LGBTQ travel is very important for community representation and to make the world more aware and accepting of people with alternative identities. However, there are still a number of places where being LGBTQ is not only unwelcome but also a punishable offence. This article lists all the dos and don'ts that community members need to abide by while traveling in certain parts of the world.
While most people from the LGBTQ community don’t go walking around wrapped in their PRIDE flag like a burrito but some countries make it incredibly hard for Queer folks to be able to travel freely or even rent a room with a double bed without raised eyebrows. It is a shame to live in a world where even in the 21st century some countries hold LOVE between two consensual individuals of the same gender as a criminal offense and penalties range from imprisonment to execution.
In situations like these, it is important to still travel even if the clause of helping the economies of countries who haven’t yet decriminalized homosexuality is debatable. Certain precautions are important when traveling to places which aren’t otherwise marked for their inclusivity.
- Do turn on Private mode on social media– While the real danger from it may still be low, but hey, better to be safe than sorry, right?
- Don’t get into any LGBTQ activism inside a country which has laws against it. This one is hard to resist– not putting across your opinion especially when it is against everything you stand for is difficult but let’s be honest; laws take years to change and any statement you put forward might land you in jail. International laws differ and when your agenda was just to travel in the first place, maybe best do that peacefully while respecting the country’s laws.
- Do visit the country’s gay neighborhoods if there are any. This one is for countries that are inclusive. These places are often the storehouses of information regarding the history of the LGBTQ movement of that particular region. Also, you may stumble across some really cool coffee shops.
- Don't indulge in Public Displays of Affection– This one goes without saying. Cut back on that PDA even when you are in the most scenic location and the only thing that would make it perfect would be a kiss, but NO.
- Do use a VPN when traveling. This helps protect your internet browsing history. A VPN comes in handy in countries with a ban on some social networking sites and makes your lives a lot easier by protecting your identity, especially if you aim to use Tinder/ Grindr/ OkCupid.
- Don’t go announcing your identity to everyone. It is easy to often feel safe and trust people and situations but best keep your identity a secret from strangers you have just bonded with over a mug of beer.
- __ Do__ use search filters on hotel booking sites or use specific Queer-friendly sites like misterb&b to avoid any surprised look on your host’s face. The hosts of these guesthouses often know the best underground gay/lesbian bars in the city to unwind after a crazy day of travel.
Rest assured being a part of the LGBTQ community shouldn’t stop you from traveling. Travel as far as you may as long as you know your rights and do some research about the laws of the country you are visiting; find contact information of local support groups and be careful about whom you hook up with!
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