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In January 2021, we ran an article online about how the travel industry fails people of color. In it we quoted Kellee Edwards (Kellee Set Go), who implored the industry at a conference to “expect us.” The Black pilot, mountaineer, scuba diver, and adventure traveler finds destinations far too often surprised at her arrival. “I would love the travel industry to expect to see us,” she said of Black travelers, especially in luxury or adventure settings.
What Edwards said resonates a year later. As a trans man I too often find myself in situations where it seems clear that I’m not who the travel industry planned for. I sometimes wear my “I’m Trans and I Travel” T-shirt (below) to raise awareness.
Editor Jacob Anderson-Minshall wearing his I'm Trans and I Travel T-shirt
Even in the LGBTQ+ community it can feel like only able-bodied cisgender white gay men are expected, that everyone else is an exception, not worth preparing for.
Lately, whether I’m taking my 80-year-old mother on a drive through the back roads of Idaho to witness the autumn leaves, taking my sister (who has Down syndrome) to Legoland, traveling with a friend who uses a motorized wheelchair, or just navigating airports with my own disabilities, I am reminded that these spaces were not designed for us.
But here’s the thing, we’re already here. Trans, disabled, plus-sized, BIPOC people are already traveling, and it’s time that the industry expected us. This issue of Out Traveler features a special section on outsider travelers and how queers like backpacking queen Pattie Gonia, adventurer Mikah Meyers, and lesbian climber Silvia Vasquez-Lavado are leading the way in demanding, taking, and creating space for all bodies in the travel and outdoor adventure communities. LGBTQ+ groups like Unlikely Hikers and Queer Surf remind us that our power for change is stronger when we come together.
Jacob Anderson-Minshall in early 2020 at the Stonewall Gallery in Wilton Manors, Florida (which happened to be featuring a photography show by B Proud, Transcending Love, in which the trans editor was featured).
No man is an island, but sometimes we all want to escape to one! We’ve got you covered in this issue, whether you enjoy the aloha of Hawaii, want to hike (or surf) on Portugal’s semi-tropical island, honeymoon in Iceland, or follow our managing editor Donald Padgett by unplugging on a nearly uninhabited island just off the coast of California.
Our cover star, lesbian model Asianna Scott embodies the outsider spirit in her chosen career and how she turns to travel to heal emotional wounds and generational scars. She’s mapping a new path for herself, and inviting us to do so as well.
Jacob Anderson-Minshall in Berlin in 2019.
For all of us, let it be known: We’re here, we’re queer, and the world is ours to claim.
Ready or not, here we come!
Editor in Chief
This editor's letter originally ran in the Winter 2022 issue of Out Traveler, which is available on the newsstand now.