As one of the few, the proud, the bisexuals, I’ve had the experience of traveling with both men and women that I’m involved with. This experience can be vastly different and not always in a good way. Traveling with a homosexual partner can be a shocking reminder of your lower status in society – a reminder which varies from uncomfortable to annoying to downright dangerous.
The awkwardness at hotel check-in
When you travel with a homosexual partner, simply arriving at your hotel room can be an awkward experience. I’ve never once been questioned about what kind of bed I want when I travel with a guy. Ironically, even when I’m traveling a guy I’m not sleeping with. It’s assumed that one shared bed is fine unless you specify otherwise.
But when I’m traveling with my girlfriend, the receptionist can’t help herself but ask if we wouldn’t be more comfortable in a twin room. As if we might have booked the king suite by mistake. At which point, you’re forced to inform this stranger that you definitely need that king bed because you’re going to have a whole lot of lesbian sex in it.
The restaurant bill judgement call
It’s considered tradition for a man to pay the bill when you dine out together, so it’s not uncommon for a waiter to place the bill in front of the man at the end of a dinner. But when a waiter is serving a lesbian couple, it’s like they don’t know what to do with themselves. And more often than not, there’s a judgment call about “who is the man” here, and that person gets the bill.
While I’m not terribly sensitive, I can’t help but feel kind of offended in either case. Because you either don’t think I look cute enough for someone to be buying me dinner. Or for some reason, you have the impression that I’m not wearing the pants in this relationship. Wouldn’t it be easier to just leave it on the table and let us figure it out?
The personal safety issue
As much of a bummer as it is, it’s impossible to pretend that homosexuals aren’t targets of discrimination and violence in many places around the world. As a homosexual couple, you always have to be aware of your surroundings, and whether any passing show of affection might be met with a very negative response from bystanders. And in small ways, this can sort of ruin an otherwise beautiful time.
I recently wrote about how romantic Lagos was, which is true. What I left out is that if you’re on a completely secluded beach with your lesbian partner and some dude wanders into your space, you instinctively have to decouple. Because you don’t know if this guy is violently homophobic or a pervert, and now you’re completely isolated with him there. If you’re traveling with a heterosexual partner, the thought would never even cross your mind.
The no-fly zones
Let’s face it, being gay is straight up dangerous in some parts of the world. And I’m not interested in being stoned to death in this lifetime, so there are some places that I won’t travel to with my girlfriend. I don’t need a pride parade everywhere I go, but I’m also not interested in having to hide my identity for fear of repercussions. Or sneak around to have sex like a teenager.
This is limiting because then your list of potential travel destinations narrows. I know another lesbian couple that went to Uganda and had to pretend they were roommates. Shit, who wants to go through the trouble of coming out to family and friends so they can go be closeted in Uganda? I definitely don’t need to see Uganda that bad. I rather spend my money in countries that respect basic human rights.