Malta is generally a LGBT-friendly place, and is one of five countries in the world which has made LGBT rights equal at a constitutional level.
Malta has come a long way in a short amount of time - from the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1973 to enabling same-sex civil unions in 2017. Sex and sexuality taboos in general have dropped over the past 10 years or so, and while the older generations are often still resistant to change, they aren't directly or openly hostile (gender discrimination was banned nationwide in 2004).
Today, Malta is one of only five countries in the world which has made LGBT rights equal at a constitutional level. The Parliament of Malta unanimously approved a bill which amends the constitution to add protection from any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This includes equal opportunities at the workplace.
Of course, with the onset and development of LGBT rights, Malta continues to foster an encouraging impact on LGBT-friendly Malta socially. By 2015, Malta earned a historic first place in the International Lesbian-Gay Association’s Rainbow Europe’s League for LGBT Rights by granting 88 per cent of total rights. In 2006, a mere 18 per cent of the Maltese population were in favour of same-sex marriage, while a poll in 2016 demonstrated that 65 per cent were then in favour.
Still, while the tolerance is there and increasing by the year, many local gay couples still feel discomfort in openly displaying affection in public.
Bars & clubs
Since gay rights and acceptance has increased in recent years, the dedicated gay bar and club scene has actually thinned out. This is most likely due to the fact that all are welcome virtually everywhere, which means that the market for dedicated spots has decreased.
When it comes to particular segments of the LGBTIQ community, such as those who identify as transgender, or those who are more comfortable dressing in drag, it should be noted that it won't go unnoticed. While people - locals and tourists - will still ogle, it's not however considered dangerous to go out on the town cross-dressed or dressed in drag.
Station2Station (S2S), Lollipop & BeatBears present are among Malta’s leading gay party and event organisers, working on creating a vibrant sense of community in Malta. They host special parties throughout the year and rent out clubs, bars and boats to bring the party to the people.
Dedicated LGBT bars & clubs:
Michelangelo Club Lounge, Paceville
Michelangelo Lounge is the latest gay club, spread out over two levels, featuring a state-of-the-art sound system, with a dance floor, lounge bar, chill-out zone and private areas.
Monaliza Lounge, Valletta
Monaliza Lounge is frequented by all, but is particularly popular with "a more mature crowd, bears, chasers and admirers". Food is served here as well, so the lounge can be enjoyed for drinks before hitting somewhere else, or enjoyed all evening long on the open-air seafront terrace.
The Birdcage Lounge, Rabat
Here, you'll find a great atmosphere with a cocktail bar, live music, cabaret shows, and karaoke while you nibble on complementary appetisers. Open seven days a week, The Birdcage Lounge is situated on the quaint main street of Rabat.
Where to stay
Virtually everywhere is LGBT-friendly, but for dedicated and approved LGBT-friendly accommodation, see here.
Now that gay marriage in Malta is, to all effects and purposes, the same as marriage between a man and a woman, the island is an easy and attractive wedding destination. While there are specific wedding planners and caterers who specialise in gay marriage and lesbian weddings in Malta, virtually everyone will be happy to assist without problems. Visit local wedding portal www.ourwedding.com.mt to find out more!