Hetamentaries has existed for roughly six months. Over that time I have written, deleted, written and deleted this text almost a hundred times. On one of the past trips my girlfriend said that I should finally write this. That it would be great if rainbow travel was somehow a part of my blog. As belonging to the community is a big part of my life. Living in a LGBT+ relationship has also affected traveling which is why it also fits Hetamentaries so well.
Traveling as a Rainbow couple is different
I am one of those LGBT+ people who accepted themselves later than in teenage-hood. I came out of the closet almost three years ago at 24. This meant that I had traveled at length before I accepted myself. It might sound strange but I have truly understood what rainbow travel means only after traveling as a rainbow couple. Coming out of my closet has brought me into a world that was hidden before. I have been in my first serious relationship for the past couple of years, with a woman. These years have shown me how straight travel can differ from rainbow travel.
Can I hold their hand?
During my travels before stepping out of the closet I never thought I would ponder whether or not to hold my significant others hand. Over the last years this thought has crossed my mind more than ever before, especially when we have been in new countries. We live at a turning point in history where simultaneously there are countries that are pro-LGBT+ whilst in other countries you can go to jail or die for being part of the rainbow community. Each time when we are about to visit a new country I will google the situation with LGBT+ laws and acceptance. Even though seemingly on the surface my girlfriend and I look like friends as we are not really a PDA couple but sometimes I like to reach out and touch her hand and I want to make sure if I can do that.
I ponder these things also in restaurants and accommodations. When booking a hostel/hotel/airbnb I wonder if the place is rainbow travel friendly. I wonder the everyday things; if we have shown affection too much in a public space, how do I explain needing only one bed, do I tell our airbnb person that I travel with a friend and so on. I have been fortunate as I have never experienced negative behaviour towards us whilst traveling. The worst experiences are from home here in Finland, thanks to drunken old men. I do not know it my good experiences are because of the accepting nature of the country or the pre-preparation done before our travels.
Being part of the Rainbow, LGBT+, community does not limit traveling
Living in a rainbow relationship has not limited where or how much we travel. Only thing that has changed is my attitude towards travel and the preparations I now do. On top of the normal research about sights and restaurants I just add a moment to read on LGBT+ travel in the country. I always want to know how the country sees the rainbow community. On human level each country will have people who stare and look, just like here in Finland, but how the nation itself sees us is important. There are still countries where being gay is illegal and LGBT+ people are prosecuted for their sexuality so preparation is also a matter of safety. Sometimes it would be lovely to just go and expect that your surroundings will accept you. We just are not there yet so knowledge is power and preparing can make your travel more safe. From now on I plan to write about LGBT+ travel at times to the blog. The topics will not radically change, I will still write about the outdoors, city walks and experiences all over the world. Rainbow travel will just be the newest part of the blog as there can never be too much information and I hope that someone out there might benefit from the information I put out!