One in three LGBT travellers experience discrimination on holiday

Research has shown that one in three LGBT travellers experience homophobic or transphobic treatment while on holiday.

The news comes from a report into the issues faced by LGBT travellers worldwide.

The report reveals more than one in three (37%) LGBT travellers have experienced some form of discrimination whilst on holiday, with 6% experiencing a threat of physical violence due to their sexuality.

The report also highlighted that sexuality had a major influence on where LGBT Brits travelled, with two thirds (63%) refusing to travel somewhere that had an unwelcoming attitude towards the LGBT community.

A quarter (23%) of LGBT travellers admitted changing the way they act and try to camouflage their sexuality when on holiday.

Most alarmingly, an overwhelming 80% said that the travel industry don’t do enough to inform the LGBT community about local laws prior to departure.

The research was carried out for Virgin Holidays, which has launched a campaign with Stonewall on the issue.

There have been a series of high-profile cases in recent years of LGBT British holidaymakers experiencing discrimination abroad.

In 2014, British tourist Ray Cole was jailed in Morocco for 20 days, after falling foul of the country’s anti-homosexuality laws. He was released after a public campaign.

It is not just countries with active anti-gay laws that can prove an issue, though.

In 2015, gay Brit Marco Bulmer-Rizzi encountered shocking treatment when his husband died suddenly on their honeymoon in Australia. As Australia does not recognise same-sex marriage, Mr Bulmer-Rizzi was told his husband’s death certificate would read “never married”.

Returning home via Hong Kong International Airport, his husband’s ashes were nearly seized by security who failed to recognise him as next-of-kin.

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall CEO, said: “It’s difficult for travel companies to negotiate the ever-changing landscape around global LGBT equality.

“Travel companies should be doing everything they can to keep their staff and customers safe when travelling anywhere in the world.

“We would love to see others join forces with Virgin Holidays and work towards a world where lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel able to travel freely without fear of discrimination, and are accepted without exception.”

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson said: “We believe everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to be whoever they are, wherever they are. That’s why it is shocking that in today’s society some of us can’t even enjoy a simple holiday without fear of discrimination.”