Courting Transgender Tourists

Author: , September 28th, 2016

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been courting gay and lesbian travelers for nearly two decades, an effort that most recently included a marriage-equality wedding promotion.

This year the city became one of the country’s first destinations to market to transgender travelers, with a new tourism campaign, and for the first time will host the Southern Comfort Conference, one of the largest transgender conferences in the country, with about 1,000 attendees. (The 25th gathering begins Sept. 29.)

Much of the credit goes to Richard Gray, who arrived in Fort Lauderdale in 1991 as a hotelier and now serves as managing director of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender market. Mr. Gray, 57, also serves on the board of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. Following are edited excerpts from an interview with Mr. Gray.

Q. How has marketing to gay travelers changed since Fort Lauderdale started its outreach efforts in 1996?

A. At first, it was too risky to use the word “gay,” so we used “rainbow.” We started with a budget of $35,000, which has grown to over $1 million. We now welcome 1.3 million L.G.B.T. travelers who spend approximately $1.5 billion in the area.

By Diane Daniel – Full Story at The New York Times

Interview With Finn Ballard – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 14th, 2016

Finn Ballard - The Nomadic Boys


A word that used to be used negatively, but now reclaimed by us to form one of the letters in our LGBTQIA umbrella – a word to describe individuals who challenge both gender and sexuality, who see gender identity & sexual orientation as overlapping and interconnected.

We met Finn Ballard during our adventures discovering the gay bars of Berlin in Germany who did exactly that. We thought he was just another one of the many gay Bear-liners, until he “came out” to us as a female to male trans. Finn identifies himself as Queer.

After meeting our male to female trans friend Regina in Bangkok, we were dead excited to feature Finn’s story right here in his exclusive interview with trans female to male.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Transgender Travel: People are Mostly Okay

Author: , May 28th, 2016


Airport people watching is one of my favorite activities. In general, airports make me anxious. The crowds; the frenetic sense of urgency as people rush around; the smell of other people’s (way too much) perfume or cologne; the bottled water that costs $800; business bros talking loudly into ear pieces so that we will know they are Very Important; constant reminders to guard your stuff, people, terrorists are everywhere!; the thousand ways my day and trip could be derailed by a sneeze or a thunderstorm; and did I mention the crowds?

I have no fear of flying, but the hours-long labyrinth journey to the plane…I sometimes need to carry a little orange pill in my pocket for that. But barring the availability of narcotics, I endure through mindfulness. Deep breaths, and meditative people watching.

Yesterday, I saw: a woman taking two small dogs to Phoenix for a month-long visit (“They will be so hot!” she said); a grandmother-type who brought a large bag of cookies to share with her fellow passengers; the aforementioned Business Bros (Lord, they are everywhere); tired parents and very excited children hauling adorable tiny suitcases; and a transgender college student, boarding the same flight as me.

By Erin Wathen – Full Story at Patheos

Trans Woman Asks for Refund for Transphobic Treatment on Cruise

Author: , March 23rd, 2016

Sherry Donegan

Sherry Donegan of Fresno, Calif., had never taken a cruise before when she joined 17 others last month aboard the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas for a six-day vacation. But a comment from an anti-LGBT employee aboard the ship and being relegated to the back of a ballroom certainly didn’t make a good first impression.

Donegan is transgender, and her group consisted of trans women, men, and allies. On her second night, a bartender turned her away, telling her, “We don’t serve fags here,” she told the Bay Area Reporter.

Donegan filed a complaint aboard ship and two days later was told that employee had been fired and put off the ship in Mexico. She told the Reporter she doesn’t believe Royal Caribbean, which recently scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the second year in a row.

By Dawn Ennis – Full Story at The Advocate

Femminiello Pride

Author: , January 14th, 2016

Femmineillo Pride

Irpinia contradicts everything you expect about Southern Italy. The rainy climate and green mountains have more in common with the Pacific Northwest than the Amalfi Coast, just 40 miles away. Instead of Roman ruins like those at Pompeii, stones remain from the Osci, the native Campanian tribe known for their salacious festivals. The spiritual center of the region is the famously hard-to-reach church at Montevergine.

Pilgrims arrive after long bus rides over highways that span seemingly bottomless gorges. Irpinia’s landscape is foreboding, which is why the Montevergine pilgrimage has always required strong and focused devotion. The thin air is hard to breathe. The damp stone from the mountain’s peaks perfume the air with ancient minerals.

In the cleared piazza, old women sell candles and chestnuts, but the attention belongs to the crowds of dancing men and women beating tambourines and clapping out ancient rhythms with castanets. If you took away the down coats and wool hats, the scene would look like it inspired one of the ancient mosaics on display at the archaeological museum in nearby Naples.

Energy builds among the devotees who pray and sing as the faithful have done here since the thirteenth century. But on February 2nd devotees wear lipstick and stubble and feather boas. By the time night descends, over two thousand gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pilgrims will have passed through this Catholic shrine to worship the icon they call the ‘Madonna of Transformation.’

By Danielle Oteri – Full Story at Roads and Kingdoms

Campania Gay Travel Resources

Other Gay Travel Events

Transgender Passenger Humiliated by TSA

Author: , January 11th, 2016

body scan

A transgender passenger has said he was humiliated and demeaned when he was forced to remove his prosthetic penis by airline staff.

Subjected to a full body scan, an Australian airport staff member donned two pairs of gloves to handle the penis, saying: ‘You want me to touch that thing with my bare hands?’

This incident, which took place in 2015, is the subject of a complaint made via the National LGBTI Health Alliance to a Senate committee inquiry on airport and aviation security.

By Joe Morgan – Full Story at Gay Star News

Other Gay Travel Events

Purple Roofs LGBT Travel Round-Up – December 16th

Author: , December 16th, 2015

In addition to our regular travel articles, we’re starting a regular travel round-up, for those stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. Enjoy!

This Brilliant New App Is Like Airbnb For LGBT Travelers (MTV)
Traveling internationally while queer can sometimes be a scary experience — especially if you’re using services like Airbnb, CouchSurfing, or NightSwapping to stay in people’s homes and get a taste of local living on the cheap, but you’re unsure how to gauge in advance whether your hosts will be cool or homophobic.
full story


6 Destinations That Celebrate Christmas In Intense Heat (Gay Star News)
Lapland, we love you. But when it comes to Yuletide travel, we’re not obliged to opt for a snow break.
full story


Australia Women’S Festival Bar Trans Women From Attending (Gay Star News)
A women’s festival in Australia has come under fire for barring transgender women from attending.
full story


Tel Aviv for 69€/day (Travels of Adam)
My trip to Tel Aviv a few weeks back got turned into a really cool YouTube video, thanks to During my weekend Tel Aviv holiday, I squeezed in A LOT of different activities, and still managed to do the entire holiday on less than 69€/day.
full story

New Zealand’s Remote Kapiti Island: What You Need to Know (Shermans Travel)
If you’re looking for that only-in-New-Zealand experience, staying overnight on Kapiti Island is it.
full story

Kapiti Island

Travel Like a Winner: The Nobel Prize Trail in Scandinavia (Shermans Travel)
Every year on December 10, the Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway. Although most people’s chances of ever winning a Nobel are slim to non-existent, the history and traditions of the prizes offer plenty of scope for exploration. Here’s where to go to experience Alfred Nobel’s rich legacy for yourself.
full story

At Boston’s Santa Speedo Run 2015 (
The Santa Speedo Run made its way through the streets of Boston, Saturday, for the 16th year. Runners were greeted with surprisingly warm weather for mid-December, making the event a little less chilly, but no less steamy.
full story

The Texas Hill Country That Tourists Haven’t Yet Discovered (Shermans Travel)
The Texas Hill Country is a favorite getaway for good reason: gorgeous outdoors, great food, elegant B&Bs, and local charm. But there’s far more to see and do than the same frequently mentioned cities. Consider this your primer to the Texas Hill Country that tourists haven’t yet discovered.
full story

Third-Gender Passports May Be the Future of Trans Travel

Author: , November 5th, 2015

Bhumika Shrestha

The arrival of a transgender activist from Nepal in Taiwan last Saturday for the 2015 International Lesbian and Gay Association’s Asia conference may seem unremarkable. But it was in fact quite special: The activist, Bhumika Shrestha, is the first Nepali citizen to travel abroad carrying a passport marked O for “other” instead of M for “male” or F for “female.”

This is a groundbreaking and long-overdue achievement for global travel because it demonstrates that self-identification can and should be the sole factor in obtaining gendered documents.

Nepal’s legal recognition of a third category began with a 2007 Supreme Court case in which the judge ordered the government to create a legal category for people who identify as neither male nor female. Crucially, the judgment dictated that the ability to get documents bearing a third gender should be based on “self-feeling.” That is to say: no tests, expert opinions, or other potentially humiliating adjudication should play a role in the process.

By Kyle Knight – Full Story at The Advocate

Gay Travel Resources

Trans Travelers: Don’t Lose Your Wanderlust

Author: , October 18th, 2015

Trans Flag

Two years ago I drove across the United States with one of my closest friends — also a trans man — and as we crossed state lines we played the game “Now You Have Rights, Now You Don’t.”

After visiting 45 states and four European countries, and traveling almost monthly throughout the Northwest for my job at Pride Foundation, I’ve gotten used to the complications of #TravelingWhileTrans — though I still love to travel. Seeing the world, even visiting the next town over, can be an adventure, but it’s often stressful for transgender or gender-nonconforming people.

Just showing an ID to rent a hotel room, take a flight, board a train, or get on a cruise ship can out a transgender or gender-nonconforming person. This can lead to some terrible experiences — 53 percent of trans travelers reported being verbally harassed in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports, and government agencies, according to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

By Gunner Scott – Full Story at The Advocate

Seven Tips for Traveling While Trans

Author: , October 9th, 2015


The recent tale of a transgender woman humiliated, demeaned, detained, delayed, and derailed by the Transportation Security Administration has struck fear into some trans travelers and validated the paranoia of others who vow not to travel (or avoid airports) so as to avoid a horror story of their own.

Well, as a trans woman who’s traveled the country by nearly every means available, I have something important to tell you: whatever happens, you’ll survive.

But I know from my own experience that bad things happen at the airport screening area all the time, ranging from the simply annoying to downright soul-crushing, as in the case of Shadi Petosky. Her friends and supporters created a hashtag on social media to help others share their experiences: #TravelingWhileTrans.

And let’s face it, airport insecurity is hardly a new phenomenon.

By Dawn Ennis – Full Story at The Advocate