Traveling as a LGBTQ+ person has become easier in certain countries, but it still requires a great amount of preparation and research before embarking on a trip. We reached out to 11 amazing Latinx LGBTQ+ travelers for their advice, and each have different backgrounds and experiences that offer a unique perspective on seeing the globe.
Check out these amazing people, Instagram accounts, their Latin American & Caribbean (LatAm) backgrounds, and most importantly, their personal stories.
Samar Rodriguez, IG: @dr_simplicity
Current Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
LatAm Motherland Roots: Venezuela, Trinidad, & Jamaica
“I love traveling and have to go to a pretty special range of countries. I travel for both pleasure and work (I’m a social scientist who uses ethnography). Admittedly, I try to mix the two together almost every trip. I’d advise other queer travellers to remember to pack ahead of time- something that really grounds them. We can’t always anticipate how we will be read in a new country/region. I note this in particular because people assume there is one way to “look Latinx”; because anti-blackness manifests in unexpected places; and because ideas about femininity/masculinity/queerness are constructed in ways that won’t always fit your previous experiences. It can be really disorienting, so I’d advise anyone to carry with them something or some practice that brings them back to center.”
Charlie J. Stoever, IG: @vulnerabletraveler
Current Hometown: Santa Rosa, California
LatAm Motherland Roots: México
“I’ve never regretted stepping out of my comfort zone and being vulnerable. I’ve come out to people in lots of different countries and I’m so glad I did. Safety is a huge part of traveling as a whole, but adding the LGBT aspect can add another layer of danger to traveling. My advice is to go with your instinct. If your gut tells you not to come out to someone, don’t do it. But if there’s something inside of you telling you that the person or people you’re interacting with will continue to make you feel safe, I encourage you to do so.
In my travels, I’ve never regretted coming out to people, but I am constantly gauging whether or not I feel safe in a certain place or environment.
Also, the Tinder application is a great way to meet other queer people abroad. I’ve met up with people and been physical with them, but most of the time I’ve had platonic meet ups and made lifelong friends through Tinder. I find it easier to go on dates with people outside of the U.S. anyway. Have fun, and if you feel safe doing so, be yourself! Don’t pressure yourself to put yourself at risk. Travel is all about growing while being aware of your safety, whatever that means for you.”
Tannia Suárez with her wife Erin, IG: @wanderlustladies
Current Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Tannia’s LatAm Motherland Roots: México
“My advice is to do your research! As infuriating as it can be, sometimes you need to modify your behavior (mostly referring to PDA) to “be respectful” of different cultures and, more importantly, not to find yourself in harm’s way. I’m not only talking about international travel. To be honest, I find that it’s the same advice whether you’re traveling in the U.S. or abroad.
When we have the opportunity and option, my wife and I try to pick a hotel or apartment in or near an LGBT-friendly area. It may help you feel more relaxed and in theory, be a bit safer.
Actually, we’ve been traveling as digital nomads for over three years, and haven’t had any super negative experiences. The bad experiences we’ve had have been for being women, not specifically for being LGBT. Overall, I’d say be aware that you are a target simply because of your gender, and maybe more so if you’re perceived to be LGBT, and plan accordingly.
To me, that means doing more daytime activities and limiting evening activities. It’s not a huge deal for us, because we don’t really like being out at night anyway. But if it is a big deal for you, just be mindful of language barriers and cultural differences, and plan ahead to know what and where to avoid. The most important thing is to not let fear hold you back. The world is an amazing place to explore, and you deserve to experience it!”
Stephanie Ortega Esquinca and her wife Taylor, IG: @lesbinomadic
Current Hometown: Laredo, TX
Steph’s Motherland Roots: México
“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt” – Into the Wild.
Just remember, you don’t have to be radical or be an activist to create change. Remember that representation matters, especially in the travel industry. Just by being yourself, you’re constantly breaking down people’s stereotypes of Latinx community/culture. The world wouldn’t be the same without us…without you.”
Ivana Bolfarini, IG: @itsme_ivanab
Current Hometown: Weston, CT
LatAm Motherland Roots: Uruguay & Brazil
“Being queer in a heteronormative world can sometimes be hard to navigate. There are places around the world that may not be as accepting to our identities. Before traveling I make sure to do a lot of research in terms of regulations in the countries I want to visit and make sure I do my due diligence. Instagram is actually a great way to do that since you get the chance to reach out to other members of the community that may have visited the destination in the past. Regardless of research, I don’t let it get in the way of where I want to travel and explore. It’s more for a sense of precaution and to be aware of where I’m going to be traveling and how that fits with the customs and cultures of those around me.”
Jensine Gomez and Abriana Fee Vicioso, IG: @jenandabi
Pronoun: She/Her & She/Her
Current Hometown: Orlando, FL
Jen’s LatAm Motherland Roots: Colombia
Abi’s LatAm Motherland Roots: Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico
“The advice that we would offer other LGBTQ+ Latinx travellers is that although traveling the world brings many fears, there are so many places in the world that we deserve to see. See the world. Go to the places you have always dreamed to go to! Don’t let your fears stop you. Just always remember how important it is to do your research about wherever you are going!
Research their societal norms, their customs, and their cultures. Having this knowledge can help you take the right precautions. Something that helps us when we are traveling is to find some LGBT friendly areas or hotels wherever we go. The LGBTQ+ community is everywhere! It doesn’t hurt to reach out before you go. Always remember that everyone’s experience is different, but something that has given us peace of mind (especially being in a masc/fem relationship) has been finding other LGBTQ+ couples similar to ourselves, and reaching out to them about their experience in a particular country that we are interested in. This does not necessarily define our experience, but it can give us an idea of some things to be aware of.
While taking these precautions, always stay true to who you are. When we travel the world, as LGBTQ+ Latinx travellers, our clothes may change, we may not be able to show physical affection, but we always remember to allow our beauty within to shine. Through spreading love, kindness, and positivity, acceptance & tolerance may grow in places where it may have never been expected.”
Bianca Kea, IG: @biancakathryn_
Current Hometown: New York City, NY
LatAm Motherland Roots: México
“Truthfully, I’m still learning how to travel with my girlfriend as an openly Black lesbian so I definitely don’t have all the answers. But I would definitely recommend doing your research prior to traveling to a country, figure out its stance on LGBTQ issues and foreign policy as a whole. That stuff matters, especially in this day and age. Lastly, have a chat with your partner. Get their thoughts and perspective on traveling to that said country. As exciting as traveling is, it can also be intimidating and scary and you want to make sure both parties feel comfortable.”
Blanca Balli and Yessenia ‘Yesi’ Hernandez, IG: @thewifeyadventures
Pronoun: She/Her & She/Her
Current Hometown: Dallas, TX
Blanca’s LatAm Motherland Roots: México & Spain
Yesi’s LatAm Motherland Roots: México
“The best advice that we could give is to plan what you need to, but don’t forget to have fun! Have fun exploring new environments and experiencing it together. Sometimes it can feel a little uncomfortable to step into a new world if you haven’t quite reached the level of veteran traveler. This can be one of the most amazing bonding experiences you can have with your favorite person. If you’re new to travel…sign up for point and reward programs! Try different travel companies (airlines, hotels, airbnb) so you can learn which ones work the best for you. Don’t be afraid to talk to the locals and ask them questions about their city (most of the time it’s a compliment to them). Try all the foods. Be present and capture the memories in not just your camera, but in your mind too.
Don’t sweat the small travel hiccups…they happen, and sometimes they can even open up another opportunity unplanned. Read blogs about your next destination to get a better perspective on what to expect or plan for. If you’re up for it, be a part of our community and share your story. No matter how many of us there are sharing travel stories, there is always room for one more!”
Dinah Becton-Consuegra and her wife Malila, IG: @getlostwithlesbians
Current Hometown: San Francisco Bay Area, California
Dinah’s LatAm Motherland Roots: Guatemala and México
“Ultimately, there is an element of fearlessness in being a queer woman of color brings so live and love and go where you want to go just know what that country’s stance is on LGBTQ folk.
That said, since having two children, we are much more cautious. Our advice has shifted from what we would have said as a childless couple. We recommend that you consider seeing parts of the world that might have strict anti-LGBT policies before you consider traveling with children as it adds another layer of danger to bring children into the mix. It is also much harder to “pass” as friends or relatives and get a chance to see places you may not want to bring children into for safety reasons. There is also the concern that if something were to happen while abroad, not all countries recognize same-sex parents to have visiting rights in the hospital for example.
If you are into travel books, some have sections that specific discuss LGBTQ travellers which have been very helpful.
I would consider reaching out to other LGBTQ POC travellers as sometimes the laws are not enforced as strongly for tourists because the country doesn’t want to lose tourism. Other times there are some nuances that research doesn’t capture. For example, pornography and sex toys are not permitted in the United Arab Emirates so if you don’t know this, you could land yourself in serious trouble upon arrival.
With two children, we consider the intersection of LGBTQ friendly countries and family friendly places to really enjoy our travel experiences.
There are some go to places where we go when we just want to be ourselves that aren’t too far from us here in Oakland like Hawai’i and Puerto Vallarta. Sometimes it’s nice not to think about all the details and just go and unwind and enjoy an amazing experience with some element of predictability and familiarity.”
What other Latinx LGBTQ+ travellers should we follow? Are you LGBTQ+ and have advice to give us and/or the community? Please comment below!