help create the project.

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“For me being here is a perfect opportunity to meet a lot of gay people who can give me advices and potentially be local editors – It is very valuable to get to know the region to understand which markets are the most interesting,” Wibell explains.

The app is still in the works but already has 40 destinations in its program. Services will include a map showing nearby gay-friendly or gay-exclusive establishments. The two are currently working with 25 local editors to help fine tune the provided information.

“We learned that many people in different parts of the world are very keen on helping because they want to spread knowledge and also try to get tourist to visit their country – in that way breaking barriers and normalize things,” Vasilantonakis explained.

Ultimately, their goal is to create a better travel experience for LGBTQ people looking to explore South Asia and the world as a whole.

“We are not here to be political, we are not here to point fingers on how things should be,” said Wimbell. “We respect the way things are, but we believe we can be part of the change by normalizing something that should be normal.”


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