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06/21/2013

I’m LGBTQ and Traveling - Advice and Tips



If you are LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer), chances are you know that international travel may require some more forethought, as with a single woman in a more conservative country. Before you travel, it’s a good idea to be prudent and conduct a little research. Every country and every region will be different.

The State Department has excellent information written up about each country and its social dynamics. For example, it may seem France would be quite relaxed about its sexual politics, but with the recent legalization of marriage, hate crimes against gays and transgender folk have been on the uptick. Jamaica has great beaches but prohibits specific sexual activities that “target homosexuals and trans-gendered individuals” with heavy punishment. On the other hand, Spain and Japan are notably unreactive to the gay community—although the Japanese population, especially of the older generations, dislike PDA of any kind, whether it’s gay or straight.

These are no reasons not to travel and enjoy yourself, but a little caution can go a long way.

Other good sources of research include your travel guide or tour operator; and a variety of websites: Out Traveler for gay-friendly and gay-focused destinations, and the New York Times has a section for historically important sites as well as features of new and coming tourist communities.

If you’re country hopping through Europe, this color-coded map will come in handy—green for friendly, red for less tolerant. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) has a global map as well.

Be sure to ask around. Friends and folks on the Internet may have plenty of anecdotes. While anecdotes aren’t a scientific sampling of a location, they can reveal a lot about the general atmosphere of city or country. In the same way that Austin and Dubuque, or San Francisco and San Diego have different vibes, each city and culture will have its own petri dish of celebration or intolerance of transgender and queer travelers.

Don’t let countries with unfriendly reputations dissuade you from visiting, too. All of these maps and cautions are all to empower you as you travel. All you need is your visa.  

When you arrive at your destination, be sure to stop and observe the scene. Like taking a temperature—you want to be sure you’re prepared before you jump in the pool. Are couples holding hands? Are people in a hurry—and too busy to notice you—or are there would-be observers? Do the sexes seem segregated? (This may be a sign of less tolerance.) Do you feel at ease with outing yourself here?

If you’ve done your research and have chosen your destination, contact us for help with your visa! Passport Visas Express.com is happy to help you with any visa or passport application you would need to wade through on your own. We offer rush visas and can work with whatever schedule you may have. We are readily available for both business and tourist trips, right here at your fingertips Passport Visas Express.com1-888-596-6028, or email us at CustomerSupport@passportvisasexpress.com.

Check out our Country Info pages for further travel- or visa-related questions you may have.

And finally, here are some solid tips from the State Department:

What are some issues to be aware of while traveling abroad?

    Be a responsible tourist. Avoid potentially risky situations, and don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do at home!

    Remember that you are subject to the laws and the judicial process of the country you’re visiting.

    Avoid excessive physical displays of affection in public, particularly in more conservative countries or regions.

    If you intend to frequent Internet chat rooms or other meeting places, it’s wise to find out about the local situation—police in some countries have been known to monitor such sites and locales with the intention of carrying out entrapment campaigns

    Be wary of new-found “friends”—criminals sometimes exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of the LGBT scene.

    If you receive unwelcome attention or unwelcome remarks, it’s usually best to ignore them.

    Some resorts or LGBT neighborhoods can be quite segregated. Be aware that local residents may not approve of expressions of sexuality when you are in surrounding areas.

    You’re more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas, so exercise discretion

    Some hotels, especially in rural areas, won’t accept bookings from same-sex couples. It’s best to check before you go.




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