My partner Jack and I had been excited about planning a family trip to Belize — we found a great VRBO cottage and fabulous flights. We were all ready when Jack asked, “Do we know if they like ‘our kind’ in Belize?”
As in: are they ok with queers?
We don’t expect far-flung places around the world to lay out a rainbow-coloured welcome mat, but we do expect civility and basic human rights when we travel. While I didn’t think that was asking too much, apparently it is if you’re going to Belize.
I was horrified to learn that Belize is the only South American country where it is actually illegal to be homosexual. I’m sure that’s mostly with the boys in mind, but that’s not the point. It’s illegal to be queer there. That means that every teenager with a yearning in the bent direction lives with the fear of up to ten years imprisonment should he or she or hir decide to act on it and get caught.
I don’t want to visit a country where we might get caught. I don’t want to visit a country where my butch partner is the one who’s going to get the flack for being so queer. I don’t want to visit a country where some other queers might go because they can “pass” as straight.
I want to visit a place where we can feel safe. I don’t think that’s asking too much. I’m not expecting PDA-approval, just safety for my kids and my partner and myself. We don’t want to be limited to large liberal cities. We don’t even particularly like cities.
We’re used to the stares and intrusive questions. We’re used to the extra few moments at the border while the officials try to reconcile Jack’s mug with the lacy name that still adorns her passport. We’re used to Esmé hollering out “Baba!” at the top of her lungs and the locals trying to figure out what exactly that word means. We’re used to people puzzling at our family make-up as they try to jam each of the adults and children into their appropriate heteronormative slots, which is pretty hard to do.
We’re used to Jack being read as a guy, mostly. We’re also used to that moment when folks recalculate their assumptions and realize that she’s not.
(And a special shout out to my butch-femme-genderqueer-trans peeps, I’m so very used to being the bathroom wingman. Y’all know what I’m talking about. I’m such a pro, I should put it on my resume.)
When it was just Jack and I, we explored a lot of the off-the-beaten-path areas when we travelled. We had a few dodgey run-ins to show for it, all of which confirmed my fears. When it comes down to it, Jack is the one who will pay for being the capital Q queer. As if she’s tainted me somehow. Because I look like a straight chick with kids, I must be less queer. Right?
Pretty sure my gold-star badge is around here somewhere…
Anyway, back to the point: we value travel. And not resort-y overdeveloped travel, but real world travel. Have we lived ourselves into a corner? Is it not safe to take our family into the great yonder for adventures and exploration? Where can we go? And while there, what would happen if I was critically incapacitated and they wouldn’t recognize Jack’s parental relationship with the kids? Or vice-versa? What then?
One of our biggest dreams is to travel for a couple of years in an RV. And one of our biggest reservations about that dream? The fact that so many Families On The Road are just as blazingly Fundamentalist as we are Queer. So then we have to think about our kids not being welcome to play in their fifth-wheel because we’re going straight to hell, and the accompanying explanation to our children why they think that, and what hell is in the first place.
So now we wonder: where can our queer little family go? And if you say Gay Pride in any of the cities that host one around the world, I will smote thee.
Offbeat Bride recently ran a post about trans-friendly honeymoon spots, so we know about the Hawai’ian Islands, Key West, Thailand, and Providence — tell us about more travel spots!