EDI­TOR- IN- CHIEF’S LET­TER

Attitude - - Contents -

Ifi nd it a lit­tle ironic that the an­nual At­ti­tude travel is­sue is pub­lished dur­ing a time of in­cred­i­ble up­heaval in the re­la­tion­ship with our clos­est neigh­bours in the Euro­pean Union. Politi­cians are in dis­ar­ray, fl ounder­ing from one de­ci­sion to the next, with MPs from all sides on the one hand call­ing for closer ties, and on the other de­mand­ing to­tal dis­as­so­ci­a­tion.

But this is not ( yet an­other) ar­ti­cle on messy Brexit.

At a time in which our po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives strug­gle to defi ne what it means to be Bri­tish, what power do we have in all this mess to change the world for the bet­ter? What can we do to take pos­i­tive steps for­ward, no mat­ter how small or large?

As mem­bers of the LGBT+ com­mu­nity liv­ing in a con­nected, glob­alised world, the power of travel has never been so sig­nifi cant.

Take this is­sue, for ex­am­ple. In our travel spe­cial we visit Tai­wan, a coun­try that many of us might know lit­tle about be­yond it be­ing the coun­try in which so many of the goods we pur­chase are man­u­fac­tured. Yet, in this is­land state off China, the courts have ruled the de­nial of same- sex mar­riage to be un­con­sti­tu­tional and the gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to in­tro­duc­ing mar­riage equal­ity re­gard­less of a ref­er­en­dum that went against it.

Tai­wan is prov­ing it­self to be one of Asia’s most pro­gres­sive coun­tries for LGBT+ rights, and it wants our com­mu­nity around the world to know we are wel­come to ex­pe­ri­ence its beauty.

We also re­port from Ge­or­gia, the coun­try in the Cau­ca­sus, Eura­sia. Specifi cally, we meet the peo­ple who fre­quent the club Bas­siani, in the cap­i­tal city of Tbil­isi. Even in the face of op­pres­sion, LGBT+ peo­ple have gath­ered in clubs and other venues to cel­e­brate life and love. As techno clubs go, Bas­siani is one of the most dar­ing places on Earth, a show of defi ance by its reg­u­lar vis­i­tors to­wards the re­li­gious and con­ser­va­tive author­i­ties. It’s sol­i­dar­ity set to a pul­sat­ing beat, and a less ob­vi­ous travel des­ti­na­tion that’s maybe for the more ad­ven­tur­ous LGBT+ trav­eller. I’m game. Who’s com­ing with me?

Else­where, in our Real Life sec­tion we meet Michael Ka­jubi, a gay man liv­ing in Uganda who wants to show the world the nat­u­ral won­der of his home land, a coun­try that many of us know only as a place of re­pres­sion for LGBT+ peo­ple. For Michael, travel is a tool through which he sees change com­ing to Uganda in in­cre­men­tal ways. He wants LGBT+ peo­ple to visit Uganda and become ex­am­ples of how our com­mu­nity can bring a mul­ti­tude of benefi ts to his na­tion.

But is tourism sim­ply lin­ing the purses of anti- trans and anti- gay gov­ern­ments? Per­haps. Oth­ers would ar­gue that LGBT+ trav­ellers off er lo­cals, who may not oth­er­wise meet out queer peo­ple, ex­am­ples of how mem­bers our com­mu­nity are not “sex­ual per­verts” but real peo­ple, who have real re­la­tion­ships. It’s a com­plex ar­gu­ment that we touch on in our Big Is­sue topic on p18.

“The power of travel has never been so sig­nif­i­cant for the LGBT+ com­mu­nity”

“Per­haps travel can­not pre­vent big­otry, but by demon­strat­ing that all peo­ples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can in­tro­duce the idea that if we try [ to] un­der­stand each other, we may even become friends” –

Maya An­gelou

@ Clif­fJoan­nou

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