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Gay Safe Travel - What does that mean?

From the very first trip, my biggest concern for our community has been safety. I cannot take a group of people to a country where being homosexual is against the law. I know some other trip organizers think I am talking about sodomy laws, but I am not.

Here is an example. In addition to punishment for their sexual acts laws - MOROCCO Article 483 [MORALITY CODE LIMITING SOGI PUBLIC EXPRESSION- OBSCENITY] “[W]hoever commits an act of public indecency, whether by nudity or obscenity in his actions, shall be punished by imprisonment of one month to two years and a fine of 200 to 500 dirhams.”

My question is, who decides what is obscene? Is kissing your husband or wife obscene? Is holding hands obscene? You may laugh or feel like I am being extreme but I am unwilling to take that chance.

A while back I wanted to go to the Sipadan Water Village. When I asked the travel agent if it was in Malaysia they said they didn't know and would get back to me. Upon doing my research I learned it was in Malaysia and canceled the trip. The American Malaysian Embassy contacted me and said, "the laws will not apply to you and your group." I said, "really? If I stole something, would that apply to me?" His answer was yes.

I explained that a law is a law. If one of the employees did not like something someone did they could cause trouble for us. He agreed and asked what he was supposed to do. I told him to change his laws.

I use the ILGA report on State Sponsored Homophobia as my guide. The report has a detailed breakdown of the laws in every country.

There are so many places to go that are beautiful and welcoming. I would rather spend my money in those places. Please feel free to use their report as your guide when you travel around the world. And, whether you travel with me, with someone else, or by yourself, be safe.

Sincerely,

 

Richard Lear

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