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Getting out — Everybody needs to get away sometimes — but the notion of traveling to countries where our cultural customs may not be common or even tolerated can be intimidating. It's even more troubling when your lifestyle is subject to discrimination in your home country. That's where gay and lesbian tourism groups come in. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (iglta.com) is dedicated to helping members of the LGBT community enjoy travel and visit tolerant communities across the globe. Gay tourism has become increasingly popular in the past decade, as more and more companies target the gay community — and battle the notion that gay tourism is specifically designed around finding and having sex. Rather, the companies create packages in liberal cities that embrace the LGBT community, and highlight gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues. Some tours center around big gay-pride festivals, such as Toronto's annual Pride Week: pridetoronto.com.

Such Web sites as gaytravel.com, gayjourney.com, and outtraveler.com provide all sorts of links and tips for "traveling queer."

There's even an online gay travel guide for one of Michigan's popular vacation spots: gaysaugatuckdouglas.com.

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