Should Gay Honeymooners Stop Avoiding Anti Gay Countries?
With the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, a new crop of honeymooners has entered the market. The travel industry has positioned itself to capitalize, having recently launched several targeted marketing campaigns featuring gay couples, including Hotwire’s “Lucky Me” commercial, Airbnb’s #HostWithPride film, and Marriottt’s Love Travels campaign.
But with gay marriage fully legal in just 20 countries – and homosexuality illegal in 75 — gay newlyweds face extra hurdles in deciding where to celebrate their nuptials. Many feel compelled to research discrimination laws before making overseas travel plans. In fact, four out of 10 U.S. LGBT travelers said local discriminatory laws and homophobic sentiments affect where they decide to fly “to a great extent,” according to a survey by LGBT marketing group Out Now. As one lesbian couple expressed in Airbnb’s #HostWithPride film, “For our honeymoon, I don’t want to be attacked. We want to be able to express our love, and be able to be affectionate, and feel comfortable and safe.”
But are such fears founded? Certainly, in some nations around the world, including popular honeymoon destinations, local LGBT people are harassed, arrested and even killed with impunity. But for Americans, these threats are minimal. Both the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and the International Gay and Lesbian Alliance have no reports of gay American honeymooners being assaulted during international travel. Even the U.S. State Department, which posts warnings for LGBT travelers, has little evidence of such incidents.