“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” According to this quote by Mark Twain, he believed traveling was the key to ending prejudicial thinking and discrimination. However, reading this quote now, it can be seen as ironic because many minority groups like the LGBTQI+ community need special resources when traveling due to others bigotry.
Minority groups are considered a profitable market, according to a study in the Journal of Travel Research. In fact, according to the same study, it is estimated that over half the Fortune 500 companies have marketing programs aimed at minority groups, and travel marketers are no different.
Of these minority groups the LGBTQI+ community is particularly profitable for the travel industry, according to a study in the Journal of Travel Research, another in the International Journal of Tourism Research, and a Global Report on LGBT Tourism by the United Nations.
Nevertheless, there is still discrimination toward members if the LGBTQI+ community when traveling. Some are turned away from restaurants, hotels, museums, and other businesses, and it is legal in some parts of the world (including parts of the United States).
One of the studies I read examined a town in Mexico known for its tourism and they claimed that there was little evidence of locals desire to ban gay tourists or restrict their accomidations and that there was only “occasional abuse or harassment of gay tourists.”
There is even an entire blog which focuses on the 76+ countries that still have anti-LGBTQI laws, and they have an entire section dedicated to the harassment and murders of LGBTQI+ people in these countries.
In other words, LGBTQI+ people have to be careful when traveling to certain parts of the world. While change is needed it, unfortunately, is not likely to come overnight, so I have compiled a list of various resources that the LGBTQI+ community can use when traveling.
Click on the infographic for a PDF with hyperlinks:
Representation is important, especially for members of minority groups, because their experiences are often different from those in the majority. It may be helpful to get tips from someone who might actually understand what it is like to travel as a member of your community. So when planning your next trip you may want to check out one of these LGBTQI+ travel bloggers.
When it comes to planning a trip as a member of the LGBTQI+ community it may be more difficult to use one of the usual travel websites. While they may include some LGBTQI+-friendly hotels and restaurants it may be easier to use a travel agency or LGBTQI+ focused website. There are also some other resources you can use to check the safety of a country based on their LGBTQI+ laws.
Fortunately, there are also many apps to help LGBTQI+ travelers whether it is finding safe restrooms or meeting other travelers from within your community.
Being able to travel is a right that almost everyone should have, but at the moment there are certain groups who have to take precautions. While I am sure it is frustrating to have to be more careful because of others' narrow-mindedness, you should not have to give up your right to travel. Thankfully, there are many resources and people fighting to ensure members of the LGBTQI+ community can still travel safely, and maybe one day they will no longer be needed.