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In the Press: Gay Travel Safety

I was quoted in the online magazine EDGE NEW YORK in a story about safety precautions–both practical and emotional–for gay people when traveling. My quotes are copied here, or follow the link for the full article:

OVERSEAS TRAVEL CAN BE RISKY BUSINESS
by Scott Stiffler
EDGE Contributor
Monday Jun 9, 2008

…Because travel to a new and unfamiliar place requires stepping outside of your queer comfort zone, clinical psychologist Geoffrey Steinberg (chelseatherapy.com) notes that, for gay men and lesbians living in the relative safety of the gay ghetto, “venturing out can be anxiety-provoking. Even if a destination doesn’t appear openly hostile, the lack of visibility of other gay people and gay friendly establishments may make a traveler feel conspicuous and vulnerable.” Exposure to homophobia in another country can trigger memories of experiences “that bear similarity to where the person encountered homophobia in the past. What we’re talking about is basically a variation of post-traumatic stress disorder. Just as a soldier returning from Iraq may be triggered into feelings of panic when hearing a car backfire, a gay person who was bullied or made to feel inferior in the past may be triggered by all kinds of environmental stimuli that bring back the feelings of fear and anger.” Those who feel they may by vulnerable to these emotions can prepare for what’s to come by “simply reminding yourself that you might feel uncomfortable where you’re going and recognize such feelings for what they are–a fear reaction that’s triggering past memories of being the target of homophobia. It can also be helpful to talk to the person you’re traveling with about what you’re feeling; or, if you’re traveling alone, to call a good friend back home.”

Full article

© 2008 Edge Publications, Inc.

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