Ellen DeGeneres cancels trip to Bermuda due to new same sex rules

Gay couple hugging.
It's important to know your rights as an LBGTI traveller. Photo credit: Getty Images.

A recent tweet from Ellen DeGeneres has brought attention to how important it is to know a country's laws around homosexuality before visiting.

DeGeneres tweeted: "I guess I'm cancelling my trip" in a response to Bermuda banning gay marriage.

It may be known for its triangle, but it's definitely not a pink one with same-sex weddings to disappear from the Atlantic island.

And it's not the only sunny holiday destination turning its back on LGBTI travellers.

Right now the Indonesian government is debating whether the being gay should become illegal. It's a decision that could affect travel to the popular holiday hotspot for many kiwis.

The decision in Bermuda is a blow to the cruise industry with same-sex marriage cruises and LGBTI cruises proving lucrative for the ship operators. 

Ships that are registered to the British territory will be banned from hosting same-sex weddings. 

Cunard Line is one company that until now had been operating wedding cruises in and out of Bermuda and are disappointed by the decision.

In a statement Cunard said, "Having been delighted and wholly supportive of the Bermuda government's change in law last May, which allowed us to conduct same-sex marriages on board our ships, we are disappointed with this outcome."

Although our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade doesn't specifically issue advisories for LGBTI travellers, an MFAT spokesperson said it's best to check before you travel.

"It's important that New Zealanders do their own research on the countries they might travel to before leaving New Zealand. Local laws and customs differ depending on which country you visit, and in some areas penalties for crimes can be severe, including lengthy imprisonment or fines."

Here are some facts about traveling to destinations that may have issues with LGBTI tourists:


It's illegal to be gay in Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

In Nigeria and Uganda it's also a criminal offence if you know someone is homosexual and you haven't reported them to the police.


It's illegal to be gay in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar,Sri Lanka, Maldives, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

Singapore - Although it's illegal to be gay in Singapore, the law is not enforced. If you were to show your affection in public you may attract some unwanted attention, but Singapore's extremely low crime rate means you're highly unlikely to receive anything worse than that.

In Brunei there's a law on the books allowing death by stoning for homosexuality.

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association safety map
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association produces safety maps every year. Photo credit: IGLA.


It's illegal to be gay in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia.

Middle East:

It's illegal to be gay in Iran, Iraq, Gaza Strip, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

In Iraq they carry out executions for being gay. Don't Google it, just stay away.

Australasia and the Pacific:

It's illegal to be gay in Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Solomon Islands. In some of these countries it is legal for women however.

The Cook Islands are currently looking at legislation to make homosexuality legal.

ILGA's maps are available for download here.