These days, attitudes towards gay relationships are pretty relaxed in the UK. However, it did take quite some time to reach this state of affairs. Individuals involved in same-sex relationships can now expect the same rights and treatment as anyone else, as there is legislation in place to protect gay men and lesbians from discrimination and harassment. The age of consent is 16 across the board – whether you’re gay or straight – and it is possible to adopt children without your sexuality being held against you.

It is also possible to have your relationship legally recognised if you enter into a civil partnership, as this gives you the same legal rights as straight couples acquire through marriage. There is still some debate about whether this goes far enough and whether same-sex couples should be allowed to get married formally, in the same way as straight couples can. Overall, though, being gay in the UK will not hold you back. Clearly, some areas of the country have a more thriving gay scene than others, which is worth bearing in mind if you have an active social life.

Of course, it is impossible to talk about the gay scene without first mentioning the capital, London. In a city with a population of approaching eight million inhabitants, it is not surprising to discover that there are plenty of nightclubs, pubs, bars and restaurants that cater for a gay clientele. There is also the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival to enjoy, as well as numerous shows and events aimed at a gay audience. The Pride London Festival Fortnight, which takes place in June, has plenty of shows and activities for members of the gay community to watch and participate in and provides them with a chance to celebrate their identity, something which the gay pride parade in July also enables them to do.

Another locality in the south of the country that is worth checking out if you’re gay is Brighton, and it is, in fact, often referred to as 'the gay capital of Britain', having the highest proportion of same-sex households in the country. Brighton is home to the charity, Brighton Pride which aims to promote equality and diversity and to end discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. There are a number of different events which are staged in Brighton to promote this cause, including Winter Pride and the annual summer festival that is held in August. The city also attracts plenty of gay students and has plenty of events and social activities aimed at members of the gay community.

Away from the south of the country, Blackpool has plenty to offer the gay community and, consequently, has come to be referred to as the 'gay capital of the north'. Since World War Two, Blackpool has served as a focal point for gay men with its pubs, clubs and cafés, alongside a seemingly greater tolerance towards alternative lifestyles and minority groups than in other areas in the country. Blackpool continues to appeal to gay men, due to the facilities on offer, and there are a number of events, such as Blackpool Pride, that provide the gay community with an opportunity to have some fun!

Also in the north, Manchester is known for having a thriving gay community, particularly along Canal Street, which is at the centre of the Manchester gay village. The area is crammed full of gay bars and restaurants and attracts gay and lesbian tourists from across the world. The Gay Pride festival that takes place over 10 days takes place in the area and features a range of musical and cultural events. There is also a 72 hour party and a pride march which takes place along the streets of Manchester.

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