12 Reasons Why Gays Should Not Be in the Closet while Traveling

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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  1. Hiding your orientation decreases visibility for LGBT people.
  2. You can’t expect the next generation to stand up for their right to be open if you aren’t their role model.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. You’ve already stepped out of the closet once…no reason to go back in now.
  6. Travel is a tool for cultural exchange and learning about people – give people the chance to learn who you really are.
  7. 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.
  8. You don’t know how tolerant someone will be until you give them a chance.
  9. 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.
  10. Being in the closet is boring, stifling and limiting…. so swing the doors open and leave the closet behind!
  11. 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??)
  12. 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.

14 Comments on “12 Reasons Why Gays Should Not Be in the Closet while Traveling”

  1. Sam says:

    Absolutely agree with you, Auston! I’ve heard Dan Savage, the gay rights activist and sex-positive sex-advice columnist, say more than once “coming out is the most significant political statement an LGBTQ person can make”, and I definitely feel that rings true. I’ve never travelled anywhere where I felt that being out would have been a threat to my safety, but most of the time I just don’t fucking care whether or not people approve of my “lifestyle”. Also, I’m really curious about lesbian hookup apps – they must exist, right?!

    1. Auston Matta says:

      well I assume they use Tinder, maybe? no idea haha. And yes, I’m pretty happy with my “lifestyle.” I always say that gays have more fun and I think it’s true.

  2. Sean says:

    Totally agree, but our current CS host in Casablanca, Morocco stated clearly in his profile that he is interested in everybody apart from queer and lesbian….(we didn’t intend to stay with him, but 2 other hosts agreed to accept us and eventually cancelled our stay). So, we still gotta be careful according to every situation….
    but for sure, being the true self is much better than lying all the time.

    1. stefanarestis says:

      Wow- in my little bubble I didn’t realise such people exist on couch surfing!! Ffs that’s awful!

      1. Auston Matta says:

        Not surprising in an Arab country. But ya, still shitty that someone goes out of their way to say it.

    2. Auston Matta says:

      Interesting…though I have to point out that it was your choice to stay with a couchsurfing host who is anti-gay. Personally, I would never do that and I would pay money to not put myself in that situation. To me that is the same as some racist on couchsurfing saying he doesn’t host black people and condoning it. But yes, obviously it makes sense in your case. Morocco in general is a different story as well given the societal pressures and safety concerns.

      1. Very true. Sometimes you just got to bite the bullet… you tried what you could to avoid it, but if your safety or shelter is being threatened then use your god-given talents for drama to act “straight” and just enjoy knowing you’ll have the last laugh!

  3. Damon and Jo says:

    #12. AMEN. Very empowering.

  4. Jon says:

    This is an incredibly dangerous and naive post. I’ve travelled all over the world and there are places you should never reveal that you are gay or you put yourself in danger or serious physical harm.

    Putting yourself in harms way out of some misplaced notion of empowerment is idiotic. Protecting yourself is not morla cowardice.

    1. Auston Matta says:

      Hi Jon – thanks for your comment and viewpoint. We agree that safety is a concern and well this article is written with that in mind. But one thing we try not to forget is that the rights we have today are a result of generations before us to risked themselves to stand up, fight and be visible. In many cases, people risked their own personal safety to fight for the rights of others. In some cases, you might be able to draw a parallel argument for travel. But yes, there is a fine balance. Thanks for reading.

  5. Really good article and one I needed to read! I travel full time and I’m always very hesitant to be “too gay” when I go to another country, until I get the lay of the land. But you’re right, we need to just be ourselves and embrace it, if not for ourselves, for others who might need to see openly gay people to help with their struggles.

    1. Auston Matta says:

      totally agree. thanks for your insight.

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