When You’re LGBTQ, Travel Is Different
Traveling in general can be challenging for anyone, but when you identify as LGBTQ, then the game is stepped up a notched. Not only do you have to research the details for your trip, but you have to find out if there are laws against you being yourself or showing love to another. One countries culture might change how you interact on your visit compared to other people traveling.
Expecting less than desired comments or looks has come second nature. The trick is to be kind. No matter what others say or do, don’t engage them. Never is it worth it ruining your day or trip.
So, that brings up another point, would it be more beneficial to just stay in a LGBTQ recommend accommodation or be extra vigilant to plan a visit where the laws or society are against you. When in doubt about a destination, read what other LGBTQ bloggers have to say. They can be a great route on knowing what to look out for. Check out this site for a list of some top LGBTQ bloggers.
IS the Destination LGBTQ Friendly or Tolerant
Can we hold hands or show affection in public? These questions are always at the forefront of our thoughts when traveling. Or when you have to explain in a friendly manner that no, you are not sisters or want two single beds.
If the destination you are choosing is not as tolerant, then be prepared to either take precaution on how affectionate you are or how much info you share with taxi drivers, hotel staff, or the general public. It can be liberating to experience activities or tours with other LGBTQ individuals. If the destination is known for causing issues, then that’s when it is best to surround yourself with like minded individuals.
Sometimes it is in your best interest to keep a low profile so that you may just enjoy your visit. Normally, I would never encourage someone to hide who they are, but sometimes your safety is more important.
Be Prepared For Questions
Over time, you learn to get pretty good at coming up with answers for questions most people don’t get on a day to day basis. Is this your sister? Oh do you want two separate beds? Where is your husband? Is the destination safe for us? Should we not show PDA or pretend we are not together? Not only will you get questions about your sexuality, but you also need to be asking questions beforehand for your own safety.
Honestly, we have traveled to destinations, like Jamaica for example, who has had issues with homophobia discrimination in the past. We were lucky in that we have many people mistake us for sisters, so they don’t bother. The rest of the time we stayed in our resort, The Rockhouse, Negril, Jamaica. It wasn’t till after we left that I read about how this island was not so friendly to the LGBTQ community.
We should have asked questions beforehand and been more prepared in case. Should we boycott a destination because of their laws or phobias? This can be a hard question to ask yourself.
Sometimes it is worth it to curb PDA to not only keep you safe, but also out of respect for others. Yes, we are one of those people that still believe, kindness and understanding is the way to live.
Don’t Forget The ID & Important Documents
When traveling, you may encounter certain countries whose legal rights differ then the United States, our home. It is especially important to make sure the correct documents are in order if something happens. Here are some documents to consider when packing your bags next time.
- Legal document (living will that states your partner/wife/husband/etc has certain rights)
- Health documents (Health care directive)
- If have child then a Child Care Authorization for Medical Care documents
- Insurance cards
- Parentage/Legal guardian for any minors
- Copy of child’s birth certificate
- Notarized document showing spouse has legal rights to travel with child if names differ
- Correct Passport with gender identified
- Any documents for medication (check the destination beforehand)
Try LGBTQ Friendly Acommendations or Destinations
A great way to enjoy your trip is to pick LGBTQ friendly accommodations or tours. It’s nice to not have to censor yourself when you’re supposed to be relaxing. Below are some great sites to help you find what you’re looking for.
- Check the Tag-Approved site to see if your hotel is LGBTQ friendly
- Take a look at IGLTA for travel resources
- Another list for friendly accommodation is Purple Roofs
Another great thing to try is connect with the local LGBTQ community of where you are going. Today’s social platforms give a huge boost in connecting with others in an instant. Try some popular apps like Instagram, Facebook, Tinder, Grindr, or Her to name a few. Always use caution when meeting people or going to places. Entrapment campings still exists as well as individuals whose opinions about love differ greatly from yours.
Some Safe Countries To Try
See what I said there, some. So that means, the list for unsafe destinations can be consider high still. Just be careful in any destination, because you can always be subject to emotional or physical abuse, no matter the destination.
Sadly, we have had a family member experience this, in California, no less. The truth is, you always have to be vigilant of your surroundings and who you are with. Stay safe.
- Africa: Cape Town
- Asia: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- Central/South America: Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay.
- Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.
- North America: Canada, Mexico, and United States
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.
Destinations with Laws Against, But Look the Other Way
Some places don’t really bat an eye at LGBTQ people, but there are still those few where it’s better to be cautious going into the trip, than be surprised later. Honestly, homophobia can strike at any time and any location. That’s what happens when you live in a world of 8 billion opinionated people.
Just remember, it’s a process for people or laws to change. Thought we would have to wait longer to be legalized as married, that one was a pleasant surprise.
Honestly, some countries are right on that cusps of laws changing or of the law and it’s citizens looking the other way. It wasn’t very long ago that this list would of been much longer, but now, the LGBTQ community is being more accepted by society.
- India: Saw decriminalization in 2018, but rural villages have been know to still show homophobia.
- Indonesia: Mostly due to religious beliefs, you can still encounter homophobia when in public.
- Singapore: Yes it is still illegal, but many do not enforce it.
- Russia: Sadly this beautiful country has had more homophobia present in the last few years and would be a place I would advice caution when being yourself.
- Caribbean: Many of the small countries have strict laws, but some have made efforts to change how welcoming they are.
Criminalization Awaits You
Unfortunately, the list is not short for this one. In fact, in some countries, death by stoning would awaits us. So sadly, these are some of the countries you should really think twice about or make certain special arrangements prior to protect yourself. Some countries have laws that only affect the males or certain aspects of a homosexual relationship.
- Africa: Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, and Tunisia to name some of them.
- Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sir Lanka, and Pakistan.
- Central/South America: Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, Saint Vincent, Grenadines, and Dominica.
- Oceania: Samoa, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands (male), Papua New Guinea (male), and Tonga (male).
- Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Gaza Strip (male).
Want more info, then here is a great website to take a look at. Please always stay safe and remember, love is love.
Have you traveled as a LGBTQ individual ? Did you encounter any issues at certain destinations or have any suggestions for other places that are LGBTQ friendly while traveling? Let us know in the comments section so that we may update or recommend it to others. Thanks for taking a look at our site and don’t forget to subscribe for future articles and tips.
The information on this website has come from research and by experiencing some locations ourselves. Websites and information on laws or countries are always subject to change. We try to keep up to date on any new information, or tips to help make your adventure more enjoyable.