As we go about our day-to-day lives, we are often reminded of how we are, as lesbians, in a very small minority among the global population. Research polls suggest that only about 5% of all women identify as lesbian, and that figure doesn’t change when traveling. In a sea of straight couples on their journeys, we’ve discovered that there are actually some distinct advantages we have traveling as a lesbian couple.
We were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on a platform at the train station waiting for our train to the Batu Caves. When the train pulled up, we noticed one of its cars was decorated in bright pink, and upon further inspection, realized that it was designated for women only.
Comparing the loud, cramped quarters of the mixed-gender train cars, it was a no-brainer for us to opt for the quiet and comfortable space of the female only car. The stress of not being able to sit together or the worry of a seat facing the opposite direction of travel and the motion-sickness havoc that would wreak, dissipated immediately.
It’s not often that 14 hours on an overnight bus is considered an option, when the alternative of flying the same distance would take about a tenth of the time. The prospect of sharing a bed on a sleeper bus AND that it was much cheaper made the decision a more difficult one, as on our trip to the Philippines, our itinerary was extremely time-limited.
On this particular occasion, we took the flight. However, we look forward to the next opportunity to travel overland and enjoy sharing an actual mattress on an overnight bus. These buses allow two people on each mattress, but to avoid sexual misconduct and molestation, they have a strict rule that mattresses must be shared by two people of the same sex. Lesbian win!
At the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, the advantage of traveling as a lesbian couple was two-fold. First, there are separate security lines for men and women, and when we saw how the vast majority of travelers were men, we were happy to breeze right through. Second, once we passed through the metal detector and picked up our carry-on luggage from the x-ray belt, we didn’t have to wait for our male travel companions, like so many of the other women travelers.
With huge smiles and a jump in our step, we gave each other a big high five, and proceeded to our gate to await our flight to south-eastern China.
There are times when we travel that it is vital to arrange or re-arrange items in our bags, or safely separate the money we just received from an exchange booth. It’s obvious that we don’t want anyone to know exactly where we keep our valuables, so as a lesbian couple we go to the one place we’re guaranteed to have privacy: a stall in a women’s restroom.
We can take all the time we need. Perhaps we’ll discuss how much we’re willing to pay for a taxi, or what area of the city we need to go. It’s the perfect place to talk, and not have the target on our backs exclaiming, “Hey! We’re tourists!”
We have been lucky enough to enjoy some luxurious spa experiences on our travels around the world. Two of these stand out as being advantageous for lesbian couples. They were in Baden-Baden, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey. In both of these places, we witnessed several straight couples saying goodbye to each other in the lobby saying, “Have a good time.”
We, on the other hand, got to enjoy each and every moment together, turning an average spa experience into a romantic one.