My partner and I have travelled extensively both as solo females and as a couple, we're lesbians by the way. Since being together, our desire to continue travelling hasn't changed but something rather significant has. I present to you the ways that we have had to adapt (consciously and unconsciously) and the challenges we face from people we meet just because we are two women who have fallen in love.
The 6 Daily Battles of a Travelling Lesbian
The double bed saga
We've booked a hotel online and pre-ordered a double bed but there's a high chance we are going to be given the key to a twin room, or worse, be offered bunk beds instead of the queen suite. Returning to the lobby to return a key because you have been delivered straight toward someones presumptions is more than an inconvenience. I have used a range of excuses including "we only have one mosquito net" to avoid getting a raised eyebrow and questioning looks from hotel staff.
The extra helpful, helpful advice
Two women driving an SUV around Alaska are obviously in need of advice. Males in particular seem to think that, even if you ask for directions to the loo, you are also in need of the exact place that you should eat that night, an itinerary for the next two weeks and advice on tires, oil, fuel, specific fuel stations... if you name it, we get it. This condescending stream of tips is an excruciating test of our politeness and is frankly, more annoying than anything else we encounter on our travels.
The conversion conversation
It would be nice if just once, we could meet guys who are out for a good time without them wanting to get you to bed. One moment you're drinking, chatting and laughing but then suddenly the conversation closes in when they realise, with horror, that they are chatting to lesbians. It's not long before I (who used to be straight) am singled out and repeated told what I am missing and MORE, how unfulfilled my life is without male genitals. What garbage! Although it is still sad, I much prefer the 'your worthless to me I'm going to avoid you like the plague' approach.
Resisting public affection
The world's eyes are far more open these days but that doesn't mean that people won't stare at you just for being, well... you. I understand that if we travel to culturally sensitive areas we need to be more careful, the choice to visit these places is ours after all but it's still hard to resist that natural reach for your girls hands and so on. It's one of the many reasons that South East Asia is a blessing, the girls link and hold hands just to demonstrate a friendship, score! Staring aside I think the worst 'lesbian' experience I've ever had occurred in Australia. My partner and I were ripped apart from a kiss by some adolescent youth screaming "Oh My God" over and over again.
Having to explain you're not sisters
"Are you two sisters"
Me "No, I'm from England and my partner's Australian"
"But you look alike and you are both so tall"
We have had this conversation at least twice with immigration officials who are currently holding our different coloured passports in their hands! Never mind the people that we regularly meet whom we have to lead to the conclusion that we are actually together and not siblings.
Dealing with men that are determined to outdo you
Sorry to bring men into this equation yet again but it is the truth when I say that some men must feel insecure about two women do-ing it alone (and do-ing IT alone, ha). There is nothing more annoying than meeting men while traveling and have them command the right to speak over you because they must convince you, or themselves, that they have lived life better. Not only are your stories/opinions completely disregarded but you are also condemned to hear that you aren't carrying the right gear and give unrealistic advice on how to do things. While driving around Canada more than once we've been asked "where are you headed next?" and then "oh, I'll do that in 3 hours max" for a journey that takes at least 5, we've been outdone before we've even started.
Phew, nothing keeps me happy on the road like a good old rant. Perhaps you've experienced this too or perhaps you have something to add, let's talk! Find me on Facebook where I live my day to day life with my partner Prue or on our travel website Straight On Detour, to find more rantings and ramblings of a life lived on the road.