Can you believe that I had this post written a year ago?! I have been debating on when to share this post. Ever since what happened with Orlando Pulse and Trump presidency, I feel the need to be able to express myself through here.
I have a confession to make:
My name is Lieurene Tran and I am gay
As you can see, I was terrified to travel and that’s why. It’s not so much that I am not out. I am out to my closest family and good friends. However, I am not fully out to the world because I don’t feel the need to walk around with a label on my head. Not that I am ashamed or not proud to be gay, which I am proud but to be completely honest even though I am scared of what the outcomes could be, I am making the choice to come out to you guys.
Although I have worked with Ella Festival in the past and a few people out there know I am gay, this is my first post that I am writing about myself being gay and the struggles I went through.
The Beginning of It All
Before my travels, I was in two separate same-sex relationships. Upon my upbringing in a Christian household, I met and fell in love with my first girlfriend in a church where her dad is the pastor. I know, I know. A pastor’s daughter?! We had such strong feelings toward each other for a while but we had to fight against it because of the beliefs that being gay is a sin. One day, I finally asked her to go with me to Sadies Hawkin (a dance where girls are supposed to ask guys) with a group of friends. That night, I slept over and we finally kissed. Man, that first kiss. I can never forget that moment. My heart was beating so fast that I felt like it was going to jump out of my body and run away. It was crazy and scary at the same time. I have to admit it was hard. Since then, we kept our relationship a secret for six months …. until her mother found out.
That day changed my life forever.
I was so terrified. I didn’t have a choice: I had to come out. I didn’t want her family to tell my mom so I was driving home from school, I was in tears while searching for the words to say. When I finally had the strength to face my mother, I literally fell on my knees and cried telling her that I am gay and I was in love. She looked at me with tears in her eyes, at loss for words. It took her some time but she eventually accepted me.
However, during my relationship, I had to face a lot of judgments. I was rejected from her family. I was shunned by the church. Even while we were out in public just holding hands, I still had to face the staring and the slurs. It affected me entirely. People have no idea that I would take the pain home with me. I would start to feel ashamed and cried myself to sleep.
So imagine my biggest fear for travel. I’ve always wanted to travel but not only do I have to face obstacles for being Deaf but being gay as well.
I was so worried how people would treat me in other countries. I even emailed Nomadic Matt asking if it’s safe for a gay person to travel and he responded yes. I still couldn’t believe it. I did so much research on the countries I was visiting to determine if I was safe. I remembered worrying so much about my short haircut and whether if I should dress feminine. Even my mom was scared for me. Her biggest concerns for me was: Female, Deaf, and Gay. Yep…
the “triple threats”
She feared that I would be a large target. But I still wanted to travel. I realized that I would face discrimination no matter where I was, even in my own hometown.
So I made that first step toward flying to South Korea. Luckily, I had Stacey with me. She was the best support system I could ask for, even though people often mistake her as my girlfriend (she is not gay). She knew and accepted me for who I was. She even caved in and went to a lesbian club in Seoul!
haha, that’s a story for another time.
I wish I could tell you that throughout my travel, I was fearless and that I didn’t care about what others think of me. But the truth was, I still couldn’t be fully myself because of the fear I had for safety.
The reason why I was worried about my safety is because of the brutality and violence that the LGBTQ+ community often faced such as hate crimes, the homophobic attacks, etc. I know that every issue is different for each person such as a transgender often faced more attacks as compared to a lesbian. I see all these on the news and social media but every time my heart breaks.
The struggles I also often faced through my travel is when I meet people, the first question they normally ask, “Do you have a boyfriend?”. They already set this image of me in their head as a straight person. Even more so when I participated in couch surf, I had a fear that they would kick me out or they would reject my request if they know I am gay. So that’s where I start to resist and shut people out because of fear of judgment. I recognized this big fear I have of rejection due to my past of being shunned and harshly judged.
In lieu of what happened in Orlando and now with Trump presidency, I was so torn and heartbroken. All my fears came running back to me. I really needed the time to gather up all the pieces and find myself again.
After seeing all the amazing support pouring out from many people everywhere, I realized that I don’t want to give into these fears. I realized that we are loved. We are accepted. We are cared for. Love IS love.
I am not going to lie though, I will never stop being scared but I won’t let fear take over me. I will still continue to travel. I will still continue to show compassion and kindness. I will still take the time to meet people. Most important of all, I will still continue to love myself and others. After all, we only have one life so how do you want to spend it? I’d rather spend it happy.
Thank you for reading and for your support. I love you
To extend my support and in hope to inspire others, I will be writing more posts on LGBT travels so keep an eye out for future posts! 😄
By the way, I want to shout out to a few of my favorite LGBT travel bloggers who helped inspire me!
- LezBackpack– amazing travel blogger named Melissa who writes posts on lesbian travels
- Nomadic Boys– a gay couple who have traveled around the world
- Dopes On The Road– Queer woman traveler who dedicate her times to network and encourage LGBTQ+ travel.
- 2 Travel Dads– Amazing fathers who take their children and travel around the world
- GlobetrotterGirls– Dani, a lesbian solo traveler who shares her own travel stories as well as featuring LGBT travelers
- RexyEd Adventures– Another Deaf gay traveler with a cochlear implant
Do you know any other LGBTQ+ travelers? If so, please tell us so!
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