In our second installment of QTWoC Chronicles, Tiffany and LaToya Rose are a Black American lesbian couple based in China and attempting to conceive their first child with a known donor. The duo documents their lessons in life, love, and travel — exclusively on ELIXHER!
We are frequently asked how we deal with being queer women of color traveling abroad. For our straight counterparts, they simply worry about securing the country’s travel visa, bringing the right clothes, packing the GoPro, etc. As queer travelers, we have to take it a step further. We have to think about the country’s LGBTQ laws (or lack thereof) and level of acceptance.
Being two feminine-presenting women in a queer relationship, we’re often mistaken for sisters or best friends, to which we immediately correct people and say that we’re wives. Neither one of us have ever been very big on PDA. We don’t shy away from holding hands or forehead kisses, but we’re also not tonguing each other down in the streets. We are comfortable in our sexuality when traveling abroad. This holds true with the exception of traveling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.
We’ve heard it all: ”Oh, it’s too far.” “I heard they’re racist.” “They don’t like gays.” If we lived by these as absolute truths, our world would become a lot smaller…Everyone experiences this world through different sets of eyes, so travel should be no different.
We believe that as travelers on foreign soil, we should try our best to respect the rules and customs of the host country. Being LGBTQ is not just taboo in the UAE but it’s strictly forbidden and punishable by law. So, needless to say, there was no handholding and forehead kisses under the Arabian sun.
But it didn’t stop us from having a fantastic time. Had we listened to others, we probably would’ve never set foot in any part of the Middle East, when honestly it was one of our best trips to date.
Our advice: Don’t listen to what people say. Go and see for yourself!
As queer women of color living as expats in a homogenous society, we are always the ultimate “other.” It’s the norm for us now. We receive stares, are asked to pose for photos, and are asked ridiculous questions about race. It comes with the territory, but we don’t let that stop us. As world travelers, sometimes you have be open to exchanges of all kinds.
Just because you’re in a relationship does not mean that you and your partner are suited for travel together.
Some people are more cautious than others when it comes to traveling the world. We’ve heard it all: ”Oh, it’s too far.” “I heard they’re racist.” “They don’t like gays.” If we lived by these as absolute truths, our world would become a lot smaller.
We don’t let our gender, race, religious affiliation or sexual orientation stop us. Someone is always going to have an opinion about where you should go, what you should see, who you should go with and what you should spend your money on. Everyone experiences this world through different sets of eyes, so travel should be no different.
As a married couple and lovers of travel, it’s a given that we would travel together. But just because you’re in a relationship does not mean that you and your partner are suited for travel together.
Just like the saying “you don’t know someone until you live with them” goes, we say, ”you don’t know someone until you travel with them.”
It just so happened that the two of us were lucky and that are our travel styles are very compatible. We’re both laidback, flexible and open to unexpected experiences.
Once the destination is decided, we share the responsibility of looking for flights, booking hotels and researching and activities. We are both against planning detailed itineraries for our trips because we like when the magic of traveling happens—like when we stumble across a quaint little neighborhood with chill cafés and secondhand bookstores. We enjoy getting lost in cities and falling in love with places not always listed onTripAdvisor’s “Top 10.” And we love kicking it with locals and finding out the best eats in the city and the most amazing places to watch the sunset.
We’ve always believed that traveling allows you to be the best version of yourself…when you travel with the right person. Traveling creates a unique environment where you and your partner are forced compromise and you are truly able to get a sense of who you really are as a couple.
It’s like an obstacle course for your relationship that tests your abilities as a couple to deal with compromise, adaptability, budgeting, patience, trust, communication, and your abilities to step outside of your comfort zones.
And let’s be honest. Traveling heightens all the best and worst qualities of your mate. You will probably get into at least one fight on your trip. Whether it be you didn’t get to go to that restaurant with the amazing fried ice cream that you saw on Instagram because your partner was too tired or you didn’t hike off the beaten path to see the sunrise at 5 a.m. because someone forgot to set the alarm. Or even missing the five-star hotel’s paid breakfast. (LaToya’s still salty about that one.)
Be prepared…it’s going to happen.
The key is to be open, honest and communicative about your travel expectations with your partner. Trust us. These will take you far. Traveling with your partner can be one of the most amazing and fulfilling experiences you can give to one another.
After 18 countries together, we have an apartment full of souvenirs, tatted passports, and enough unforgettable memories to last us a lifetime. Travel is just one more pillar that has made our relationship that much stronger.
You can look back smiling at camel riding in the Wahiba Dessert in Oman, elephant trekking in Phuket, taking a cooking class in Vietnam or kissing under the Eiffel Tower in Paris and remember that you conquered the world together.
Live, Love, and Travel,
To learn more about the Roses and their musings on motherhood, marriage, travel and more follow them on Twitter @thisisournormal, on Tumblr at thisisournormal.tumblr.com or visit their website thisisournrml.com.