A guide to ensuring the safety of LGBTQ employees travelling internationally
June is national pride month which celebrates the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Although LGBTQ rights have progressed in recent years not everywhere in the world offers a welcoming and safe environment for the community. Some regions still have widespread prejudice and there are 71 countries where homosexual activity is illegal, according to Equaldex, a collaborative LGBTQ knowledge base.
It is important for organisations to realise this and be proactive to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their staff. This can be challenging for an organisation especially as it is likely that many LGBTQ employees will not have communicated their sexuality.
A recent survey carried out by Airbnb and International LGBTQ+ Travel Association Foundation (IGLTAF) looking at travel trends found that compared to heterosexuals, those who identified with the LGTBQ+ community were more concerned with personal safety and social-political climates in their destinations.
If you are part of the LGBTQ community or responsible for the safety of international travellers for your organisation, please consider the following –
- Review your travel risk policy
- Communicate your travel risk procedures with all staff so LGBTQ employees don’t feel singled out
- Thoroughly research destinations and understand local laws and customs
- Complete a risk assessment
- Implement training to ensure LGBTQ travellers fully understand the unique risks they face
- Make sure travellers hold important contact information in a secure offline location
- Keep your devices charged when travelling
- Check in when you arrive and at regular times throughout your stay
- Avoid potentially risky situations
- Know what to do if an incident does occur
SPHERE powered by Securewest International offers pre-travel training, planning & intelligence, itinerary and real time tracking, check in, SOS & live incident alerts and has a 24/7/365 response and assistance service.
British Government Foreign Office – travel advice
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - provides information on gay rights around the world
International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association - travel advice for gay and lesbian people
Gay European Tourism Association - travel advice for LGB&T people travelling in Europe