Gay & LGBT Travel in Malta
Gay tourism in Malta and why it’s the ultimate destination for LGBTIQ
Malta is a small island nation jam packed with fun things to do. Your age does not matter, and neither does your sexual orientation. Malta has now become a booming gay destination. Thanks to recently introduced laws which ensure complete sexual liberty, Malta is turning out to be one of the best gay destinations in Europe.
Here’s a quick guide to gay Malta, from gay rights to annual events and dating.
Is Malta LGBT-Friendly?
In short, the answer is “yes”. In long, the answer is “yes, recently”. You have to understand a bit about Malta:
A conservative nation turned liberal
Malta is an island nation with a rich nationalistic and religious history. Up until this very day, national census shows that the huge majority of the Maltese people are of Roman Catholic religion. This does not ignore the fact that fewer people are going to mass on Sunday. But still, religion and the culture that surrounds our religion is still an integral part of the country’s DNA.
But being so openly catholic Malta did not hold back from undergoing a huge paradigm shift. It is not merely a change from a conservative government to a more liberal one, although this did play an integral role. But it was also a shift in mentality and pop culture.
Malta was, for instance, one of the last countries to introduce divorce and the vote came with a fierce political battle of the right versus the left. Eventually in 2011, after a costly referendum, the Maltese people adopted the law which allowed for divorce in Malta. This was the first move, but certainly not the last.
A couple of years later and a new Labour government came into power. And among the electoral promises, Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat said he’d introduce civil union. In only a couple of years Malta will transform itself from a conservative country to one of the most liberal in the world. Nowadays Malta is a flagship of equality and LGBTIQ rights.
Civil Union and Gay Marriage in Malta
If you are up to a nice stay here in Malta, you should start by knowing the context and what laws were introduced on this matter. Here’s a simplified history.
In 2014, Malta established the Civil Union Act which meant that two same sex people could marry and enjoy equal rights, responsibility and obligations as marriage. This also included the right for joint adoption. This was a harsh point of contention between the two parties in government, and lets not forget the church. 13 June is an important date in the calendar of the LGBTIQ history as it was the date when the first civil union between two individuals of same sex was performed.
An integral part of the debate on civil union was played by the gay rights activists in Malta, the MGRM (Malta Gay Rights Movement). Civil Union was not the only very positive step towards more LGBTIQ rights in Malta. In 2015 the Maltese government introduced acts on Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics. Malta also became the first country to create a national education policy which focused on the needs of transgender people especially children. Between 2015 and 2017, the government also implemented the first LGBTIQ Action Plan.
Now, for the last three years in a row Malta has topped the charts for LGBTIQ rights. Indeed, according to the Rainbow Index, Malta was one of the foremost world leaders on LGBTIQ rights and is still considered a champion of gay rights in the European sphere.
Dating for LGBTIQ people in Malta
As explained before Malta has made tremendous steps forward in helping LGBTIQ people and nowadays being gay in Malta has practically never been any easier. Unlike many large cities, Malta does not have a particular area which attracts a gay crowd. It is pretty safe to say that gay dating in Malta is uncontroversial. It is not as open as London, Berlin or other big metropolis, but it is not uncommon to see gay people holding hands.
When it comes to safety, Malta in general is a very safe country and being gay or heterosexual does not make any difference. Having said that, we have to understand that some medieval-minded people still exist in Malta and perhaps you might experience some frowning by some onlookers, but this is definitely not the majority. By the way, it important to mention that the Malta Gay Pride week is held in September (usually second week).
Tinder and Grindr are widely used in Malta as the two main dating apps.
Feel free to be as gay as you like in any of the beaches in Malta, but, unfortunately there are no gay-beaches in Malta or Gozo.
Gay bars in Malta
If you are in Malta for a holiday and want to catch up on some good nightlife, there are some good gay-clubs and bars which you might be interested to visit.
Michelangelo Gay Club in Paceville
Lollipop (Gay event organizers with events in various bars across the island)
AXM Malta in St Julians
Velvet Lounge in Bugibba
Famous gay personalities in Malta
Clinton Paul – Topping the list of LGBTIQ personalities in Malta is a singer and showman who has entertained many through cheesy music videos and lady-gaga-like costumes. Clinton Paul has quickly turned himself into the gay celebrity on the island. He now tops the gay pride entertainment in Malta.
Cyrus Engerer – Engerer is now Malta’s special envoy to the European Union, He is a very active politician representing the Labour Party.
Gabi Calleja – Heading the Malta Gay Rights Movement it comes to little surprise that Gabi Calleja is one very familiar voice for the gay and lesbian people in Malta. She still remains an important activist for the LGBTIQ community in Malta.
Mina Tolu – Mina Tolu has very recently entered the world of national politics by running for the MEP elections in Malta for the green party. She is also a gay rights activist.
Charles and Ron – This power-couple is a household name in the local and international fashion industry. They have managed to create high-end clothing and their clothes have been seen on catwalks all over the globe.
Luke Azzopardi – Luke has converted himself into one of the best local couture clothes designers in Malta. He has his own fashion brand and has dressed local celebrities and even politicians!