If you haven’t heard much about gay life in Portugal it may be because it is actually quite tricky to find a lot of information online. Sadly, there isn’t an easily accessible array of magazines such as Boyz or QX in London, or Siegessäule in Berlin (with a well maintained English section). And even local websites are often hopelessly out of date (the local TimeOut website used to have events from three years ago… and now just redirects to their facebook page). So… it is a little more tricky to find out what is going on.
Sadly, a lot of information isn’t available in English. However, the good thing about Portuguese is that, at least in the written form, you can probably make out the essential words by looking at them.
And for everything else… there is this hopefully somewhat complete and reasonable useful guide…Finding your way around the Gay Scene…
Probably the most useful locally produced guide you can have is Lisbon Gay Circuit, much better then the somewhat similar FriendsMap, which basically is pretty outdated when it comes to Lisbon. Lisbon Gay Circuit has a description of all the bars and other places, pictures, information and links to a map. Sadly it doesn’t actually have a map nor an agenda – so special parties, pride related stuff – or most community groups are not listed on the site (but here… see below!). Nevertheless, it is probably the most comprehensive and up-to-date “overview” guide.
An other good gay “overview” guide can be found on Lisbon Beach‘s website. Lisbon Beach is the local gay tour operator. I haven’t been on any of their tours, but they seem like a good starting point. However, even if you are not heading out with them, they have a pretty good write up of different topics relevant for the gay traveler (general tips, bears, cruising, …) – and they have a map of gay venues, too!
There are, of course, sections about Lisbon available at Patroc, NightTours or GayCities… but all of them seem a little limited.
The wider Community
On the community front, the largest association appears to be ILGA. They run, or are based in, or are somehow connected to the Centro LGBT, pretty much in the centre of Downtown Lisbon. Sadly, pretty much all of their web-presence is in Portuguese only, which includes their agenda of events (warning again, the agenda is sometimes maintained…. sometimes not).
The other major community organisation is Rede Ex Aequo, somewhat more aimed at a younger audience. Again, pleanty of local groups and stuff going on… but sadly, you will need Portuguese to find out the details (and be under 30 to join their group).
Sports-wise, there is Boys Just Wanna Have Fun – with rugby, volleyball, swimming, football, running… and even tango! They also organise the Pit Beach tournament in July.
There are plenty of especial parties and festivals going on all year round in Lisbon… but you will have to check out their respective websites for more information:
Lisbon Pride / Arraial Pride – I’m still confused why Lisbon has a Pride March – followed by a Pride party a week later. But so be it… The pride march is called Marcha do Orgulho LGBTI and you can find out information about it on their website – or Facebook page. The party, Arraial Pride, happens a week later this year… information about that on ILGA’s website – or their Facebook Page.
There are also a few festivals happening around the year in Lisbon, catering to quite different groups:
QueerLisboa is a week-long film festival in September. They have a brilliant website, also available in English, with all the information about the festival, films, times etc.
Festival cum Pride… Lisbon Bear Pride is a long weekend festival/pride/event happening in May. Their website is clearly “foreigner friendly”… so can you easily find all the information there.
Hot Season Festival is a more “circuit party” event, again, happening over a weekend, this time in July. It is, basically, 4 days of parties … Their website gives the details – and it is all in English.
Finally,… here are all the cool kids on the block, the irregular parties.
Conga Club is a polysexual, whatever, alternative, kind of wtf fun party. Roughly once a month… Information on dates via their Facebook page. Sadly they don’t tell you their dates in advance, so it is hard to come to town when they are on… but if you are in town, it seems like a good place to check out.Lesboat is the (more, but not exclusively) lesbian party … on, no surprise… a boat. Again, they have a Facebook page… which means the same things apply as with Conga Club.
And last, but not least, community news: Sadly now you are into deeply Portuguese territory – but these are the best places to find out more about Portuguese and international gay news stories – and also new things happening on “the scene”.
Dezanove is probably the closest Portugal has to a GayTimes/Attitude/GayStarNews – packed with information. These guys also run the facebook page AgendaLGBT, which regularly posts events that happen in Lisbon (and beyond) – available in Portuguese only though.
Escrevergay is a more in-depth blog/news/comment-mix. Certainly less news oriented, and more going into details or opinions.
Portugalgay.pt is a bit like the old times… designwise at least. But it has news and other useful functions… but it does seem sadly out of date in parts.
I hope the sites here are useful… if you want to add any, or I have left out anything… please let me know via the comments!