Travel planning can be particularly trying for LGBTQ+ families. Destination, amenities, and social climate are just a few factors that can seriously impact travel for families of diverse composition. Cara Cochran (@caras_atl), an advocate for LGBTQ+ families, collaborated with GoWhee, an inclusive family travel planning app that offers the largest variety of filters on the market, to provide insights into some of the top areas of concern for LGBTQ+ parents when traveling, and how they can best prepare in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience.
Parents that identify as LGBTQ+ or have children that do are forced to consider whether they will be welcomed wherever they go. Unfortunately, there are many places where same-sex parents or LGBTQ+ kids could feel uncomfortable or face harassment. Questions they should consider:
- How does this community back its claims of LGBTQ+ friendliness?
- How is inclusivity expressed here?
- Do businesses fly rainbow flags?
- Is their facility signage appropriate?
- Are there openly LGBTQ+ spaces?
- What are the area’s politics like?
“We must take the time to understand that the communities – not just ‘tourist spots’ – we travel to are safe,” said Cara “Every pitstop must be calculated to ensure each experience is gender-expression and sexual-orientation affirming.”
The Gowhee filter, LGBTQ+ Friendly, is designed to help families find locations that are inclusive and allows parents to share information about inclusive places.
For many in the LGBTQ+ community, bathrooms can lead to uncomfortable situations when traveling. Transgender, Nonbinary, and Queer people who may dress in a way that isn’t “typical” for their gender often experience difficulty finding gender-affirming or gender-neutral bathrooms. This can be a tricky, and sometimes dangerous, situation, especially when restrooms are strictly labeled Men and Women.
Getting “Outed” and “Assumptions”
Even if a destination is welcoming and inclusive, LGBTQ+ families must consider getting there safely, which may require “lying low” until reaching their safe, Queer-affirming destination. Being “outed” and gender/family composition “assumptions” can put one’s safety at risk. Some questions parents might ask in advance of travel, include:
- Should we have a backup story about our family composition?
- Should we ask our children to bring gender-neutral clothes in case we travel through intolerant communities?
- Should we limit our affection until we’re back in a known safe space?
No one should have to hide who they are, especially children, but we must explain to them that safety is our top priority and that small-mindednesses is dangerous and unfortunately still exists.
Traveling while LGBTQ+ parenting can be difficult, but some destinations openly celebrate same-sex couples, diversity, and LGBTQ+. For example, Key West, Provincetown, New York, and San Francisco are just a few destinations where LGBTQ+ families can openly express their gender, sexual orientation, and family composition.
To discover family-friendly destinations around the world, filtered for LGBTQ+-friendly locations in every category- from restaurants and hotels to farms and wineries, and dozens more- download GoWhee.