EDITOR- IN- CHIEF’S LETTER
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” –