As much as traveling to a different country can be an exhilarating experience, it can also potentially be pretty nerve-wracking—but not for the reasons you may think. Just like #TravellingWhileBlack is a thing, LGBTQ+ travelers need to proceed with caution when entering countries with homophobic laws and queer and trans violence.
But while this violence persists, LGBTQ travel is still on the rise. A few different services are making sure each experience is a safe one.
An app called GeoSure, which provides safety data for travelers, introduced a new LGBTQ category in September. The service covers over 30,000 neighborhoods around the world and the LGBTQ+ ratings can help queer travelers get a sense of how safe it is to be open about their sexuality and gender identity in different parts of the world.
Other services that provide similar information include TripIt and International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), which published a report last year on the state of global LGBTQ+ tourism in conjunction with the World Tourism Organization. While the report is available for anyone to read, this doesn’t necessarily make the information accessible. The report is over 100 pages and doesn’t actually provide neighborhood safety ratings.
“We always encourage LGBTQ travelers to do their homework into the laws, cultures and prevailing attitudes of the destinations that they are visiting,” John Tanzella, president of IGLTA told INTO. “And so the more tools that are available to assist in the data-gathering process, the better.”
“Information and safety go hand in hand,” Tanzella continued. “It’s important to remember that there are still more than 70 countries in the world that criminalize same-sex relationships; and of course, even having positive laws doesn’t mean the prejudice toward the LGBTQ+ community has been eliminated.”
Jen Moyse, director of product for TripIt, told INTO that while the app is too new to have user feedback, folks on social media have been offering positive things to say.
“It’s nice to see people tweeting like crazy, especially this week with LGBT safety scores,” Moyse said. “It feels unique.”