In light of our mission to raise awareness and help our customers to travel safely, we will be recounting a number of our customer’s trips and looking to point out the do’s, don’ts and wow’s of every location.
We recently teamed up with the lovely Vicky Jones, a self-proclaimed “bucket-lister”. A soon to be established author and talented singer/songwriter – We know, is there anything that she can’t do? Physically, it seems not but as one half of a same-sex couple that loves to travel, then potentially yes, Vicky and her partner are at increased risk of running into an uneasy situation.
One of the visits that we wanted to highlight was one that she made with her partner Claire.
The pair traveled to Morocco for a short 5 day get away – with the intention of doing absolutely nothing other than relaxing… sounds heavenly.
Morocco operates under an Islamic government that dictates that at least in theory, same-sex sexual activity is illegal. This may sound extreme to us but this is true for approximately 75 countries around the world.
Fortunately for Vicky, being ex-navy taught her the importance of respecting the culture of the country that you are in. Regardless of your race, sexuality or religious practice – it makes sense to be courteous.
The couple didn’t leave their complex the entire time they were there. This wasn’t because they were frightful of what might happen, even though as Vicky said “it would have been obvious we were a couple” but simply because they were there for a very short time and only to relax – they had everything that they needed right there on their complex.
The couple did express a level of caution surrounding public affection, especially around the staff that worked on the complex and other guests, but stated that they absolutely did not experience any problems or prejudice.
So, both Claire and Vicky enjoyed their time in Morocco, they found the relaxing break that they were looking for but have said that they are in no rush to go back.
One week after the two returned a gentleman was arrested in Morocco. The gentleman was arrested for being suspected of being in a relationship with another man. The same man was later charged, after the police found ‘incriminating’ photos on his mobile phone. The poor man in question was sentenced to 4 months in prison, right there in Morocco.
Vicky mentioned that the event made them realise how potentially naive they had been while travelling. Vicky was aware of the need to be respectful to other cultures, but wasn’t aware of the possibility of imprisonment for simply being herself.
It is important to note that while technically same-sex relationships etc. are illegal, the negative view is not shared by everyone. Many parts of the country and people that reside in the country are in fact very accepting.
Cases of extreme Islamism are very rare in Morocco. Religion, to any extreme, tends to be a driving force behind the strongest opposition towards homosexuality. The likelihood that you will run into trouble should be slim.
The most important thing to remember is that you are a tourist. You are there to experience, enjoy and appreciate your time and surroundings. As a tourist, by definition you are a guest in someone else’s country, culture and lifestyle. You should always do your best to respect the ways of the country that you are visiting.
Enjoy your trip and be yourself but if you do happen to be travelling to a country, where same-sex relations are technically illegal, just be sure to take care.