We’ve all seen the brochures: model mum and dapper dad with their two perfect children on holidays.
Yes, I know it’s advertising; it’s aiming to be aspirational.
But where does that leave families that don’t fit the stereotype?
“Destinations that proclaimed to be ‘family friendly’ may as well have had ‘STRAIGHT’ stamped across their brochure pages,” writes Veronica Rhodes, a gay adoptive mother of two girls, in HuffPost Parents.
“And resorts that claimed to be ‘gay-friendly’ tended to be of the adult variety, not suitable for children. Where was the place that was both family and gay friendly?”
It’s a very good question.
In Australia, more than 6000 children are living in same-sex families, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
One of the biggest problems they face is discrimination.
As Steve Brister writes on his website, gayfamilytrips.com, “Despite dramatic increases in the visibility and acceptance of gays and lesbians during our lifetimes, being gay still means being treated differently in a surprising number of situations and personal interactions.”
He and partner Carmine worry about the impact on their son, Balta, when fellow travellers ask repeatedly, “So where’s your mum?”
Consequently, they avoid destinations with, “a strong reputation for being politically and religiously conservative”.
This includes many American states, Uganda, Morocco, and Russia.
According to Lonely Planet, the world’s most “progressive, inclusive and accepting” place for LGBTQI people is Copenhagen.
All over the world, R Family Vacations runs luxury cruise ships and ranch camps, “designed for guys and lesbians, along with their families”.
The Wyndham Hotel Group is a member of the IGLTA – the world’s leading travel trade association committed to the gay and lesbian tourism business.
And wotif.com has a list of gay-friendly accommodation in Australia.
“Being gay owned and operated means we are definitely gay friendly, and we welcome all to relax and unwind in our character-filled home,” the new owners of Kubba Roonga Guesthouse, Chris and Graham, write on the websitepinkmountains.com.au.
And, if you plan to travel overseas, consider this sage advice from gaystarnews.com:
“Cover all legal bases. Does your holiday destination acknowledge the parental relationship to your child? Contact the country’s embassy, seek legal advice, or take written proof with you.
“Talk to your child. Make sure your family is aware of the social acceptance, or lack thereof, rainbow families receive in different countries. By discussing this issue, an awkward encounter is less likely to unsettle your children.
“Choose your accommodation wisely.”
A great resource for gay-friendly, child-friendly properties is furtherafield.com. It features cottages, castles and lofts, which have all been vetted for the type of welcome you are likely to receive.
After all, as Veronica Rhodes asks, “Is it too much to ask that Em and I are able to use our precious days off in a place where both kids can call us both mum without watching heads turn?”