LGBT+ travel.

LGBT pride!

Happy Pride month!  The LGBTQIA+ community makes up a large percentage of the travel population but can face singular challenges when traveling. For example, many countries do not recognize same-sex unions, and in some countries, same-sex relationships are considered a crime with significant or severe punishment.  Here are a few things to consider for LGBTQIA+ travel.

History suggests that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are some of the people most willing to travel.  In addition, the LGBTQIA+ community tends to travel more than their non-LGBTQIA+ counterparts.  This reality is partly because the LGBTQIA+ community is often dual income, with no children, and having more discretionary money and time to travel.

With the prevalence of travel in the LGBTQIA+ community, however, there are significant considerations to be made for travel. As recently as 2019, the country of Brunei enacted an Islamic law that makes it legal to flog and stone LGBTQIA+ people to death.  It’s not the only country where LGBTQIA+ individuals can face the death penalty for the simple act of loving someone of the same sex.  Therefore, for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, travel to top destinations is not a simple decision of when and if they have the resources to travel.

Many of the top destinations, such as the Maldives and Dubai, are primarily Muslim countries. In addition, top Caribbean destinations like Jamaica or Dominica have laws and attitudes quite contrary to the LGBTQIA+ community. Therefore, travelers need to be aware of these laws and attitudes before planning their trips.

Simple gestures like hand-holding that heterosexual couples take for granted are not a given for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  Along with other travel issues, members of this community must consider when or if to show public displays of affection.  Even sharing a bed or using a dating app can be a hazard for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Therefore, while many may want to travel as we all do, traveling to certain countries for LGBTQIA+ members can lead to the possibility of death for many.  As we wrap up Gay Pride month, I want my readers to be aware that many of the things non-LGBTQIA+ travelers take for granted are not a given for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Have you ever had issues when traveling as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?  Were you aware of the risks many people unwittingly take when traveling? I’d like to know.

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Donna Hunter, PhD

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