FROM THE EDITOR.
Vienna, New York, Japan, Thailand… 2019 is shaping up as a year with some seriously exceptional LGBT travel options.
This month I feel like one of those joke road signs you sometimes see when you’re travelling. You know, the ones that point off in multiple directions to Paris, New York, Timbuktu, etc, because this month is a Travel special and there’s stacks in it – plus a lot of other great non-travel related stories.
To start with, 2019 is shaping up as a year with some seriously exceptional LGBT travel options. There’s Europride in Vienna, and World Pride and Stonewall’s 50th anniversary in New York. The first ever Gay Ski Week in Japan is on in March, there’s a Rhine River cruise incorporating the Amsterdam Pride canal celebrations, and closer to home there’s a TropOut New Year event in Thailand – the official recovery from Bangkok’s White Party. So, you see, I’m the silly road side pointing every which way.
All of those great travel options are covered in this issue, plus there’s Vanessa McQuarrie’s feature pointing to the 10 best travel destinations for the LGBTIQ tourist. As a companion piece, Marc Andrews identifies 10 popular travel spots that are the most homophobic. Unfortunately, some of them are very popular with the gays. As good travellers, it’s time we asked ourselves, “Should we spend our travel dollars in countries that persecute their local LGBTIQs?” For me, the answer is no.
Homophobic violence can happen anywhere and this year we mark the 20th anniversary of the killing of Matthew Shepard. His senseless and brutal murder shocked the world and led, eventually, to hate crimes legislation in the USA. In this issue, Matt’s mother Judy speaks to DNA about her son’s death and his legacy. Now an activist for civil rights, Judy has a lot to say about the current US president and what appears to be the rolling back of LGBT protections.
Another hero of this issue is Dan Reynolds, lead singer of huge US rock band, Imagine Dragons. While not gay himself, and risking backlash from his band’s many conservative Christian fans, Dan established the LoveLoud music festival. This year’s event raised one million dollars for LGBTIQ youth support groups like The Trevor Project. He tells DNA why LoveLoud is so important to him.
This month sees the first of a series of stories we’ll be bringing you on addiction, its causes and the possible routes to recovery. The LGBTIQ community is affected by addictions at a greater level than the general population. It’s not because if our sexuality, it’s because of the trauma we experience from negative reactions to our sexuality. Addictions – to drugs and alcohol, sex, apps, gambling – will affect all of us either directly or through someone we know. This special series will, I hope, give us the knowledge and tools and manage these issues when they arise.
On a lighter lifestyle note, the DNA team headed to Brisbane this month to shoot the cover and file the Living In The Valley story. Fortitude Valley has long been a thriving gay hub and, now, as Brisbane experiences significant population growth, The Valley is evolving in new and exciting ways. Don’t worry – it’s still very gay!
Finally, one last mention regarding this issue: we have contributing photographers from around the world reflecting different styles and tastes, but we rarely publish the work of female photographers. This issue’s photo-story, NYC Boy featuring super-sexy model Matt James, is shot by up-and-coming photographer Jade Young, who identifies as a trans woman and we are excited to welcome her to the DNA extended family of global contributors.
Enjoy your DNA. See you next month,
Should we spend our travel dollars in countries that persecute their local LGBTIQs?” For me, the answer is no.
Vienna Pride, 2018.
Jade Young: a self-portrait.