In the month that addresses Lesbian Visibility, this audience still faces the challenge of not being represented in society. August is considered the month of Lesbian Visibility and on the 29th, is the Day of Fight Against Lesbophobia and Biphobia. The origin was in 1996, in Rio de Janeiro, when the 1st Seminar of Lesbian Women took place. The importance of this month is to highlight the cause that, for a long time, was focused mostly on gay men. Lesbian invisibility is present in all areas, including tourism.
“This feeling of invisibility can be seen in all spheres of society and this is because the lesbian woman is the victim of a double prejudice: being a woman and being LGBTI +. That is, it mixes machismo with LGBTQphobia. In tourism, it couldn’t be different. The people who are talking about LGBTQ+ tourism in the events, committees and fairs, for example, are men, gays and white”, says Gabriela Torrezani, from Estrangeira website.
As a lesbian woman, Gabi is committed to fighting for the insertion of this public in society and, mainly, in tourism. With her work and her wife on Estrangeira, she says that she ends up inspiring other girls who are going through the same situation and who find it difficult to find references when planning a trip.
“We speak the reality on our Instagram, Facebook, website and Youtube. When a place is not so safe for our audience, we make it a point to speak the truth even to protect women from possible problems that may arise. As a result, our work at Estrangeira also ends up inspiring other lesbian and bisexual women to be content producers. Tourism needs to be more inclusive and diverse. We need to see more lesbian women in forums, debates, events and fairs. We need to be invited to these events and, thus, form a voice”, she says.
In addition, lesbian invisibility is further confirmed when they become more identified with heterosexual tourism than with LGBTI + friendly tourism, because they don’t feel include. Dana Picolli, a queer woman at the head of the Queer Media Matters website, says tourism marketing needs to see lesbian and queer women.
“The queer and lesbian woman travels a lot. If destinations and travel agencies really wanted to encourage our audience, the first point is to talk to us. There’s no way out! Tourism needs to invest in consulting with queers and lesbians, as this way, they will, in fact, undertake a diverse, inclusive and differential work. Stop thinking about the obvious: gay bars, gay resorts, etc. Show that you are inclusive and welcoming and that you want queer and lesbian women to travel to their destination. We are extremely loyal consumers and we’re much more likely to go somewhere where we feel welcome and marketed”, explains Dana.
Tourism needs to work to create safe and welcoming environments for everyone. In addition, the sector needs to know more about diversity and, mainly, to learn about queer lesbians and women and the reason why they travel.
“We need to remember that the tourism industry underestimates lesbian travelers who actually travel more than heterosexual women, but are often confused with another type of consumer,” says Merryn Johns, Editor-in-Chief of Curve Magazine.
“For example, lesbians travel frequently to participate in Pride festivals and events around the world and for relax, romance, adventure and ecotourism. They are also very likely to travel in groups and, most importantly, for their weddings. Most lesbian couples end up getting married, according to research by Curve, in destinations far from home for both: the ceremony and the honeymoon”, she continues.
For the journalist, tourism (and also society) needs to understand the diversity of LGBTQ women. Merryn
reinforces that destinations need to be open-minded to see potential guests.
“The old days of thinking that only gay men travel – and these men are white, young and wear swimwear – those days are over. It is important that they see an effective audience and send an inviting message to these customers. This can be as simple as including the Rainbow symbol in advertising or, if the budget allows, including homosexual women in image campaigns”, says Merryn.