Along with the nature of this blog, I read a lot of religious and philosophy blogs. But as a traveler, I also read travel blogs, such as Soul Travelers 3, Living Outside of The Box, Uncornered Market, and Open Minded Travel. Recently I found a new travel blog that peaked my interest, Bounding Over Our Steps, written by a married lesbian couple in their 30s. Mindy and Ligeia plan to visit every country in the world like I do, so I quickly decided they were worth the time to follow (bloggers just living overseas but not constantly travelling do not normally keep my attention, unless of course, they are missionaries like Laura Parker).
As someone living in SE Asia, I had been asked if our area was gay friendly. I never felt it was my privilege to say although I found that my Buddhist local friends were totally accepting of gays and lesbians. But Mindy and Ligeia brought up a new point that, as a straight person, I had never considered. What is it like to constantly travel and constantly have to explain yourself to people all around the world?
Quite frankly, that sounds exhausting.
Yesterday I was sitting on an airplane next to an American talking about a Christian retreat in France. I immediately clamped up, trying to decide how open and honest I would be that I’m progressive, not mainstream evangelical. When I meet strangers, I am constantly in fear on how people will judge me based upon my religion.
What if I had to constantly explain my sexuality? It sounds exhausting. As travelers having visited over 40 countries, Mindy and Ligeia have to deal with those dynamics. Some countries they have visited, as they write in the post Traveling in and out of the Closet, are not even safe to come out. Others, such as this man in Belize, just don’t understand even when they do come out. This quote got to me the most, though.
We’ll begin our global “closet check” in Utah, USA, with the most hurtful of remarks. While standing up for same-sex marriage, Ligeia explained “you can’t help who you fall in love with.” This was met with equating the love we share with the love a person feels for her/his dog. Knowing that her conversational adversary was carrying a concealed weapon at the time, Ligeia didn’t pursue this topic any further. She unfortunately left Utah having seen the ugly side of what is an otherwise gorgeous state.
I’ve been to a couple dozen countries myself, and as an America, this just makes me sad. I have ton of respect for Mindy and Ligeia, don’t you?