Responsible Travel

By @ 07/26/12 in Uncategorized

We love the carefree ease of modern gay travel, and we’re increasingly aware of the negative and positive impact our travel can have: environmentally, socially, politically, culturally. The mainstream travel community is increasingly addressing this impact, through initiatives that foster positive change in the world, and minimize negative consequences. Sometimes these issues are clear, but often they are multi-layered and nuanced. Awareness and dialog are the first steps in creating positive change, and fostering both is a core part of our mission—particularly around issues that relate to LGBTQIA rights around the world (if we lost you at T, QIA are Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Allied).

Twenty years ago, in the inaugural issue of OUT&ABOUT, we rated the airlines based on how gay-friendly their frequent flyer policies were. Today, our consumer issues have been addressed, and we’ve been embraced as a lucrative niche market in much of the western world. But there are still many places where gay people face harsh legal, institutional, and social discrimination, including places that are gay-popular travel destinations. In every issue of ManAboutWorld, we’ll explore how our pink dollars and visible presence can advance the cause of equal rights for everyone, and the sometimes unexpected ways our visiting, spending and boycotting can hinder that cause. We’ll also look at issues of sustainability and social impact, introduce you to travel companies addressing these issues, and connect you with local causes and organizations in the places we write about.

Read about HIV criminalization, New York’s Ali Forney Center and The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission below, and share your thoughts in the comments!

The Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalization

We were surprised by our own ignorance of the widespread ways that HIV+ people have been criminalized by the inappropriate and overly-broad use of criminal law to regulate and punish people living with HIV for behavior that in any other circumstance would be considered lawful. For HIV+ people, mutually consensual safe sex with no disease transmission can result in prosecution. Spitting on a police officer can be charged as attempted homicide. Equally surprising, this practice is occurring in some of the most tolerant and gay-progressive countries—like Norway and Sweden—featured in our inaugural issue, as well as Canada and 35 states in the U.S.A.

Our friend Sean Strub, a long-time leader in the fight against AIDS/HIV, has taken up the cause of HIV Criminalization, launching the Sero Project. You can learn more about HIV Criminalization there, and then sign the Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalization, adding your voice to the movement to end this injustice.

Ali Forney Center

Inspired by Pack For A Purpose, we started looking for ways that gay travelers can provide direct support to gay organizations in the places we write about.  In conjunction with our Savvy Guide to New York, we’re partnering with the Ali Forney Center—the nation’s largest and most comprehensive provider of homeless LGBT youth shelter and services—to provide support to homeless LGBT youth in New York.  If you’re in or coming to New York, you can help by donating new (as in unused) toiletries—like all those extra hotel-sized soaps you’ve been collecting over the years, socks, underwear and tank tops. You can call 212-222-3427 to coordinate your donation at their agency, Monday-Friday from 9am-6pm at 224 W 35th Street #1500.

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission

We’re working with the IGLHRC to explore and promote the ways that gay travelers can advance human rights for everyone, everywhere. We’ll be discussing these in future issues, but you can provide direct financial support right now, through their website, and by shopping the ManAboutWorld Approved pages in our magazine, where you’ll find links to purchase travel-related products and services from which ManAboutWorld earns a commission. We split that revenue 50/50 with the IGLHRC  to support their work.

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