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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Where to Spend Pride Month

Happy Pride Month! I'm a proud ally that does their best to support LGBTQ+ friends, family, and those who I don't know, but deserve equal treatment, because people are people, no matter how they identify or who they love or what they want to be called. It seems like the easiest thing for me to do, but I know it's hard for people every single day, facing discrimination and threats. 

When I travel, I want to go to inclusive, queer-friendly, fun destinations. Here are my suggestions, as an ally, for Pride Month.

So, why would you visit destinations that aren't inclusive or accepting? Anytime I travel and see overwhelming support, resources, representation, I feel like I made a good choice in where to visit. This is an atmosphere I want to immerse myself in. Palm Springs was a great location for many reasons, but especially for their year-round Pride vibes. We have purposely postponed a trip to Florida indefinitely, due to their many new laws restricting freedom of speech, women's rights, history, drag queens, and queer students (or even students with queer parents). 

It's not just my family and a lot of my friends who are avoiding the Sunshine State. Advocacy groups have added a laundry list of warnings against Florida for travelers. The NAACP put out a statement regarding those thinking about making the trip: “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.” 

Instead of Florida, we headed to Paris to visit Disneyland there (and saved money doing so) and we'll be visiting Disneyland in California in June to celebrate Eric's birthday, Pride, and 100 years of Disney. I can't wait to see all the limited food and drinks!

If you aren't looking to visit a Disney park or Florida, how about one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities around the world? These cities ranked highest on the LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index:
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Brighton, England
  • Brussells, Belgium
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Oslo, Norway
  • San Francisco, California
  • Valletta, Malta

Spend your travel dollars with travel brands that support the community. You can make new friends while traveling with an inclusive group trip from Contiki, that will take you to awesome destinations, make you feel safe, and help you bond with other queer travelers. 

Don't forget your gear! This baker's dozen of queer people are bringing clothes, bags, accessories, and sunscreen for your travels. REI, Patagonia, Columbia, and Prana are some of my favorite outdoor brands that make clothing and support the queer community. These 10 amazing brands are queer-owned. I also love Juvia's Place for makeup that's all-inclusive. They have bright colors to help you express yourself and foundations, powders, and concealers for everyone, from the palest skin tone to the deepest brown. It's a Black woman-owned business that thinks makeup is for everyone and their prices are super affordable.

I also enjoy following queer travelers on social media, because not only are they fun, but I learn about great new places to visit and which cities/countries are inclusive and rainbow-friendly. Nobody wants to feel unsafe or unwelcome when they are on vacation. As a woman, who sometimes travels alone, these places are usually great for solo ladies. Here are some of my favorites:
  • @27travels are two lesbians from NYC who recently got married on a trip after traveling the world for several years. They are fun and their account is a mix of their favorite things and the best inclusive places they've traveled to.
  • @raviaroundtheworld is a proud gay man who connects with his community wherever he goes. It can be risque, but his posts always make me happy.
  • @coupleofmen is a gay couple who have traveled the world and help other LGBTQ+ travelers find better accommodations, destinations, and activities.
  • @asianmapleleaf is a Canadian-born gay traveler who takes his followers along on his adventures, while he indulges in his love of photography and cuisine. You can find him traveling with his sweetie @teraj08, a gay Black traveler, singer, and music producer.
  • @thegaytraveler is a personal friend of mine I met years ago at the Travel Goods Show. He highlights travels with friends, as well as LGBTQ-friendly destinations and events in his hometown of Washington, DC.
  • @amis_adventures is a Black trans solo traveler that shows what life is like for him in different destinations.
  • @thequeernomads these beautiful Black women are married travel advocates and queer activists. 
There are many more queer travel influencers for you to follow. 

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