Our Picks for Pride in London 2015

So summer is finally here and we are firmly set into Pride season 2015, we at Gay Homestays are taking this opportunity to let you know about some of the not-to-be-missed events that will be happening around Pride in London this weekend!


Obviously if you are at Pride in London you will want to see the parade, it is only the second biggest single day event in London’s calendar, spare the annual marathon. The theme for this year is “Pride Heroes” as a celebration of the bold members of the LGBT+ community who have fought to make this event a possibility. Starting at 13:00 on the 27th June at Baker street and ending up at Whitehall around 16:30, this is going to be unmissable with over 250 groups registered to march I forecast the atmosphere to be palpably buzzing.


Apart from the main parade Pride in London has an array of other events in the week running up to and on the weekend of the main event, these are our picks of the week:

Pride Arts Festival 2015
21st – 28th June

The Pride art festival will be running evens in the week commencing Pride in London and will showcase some of the hottest talent contributing to the creative arts within the LGBT+ community along with some thought provoking talks and audience involvement activities which are sure to get your mind and body prepared for the week ahead. The full list of events that will be taking place is available here.


West End Wendies!
19:00 Thursday 25th JunE

The Loft @ Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec, 140 Newington Butts, SE1

This open mic event looks like it will be a blast, whether you sing a bit of Sam Smith in the shower or you can belt it out like Andrea Bocelli, all genres and ranges of ability are welcome! Hosted by the cabaret king Paul L Martin, this night is sure to be a hit, it will not fail to entertain. Entry is free and open to the public, get yourself down (earplugs optional)!


Magda’s Lesbian Lover
18:00 Friday 26th June

Raindance Film Centre, 10 Craven St, Charing Cross

The award-winning short “Magda’s Lesbian Lover”, a film about a young lesbian couple set in the 80’s which embarks on one person’s acceptance of themselves through a religious quandary, is being shown at the Raindance Film Centre on the Friday of pride week. This should be a wonderful start to the weekend for any film-buff or curious mind alike. Tickets are free and you can apply for them here.


Pride in London Exclusive party @ L’Escargot
10:30 – 17:00 Saturday 27th June

L’Escargot, 48 Greek Street, London, W1D 4EF

If you are looking for a more ‘up-market’ feel to your Pride in London then this is the party for you, the exclusive members club L’escargot is opening up its shell to the people of pride so you can lounge around in its lavish boudoir spaces, explore its almost labyrinthine selection of rooms or party all day to the selection of DJs booked to play. L’escargot is set within the heart of London’s Soho area and ticket entry allows guests to enter and leave as they please so you could practically fill up on the buffet early and still get a glimpse of the parade. An appearance not to be missed will be performed by Bebe van der Belt at 13:30 and a pride (prize) draw will be held at 16:00. Tickets while coming out to a slightly pricey £25 will be well worth it and are in short supply, they are available here.


Along with all these great happenings there are also stage performances at Trafalgar square, a cabaret stage and the women’s stage (both located in Soho).
BLUE and Rebecca Ferguson are the headliners this year which should make for a fun mix of pop and dance music, great for a fun-filled bonanza. Also the legendary Elton John is being rumored to be making an appearance, whether he is to play is still yet to be confirmed.

So if you are thinking of making an appearance yourself at this year’s Pride in London do not forget that Gay Homestays has many wonderful hosts just waiting for you to book in, check out what is available here! Alternatively you can book through Gay Homestays booking widget on the Pride in London website.

And get yourself down early, this will be the big one!


Top 10 Celebrity Lesbian Coming Out Stories: Part 2

Last time we charted 10-6 of our top 10 celebrity lesbian coming out stories. It was hard to pick a top 5, but here are 5 great lesbian coming out stories. You may not be a celebrity, but if you are thinking of coming out, we hope we can provide a source of inspiration!

5. Lauren Morelli

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Orange Is The New Black has some brilliant lesbian characters and actresses, like Samira Wiley who plays Poussey, and Lea DeLaria who plays ‘Big Boo’ (she tweeted @GayHomestays once, it was amazing). However, the most interesting coming out story comes from behind the scenes, when writer Lauren Morelli made a life-changing and tabloid-headline-friendly realisation: ‘While writing for Orange Is The New Black, I realised I am gay’. The screenwriter filed for divorce from her husband of two years, and started dating the show’s own Samira, as pictured above.

4. k.d. lang

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1992… Though it doesn’t seem that long ago (feel old yet?) it was early days for out and proud lesbian celebrities. That’s why we have to give props to k.d. for paving the way in this Advocate article: ‘I don’t want to say the wrong things to the gay culture. Because there are so many different opinions on how to gain acceptance.…  And I don’t want to hurt my mother by coming out in the press. But at the same time I don’t want to hurt my culture, and it’s like — what do you do?’. It looks like she did the right thing – over 20 years later she’s still going strong. A Canadian favourite, she performed at the Vancouver olympics in 2010.

3. Melissa Etheridge

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Once k.d. got the ball rolling, her fellow singer Melissa Etheridge came out the following year in 1993 at Bill Clinton’s Triangle Ball. Citing lang as ‘an inspiration’, she said: ‘I’m proud to say right now, I’m very proud to have been a lesbian all my life’. The crowd cheered, and k.d. lang, who was present, could be seen jumping for joy!

2. Billie Jean King

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US tennis legend Billie Jean first married lawyer Larry King back in 1965. She says of the relationship: ‘Fifty percent of gay people know who they are by the age of 13, I was in the other 50%. I would never have married Larry if I’d known. I would never have done that to him. I was totally in love with Larry when I was 21′. She was unfortunately forced out of the closet in 1981, when she was sued by the secretary she was secretly dating. This made her the first prominent lesbian athlete in America. She is an activist for women’s rights and the fight against AIDS, and in 2014 was appointed by Barack Obama, alongside fellow lesbian athlete Caitlin Cahow, to take his place as the US delegation at the Russian olympics. Girl power!

1. Ellen DeGeneres

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Ellen came out on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, and followed it up with what has to be the most iconic coming out cover of all time. As we talked about in our Top 10 Gay TV shows, she then mirrored her real-life coming out in her sitcom, where her character (also called Ellen..?) came out to her therapist (played by Oprah Winfrey!!) Almost 20 years later Ellen is one of the biggest names on US TV, and one of the world’s most successful out and proud lesbians. Sorry ladies, she’s not single 😉

What do you think of our top 10 celebrity lesbian coming out stories? Comment on any we’ve missed out, and let us know you’re own coming out stories!

Top 10 Celebrity Lesbian Coming Out Stories: Part 1

Gay Homestays is celebrating the L in LGBT. If you’re a lesbian who’s thinking of coming out, you may not have to worry about being famous, but here’s how some of our favourite lesbian celebrities did it. 10-6!

10. Jodie Foster

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In a Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech at the 2013 Golden Globes, the actress made light of long-standing speculation about her sexuality: ‘I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never been able to air in public…I’m single.’ She explained that she wasn’t going to do a big public coming out event, as she already came out to her family and friends ‘about a thousand years ago’.

9. Raven-Symoné

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Another celebrity none too keen on making a big deal about her personal business, following a US Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, Raven casually tweeted ‘I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you’. She hadn’t even come out! In a follow-up interview with Oprah, she said ‘I’m a human who loves humans… I’m tired of being labelled’. That’s so Raven.

8. Ellen Page

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Is there something about the name Ellen? The Juno star made Canada proud with a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Time To Thrive’ conference in Las Vegas. Unlike the first two entries on our list, Ellen she came out in no uncertain terms with those three little words, ‘I am gay’. She continued, ‘I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission’.

7. Rosie O’Donnell

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Whereas Ellen Page said ‘I am gay’, Rosie did things a little differently. During her routine at a 2002 Ovarian Cancer Research benefit in New York, the comedienne announced, ‘I’m a dyke!’

6. Wanda Sykes

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Another comedienne, Wanda says she came out ‘out of anger’ following the Californian governments ‘Proposition 8′ U-turn to re-ban gay marriage. She says she had no intention of making her coming out speech that day, saying ‘I kind of shocked myself’. She had married her girlfriend Alex a month earlier in a low-key ceremony,  but since she has gone public with her sexuality, her relationship with her French wife is often brought up in her hilarious stand-up routines.

What do you think of part one of our top 10 celebrity lesbian comings out? (/coming outs???) Remember there’s no right or wrong way to do it and everyone does things at their own pace. Come back soon for more inspirational moments from our top five celebrity lesbian coming out stories!


Best gay films: 5 messed up gay love stories that are better than 50 Shades of Grey

Gay love stories… why are they never straight forward?

There’s one freaky sexy film that everyone’s talking about… but most gay people I know who have seen it say it’s tame! Here are five of the best gay films featuring original, crazy, sexy, dangerous, tragic, unrequited and generally messed up love stories that make 50 Shades look like Frozen

5. Velvet Goldmine

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A cool non-linear film set in glam-rock 70s Britain (think David Bowie) and featuring some sexy British actors (Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale) getting involved in all kinds of 70s experimentation that turns into a problematic love story.

4. Total Eclipse

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A kinda creepy and occasionally violent age-gap love story, based on the true story of two 18th Century poets. Sex scenes between 90s Leonardo DiCaprio and Professor Lupin from Harry Potter: it’s the pairing you never knew you wanted.

3. Notes On A Scandal

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Dame Judi Dench is amazing as a bored older teacher with creepy stalker tendencies who takes a shine to Cate Blanchett’s struggling new teacher. When she finds out her new colleague slept with a 15 year old boy at the school, she uses the secret against her… for her own benefit!

2. Bent

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Here’s an unusual setting for a love story: a holocaust concentration camp where gay people are persecuted alongside Jews. An incredible exploration of an often ignored part of Nazi history. Cameo from Mick Jagger!(?)

1. Brokeback Mountain

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Duh! How could the classic gay Oscar-winner not be number one? It’s a tragic, tortured love story, but you probably knew that already. I need to watch it again.

What do you think of our 5 messed up gay love stories? If you think we missed a great one, let us know in the comments!

Madonna through the ages: the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise…

Following Madonna’s instantly iconic tumble at this years BRIT awards, which was immediately followed by an equally legendary recovery, we thought we’d show Madonna some love this week. Her 30+ year career has seen plenty of such falls and rises, so we thought we’d take a trip through her career peaks and troughs throughout the 80s, 90s, 00s and 2010s. You have to be made of strong stuff to last that long in the music industry. Good for you Madonna!


Low: ‘Everybody’

When Madonna released her largely-ignored debut ‘Everybody’ in 1982, no one would have predicted she’d go on to be the biggest female solo artist of the 80s… If not of all time!

High: like a prayer

Throughout the 80s, Madonna went from strength to strength with a string of hits like ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Into The Groove’ and ‘Papa Don’t Preach’. She rounded off the decade with her most successful album to date, Like A Prayer. This controversial video helped push the title single to sell 5 million copies worldwide.


high: ‘vogue’

The momentum of Like A Prayer kept going into the start of the next decade, where Madonna surpassed her sales record with this 6 million selling gay anthem. However, the tide was about to turn…

low: sex

Madonna’s sensational pseudo-pornographic 1992 book Sex is generally considered the first downward turning point of her career. After a decade of courting controversy, the star had finally ‘gone to far’, and her music sales suffered as a consequence.

High: Ray of light

After Madonna spent the best part of the decade on the naughty step, her critically acclaimed 1998 album Ray of Light heralded the queen of reinvention’s second wave at the top of the charts.


low: american life

After starting the decade with Music, a successful follow-up to Ray of Light, Madonna then came out with her lowest selling album yet. Even kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on stage at the MTV VMAs couldn’t help shift copies.

high: ‘Hung up’

Never one to admit defeat, the comeback queen followed her lowest selling album with the highest selling single of her career! Selling 9 million copies worldwide, Madonna’s 2005 hit ‘Hung Up’ is one of the biggest selling singles of all time, by anyone. And she did it in a pink leotard at 47 years old!


low: falling at the 2015 brit awards

Though Madonna’s presence on the charts dwindled in the 2010s, she continued to be a hugely successful performer and was named the highest earning musician of 2012 largely due to her MDNA tour. However, her much-hyped return to Britain’s biggest music awards show to perform her new single ‘Living For Love’ was tainted by an epic fail in the first verse that became an instant internet favourite.

high: getting back up again!

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Despite falling down badly, Madonna was largely praised for delivering an incredible performance after what looked like a very painful accident. The incident was the hot topic of conversation in the media and at office water-coolers around the world…  and it just goes to show that there’s no such thing as bad publicity! Today, 4 days on, ‘Living for Love’ makes its debut in the UK top 40, and at 26 gives Madonna her highest placing in over 5 years since 2009’s number 3 hit ‘Celebration’.

At 56 years old and with three decades in the music industry, Madonna certainly is showing no signs of giving up. The moral of the story?


Gay Homestays’ Top Ten Gay TV Shows

There’ve been loads of great gay TV shows on over the years, and since we’ve done our Top Ten Gay Anthems and Top Ten Gay Anthems of the 21st Century, we thought it was about time we gave gay TV shows the Gay Homestays Top Ten treatment.

10. Cucumber/Banana/Tofu

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So this is really 10, 11, and 12… three gay TV shows for the price of one! Set in Gay Homestays’ native city of Manchester, Cucumber shows a mediocre middle-aged gay relationship (a side of the gay community often ignored by TV), its breakdown, and the hilarious aftermath. It’s intertwining sister show Banana shows self-contained stories of Manchester’s gay youth. And finally Tofu is more of a documentary, with frank discussion of sex issues. The newest feature on a list, in the UK the shows are currently on Channel 4 and its sister services E4 and 4OD. Whether they stand the test of time remains to be seen!

9. Will & Grace

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One of the first US sitcoms to focus on gay main characters from the start, they said it would never work! But Will & Grace became hugely popular amongst gay and straight audiences alike. Though we like Megan Mullaly’s Karen the most.

8. Sugar Rush

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Another Great British comedy drama, 2005’s Sugar Rush follows Kim as she deal with her hopeless crush on the sexy but straight Sugar. Celebrity spot: current Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield in one of his first roles as Kim’s geeky neighbour, who has a hopeless crush on her!

7. The L Word

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In 2004 it was still unusual to see lesbian leads on US TV (well, it still is today), but then a whole host of great lesbian characters came along at once in this show. Think Sex And The City without the men…

6. Glee

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As gay teen suicides were getting more press in the USA, Glee came along featuring some great gay teen characters. This combined with the great songs and Jane Lynch’s acerbic Sue Sylvester lead to a huge gay following. Though like so many great shows before it it kind of went downhill after a few series. Is it still on? We just don’t know.

5. Ellen

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The sitcom Ellen started in 1994, and its main character, Ellen, didn’t come out till a 1997 episode. It’s always a risk when the main character announces their sexuality three years down the line! The moment received a lot of media coverage and mirrored the coming out of the show’s star and writer Ellen DeGeneres. In 1997, featuring a gay main character was enough for ABC to add a “parental advisory” warning to the start of the show.

4. Modern Family

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It’s over 20 years since Ellen started (feel old yet?) and times have really changed for gay sitcom characters. Modern Family really does have a modern approach to gay characters: a married couple with kids! And it really is funny too.

3. Orange Is The New Black

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The hugely popular Netflix show follows married “ex-lesbian” Piper after she’s thrown in jail, only to find out she’s banged up with her ex-girlfriend! (Spoiler alert: one things leads to another…) The ensemble cast also features many other great lesbian characters like Poussey, Nicky, Big Boo and “Crazy Eyes” Suzanne, as well as trans actress Laverne Cox in her groundbreaking role as Sophia.

2. Rupaul’s Drag Race

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Time for some reality TV, though its often more surreal than some of the fictional stories we’ve featured! We love seeing the amazing runway looks of the drag superstars, as well as finding more about their backgrounds and watching their relationships form with each other. This is a show that gets bigger with ever season, and we can’t wait for season 7!

1. Queer as Folk

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The 1999 UK series was so successful it spawned a US remix, but the original is definitely our number one! Another show set on the Manchester gay scene, it broke down barriers with its unashamed discussion and depictions of gay sex. And it’s funny and gripping too. If you never saw it, track it down!

What do you think of our top 10 gay TV shows? Let us know any we missed off in the comments!


Pride Preview: London Pride 2015

Now Christmas and New Year have been and gone and it’s still freezing cold, is it just us or are you also counting down to summer already? Or as we like to call it – Pride season! 

If you live in London, Saturday 27th June 2015 is the day for your London Pride this year. And if you’re not from London, why not take the trip to check it out? It is of course a wonderful city, and an amazing Pride experience.

As well as being the capital of the UK, London is known for its diverse multinational make-up, and this year London Pride is celebrating that with an incredible effort: to include flag bearers representing every nation on Earth (!!!)

—We’ll use this spectacle to send a powerful message of love and solidarity to LGBT people facing the worst oppression, in countries such as Uganda, Russia, Egypt and Iran.

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No doubt a sight not to be missed – it will be like the London 2012 olympics all over again! If you’d like to sign up to be a flagbearer, find out more here.

As well as the parade, there are of course the main stage performances, set against the stunning backdrop of Trafalgar Square. So “London”! Last year, London Pride highlighted gay talent with a classy headline slot from acclaimed UK singer Heather Peace, as well as a performance (a Gay Homestays favourite!) Eurovsion winner Conchita Wurst, and presenting slots from Rylan Clark, Dr Christian Jessan and none other than Sir Ian McKellen. Other acts to take the main stage included Sam Bailey, Sinitta, Samantha Fox and Katrina and the Waves. No word yet on who to expect on the main stage in 2015, but expect big things! As well as the big acts, London Pride loves to showcase new and local talent, and if you fancy yourself as a performer, why not try and apply?

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As well as Trafalgar Square, there’s the Dean Street, Soho stage that between 4pm-8pm became the Women’s Stage. 2015 marks the second year of London’s ProudWomen initiative, that aims to increase the involvement and visibility of women in London Pride. ProudWomen will be hosting a series of events in the run-up to 2015’s Pride, and you can find out more information here.

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And speaking of other events, if you’re from London or fancy a longer stay, there’s a whole festival of activities to do in the week of the 21st–28th June 2015.

—London is a cultural powerhouse, and in 2015 Pride in London will showcase some of the finest visual art, spoken word, film, photography, sculpture and other work by LGBT+ artists or featuring our community. This might include:

  • a portrait exhibition
  • a retrospective of LGBT+ activism in London
  • lectures on key issues for the LGBT+ community
  • a film screening and discussion

More details to follow!

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If you are planning a trip to London for Pride, don’t forget it’s one of Gay Homestays’ biggest cities for hosts, with a variety of properties to suit all budgets and styles. And if you’re new to London, there’s nothing more useful than staying with a local. See what’s available here!

So, London Pride, Saturday 27th June 2015, mark it in you diary. Is it summer yet?

Gay couchsurfing

Gay couchsurfing = couchsurfing for gay people. Couchsurfing = forgoing the traditional hotel or hostel experience and staying with locals instead. In this week’s blog, we investigate why couchsurfing is appealing to more and more people in the gay community and why gay couchsurfing is becoming such a trend!

“Couchsurfing” is a travel trend that has been growing for a number of years now. The idea: instead of booking a hotel or hostel, you travel around the world staying in the homes of other like-minded people, and when you get back, maybe host a few travellers yourself. Cheaper than a hostel or hotel, and you get a personal host and a potential new friend for life.

As the the couchsurfing community has grown, the types of guests and hosts have become more various. The name “couchsurfing” of course comes from the idea of staying on peoples couches, and maybe you need to stay for one night in the centre of Berlin as cheaply as possible, and are happy to sleep on the sofa of a cool guy’s flat for a couple of Euros. Or maybe you’re happy to spend $200 a night for a multi-bedroom palatial Manhattan penthouse that comes complete with a  New Yorker who wants to share all the best party spots with you. Maybe you’re hosting to supplement your income, and you’ll keep yourself to yourself and leave your guest to their own devices, or maybe you’ll be doing tequila shots with them, cooking them your local cuisine and inviting them to party with your friends. The truth is, all of these are okay. The important thing is to be honest and up front with what you want from the experience, whether it be through an online profile or through direct communication with a potential couchsurfing buddy. In this way, you’ll find somebody you’re going to be comfortable with and there will be no awkwardness later on. 

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Likewise, as couchsurfing has increased in popularity, the number of couchsurfing networks have grown, and websites like Gay Homestays now offer a couchsurfing database designed exclusively for the gay community. So what can couchsurfing offer the gay community?

Couchsurfing as a concept does attract laid-back and liberal people, and there’s every chance any straight couchsurfing host would be totally cool with your sexuality. But when you know you’re staying with someone the same sexuality as you, its a weight off your shoulders, especially if you’re travelling abroad to a country where the level of acceptance of gays may be different to that of your own country. In this way, couchsurfing can feel even more safe than staying in a hostel, as you know there’s going to be another gay person there, and that you’re going to be accepted and not have to think about hiding who you are or “coming out” to your fellow travellers. If you’re worried about what the local attitude to gay people could be, it’s great to know that you have a safety net, and an opportunity to talk with someone directly about what it’s like to be a gay person in another part of the world.

Furthermore, by staying with a gay person from the local area, you can get the low-down on the best places to go. Maybe you’re going somewhere with a huge gay district, and your host can tell you what’s hot and what’s not. Or maybe you’re going to somewhere with no gay district at all, and your host can tell you where the off-the-map hangout is. Either way, your host can be your link to the scene, and many guests and hosts make long-lasting friendships from sharing the secrets of their city with each other.

Of course, if you’ve never done it before, the idea of staying with a complete stranger can be intimidating. Make use of features of couchsurfing websites like the reviews. The couchsurfing community tends to review much more than hotel guests: if a guest has had a great host, they want to help them out and leave them a good review, and help out their fellow travellers with the information too. Gay Homestays also has an optional host verification system, where hosts can provide the site with information such as a copy of their passport to receive an extra stamp of approval.

So what are you waiting for? Get out, see the world, and make some new friends along the way.

2014: Gay year in review part 2

We’ve already posted 10–6 of our ten biggest news stories, people, events and moments of 2014, and as we begin 2015, it’s now time to look back at our top 5:

5. Leelah Alcorn


The latest story in our 2014 countdown ended the year on an upsetting note, as this trangender teen from Ohio queued a suicide note on her Tumblr before walking in front of a vehicle on the Interstate Highway. If anything good can come of this it will be for the world to work on improving attitudes to transgender people in 2015. You can read Leelah’s final word’s here.

4. Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act


Or as it has been more colloquially known, the “Kill the Gays” law, was signed off by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and both reflected and encouraged a step backwards in acceptance of gays in Uganda, with a Ugandan newspaper even publishing a list of the countries “top gays and lesbians” with the tagline “hang them”. In August, Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled the law was invalid, but the government is set to appeal this.

3. Conchita Wurst

Conchita Wurst Arrives In Vienna

With Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws introduced in 2o13, “bearded lady” Conchita was a contraversial figure in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, with Russia even campaigning to have her removed from the competition. Of course she was not, and went on to win the competition. Furthermore, it transpired that the Russian people had voted for Conchita en masse, and even got her to the top of the Russian iTunes chart. Rise like a phoenix!

2. Gay marriage

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2014 was another landmark year for gay marriage. The amount of US states with equal marriage more than doubled, from 16 to 34 (only 16 to go!). It was also the year that England, Wales and Scotland moved from Civil Partnerships to full marriage rights. Key debates have also been happening around the issue in Ireland and Australia. Let’s see what happens in 2015!

1. Sochi Winter Olympics


With the olympic spotlight on Russia, the world turned their attention to Russia’s anti-gay laws, with many questions arising about the laws themselves, safety and treatment of gay olympic competitors and spectators, and whether or not such laws were in direct opposition to the Olympic charter. Many influential groups, sponsors, and individuals put pressure on Russia, and hopefully such vocal international disapproval could have had an effect on the Russian government, though as 2014 draws to a close, the laws still stand. US President Obama let his actions speak louder than words, and rather than attending the Olympics, he sent lesbian olympic heroes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow as his delegation!

From everyone at Gay Homestays, have a great 2015!

Year in review: Gay moments that shook the world in 2014

What a year 2014 has been! Here’s the first part of our rundown of the top 10 most important gay moments, people, events and news stories from the past 12 months.

10. Coming out in sport

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This year, US footballer Michael Sam (above), US baseball player Derrick Gordon, Germany and former Aston Villa footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger, and Australian Olympic swimming legend Ian Thorpe all came out as gay. Go team!

9. Extraordinary synod

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Though the Catholic church has never been the greatest gay ally, and we certainly don’t need their approval, it was an interesting move for the current Pope to wish to discuss the church’s attitude to “welcoming homosexual persons”. Senior bishops rejected the idea of “welcoming” and changed the wording to “pastoral attention to people of homosexual orientation”. Oh well, thanks for trying… we guess!

8. Ray Cole

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Gay Brit Ray Cole, 69, was imprisoned in Morocco for four months, after pictures that apparently “proved” he was gay were found on his phone. His petitions for his release set up by his friends and family, and on his release, Ray gave a fascinating insight into the awful conditions of his Marrakech prison, describing being kept in a “tank of 40 or 50 people”.

7. Tim Cook

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In October 2014, Steve Jobs’ successor as CEO of US tech giant Apple came out as gay. As the head of one of the USA’s biggest corporations, Cook is possibly the most powerful publicly gay person in business ever. Is he single?

6. Sam Smith

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British crooner Sam Smith has become one of the most successful names in music this year (male Adele anyone?) and he did it all whilst being out and proud. He broke America with well-received performances on Saturday Night Live and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and became the only artist in 2014 to sell one million albums in both the USA and the UK. He said he wants his music to be “universal”, so that anyone of any sexual orientation can relate, and he avoids gender pronouns like the plague. Still, it’s nice to know that a publicly gay musician can be one of the most successful in 2014.

What do you think of our 10-6? And what do you think will make it in our 5-1? Check back soon for part 2 of our 2014 gay year in review!