It’s no surprise that LGBT people face many personal and societal challenges in their lives. Many of us are lucky enough to live in places that accept us, have equal rights and provide legal protections. But I constantly have to remind myself that some don’t have this luxury. So to be clear, this article is written for those that DO have this luxury, which happens to be most people reading our blog. Still even people living in liberal places continue to face personal struggles within their own community of family, friends and colleagues, which I understand – partially.
Yes, coming out sucks (especially over and over again) but it is the only way we can promote LGBT acceptance and equality around the world.
I’m sure of one thing – coming out is one of the most important things you can do as an LGBT person. I know it’s not easy. Coming to terms with myself in my early 20’s was easily the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. But now that it’s done, I couldn’t be happier and I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. Both David and I have support from those around us in our lives and I know some people don’t. But unless you’re living in a place where you life is in danger – I can’t fully understand why people decide to stay in or even go back into the closet – job and financial security aside.
LGBT people often jump right back into the closet as soon as they get off the plane. Yes, I know….you’re in a new place and you’re worried about bla, bla, bla….But hello….you’re in Europe (or another equally open place), come on! So without meaning to rant on and on, I’d rather this be more of a challenge to our LGBT readers than a criticism. So without further adieu…here are 12 reasons why you should not go back into the closet while you’re traveling:
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- Hiding your orientation decreases visibility for LGBT people.
- You can’t expect the next generation to stand up for their right to be open if you aren’t their role model.
- Just because you’re in a place where being gay is not accepted doesn’t mean you have to be totally in the closet. You may not want to come out to locals but you’re usually not in danger from western travelers even in conservative places.
- Being open and true to yourself can make it easier to meet people and make friends on the road, which is especially helpful if you’re traveling alone.
- You’ve already stepped out of the closet once…no reason to go back in now.
- Travel is a tool for cultural exchange and learning about people – give people the chance to learn who you really are.
- Locals often give foreigners a pass. It might be tougher for locals to be gay but they often understand we come from different places and are often more tolerant towards us.
- You don’t know how tolerant someone will be until you give them a chance.
- Yes, coming out sucks (especially over and over again) but it is the only way we can promote LGBT acceptance and equality around the world.
- Being in the closet is boring, stifling and limiting…. so swing the doors open and leave the closet behind!
- You can’t get on Grindr if you’re in the closet…or wait, are you that headless torso? (Note of ignorance: do lesbians use hookup apps??)
- And finally, life is too fucking short to not live the life you want. So take a stand and stop giving a shit what people think.
What's your opinion? Are you out of the closet when you're traveling?
Disclaimer: There are many places around the world where being gay can be unsafe and in some cases punishable by imprisonment or even death (rare). Of course, we encourage you to practice caution and this list is meant to encourage LGBT people to be open only when safety is not a genuine concern.