LGBTQ Life in Portugal

Hello Everybody! As a gay person who considers moving to Portugal, I would love to know more about the general attitude and the vibe there in regards to the LGBTQ community.

I traveled to Portugal before but because I was there only for a short time I would not say I got a sense of what living there as a gay person really is like.

Let’s talk!


Bem-vindo @davinsclin! :slightly_smiling_face: An interesting topic! I can only add one tiny anecdote to this question. I am in the process of obtaining Portuguese citizenship through marriage to a Portuguese citizen. When he and I went, in person, to the Conservatória dos Registos Centrais in Lisbon, the woman case worker who talked with us was very kind, cordial, and completely non-discriminatory and non-judgmental.


Olá, @davinsclin and welcome :slight_smile: You’ll be FINE. Like in any other country, there is homophobia, but the Portuguese are generally mild-mannered and prefer to mind their own business regardless of their personal thoughts, and I’ll risk saying this is true no matter where in the country you go (there are always exceptions, but that applies to the whole world). It’s especially true in the bigger cities or more touristy areas. Some people may stare if they suspect you are gay, many out of simple curiosity. People can also be very gossipy, but they generally won’t bother you or reject you just for your sexuality. As a foreigner, you probably get even more of a pass to be/do whatever, within reason, because for the locals, you’re already “different” anyway. PDA beyond holding hands or the occasional quick peck is not appreciated (for any gender combination); otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about moving to Portugal.

For whatever’s worth:

Everything I said above is a fairly accurate (I hope!) surface-level description of what to expect in your case. The reality for someone growing up here and dealing with potentially very conservative families and communities all around them may or may not be very different, so I don’t want to generalize too much.


Thank you so much, @Joseph, for this very encouraging and informative post! Nice to hear! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Regarding the video of the two men in their contrived “social experiment,” while it was informative to see the mild reactions in Portugal, no one, in my opinion, should ever purposely go out of their way to egregiously offend people in other cultures whose norms are different. I question the true purpose of these two men.

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Hmm. I see your point about being respectful, and it is a good one. As a general concept, I will toast to that. When in Brussels, I dress more nicely than I would for similar functions in the US. Even west coast to east coast of the US has a difference in formality, and I try to dress up or down as expected. It is simply easier on those around me.

And yet, I am not ready to imagine that holding hands in public should be seen as disrespectful. Rather, in the non-Portuguese countries where the men were beaten – perhaps we could spare a moment to reflect upon how disrespectful that reaction is?

It takes some courage to change norms. As forms of civil protest go, being young and openly in love seems a relatively delightful way to nudge equality forward.

But I do see how attempting to change a society that is not originally your own clashes with the notion of being a good guest. There can be multiple values in play.

In any case, it is beautiful to see Lisbon is not a place of violence and hate. Unsurprising, but beautiful.


Hi, @portugal! Bom dia! :slightly_smiling_face: Yes, there was certainly disrespect on both sides, even more so on the side of the attackers! What I labeled as disrespectful was the purposely “in your face” manner in which the two young men went about it, i.e., holding hands, walking 4 feet apart, and swinging their arms to make sure everyone saw them. It wasn’t a natural gesture of affection, more like a display. (Why am I thinking Borat here! :grinning:). But, to bring it back to being relevant for us lovers of Practice Portuguese, the reactions in Portugual were actually sweet!

No idea but perhaps they had to troll a little to get any reaction in Lisbon – or have nothing to film. :slight_smile: Agreed, very sweet in Portugal, and I hope it will ease concerns for those looking to move there.

To bring this back to the original question, a Portuguese friend is gay and finds it easier not to tell his parents. He thinks they would be supportive, and indeed he thinks they know and nothing changed, but they live in a traditional area. He fears it would be harder on them if they could not shrug when friends ask why he is not married. His sister lives in a city; she only cares that he is happy. He is open at work and socially outside the small village he grew up in, and has had no problems. This is only one story, but @Joseph’s reply matches what I hear from my friend.

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Hey David! Thanks for sharing your lovely story : )

Hey Joseph! Thank you for the explanation and the video! Very informative : )

I totally agree with you. If holding hands in public is generally regarded as disrespectful in the Portuguese culture regardless of people’s sexual orientation, I would be more than glad to refrain from holding hands with my significant other; however, if holding hands is regarded as disrespectful only when it comes to certain group of people, I would call it “discrimination” instead and I would be more than glad to challenge that.

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