I’ll never forget the time I went to check into a hotel in Dubai with my then boyfriend, and the person behind the counter queried “oh, has there been a mistake, you have asked for a double bed?”
Nor the time I went to Barbados with my brother (who also happens to be gay) where we were on the wrong end of dismissive looks from the hotel staff and a brutal homophobic slur while out a bar. To round off our experience, we were given pamphlets on ‘coming to Jesus’ by our cab driver en route to the airport.
My experiences are mild compared to some.
The sad fact remains that social attitudes to LGBTQ people remain regressive throughout society, with some countries and cultures less accepting than others. Indeed, at the time of writing, homosexuality remains illegal in 70+ countries across the world.
Therefore, it goes without saying then that LGBTQ travellers face concerns and issues that other travellers simply do not face.
During my years working in this industry, I’ve noticed that – even at the top companies – training with regard the needs and nuances of LGBTQ travel is slim to non-existent. The result of which is often a lack of sensitivity towards LGBTQ travellers and our requirements.
This has to change.
“Travel can be a powerful force for change; and it is my hope that as our world becomes ever smaller and we’re all more exposed to people who are different from ourselves, that this fosters greater tolerance, acceptance and, ultimately, equality.”
As MD of Blank Canvas and a gay man myself, it is my mission to do whatever I can to prevent our LGBTQ clients from facing the sort of issues I’ve faced on my own travels.
We do our best to make sure – as far as is possible – that our partners are inclusive of LGBTQ people and that they will not use language or behaviour that will make our clients feel anything other than accepted and welcome. If any incidents were to come to our attention, we’d deal with them swiftly.
In addition, we make sure all our LGBTQ clients are aware of the current state of play with regard LGBTQ rights and societal attitudes in their chosen destination, so they can make an informed decision as to whether that place is right for them.
Moreover, we refuse to work with people, companies and countries who put LGBTQ people at extreme risk, and/or where it’s clear LGBTQ rights are going backwards.
I hope one day none of this will be necessary. But in the meantime, LGBTQ people can trust Blank Canvas to be a safe and understanding place, and that we’ll do our utmost to ensure you have the holiday of your dreams.
Happy LGBTQ History Month!
Whether you’re LGBTQ or otherwise, we cater to everyone here at Blank Canvas. If you’re thinking ahead to your next adventure, get in touch! Our dedicated Destination Experts are ready to design a bespoke itinerary tailored just to you and your unique requirements and desires.