He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Lover

As a white, heterosexual male who grew up in a middle-class family in the U.S., there are many hardships that I have never had to face, or really even consider.

Where’s my next meal coming from? … Never been a serious concern of mine. 

Will I be profiled based on the color of my skin? … Probably not.

When checking into a hotel with my wife in a foreign country, do I need to lie about our sleeping arrangements? … Are you kidding me?

So, when I came across this discussion started by shaunus1979 on the Lonely Planet forums in which he asks for advice as to how he and his boyfriend should handle the bedroom arrangements on their planned trip to Egypt it took be aback:

I’m thinking about getting a twin room or seperate rooms, has anyone got any experience? … Do you think we should pretend to be brothers? Or is that to over cautious?

I suppose you never know what’s going to strike you – but this struck me. Separate rooms? Pretend you are brothers? My gut reaction is to encourage shaunus1979 and his boyfriend to hide nothing, revel in their love and enjoy their trip – and let what the world may think be damned.

Easy for me to say, but what do I know.

Refreshingly though, that’s pretty much what some of the other posters in the thread say, though in much more practical terms:

Hoteliers couldn’t care less, all they want is to sell their room. They don’t care whether you’re brothers or sisters, or whatnot. ~danubius

…no body cares as long as you keep your sexual activities in you room . believe me there are more gay guys in Cairo than any other city ~tripolitana

Still, at least one fellow traveler advises taking a bit more cautious approach:

I would still use precaution in the sense that I wouldn’t flaunt your “gayness”. As a gay female I have travelled to non gay friendly countries and as normal as it may seem for 2 guys or 2 women to walk around holding hands, it’s very different when you’re not from the country. … As regards bedroom arrangements, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, if there are questions asked I’m sure you’ve total white lies about your sexuality before as we all have had to at certain times. ~pagalmaria81

Have you traveled with your same-sex partner to other countries and, if so, how did you “handle” your “gayness”? In your experiences, is the world a relatively gay-friendly place (as I would like to imagine)? Or do there remain enclaves where gay couples would be strongly advised to hide their affection and lie about their sleeping arrangements?

Here’s hoping shaunus1979 and his boyfriend enjoy a fantastic vacation in Egypt. And here’s to the dream of a world in which no one ever feels like they have to pass off their significant other as their sibling.

In the immortal words of The Hollies:

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

Image by Guillaume Paumier (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Still needs improvement here. When my partner and I travel on the same ticket numbers… United doesn’t have us together in their system to honor priority luggage. This dosen’t happen with hero couples.

  2. Super post. Thanks! Hubby Steve & I haven’t traveled anywhere suspect – Cancun, Amsterdam, London and hopefully n future Barcelona & Hong Kong, be I’m concerned just flying by myself to Dubai. Thanks again for your support, Ally!

  3. While living in the UK for a few years we managed to travel through most of Western Europe. Our one trip to Istanbul didn’t even concern us, we aren’t overtly fem or swishy hips but we’re not the butches lumberjacks. If you stick to where you feel comfortable anywhere you’ll be fine. Read up on what the customs are and again, you’ll be fine.

  4. Nice post! But while some of the world is happy to allow us to “hide nothing, revel in [our] love and enjoy [our] trip – and let what the world may think be damned”, there are still places… like Egypt… where homosexuality is technically legal but men are arrested in public places and at home for ‘insulting public morals’ or ‘debauchery’, based on complaints from neighbors or business owners.
    While I agree there will likely be no problem for the original poster, I don’t think he is unreasonable in being a little cautious.

  5. My bf and I checked into a b&b in England– ENGLAND!– and the proprietor could scarcely believe we’d intentionally booked a room with one bed. He kept looking aghast and offering to check on whether another b&b had a room with two beds. I don’t think it was prejudice exactly– I’m pretty sure his wife clued him in, at which point he dropped it– but it was, as you can imagine, uncomfortable. Traveling gay has its own humiliations and limitations, to be sure. My bf refuses even to change planes in Russia.

  6. What a bunch of terrific comments – thank you all for sharing your opinions and experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.