My partner and I are avid travelers. As queer residents of New York City, we also often play tour guide for visiting family and friends when we’re not on the road. We encourage our guests to experience New York City beyond selfies in Times Square, including everything from outdoor movies on the historic Intrepid aircraft carrier, to New York Philharmonic concerts in the park, to food festivals in Brooklyn where you can enjoy a ramen burger and craft beer while viewing the Manhattan skyline. We also recommend that our queer visitors pay homage to and get wild at some of the longest standing LGBTQ bars that have played an important role in serving our community, such as Stonewall, the site of the Stonewall Riots that sparked the modern LGBTQ rights movement in the U.S., and Henrietta Hudson, the oldest brick and mortar queer women’s bar in New York City. We are also acutely aware that tourist guides fail to educate our visitors about the rich, diverse LGBTQ culture that exists beyond the bar scene, such as Voguing Balls and the largest LGBTQ fashion shows hosted at world renowned museums.
When my partner and I travel, we try to curate the same type of off-the-beaten-path experiences that we provide our guests. Whether we’re cliff diving in Georgia O’Keeffe country at Abiquiu Lake, or dancing the night away at an underground queer party in Sarajevo, our goal is to immerse ourselves in the most unique ― but also LGBTQ friendly ― adventures that vacation destinations have to offer.
However, the most popular destination guidebooks tend to showcase “must see” tourist landmarks, and any sections dedicated to the LGBTQ traveler generally focuses on the experiences of white cis gay men. If you don’t know someone who is willing to play tour guide like my partner and I do for guests, you really have to reach into the depths of the internet to find guides that feature unique experiences beyond what the mass market is demanding. Travel websites can be a great resource for creating itineraries based on feedback from like-minded travelers because self-published travel bloggers no longer need mainstream publishers to disseminate their words and images to a large audience. Yet, becoming a successful travel blogger is not easy or cheap, unless you’re independently wealthy. In order to travel and create quality, original content, bloggers need financial backing for cameras, flights, hotels, food, event tickets, and more.