ACTIVISM & TRAVEL
Travel is Political
I’m one of those lucky people who have multiple passions - travel, the queer community, and digital activism. It’s no secret that I started my career as an LGBT activist. I’ve facilitated social justice workshops and given speeches all over the world, I’ve even written a book about it. But I haven’t been implicit about how I see the intersection of these passions.
Well - travel is political. And to be a queer traveler is a radical act.
Every time I step foot in an anti-LGBT area I’m making a political statement. We live in a world where there are still 83 countries that deem identifying as an LGBT individual an illegal act, in many LGBT identity is punishable by death. Many LGBT people experience aggression, sexual harassment, and violence in our daily lives. Many governments still condone and perpetuate systematic violence against our people.
But travel is not just a political act for marginalized people, travel is inherently political. Every time we cross a border we are making a political statement with our mere presence - regardless whether it is intentional or not.
Every time we choose to not ride an elephant, apply for a visa, or discuss our experiences in various areas we are engaging in a political discourse.
Not all travelers feel this way, and to be honest - that hurts my soul. I’m in a travel Facebook Group with 200,000 members - that has the potential to be an amazing community of empowering and change-making women. [Join the Lesbian Travel Group]
Unfortunately, anytime a politically loaded topic comes up- Like -I’m talking ANYTHING - from veganism to cultural appropriation to travel safety for various demographics, the moderators choose to delete the post or shut down commenting. It breaks my heart because these conversations facilitate the knowledge exchange that travelers seek while adventuring. For some travel may mean eating six meals a day before heading on a guided snorkeling excursion - cool - I’m into those trips too - but I’ve also seen things that have rapidly shifted my perspective about the world around me. That’s the type of travel I seek.
A moderator for a different group of travel influencers asked me to delete a post asking for collaboration on an international activism project because they said political commentary wasn’t travel related.
I beg to differ.
I believe that I have a duty to use my platform, blog, and role in my community to help create change that empowers and uplifts.
Which is why I’m working with Protester.IO on my first political action of 2017.
Hillary won the popular vote by millions of votes and yet Trump is still being elected. The frustration is palpable. Many people have used social media to express feelings of powerless in their ability to help create change.
Many of us are disenfranchised and cannot vote. For those who can, the message in marginalized communities is that our votes really don’t count.
The protest happening in Washington DC is not representative of the billions of people around the world who will be impacted by the Trump presidency.
I believe voices should not be limited by geography or citizenship. The entire world will be impacted by the Trump Administration policies. This action is something tangible that can be done by anyone worldwide to show the displeasure with the proposed policy changes of the Trump Administration.
On January 21st, hundreds of thousands of Americans are going to Washington, DC to march in protest of the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Millions more around the country will be joining the cause from home. If you can’t make it to Washington DC on inauguration day, you can still participate by connecting with supporters on social media.
“Travel is political. And to be a queer traveler is a radical act.”
How Can You Help?
By setting up an auto refresh on your computer to overload the whitehouse.gov servers.
This is actually pretty easy to do. Check out this guide from Protester.IO for step by step instructions.
The best ideas and brightest leaders can come from anywhere, regardless of citizenship.
Why is it important to participate? Isn’t this just another election?
The New York Times recently published an article titled ‘Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?’, where they describe a litmus test for answering just that question. Here’s an excerpt.
“Drawing on a close study of democracy’s demise in 1930s Europe, the eminent political scientist Juan J. Linz designed a “litmus test” to identify anti-democratic politicians. His indicators include a failure to reject violence unambiguously, a readiness to curtail rivals’ civil liberties, and the denial of the legitimacy of elected governments. Mr. Trump tests positive.”
We haven’t lost our democracy yet, but it is most definitely under threat. The only way we’re going to defend and revive our democracy is by mobilizing. We can’t be armchair Democrats anymore. Or armchair Republicans, or whatever party you identify with. In fact, it’s time to put humanity over party and simply be global citizens who understand the implications of Trump Administration policies on the world for generations to come.
Global citizens who will fight to the end to defend marginalized communities. Humans who will fight to block Trump’s agenda and who will fight to remove big money from Washington.
Protester.io is an open platform for activists to create and run protests that operate similar to crowdfunding campaigns. Like crowdfunding campaigns, protests have goals and time limits, but rather than pledge money, protesters take action to reach a goal.
A protest has a single call-to-action, a measurable goal, and a set number of days to achieve it. Calls-to-action and goals are customizable, so you’re not limited in what you can accomplish. For example, you can get signs posted, calls made to elected representatives, or any innovative protest you can think of.
When protesters take action, they check-in to the protest and can engage with the community by including comments and photos.
I believe that open platforms with self-organizing communities are vital for grassroots change. They nurture innovation in protests and decentralized leadership because the best ideas and brightest leaders can come from anywhere, regardless of citizenship.
Given the world’s diverse cultures, societies, and circumstances, travel will always be a political act.
Join me on January 20, 2017 to help make our voices heard.
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