When Straight People Go Gay: 4 Tips on Being Respectful in Gayborhoods Across the World
Our friend Daniel Baylis is back writing a guest post for the Mindful Tourist. Take a peek making sure to read to the very bottom to find out more about Daniel and his possible drink of choice…
When traveling to urban centers, gay neighborhoods are often the trendiest places to visit. Whether you are in Le Marais (Paris) or Chelsea Village (New York), some of the hottest bistros, boutiques and clubs cater to the queer market. This doesn’t mean that the straight folk are not invited. In fact, you’d be missing out on a lot if you declared all “gay hot spots” to be off-limits to you as a tourist.
Here are 4 tips for heteros to keep it cool on gay ground.
1) Don’t be so quick to assert your heterosexuality.
When I’m walking through Montreal’s Gay Village, I chuckle at the man with a death grip on his girlfriend’s hand, avoiding eye contact with every guy that walks by. We get it dude, you’re not into men. And yes, hand holding is okay, but try to remain aware of the non-verbal messages you are sending.
2) Allow yourself to feel sexy.
If someone of a similar gender flirts with you, take it as a compliment (while remembering my first tip). Everyone appreciates the thought of being attractive. A simple smile and a “cheers, mate” is an appropriate response. If you are uncomfortable, try a different location in the bar.
3) Keep the camera in your bag.
Sometimes it’s tempting to pull out the camera to snap a couple of shots of the chiselled leather daddy in his butt-less chaps or the old drag queen with her cracked-out Whitney Houston wig falling off – but their lifestyles are not designed for your personal amusement. This being said, if you are attending a performance where other people are taking photos, then obviously feel free to capture the debauchery.
4) Share some energy.
If the city you are visiting is celebrating their annual Pride celebrations, go check out the action. Celebrating sexual diversity is not just for queers. When watching a parade, sharing some energy is the most respectful thing to do. Clap and cheer for the folks who are parading their eccentricities down the street; they may look fabulous, but some of them may actually be nervous. Your energy says, “I honour what you are doing.”
Daniel Baylis writes a blog about Gay Montreal. Daniel enjoys taking hetero friends and family to visit Montreal’s Gay Village (the largest in the world according to Wikipedia!) where they can witness all sorts of human diversity, while sipping on big gay martinis.