Sharing this experience is in no way meant to downplay the bigotry faced by queer couples on vacation. This is simply a reflection from one queer traveler to you on one instance of guest homophobia.
Back in 2019, one of my best friends was able to attend a media trip with me as my photographer. We were roommates for most of college, so we’re very comfortable with one another. Because of that, or because we’re very affectionate people, we’re also used to folks assuming that we’re a couple. What we weren’t ready for was the passive-aggressive, outdated guest homophobia at the resort.
One couple at the boutique resort avoided us like the plague.
I wish that were just a euphemism. They truly acted like they would be infected if they came near us.
The inciting incident(s)
In the salt water pool one morning, I approached the couple to ask what time it was (he was wearing a watch). The man grimaced, curtly stated the time, and the two promptly left the pool. We were the only ones in it besides them. At the time, we brushed it off as a weird coincidence that they left so quickly after we got in. That is, until later when we were on a boat with them.
A group of folks, including that couple, from the resort went out on a catamaran to do some tranquility meditation in the ocean. As we re-embarked onto the boat after the outing, I was walking along the narrow pathway to get back to Tori. As I walked past the man, he leaned as far away from me as humanly possible, to the point that he could’ve fallen off of the boat.
That’s when I realized they were avoiding us.
Later on that same day I heard that they refused* (*pitched a fit) to attend a special dinner arranged by the resort because the person arranging it was openly gay. To say Tori and I were outraged to hear this would be an understatement. That same evening we spoke to another pair of girlfriends who visit that resort biannually together. They experienced the same behavior that we did with that same couple.
There weren’t even 50 people staying at that boutique resort that week. Were they really going to be hateful towards 10% of the guests? Give me a break.
Don’t let rich people off the hook
Here’s the thing. I am queer. I’m a pandemisexual (a person on the asexual spectrum) woman with a male spouse. Tori is also in the asexuality spectrum. We’ve adapted to people not understanding our sexuality, but have never experienced that kind of homophobia before.
The sad part is, I could never afford to go back to that resort. And yet, those homophobic guests probably behave that way at every vacation destination they visit. I bet any amount of their money that their behavior is a constant and tolerated because they are wealthy.
I know that money plays a huge role in the travel industry, it has to under capitalism. What doesn’t have to happen is for resorts to tolerate (and thereby approve of) guest homophobia. Queer folks shouldn’t have to bend to the will of the straight, wealthy white people on vacation or anywhere else. We have just as much right to exist and have a good time as anyone else–but hopefully a better time than those homophobes.
Tori and I reported their behavior to any staffers we thought could have any impact in part because was a small enough resort that you saw the same people throughout the day. We also didn’t want any queer couples to have to deal with these people’s nonsense in future scenarios, so we tried to make an impact. I have no idea if our interventions did anything, we just did what we thought was the best recourse.
Their hateful nonsense didn’t stop us from enjoying our work trip. For the rest of our stay we scoped them out. Sometimes we’d go out of our way to walk by them even if we didn’t have to. Any time we saw them we’d hold hands, smile, wave and be on our merry little way.
Kill guest homophobia with kindness.