Lesbian & Gay Hospitality Exchange International is a growing network of lesbians and gay men from around the world who offer their hospitality to other members at no charge. These hosts, in turn, are received when they travel. There are currently more than 500 listings in over 30 countries.
It was founded in 1991 as GHEI - Gay Hospitality Exchange International - and registered as a non-profit organization designed to provide a service to our community. The organization changed its name to Lesbian & Gay Hospitality Exchange International in 1993.
Apart from the obvious financial benefit of staying in members' homes when we travel, the network offers the more significant advantage of cultural, intellectual and social exchanges through such personal contact. We are able to see a place from the locals' perspective instead of as tourists. If that were all, you would already have enough reasons to join, but the close friendships that develop are an added bonus that we could never put a price on.
An online directory is available year round. Members who wish to travel use the website to contact the members they would like to be received by. Members are expected to give their prospective hosts some advance notice before making their visit. Last minute requests for accommodation are not appreciated and can simply be denied. Members are expected to answer all requests for accommodation, whether in the affirmative or the negative. Members are expected to limit requests for hospitality to two nights. This protects hosts from being stuck with a guest with whom they are incompatible and protects the traveller from outright refusals of hospitality because of the hosts' fear of that possibility. However, hosts are free to offer longer stays at their discretion - and many do after learning how interesting and pleasant their guests are.
We oppose discrimination on the basis of gender, race or national origin, age, "beauty" or other considerations. We expect all members of LGHEI to be welcome at the homes of all other members. If cultural or other considerations prevent you from abiding by these conditions, please explain this with your membership application.
All members are expected to respect the customs and obey the laws of the areas they are visiting, particularly those regarding homosexuality. LGHEI cannot be held responsible for its members' conduct. LGHEI reiterates that it is an organization with the sole purpose of facilitating international and domestic travel. Members are traceable through their directory addresses, and only members receive the directory. This is a built-in security concerning our guests.
Members offer anything from a guest bedroom to a sofa, to a foam mattress for a sleeping bag. The rest is up to you.
At the time of the visit you may choose to offer airport pick-up, breakfast, tours of gay and/or tourist spots or whatever else a good host may think of - depending on your possibilities. Think how you would like to be received.
Each member decides how many guests he/she can receive and when. Nevertheless, this is a hospitality exchange and, therefore, not for those who aren't capable of, or interested in, receiving other members.
Don't forget that both hosts and guests benefit from each visit! Our hosts have their house rules, as we have ours, and appreciate when they are respected.
Because the hospitality is free, a token gift or a dinner invitation for the hosts might be appreciated
The primary purpose of LGHEI is to encourage hospitality exchange among members. All members must participate in this aspect of our program. Nonetheless, some members are also interested in exchanging their homes for short periods. We are willing to indicate that interest in our membership directory but all arrangements must be made by the interested members who also bear all responsibility for such arrangements. Home exchange will not be considered a substitute for hospitality exchange.
While LGHEI is not meant to be a penpal network because many excellent ones already exist, many members (especially Associate Members) are also interested in developing friendships through correspondence. We are happy to indicate this in their entry in the annual directory.