June is Pride Month and with many LGBTQ events going on throughout the world, safety is top of mind. While many countries are LGBTQ‐friendly, there are certain areas that require more caution than others while you’re traveling. No matter where you and/or your partner choose to travel this June and beyond, here are a few tips to consider to help your travels go smoothly.
Planning: In order to help ensure the best travel experience and enjoy safety and comfort for the duration of your trip, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your destination and the locales through which you’ll be traveling to get there. Take time to learn about the cultural, legal and security issues that affect the LGBTQ community in these locations.
Profile Consideration: Along with planning ahead and understanding the culture you’ll be surrounded by, it’s important to consider whether there are certain ways the local population generally conducts itself based on the laws and customs of the country. In some countries, identifying as LGBTQ may simply be culturally frowned upon. But other societies, the showing of affection – is generally considered innocent by Western standards – may be against certain cultural and/or religious practices.
Documentation: Applying for a visa, in some instances, may best be done as a single individual rather than as part of a couple. Additionally, depending upon the cultural and legal climate of the country to which you are traveling, give thoughtful consideration to planning your stay in a hotel or resort, as some circumstances may require an LGBTQ couple to reserve a room with two beds instead of one or even bring separate luggage for each person.
Transgender Tip: Transgender travelers may face additional scrutiny when navigating airports due to the cultural and legal landscape of other countries. Security procedures (like body scanning) at airports may be distressing to transgender people – know your rights! If you are transgender, find out whether the country you’re considering may refuse entry to transgender people or those whose gender does not reflect their presentation.
Safety and Security: No matter where you choose to travel, stay aware of your surroundings, disclose as little personal information as possible and avoid drawing attention to yourself. If you are harassed, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible and do not escalate it by confronting your harasser(s). If you are being followed, find a busy establishment to enter. Above all, be sure to advise a trusted contact back home of your itinerary and the contact information for anyone with whom you plan to meet while traveling.
For more safety tips, statistics and helpful resources for LGBTQ travelers, visit www.aig.com/travel/lgbtq.