No Respect for the Gay and Lesbian Traveler

In spite of some recent rants, I am usually not a travel whiner. Stuff happens, I deal with it and move on. However, some marketing missteps in the hospitality industry along with a few personal experiences have made me think in greater detail about how the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered (GLBT) community is treated in general by the travel industry.

The GLBT community has made tremendous strides over the last two decades. As a group, we have gone from living in the shadows to not only being accepted as human beings, but actually sought after by advertisers. This really shouldn’t be surprising, as a demographic the GLBT community is on average better educated, enjoys higher salaries and has more disposable income than any other minority group. One would think that the hospitality industry would have realized this fact by now.

In their defense, airlines, hotels and cruise lines have tried. However, I get the distinct feeling that whoever designs their campaigns either isn’t gay or is twenty years old, or both. As a thirty-something professional, I DO want thoughtful and targeted marketing assuring me of an accepting, stress-free experience. I also want front of house staff who don’t give us strange looks when we ask for one bed and not to have to enter the “other” box for marital status.

What I DO NOT want are rainbow infused ad campaigns with half naked men. While I appreciate the effort, adding a rainbow flag to anything does not make it GLBT friendly- it just makes it colorful. And soft porn frankly isn’t a motivating factor when deciding on travel destinations, the destinations are.

Second, why do we need separate things? Expedia recently launched a GLBT Travel Lounge offering gay friendly travel options. That sounds fine on the face of it, but why does there need to be a GLBT search listing? Would you have a separate search criteria for African-Americans or Christians?  That’s absurd. Furthermore, the gay city guides on Expedia seem to highlight a lot of clubs, bars and design stores. Not feeding into any stereotypes there, are we? If they advertised stereotypical listings to other minorities, there would be a national boycott.

I do not need to be segregated with other gay people. I am an independent traveler and am quite capable of handling myself in most situations around the world and can interact with people of all backgrounds. I’m not looking for everyone to get who I am and do not need to travel in a homogenized bubble.

In order to demonstrate that I’m not completely crazy, let’s use an example. Below is an ad from Philadelphia Tourism.

The first thing one notices is the rainbow flag. Ok, fine, I understand it is intended to quickly associate the city with the GLBT community. While I really don’t like this use of it, I’ll accept it. What really irritates me the most here is the tag line:

“Get your history straight and your nightlife gay.”

What on earth is this supposed to mean?! It makes me angry just to read it. Does it mean that sightseeing is a straight activity? Does it mean that we need to pretend to be straight while touring? And why is it assumed that I want gay nightlife? (sorry for all the rhetorical questions) This statement accomplishes the amazing feat of being both offensive and utterly confounding at the same time.

I do not understand why the hospitality industry does not do a better job of marketing to GLBT audiences. Drop the rainbow flags and instead educate your staffs that 1) gay people do exist and 2) that you treat them like any other guest. This revolutionary concept would go well beyond any promise of techno parties or the excessive use of glitter. The same goes with gay-friendly itineraries. I don’t even know what this means: clubs and brunch only restaurants? We don’t need that, our travel interests are usually the same as anyone else when visiting a new place. When I go to Paris I want to visit Montmartre or the Louvre, not a drag club. What we need is respect and not segregation.

Marketing by stereotypes is never a good idea, and yet it remains a socially acceptable gimmick when addressing the GLBT community. I’m not trying to say “poor me” here, I just don’t understand it.

On average, GLBT professionals enjoy a higher level of disposable income than other groups and many chose to spend that money on travel. Usually we don’t have kids and the accompanying financial concerns of the prototypical family. The industry needs to do a better job of giving us a proper return on our travel investment. I am frankly tired of feeling like a second class citizen when traveling with my partner.

The rainbow flag is the symbol of the GLBT community because it is reflective of the fact that the community is incredibly diverse and is comprised of people from all walks of life. There is no average gay person and to assume that fact through travel marketing is at once both insulting and counterproductive. As a community, we have fought too hard and endured too much to be treated as a joke.

So please, travel companies, drop the pink boas and instead produce thoughtful marketing that the GLBT community can respect and not be repulsed by.

If any company needs help in learning how to really talk travel with the GLBT community, my inbox is always open: matt@landlopers.com

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

51 Responses

  1. pam

    Sometime back I interviewed the masterminds between AA’s women-focused marketing program. I asked for specific things they’d done to target travel for women and you know what they told me? They’d put a purse hook on the seatback. A freaking purse hook. I don’t carry a purse.

    I feel you on this. Making it pink doesn’t make it better for the female traveler, no more than slapping a rainbow flag on it makes it gay friendly. Here’s to more enlightened thinking, soon.

    Reply
  2. Cailin

    Great rant Matt! Such good points!

    Reply
  3. Melanie@TravelsWithTwo

    Halle-freakin’-lujah, Matt! I’m with you: how about we all just…travel?

    I feel like much of the mainstream travel industry sees the GLBT rainbow only as the official symbol of bare chests and silver hot pants…and God knows, the successful cruise brand RSVP already has that market sewn up.

    If big hotel chains, airlines, travel search engines or tour companies added a few photos of gay and/or lesbian couples to their promotional sites and materials (and I can’t imagine this doesn’t get suggested by marketing teams across the world), it would send a simple message to travelers: these are the people in your neighborhood, as well as in the neighborhood wherever the heck you’re headed.

    Reply
  4. Mary Jo

    Somewhere, in a tiny little cubicle, a tiny little mind is thinking that this marketing ploy makes sense.

    Marketing people need to understand their demographics first, and then market to them, and that means not making sweeping generalizations as you have described. But instead, they define their average demographics, failing to realize that “average” describes no one.All any

    If you ever get out Seattle way, I’d love to show you my city. I don’t know where any of the clubs are, but I can do a mean museum, culinary, wine tour of my city!

    Reply
  5. Kara

    Such a thoughtful post. You’ve made your point so eloquently. I hope that travel marketers DO take you up on your offer to consult on how to best talk to the gay community.

    Reply
  6. Ron

    I agree that throwing a rainbow flag in an ad isn’t effective marketing. There is a role for niche marketing. All convention and visitors bureaus do target marketing. In fact, their sales people are typically divided among markets and you have folks that specialize in attracting ethnic, religious, fraternal, military, etc. groups. A better understanding of the WIDE diversity in the GLBT community would help.

    Reply
  7. Kelsey

    Really great post, Matt! While I can see the purpose in having areas that are designated to be GLBT-friendly in countries where the GLBT culture is more underground, in most places, it’s just unnecessary. As long as we feel the need to designate things as “GLBT-friendly”, that allows people to feel that it’s okay to be GLBT-UNfriendly, which is part of the problem in the first place.

    As a traveler who is also bi, I can appreciate being informed about where like-minded folks hang out in a given place, but beyond that…I really just don’t see the point.

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  8. Melissa Stanford

    I totally get where the stereotype fits in. If you’re a hot, 20-year-old gay male, of course you’re going to want to go to a gay club if nightlife is your thing. Better chance of catching a vacation romance there then at a straight club, no?

    Nonetheless, that’s where the stereotype begins and ends. I think you hit it on the head that education is the answer. I don’t think you can market special activities to someone based on sexuality or gender identification. Sure, when people are young and looking to connect with others like them it might work, but after awhile doesn’t clubbing get old for everyone?

    The best thing I think is to educate staff that regardless of lifestyle, all guests must be treated the same, and perhaps a few courses on diversity to make sure everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, age, color, creed, etc. is respected and safe while away from home.

    Reply
  9. giuliadventures

    Think this is my favourite post ever…

    Reply
  10. Gail K

    Great post! It really made me think about all marketing (not just for travel or for GLBT) and how disappointed I am in most advertising geared towards the 30-something crowd. Everyone assumes that because I am in my mid-30s that I should have kids and drive a minivan, but I have neither. The whole world can’t be packaged into a nice, square box and sold. Everyone is different and it is our differences that make the world a better place. I just wish the advertisers would realize this, too.

    Reply
  11. WanderingTrader

    While I am not gay I think you have a very good point in this article. GLBT’s should be the focus of more advertisers because you guys do have a lot more money to spend and do like to take more trips as a result. I think they may not be ready just yet to jump onto that bandwagon. The states are still behind for equal rights in comparison to Europe, Canada, and Argentina (just approved gay marriage). You may consider teaming up with some advertisers from there.

    Reply
  12. Nick Vivion

    I’m a gay independent traveller and while I definitely agree with most of your points, I think it’s also important to remember that those advertisements are for a particular segment of the LGBT travel market. They want people to come and spend money in hotels, restaurants, bars and tours.

    Independent folks are more likely to spend some time to find that quirky B+B, or CouchSurf, or stay with friends. They are less likely to be using Expedia to book a hotel/car/flight package.

    So when I see those ads, I see them as targeted to a different sliver of the demographic. And that’s something people marketing to the gays are slowly starting to understand: We are actually many demographics, and they have to start treating us as such if they hope to really engage us.

    Reply
  13. Gray

    Great rant, Matt. There’s a lot of thought-provoking material here. I agree the ads are playing to a small fraction of the GLBT community (the young, single, party people) and not taking into account the diversity within the GLBT community. Poor marketing, as you say.

    Personally, I like the idea of an Expedia or a tourism council pointing out which hotels in a city are GLBT-friendly. In the early part of this post, you talk about how you get sick of front desk staff giving you the eye when you and your partner ask for just one bed. I think the whole point of steering people toward GLBT-friendly hotels is so you don’t have those uncomfortable experiences. A tourism council can’t control the staff in an individual hotel, any more than you or I can, but they can promote the GLBT-friendly hotels so that when you visit a city, you have a better experience (hopefully). I would love it if Expedia or a tourism council would do my research for me and steer me toward solo-friendly hotels and restaurants so I don’t waste my money on those that treat me like a second class citizen because I’m not part of a couple. (But yes, if they marketed that service in an offensive way, I’d be upset, too.)

    Now I’m curious about whether any of the marketers developing these campaigns are themselves members of the GLBT community (I’m guessing not). And if not, why the hell not?

    Reply
  14. Nick Vivion

    @Kelsey I also run a website called Unicorn Booty, which connects the LGBT community to gay-friendly businesses every day. I used to think there was no need to have a “gay-friendly” designator – why couldn’t we just shop at “normal” businesses? However, after volunteering against Prop 8 and watching rights removed from us, I now believe that it is more important than ever to only support those businesses that support us.

    This is even more important now that any business can donate to political campaigns.

    In the travel space, it is the same idea. We need to keep our $745 billion yearly spend among like-minded folks. All of these CVBs want our money, so they have to step up and support equality if they every hope to really capture the hearts and minds of the LGBT folks.

    I am a firm believer in the power of the group, and if we all decide to stop spending in places that don’t support us, we would be one huge step closer to equality around the world.

    (This might not apply for traveling to a homo-hating country where you hope to spread a little knowledge and understanding about gay people, however)

    Reply
  15. Jaime D.

    Oh WOW, I love this post!!! As a gay man myself I couldn’t agree more. The thing I hate most is when I see an ad for gay travel and the guys are half naked (toned with the nice abs and the nice pecs and the nice everything) it just makes me sick I sure as hell dont look like that and um last time i checked we don’t all look like that. About the clubs and brunches of course thats a must on any gay mans itinerary right? NOT… that is just the stereotype people have of the gay community they assume we are all club heads and love brunches. I wish they would spend time with the gay community to see how diverse we really are then they should be able to use the rainbow flag in their ads!

    Reply
  16. Ron

    I must admit; I do love a good brunch.

    Reply
  17. Emily

    Very interesting rant. I never stopped to think about it, but you’re so right. The advertisers really do miss the mark when it comes to the GLBT community (I’m sure there are the young partiers, but that’s definitely a stereotype). That Philadelphia ad is pretty awful! Interestingly, I was recently told that the B&B industry is really gay-friendly because many gay partners own B&Bs together.

    Reply
  18. Matt Long

    Thank you all for some very thoughtful posts.

    @Nick (I really need to install threaded comments) I disagree with your perception of the independent traveler. When I use that moniker for myself, I simply mean that I do not travel as part of a group or set itinerary. I do however use Expedia and I almost always stay at large, main stream hotel chains. One of the reasons why I NEVER look for B&Bs is the fear of what the individual owner’s thoughts and attitudes are. At least at a Marriott we won’t be thrown out. LOL This actually bit us recently in Marrakech where the Meridien was a horrible experience.

    I am also very influenced by travel advertising, both good and bad. When I see thoughtful GLBT campaigns I get excited and am flattered by them. Really.

    I can also get onboard with the idea of listing GLBT friendly hotels, if it’s done properly. The Expedia listings seem way out of whack, they don’t list several main stream hotels like the W which are definitely GLBT friendly. If such a list is going to exist, it must be comprehensive and well researched, otherwise companies just pay to be a part of it and the opportunity wasted.

    The truth is though that all the airlines, cruise lines and major hotels will always call themselves GLBT friendly. What really matters is how friendly they truly are when GLBT guests visit.

    @Ron – I love a good brunch myself. :)

    Reply
  19. derrick sorles

    WHERE DO I BEGIN! I agree with some of your comments and disagree with others. All gay people are not created equal – nor do we all agree – nor do we all like the same things.
    I like to see rainbow marked ads and half naked men. I like a seperate search feature. To compare us to African Americans or Christians is ridiculous. When I go to Paris, I DO want to go to drag club and nightlife is very important to my trip. I DO want to go to gay resturants and the gayborhood. A gay-friendly itinerary is one that is not stopping at a Fred Phelps hate party. I want to know places are gay friendly and they want my money. – I think your rants are all over the map – and do not apply to all gay people. I respect your views and rants – they just do not apply to the whole LGBTQ communities.

    Derrick Sorles
    New Gay Travel Guide

    Reply
  20. Matt Long

    Thanks for your comments Derrick, I really appreciate the, even if I don’t agree. Being gay for me at least, is only a part of who I am. Maybe that is why I don’t need everything I do to be gaycentric all the time.If someone needs soft porn to motivate them to travel, that is absolutely fine. I just do not think it is a common feeling for most people. And I absolutely think that developing marketing campaigns following these lines is dangerous. It perpetuates harmful and many times wrong stereotypes. As I said, we are not a joke – we are an economic force to be taken seriously.

    Perhaps companies that want to attract younger men and women whose interest in travel revolves around going to bars can use these themes, but more entrenched companies absolutely should not.

    I also disagree that comparing the GLBT community to other minorities is a false argument. We are a minority group like so many in the world.

    Reply
  21. derrick sorles

    There is no right – and no wrong! We are all as different as the colors of the rainbow flag. What a 20something gay young man wants on vacation will be totally different than what a senior lesbian couple want.

    Derrick

    Reply
  22. Globetrottergirls

    Love the post, so many things that needed to be said! We totally agree with your points and have felt the same way a lot of times. As to the GLBT-friendly hotels – we think most of the hotels that label themselves as such don’t really know what it means. For example, when we get asked upon arrival if we want a twin room although we explicitly have booked a double room, why do people always seem to think we didn’t not know what we were doing and have to bring it up every time so that we have to explain ourselves? As you said – educate your staff!

    Reply
  23. mark

    Hi,

    re: “Get your history straight and your nightlife gay.”

    I guess you can read too much into an ad slogan, but to me it just means you can come to Philadelphia, learn a lot if history, and have fun at night too in some gay clubs.

    my 2 cents worth – sure there are problems with being ghettoised but let’s face it when you travel you do want a chance to see everything, when we went on a cruise in the Baltic, we went to the glbt get-togethers- a lot more fun than the NZ-Aussie get together – a gay bar in St Petersburg as well as the Peterhof, Hermitage etc. In fact if more coffee bars, bookshops, whatever had discreet rainbow flags perhaps the image of half-naked men, strike that naked men, will dissipate a little.

    Reply
  24. Tim Zee

    Hi,

    I agree with Mark. I think you are reading to much into that tagline.

    Also, those ads have not been used in years and were only run in gay publications (meaning gay people looking for gay specific content). Philadelphia’s current campaign uses real gay Philadelphians you may meet while visiting….no rainbow flag or naked people.

    I do agree with you that we do not always need a gay gay message. However, sometimes it is nice to get it.

    Tim from Philly!

    Reply
  25. Matt Long

    Thanks again for the comments! No, I know what the tag line was trying to achieve, I just think it’s a dicey double entendre to put in that context.

    And I would LOVE good GLBT marketing. I have seen it and it does warm my heart, makes me feel like I matter. I ABSOLUTELY think that companies and agencies need to target us, it’s only smart. The only issue I have is the over-the-top, stereotype embracing approach that many seem to take.

    These stereotypes just feed the prejudice and fear felt by many and I hate to see it perpetuated.

    Reply
  26. Jeff

    Great post Matt. There’s a big difference between marketing/selling to and communicating with your audience. It’s a matter of authenticity. I too think it’s great that more and more companies are trying to reach out. But, the proof comes when it’s time for the company to deliver the service. That’s when you “know” if the company gets it or not. And, if they don’t, in this day and age there are other companies that do.

    Reply
  27. Jeff Guaracino

    Thank you for your post. You are right that the Liberty Bell, the Effiel Tower, and Big Ben is of interest to all people regardless of sexual orientation. Your comments do reflect a segment of the gay and lesbian traveler, like yourself, that wishes to be invited to a destination not as a gay or lesbian person but just a person.

    There are people from all over the world that do prefer that marketers address them using symbols, images and messages that do address their gay or lesbian identity. Those kinds of travelers, prefer the know that the advertiser is making a specific, not generic, promise in the marketing. Additionally, there are people from around the globe who are closeted in their daily lives and find gay travel as a way to express that part of their identity. In this case, one size does not fit all.

    Reply
  28. Andy Hayes

    Here here! (Or is it hear hear? I never know what that saying means.)

    I love a good rant about marketing. The old litmus test used to be to switch the nouns and adjectives to Jewish and see how it sounded:
    Get your history straight and your nightlife Jewish

    Sounds ridiculous, right? So does this straight gay stuff.

    It’s a crying shame that tourism marketing people have no clue who they are targeting. Particular when the GLBT has a lot of well-researched attributes about it: high disposable income, well educated, and a desire to travel.

    It’s a shame these tourist boards don’t read this kind of information. Speaking of which, where DO they get their information? Porn sites?

    Sigh. I think your plans for “really awesome gay travel marketing” is a great idea :-)

    Reply
  29. Suzy

    Great call to action here. The whole separation in the travel industry seem incredibly pointless. In the end, if you are traveling, you share the same commonalities are everyone else, gay or straight. Your sexuality shouldn’t matter.

    Reply
  30. Aditi L (gaytravel.com/blog)

    Hi Matt! Thanks for the post. I think it brings up a lot of really great points, especially because this type of blatant stereotypical advertising is so common now.

    But I do want to point out that- you argued that it would be absurd to target African Americans and Christians. Would it? Christians go on church-group trips ALL the time. When I was in Israel I met several Christian-tour companies. I’m Indian, and I’ve been on a couple Indian tours- because Indian people would like to stop and drink chai three times a day, and tour companies accommodate that. And when I’m in my own city, I want to go to LGBT bars and clubs, and it’s not ridiculous that I want to do that in other cities too. It’s ok to take interest in our wider global community, especially since the great majority of countries aren’t gay-friendly yet.

    Reply
  31. Shawna

    Matt,

    I am *so* freaking with you on this! I wish every travel company could read your post. Getting asked when you check in if you want 2 beds when you booked just 1 is really annoying. A few years ago in downtown Philly the clerk said to us “You only booked one bed, but you need two, right?” and I told the clerk that we knew what we booked and just wanted the one and he had the most baffled look on his face. So frustrating and annoying – especially considering what city we were in!

    My gf & I also avoid the B&B’s since you never know if you’ll get kicked out. Sad, but true.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Thank you for your comment – I can completely relate! It happened again last week as a matter of fact. I booked a King, found out it had been changed to 2 doubles and it was a hassle to to change it back! So annoying.

      Reply
  32. Laura in Cancun

    I hear your points, but I don’t see much wrong with a few of the things you mentioned. The soft core porn wouldn’t appeal to many gay people, but there certainly IS a demographic for that. (I know quite a few gay men who thoroughly enjoy naked men and pink boas). Promoting a destination with a woman in a bikini isn’t targeted at all straight men, but it certainly would attract a big group.

    Call me crazy, but I also kind of liked the “get your history straight and your nightlife gay” quote. It shows you can learn a lot about US history, but that the city itself isn’t boring, and it has an active gay scene. I think that’s important. (didn’t like the picture much, though… tacky.)

    That being said, I really appreciate your points about how some destinations/companies try to make “gay friendly” sound like something completely separate from what straight people enjoy, and make it seem like they want to be separated. Very interesting read :) Thanks for enlightening us.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Ultimately we’re all right. There is no silver bullet, due to the unique diversity of the GLBT community. For me personally, and many people I know, these techniques don’t work. But you are absolutely right, I am sure they do work for an entirely different set of people.

      Reply
  33. Jeremy B

    Matt, I have to admit this was a bold post you did. I know some people may be offended by this but most agree with you. Why cater to travel to a specific group to fit a stereotype?

    Granted, there are all of these tours to fit the types. There are Christian tours of Jerusalem to visit the holy sites. However, others would love to visit those as well and do. I am OK with tours for specific people but it seems that GLBT travel group is just that much larger than others and disproportionately big to the audience it is trying to serve.

    I also think it is very unfair to GLBT who don’t fit the stereotype. Many aren’t interested in gay nightlife or clubs any more than I am interested in straight ones. It’s just not the life for me and many of them just want to travel and enjoy seeing new cities and sites as well.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Thanks Jeremy, I appreciate it. The post was a rant, so a little extreme, but I think important to say. As I said in a response to another post, there is no single way to effectively market to the GLBT community. We’re just too large and diverse. BUT, it would be nice to see multiple travel advertising campaigns and not just ones that cater to the lowest common denominator.

      Reply
  34. LeslieTravel

    This is a terrific post. I’ve seen gay-targeted ads for hotels and other travel businesses that feature shirtless guys and emphasize nightlife. I never thought much about it before, but those ads certainly are promoting a stereotype. Hopefully marketers will read this and come up with more creative– and less offensive– campaigns!

    Reply
  35. Talon (1Dad1Kid)

    Excellent article! Thank you so much for pointing out the stupid stereotyping. This has been my same frustration with things directed toward the GBLT community. Not all gay people are interested in clubbing, fashion, shopping, etc. I didn’t go to Peru to go find the perfect wardrobe ensemble. Some of us gay folks are interested in more than what TV, movies, and the stereotypes would leave others to believe.

    I do see the benefit of some of these lounges in that if I had a partner, I would like to know which companies will respect us and our relationship, where I’d be safe to hold his hand, etc., so being identified as GBLT-friendly does have some usefulness. Unfortunately, it’s being wasted.

    Great article!

    Reply
  36. Harrison

    I remember reading that marketing line when I was in Philadelphia for New Year’s Eve. “Get your history straight and your nightlife gay.” I think it’s the most amateurish line ever created. I’ve too, also wondered who they hired to create these marketing ads … I so want to change up things if I had the chance to b that LGBT marketer haha.

    Reply
  37. Priscilla

    Well written Matt and expresses clearly what you want to say. I applaud you for calling out the lazy advertisers who want to take the easy way out instead of taking the time to really look at the demographics of your community. Being gay is only one aspect of a person to consider and sometimes has nothing at all to do with the travel they are seeking. Smart adertisers will listen to your position on this and take notice.
    Bravo!

    Reply
  38. David

    Hey Matt,

    I once worked on a photo shoot for a major sports equipment manufacturer that wanted to target the “gay” market. They hired a “consultant” from D.C. that proceeded to place gay props on the set… a rainbow candle, copies of the Advocate and Out magazines, a rainbow striped beach towel and a cheesy wall clock with a rainbow background.

    The two very straight male models were made to wear too tight spandex shorts and directed to look “lovingly” into each others eyes as they worked out on their treadmills. It was a joke and I told the manufacturer’s rep that I thought as much. Her response was, “Well, he is a gay consultant. He must know what he is doing.” My response was, “Yeah, well I’m gay and I don’t have a single rainbow item in my home!” It didn’t matter, the consultant (scammer) got his way.

    I do appreciate the fact that they were trying to reach the gay market. It was several years ago and not too many companies were marketing to the gay crowd. Their first reaction was to go for the obvious, just like the travel companies are. Maybe in time they will learn and refine their approach.

    Anyway, I’ve been enjoying your posts and tweets. Keep up the good work.

    David

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      David, Thank you so much for these great comments. I’ve been bolstered by the fact that many other people agree with me and I may not the the curmudgeon I thought. :)

      Reply
  39. Gabe

    Wait, what does this have to do with transgender people? Seems to me you’re talking about gays, lesbians, and (maybe) bisexuals, and writing “GLBT” out of laziness.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      No, not laziness, but do you feel there is a level of discrimination towards transgendered people as it relates to the travel experience? I always write GLBT, and perhaps I should not, but I tend to regard a certain level of solidarity towards somewhat common experiences.

      Reply
  40. Vanessa

    Can I ask something? Why would you mind checking the other box? You aren’t single, you aren’t married(why would you want to be called that since it’s a Christian term meant for the union of a man & woman so the term has never applied) so of course you would check other. Why should that bother you?
    And youre complaining that there are rainbows and ads advertising directly to the gay population while there are countries that think killing their gay population is right?!?!

    I think you should be proud of the direction The gay movement is going rather than ranting about things that in the grand scheme of things do not matter.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Because I’m not an ‘other.’ I am a real person, in a real relationship just like anyone else. Being gay, we are subjected to many minor slights that we just ignore, but over time they build up. It affects self-esteem in many and contributes to a diminished feeling of self worth. I’m not going to get into a marriage debate, but if people have a problem with that, then listing a box for domestic partnership would be fine. Something to acknowledge that we’re not different in how we approach our relationships.

      And I am proud of the direction the GLBT movement has been heading, but like anything else there are problems and it’s ok to point those out. Outlandish stereotypes do nothing to help us, rather it is another way to diminish who are as people.

      Reply
  41. Franco

    I appreciate your article and share many of your concerns. However, I’m not entirely offended when I see travel agencies advertising glitter and drag queens. I’ve traveled quite extensively and I like to know these things when I visit a new city because it interests me to find other gay people to share experiences with. Recently I returned from a trip in San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina where I spent a week in a cabin that I found through gay friendly travel sites, and it was a great experience. The owner was gay and I felt extremely comfortable and safe knowing this. Anyway, I do agree with what you’re saying though and I thank you for taking the time to write about it.

    Reply
  42. Waegook Tom

    Yes yes YES! I’m gay, but I don’t need everything marketed to me as such. If I want to go to a “gay destination”, I ‘ll go to Tel Aviv, Berlin, Rio, and go to the gay bars there. That’s fine. But for advertising to constantly use stereotypes? Nuh-uh. I don’t even get why there needs to be anything aimed at gay or lesbian travellers in such a blatant way – I’m pretty sure that, minus a visit to the odd gay bar, I do the same things on vacation as everyone else.

    Sorry to disappoint anyone thinking that when gay guys go on vacation is a whirlwind of cocaine, orgies and sparkles. It’s not.

    Well, unless you count Sydney Mardi Gras.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Well said :) And I love how sparkles almost always enter into the equation LOL

      Reply

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