54% of LGBT+ people have said that they would not travel to destinations which support anti-LGBT+ views, according to a recent survey by QuestionMark.
One participant said, “Travelling to these locations puts us at risk and also puts our cash into their economy and economically supports their anti-gay administrations.” Safety, money, no support, and unwelcome were among the key reasons for the majority of the “no” answers.
Another person said, “I don’t want to put my or my wife’s life or freedom at risk. I don’t want to have to hide that I’m queer, I did that for too much of my life already. I don’t want to support an economy by spending money in a place where people like me don’t have equal rights to others. ”
There are 76 countries that criminalise same-sex relations, according to the United Nations. LGBT+ people face the risk of arrest, imprisonment, and persecution in these countries. Five of which uphold the death penalty as punishment.
28% of participants voted in favour of “yes” on the QuestionMark survey, with one person saying, “There is no evidence that not travelling there has any impact. Perhaps travelling to these countries and engaging with LGBT people there might give some insight into how we can more genuinely support their struggles .” The “yes” side credited education, support, and solidarity as reasons for travelling to anti-LGBT+ destinations.
On the side of “yes”, one participant said, “We march in Pride to show solidarity to our queer brothers and sisters who still need equal rights all around the world. I wouldn’t necessarily avoid anti LGBT+ places as I know there are still LGBT+ people there to connect and empathise with. In some cases counter-protest is also something we can offer to them, assuming we are prepared to accept a certain level of risk.”
Another participant said, “30 years ago, almost everywhere was anti-LGBT+. Things have changed because we proactively and collectively decided to protest and demand change, travelling to places would help show that we’re here and not going away; it may help those there feel less isolated and perhaps empower them to seek the same changes we worked so hard to achieve. However, it’s a big ask to tell people that they should risk their safety on such a trip; for this reason, I answered that I’m unsure.” 17% of people said they are unsure of whether they would travel to an anti-LGBT+ country.
QuestionMark is a collection of LGBT+ surveys and stories which give a voice to the community and the concerns within it. As the recent survey highlights, there is an overwhelming refusal to travel to anti-LGBT+ destinations. There is validity in both sides of the argument.
One of the people who voted “unsure” said, “I got mixed feelings about that. At one hand, we should sanction these countries by avoiding them. On the other hand, we could start a process there with our presence.”
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