The Value of Gay Travel – Beyond the Beach, Beers and Bears
Despite my younger-self prophetically denouncing the idea of a gay holiday, I now fully recognise the value of travelling with like-minded counterparts.
It’s a well-trodden trope by those on the right that if the LGBT community is able to celebrate their annual gay pride, then straight pride should exist. You know, for the suppressed, straight, white, middle-class male with their moderate inheritance pots and positions of power and privilege. For the longest time, I considered the idea of everything with the prefix of gay a little nauseating – gay pride and gay holidays included.
I can hear the pompous tones on my 21-year-old self bombastically proclaiming that I was more than my sexuality and didn’t need to be pandered to through any such cheap marketing ploy. My opinion on both has shifted dramatically.
It is true that for many decades the gay community has fought for equality and to large extent, this has been a success. So why if we want equality do we still seek to distinguish ourselves in bars, hotels, cafes, shops, choirs, apps and even care homes? The latter is not related to travel unless perhaps your next destination is going to be a very long and permanent one. While it might seem counter-intuitive at face value, the two are not mutually exclusive and people that oppose the notion, as I used to, are surely missing the point
While we seek equal representation in law, protected and governed by the same practices enjoyed by the heterosexual community – this doesn’t mean we must live under a blanket of cultural assimilation. We’ve already been turned into straight people through the way we dress, communicate and embody our personalities – even turning in on ourselves with the tangible disdain for the ‘feminine’ endemic across the gay community.
Despite my younger-self prophetically denouncing the idea of a gay holiday, I now fully recognise the value of travelling with like-minded counterparts. I used to view it as some form of quasi-substitute, invented for those who didn’t have the capacity to grab life by the balls and travel the ‘normal’ way. I now recognise that this position germinated from a place of being uncomfortable with my own sexuality and a fear of standing out amidst the throngs of back backers in tie-dye t-shirts and harem pants.
In reality, it is no different from those who club together for an adventure holiday or scores of the elderly taking to the high seas on a well-known cruise for those approaching their winter years. Even more than enjoying a collective shared interest with likeminded individuals, a gay holiday can actually be a way of maintaining a culture which is being eradicated physically through gentrification and also through our identities as the hyper-normative firmly takes hold.