“King Kong ain’t got nothing on me.” Of course no one in their right mind would argue with Denzel Washington, Hollywood’s own melanin ruler of the thespian throne who ferociously delivered the now infamous line in Training Day. For the role which earned him the much coveted Oscar, it’s hard to believe that the actor, and the character he portrays in the film, would be challenged with this self- assessment.
One can say the same about my fellow brothers in the struggle who are continuing to change the face of travel with creativity, and begrudgingly to some – influence. Unfortunately, there are folks whose sole purpose in life appears to only want to reduce the existence of the same gender loving community to that “stuff” they do in the bedroom. Thankfully, there are scores of men who are destroying the narrative of the lifestyle most people think we live. If the killjoys of equality want to see a lifestyle, we will undoubtedly give them one they’ll eventually want to emulate.
At any given moment, gay men are packing weekend bags, getting groomed, and performing last minute travel rituals – much of which is documented via Instagram stories. Travel, whether it’s stateside or international, is a way of life for some of us. A connection to many other likeminded souls who’ve historically, always known the importance of self-care. In a world that is not always welcoming to same gender loving men, especially those who identify as a double, and triple minority – a getaway is as paramount to survival as breathing.
It’s important to note that time “away” is not limited to the actual changing of geographical backdrops, but rather providing an escape route to sanity within your own bustling metropolis or small town. Whether it’s a family style get together that turns into the dopest adult sleepover, or game of basketball with the crew, we can always find an outlet to be free.
So whenever I see pundits on television defending their right to oppress people for who they love, or well intentioned people inaccurately describing people LIVING like everyone else as a lifestyle, I take PRIDE in knowing there is an alternative universe via travel that I can tap into at anytime to dodge the madness.
Lately, I’ve been in awe of the many amazing content providers within the travel community. Many of whom, are same gender loving. They aren’t necessarily catering to one specific audience, but rather discovering the world on their terms without reservation to those who may disagree. We have always been dominating the travel game, and influencing the look, style, and feel of it, despite rarely getting the credit.
You don’t have to look too hard to find plenty of black travel blog accounts on Instagram. Black and Abroad, My Black Passport, and Black Voyageurs happen to be a few of my favorites. All of them offer breathtakingly beautiful snapshots of people of color adding much needed seasoning to a not so inclusive travel industry.
Many of my favorite mainstream hotels and resorts hardly if ever, present promotional ads featuring melanin infused experiences. Add two people of the same gender on a romantic retreat, well that’s just crazy talk. Although the popular black travel accounts aren’t much better, we still manage to be represented on them whether the account holders are aware of it or not. Some of the staging, destinations, Airbnb options, photo ideas, are “borrowed” from personal accounts belonging to, you guessed it, us – aka black gay culture.
While managing to navigate our lives in a world that often says we’re unloveable and unwanted, we stay busy building full lives, and forcing people to rethink how to do everything from weddings to travel. With our passports in tow, we’re shutting down one travel destination, or bbq after the next. We’ve always been, and always will be ahead of the curve in defining what’s new, now, and next. It’s not about boasting brash one-liners to affirm our place as influencers, we’re simply stating that our authority in dictating travel trends has never been up for debate.