Travel to anti-gay countries

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 27, 2015 8:52 PM GMT
    Any thoughts on the ethics of traveling to other countries that are either generally anti-gay or have specific anti-gay legislation in place? First off, I'm asking not about avoiding travel for reasons of personal safety, but for reasons of ethical travel. Briefly, the main argument against would be something like: traveling to a country patronizes their economy and in some way condones their activities and laws, so by traveling to a country that has anti-gay laws and spending money their, you are kind of saying that that's OK. The arguments for are usually something like: By denying yourself the opportunity to see and experience a new and interesting country, you kind of end up punishing yourself more than any possible impact you could be making on their economy. Furthermore, if all gays avoid country X because of their general anti-gay sentiment, that sentiment will persist and possibly grow.

    That's it in a nutshell. The longer story - I'm looking at going to Burma which has inherited an "anti-buggary" law from their British occupation. I've wanted to go there for about 15 years, and now I finally have this opportunity. Since I started researching the country more, I've unfortunately come across this. Generally the country is moving in a more progressive direction in many areas (human rights, gay rights - weirdly there is a kind of "mini-pride" celebration). I've brought this up to people before and the two main arguments I get, I put above. I know that there are small organizations in and out of Burma who try to advance the homo cause in Burma, so I would consider giving them a donation (after my trip). I think a lot about the "exposure" issue (how gay people avoiding travel to an anti-gay country has the potential to widen the gap and leave the poor gay guys in that country even more alienated), but at the same time, I'm not planning to travel with a big rainbow flag on my pack.

    So...would you go if you really wanted to? Would you not go? If you went, would you try to do something to advance the cause in some small way? (as far as I know, the law in Burma specifically applies to anal sex, so talking about homosexuality is fine)
    What about if the country were Russia?
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    Jul 27, 2015 9:43 PM GMT
    I used to love driving through Tenn & NC, those mountains are beautiful, but I stopped when they became so overtly anti-gay. And even now as the country has marriage for same-sex couples, I'd still feel weird about going to those places.

    I would not travel to Russia though I'd love to see it, my family emigrating from there in the 1800s. But that would be particularly difficult for me, as my family fled pogroms and now they're doing to gays what they did to Jews. So that would horrify me.

    I love the idea of even living in SEA and so Burma is on my radar though Vietnam has the school of Buddhism I prefer. And even though I love the idea of living in a place like Thailand too, they have all sorts of crap I do not like. Human trafficking, child sex trades, animal abuses, all that shit. Disgusting. So if those things wouldn't stop me from going there--and not that it's paradise in the USA either--then why would the gay thing stop me. Probably because I'm gay?

    Sometimes you rationalize, sometimes you go with your gut. Mix & match. Maybe I could handle Buddhist homophobia which might not let me marry but not the Muslim variety of Malaysia which might seek to behead me.

    Sometimes I wonder if I'm affected more so by how loud they are about their homophobia. If so, that'd be tough to judge a place like Burma because who knows what little news we get from there. So maybe North Carolina or possibly Burma I could handle. But places like Russia or still even Tennessee can go fuck themselves.
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    Jul 28, 2015 1:53 AM GMT
    Your first responsibility is Self Preservation.
    So don't get arrested.

    Don't discuss politics, religion or sexuality.

    Tell them you LOVE THEIR FOOD! Wherever you are, locals only want to know if you like their food. If you do, you're okay in their eyes.

    Learn the local word for "DELICIOUS" and use it often.
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    Jul 28, 2015 2:06 AM GMT
    HardRav saidAny thoughts on the ethics of traveling to other countries that are either generally anti-gay or have specific anti-gay legislation in place?
    Yeah...don't.

    Because when you travel, you put money into their system. Even if you travel light and spend little, you're still financially supporting a government that hates you.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14350

    Jul 28, 2015 3:36 AM GMT
    I second that, don't travel to countries that are way behind the times in terms of equality. Why support a country that is ignorant and homophobic like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uganda, and Jamaica. There are several southern states in the US that are in the exact same boat, why travel into them when you in reality are not really welcome. US states like Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are best avoided as well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 28, 2015 3:43 AM GMT
    roadbikeRob saidI second that, don't travel to countries that are way behind the times in terms of equality. Why support a country that is ignorant and homophobic like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uganda, and Jamaica. There are several southern states in the US that are in the exact same boat, why travel into them when you in reality are not really welcome. US states like Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are best avoided as well.
    Now that marriage equality is the law of the land in the US, traveling to anti-gay states does more good than harm, because it gives us a chance to show them that their intolerance is based on fear of the unknown. That's the only excuse they have left to stand on. Even the SCOTUS disagrees with their ignorance-based fear.

    As for the topic of this thread, though, your apprehension to travel to ANY anti-gay location is definitely on point. I already told my family (which lives in Arkansas and Texas) that I won't be back there till I'm in a pine box (almost exact quote). And so far I've upheld that vow since it was made in 2005. icon_wink.gif