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Some iconic travel destinations criminalize homosexuality. LGBTQ travelers are split on whether they should visit

14/06/24, 11:00

Julia Buckley

CNN Travel

When Emma-Jane Nutbrown went on a family vacation to Jamaica last year, she did so with one condition: that everyone donated to an LGBTQ charity once they got there.

Nutbrown felt uncomfortable with her parents’ choice of destination. Same-sex sexual activity between men is against the law in Jamaica and carries a maximum jail term of 10 years with hard labor. Both Nutbrown and her brother, Simon – whose 40th birthday the family was celebrating on that trip – are gay.

“It made Simon uneasy going there, but most people like to travel for the place, not the politics behind it, so we couldn’t really hold my parents accountable,” says Nutbrown, founder of Queer Edge, which creates safe spaces for the community in London. “I won’t refuse to travel somewhere with family, but I will raise it. So instead of us refusing to go, Simon made everyone donate to a charity out there as his birthday present.”

Nutbrown and her brother are some of the millions worldwide who have an extra layer to consider when booking a vacation: Will they be safe in the destination, and how are local members of the LGBTQ community treated?

“I’m predominantly against it [travel to destinations where homosexuality is banned], but I’m pragmatic. It’s not as easy as ‘Don’t go,’ ” she says. “If there was a shared consensus across the planet [to boycott destinations] then it would work, but I think it’s a lot more complex.”

There are 62 countries worldwide that still criminalize (or de facto criminalize) homosexuality, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), which counts UN member states. The Human Dignity Trust counts 64.

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