Friday, August 7

AK Souffle: Ancient and modern

- November 13, 2017


I want to see the pyramids, the Sphinx, the valley of the kings, I want to relive the reality of the fantastic histories that I learned of as a schoolboy, the excitement of Tutankhamen, a world of stories heard in a classroom or church, second hand… but I don’t think I ever will. It makes me sad but I have to live with a reality that so many of these wishes are in places that I simply cannot bring myself to visit.

Only too often on Queer Say we discuss news from abroad, from countries where homosexual oppression is a day to day reality, a reality that only too often leads to suffering and even death. Cruel death meted out by the pious leaders of faiths where they believe that being homosexual goes against their ancient religious teachings.

I have ruled them out as destinations for two reasons. The first is for reasons of safety. I simply fear that being in a country where homophobia laws and attitudes are rife is not an option. Recently we have said about police using LGBT+ online networking sites, they are being used as what we might have once called ‘honey pots’, luring people into assignations that are dangerous, encounters that can lead to arrest and imprisonment. Well that’s not my idea of a holiday no matter how much culture, ancient and modern, there is to absorb.

I simply do not want to fuel a travel industry in a country where this kind of homophobia is commonplace

The second reason is this; I simply do not want to fuel a travel industry in a country where this kind of homophobia is commonplace. I am aware that this of course could have an economic impact on a small country and especially a poor country. Not of course caused by me alone – that would merely be a token gesture – but if the LGBT+ population of the world started to boycott these destinations that would have an impact.

Of course there would be collateral damage, the economic impact would affect the whole country, the homophobes and those who do not believe in that oppression, and of course resident homosexuals of all genders, trans, bi you name it.

But would that boycott be able to change the world? I’m not sure but it has to be worth a try. I’m not just suggesting that this boycott is just from the LGBT world. I urge the entire world to consider cutting these destinations from their bucket lists, it’s a terrible loss culturally but we need to be safe when we travel and we need also to be respectful of course. But we don’t need to buy into homophobia.

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