U.S. State Department appoints Special Envoy for LGBT Rights around the World

451623030_wide-a3d7562ad896e86d298d6127ec913f65826ef244-s800-c85“For the first time ever, the United States has appointed a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons . . . “

This is a commendable move. While great progress has been made in the U.S. and many other countries, there are unfortunately many places in the world where being openly gay is difficult, even dangerous. As an operator of escorted tours for LGBT travelers around the globe for 18 years we too are doing our part to act as ambassadors.

Should gay travelers visit “hostile” destinations?

African wildlife safari for gay group travelersWe’re re-posting this article from mid-2014 as it’s got a lot of food for thought as the gay travel population considers its international options. We at Venture Out, not surprisingly, are of the opinion that it’s better — in general — not to shut out so many countries just because they haven’t progressed as much as the U.S. and other Western and developed nations. If you simply go by the laws on the books you’ll be missing much of the world. We think it’s better to be visible, to be representatives, a diplomatic corps of sorts to help progress happen across the world. Gay travelers staying out of sight and out of mind in these places does nothing to make advances.

Obviously we need to be careful about the specific destination (if it’s particularly hostile for example), and there’s always a manner of comportment that is called for in these places (whether you’re gay or not gay). For instance, open displays of affection, regardless of your sexual orientation, are just a no-no in so many places across the globe.

So get out there — and happy travels in 2015!

“Doctor Who” Actor Kisses Man at Opening Ceremonies of Commonwealth Games in Scotland

The Commonwealth Games is an Olympics-like sporting event for some four dozen countries that are somehow connected to Great Britain. The Games opened in Scotland recently, and Doctor Who actor John Barrowman kissed a comedian at the opening ceremonies in an apparent statement to many of those countries, which criminalize homosexuality to one degree or another, while millions watched including the Queen.

Speaking of Scotland, check out our newly unveiled Scottish Highlands & Islands tour, which will be running in June 2015.