It’s finally summer and we can leave our jobs behind for a couple of weeks. Time for holiday, time to visit beautiful places!
I’ve been traveling a lot. But since it’s Pride Month, I would like to share something important with you. Because as a lesbian, traveling takes a little bit more than just picking my next trip.
I’m spoiled, I’ll admit that. I’ve been growing up in an environment where being gay just means you’re able to love someone, where same-sex couples are as normal and accepted as eating cake on a birthday. I’m sure you all follow the news, and it shouldn’t be necessary to even mention it. However, for people like me – who never have to be careful when holding our lover’s hand – traveling could be dangerous.
So here’s some simple travel advice for people who are out and proud.
1. Make sure you realize which country you’re visiting, and who you’re taking with you.
Realization is the first step for a safe trip. Every country is different, every part of the world is different. Especially when the holding-hand-part comes as natural as breathing, realizing that this isn’t always accepted is very important.
Use the internet or a good travel guide to find out whether homosexuality is legal or not. In The Netherlands, the Rijksoverheid has a travel advice page per country, which also mentions homosexuality. Travel guides like the Lonely Planet have a gay in… section, or just type in the country you’re about to visit in Google. You can also try to find the right hotels where you can stay safely (with your partner), most big western company’s also have hotels in these countries.
3. Think twice.
Even though homosexuality might be legal in the country you’re visiting, keep your rainbow flag in your bag a little while longer. There are a lot of countries where it might be legal to be gay, but society doesn’t accept it. This means you still have to be careful.
4. You’re not gonna change the world in prison (or worse).
Yes, we all want to make this world a better place where love counts, but you’re not going to fix it by getting arrested (or worse). Most countries see homosexuality as Western propaganda, and they’re not going to like it if you throw it in their faces. We will change the world one day, but we’re going to do that by using communication, by telling the world who we are and what we do. We don’t want to offend people, we want them on our side. We won’t have homosexuality legalized world-wide tomorrow, but we will one day, and this is going to take time. Safety first.
5. In some countries heterosexual couples are not allowed to kiss on the streets either.
Before you get offended, think about the fact that in a lot of countries P.D.A. (Public Display of Affection) is not accepted at all, not even for heterosexual couples. Don’t do anything they don’t want you to do. It’s called respect, like covering yourself when visiting a church. Once you’re back in your hotel, you can let go as much as you like…..
I hope you will take this little piece of advice, and you’ll enjoy the beautiful world out there. Come back from your holiday, and change the world from a safe place.
Oh and one more thing… Happy Pride!
Inge Folkers is a passionate, honest dreamer who lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She quit her studies in 2012 in order to make her dreams come true and become a writer. Her debut novella has appropriately been named Masterpiece. Apart from her passion for writing, Inge likes to ice skate, play the bass guitar and have good conversations with friends.