From Lisbon, With Pride
As a solo female traveler, no matter how much I am enjoying my trips, I often wonder if what it would be like for my friends at the locations that I visit. In Cuba, I imagined salsa dancing and studying folkloric dance with a friend like we did back in New York. In Turkey, I longed to smoke shisha with another, and in the Czech Republic, I had two regrets: not going on the Kafka tour and not having my best writer friend along with me for the ride.
While it is normal to want to share experiences with your chosen family, the issue is complicated by one fact: most of my friends are members of the LGBQIA+ community. So for me imagining them with me is not just a matter of not wanting to be alone—it is wondering whether or not they’d be safe in the places where I wander around freely, mostly unmolested.
Most of the time, it didn’t seem to be an issue. In fact, in every country I visited, I always ran across at least one openly queer person. In Lisbon, Rafael and I ran the streets laughing and lusting over a German dude who had clearly never missed a leg day in his life. In Turkey with Zhizong I ate künefe, visited the sites, and discussed global gender politics. And in Tel Aviv, Zia and I rang in the New Year with a group of instant friends in a queer hip-hop club.
And while from my privileged perspective as a cis-heterosexual woman, everything seemed to be fine. Mostly. Because no matter how tolerant the location seemed, it was clear in some places that queerness was not fully as accepted as much as it seemed on the surface. In Turkey an American explained to me that there was a strict don’t ask, don’t tell policy surrounding queerness. I reasoned this to be why my very not-straight Airbnb host came out to me and his fellow guest during “girls night,” where we laughed about boys, only to tell me the next day that he wasn’t gay. In Tel Aviv, in our drunkenness we discussed the possibility of gay marriage ever becoming legal in Israel. The consensus was that chances were slim to none. Tel Aviv was a haven, they told me. The night we were having wouldn’t happen anywhere else.
And while researching this piece, I found the same sentiment to be true about my beloved Lisbon, were I accidentally stumbled across a pride festival exactly one year ago. Apparently in most of the country, views surrounding homosexuality were one of the last vestiges on which Catholicism still had a hold. Here, it was okay for priests and nuns to have whole families, including children—just as long as everybody was straight.
So, in honor of the friends who have loved and supported me both back at home and along this journey, here is a list of LGBTQIA+ organizations around the world that fight for equality and the right to exist for all.
Human Rights Organizations:
Here is a list of all the organizations from the countries that I have visited. Feel free to add more in the comments if you know of them.
So, that’s it! If you have any more from countries around the world, add them below! All photos are from Lisbon Pride Festival from 2018. So, I present to you all this information from Lisbon with Pride!