In my last post I talked all about the first part of our trip, how we’ll be traveling down the West Coast and through the southern states, and our preconceived notions of how the southern states treat people in the LGBTQ+ community.
The second part of our trip will begin on the East Coast, and end with us traveling across the northern states close to the border of Canada. We don’t have as many sites that we’re specifically dying to see on this second half of our trip, just some national parks and some hiking trails. Also, we basically have very little concern about how we will be treated on the East Coast. We are going to visit some friends and my wife’s family, and we have always felt comfortable being an out and proud couple when traveling along the East Coast. But considering we don’t have any preconceived assumptions about the northern states, I am curious to see how we will be treated when we drive through those states. I feel that these states don’t have as many obvious stereotypes in regards to LGBTQ+ people, but at the same time there is still a lot of unknown, and that can be equally as scary.
We officially started our trip two days ago (Wednesday, August 8th), where we left Seattle and drove to Portland to visit my family. Since we are still in the PNW, we haven’t had to worry so much about our safety. However, over the next few days we will be heading down to Central Oregon and Southern Oregon where the general population can be more of a mix of liberal and conservative people. We are going to first camp at Crater Lake National Park, and then we will meet up with my family to continue camping at East Lake which is near Bend, Oregon. So, I am curious to see what it will be like when my wife and I will walk down the street holding hands and if we will run into any problems. I have never had to experience feeling too unsafe to hold her hand or to show who I am, but now I am wondering if we will get “the look” or be judged.
Once we leave Oregon, we are debating on whether we should stick with our original plan and head down the coast to California, or if we should head a little more east. Due to a large amount of wildfires in California we might not be able to see any sites there, and we don’t want to get stuck somewhere or put ourselves in danger. Ideally, we would love to drive all the way to San Diego, but if that doesn’t work out then we will most likely go exploring in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Regardless of which plan we follow we have several tourist landmarks and national parks that we want to visit, so fortunately there is no doubt that we will still be able to see many beautiful sites. And hopefully we won’t have any problems about being a gay couple along the way.
One region that we are particularly worried to drive through is the Midwest. I feel worried about being in very conservative and “bible country” towns, and we’d prefer to not step into the lion’s den (so to speak). I like to call these states the “fly-over states” because we’ve never visited them, and we always fly over them when going from the West Coast to the East coast. Just to be safe, we made sure to research where it will be safe for us to stop in the Midwest and where we should keep driving. Another thing that worries me about driving through these states is that I have a rainbow sticker on the back of my car. I don’t know if I should get something to cover it up when we get to those conservative states or if I should continue to show my pride. Ideally I wouldn’t have to even think about it, but sadly this is where we are in the world, and frankly our safety is more important. Mostly I’m just really excited to finally get this journey started, and I am so excited to travel with my family!