Traveling while Black, Gay & Fat | Wandering Soup
Everyone always asks me about my/our travel experiences. First let me dispel a myth I haven't been everywhere in the world, secondly I have a resting bitch face, built on love. Nothing but love.
I say one to explain that my past travel experiences were dictated by whatever sale I happened to come across. I would buy first, research second. Naturally certain locales appealed to me more than others but price trumped a lot.
As for two, I tend not to attract BS from people and/or situations. I'm always surprised by folks describing how some random white person said some racist shit to them. It doesn't happen to me. I don't smile a lot though.
On the flip side of both of the above I research the hell out of wherever I'm going to the point of obsession UNLESS I'm traveling with others then I let them share in my obsession by parceling the research work up. I got hotels/lodging, you got attractions.
But back to being fat, black and gay while traveling. It happens. I'm not changing any major facet of myself no time soon so I do. I be.
I don't speak any language but English and a smattering of Southern Ebonics so I'm not sure if those I'm walking past are saying look at the "fat" woman and I honestly don't care. I'm more worried about thigh chafe and if I'm going to make it up this 2 mile hill that Google said was a brisk 5 minute walk. Google lies.
When I sit down at a restaurant I look around not to see whose there or to see if they are staring at the fat, gay black woman but to see what they are ordering which reminds me of when I was in Vietnam. I had a waitress at the first restaurant I ate at, on the first night, stare to the point of rudeness but then she followed up the stare with a whole question..."How old are you?" I was shocked....lol Shocked to the point that I answered honestly. Ol girl was then shocked. Black don't crack I guess. I wasn't offended I was probably the only black person she had ever seen up close and in her space, heck I only came across one other my entire time there.
Outside of that question, Vietnam was great, hot but great. Unlike China where they stared, took pictures, video and touched all without permission. Black. It cracked because by the end I was giving everyone the middle finger. And funnily enough it happened here in Siem Reap recently. A family decided they should film us without asking first. Just rude.
So I travel the same way I travel in the US. Mindful. Observant. I don't walk around with rainbow gear in the US (I'm over the rainbow), doubtful I will do it in SE Asia, South Africa or Europe but if I wanted to I would. I can't prevent my "blackness" from not showing and tend to wear very afrocentric t-shirts when traveling. Don't ask me why, I just like them.
All that to say that my blackness is seen first, and it's been interesting to counter what ifs with reality. The reality is I'm still followed while traveling when I enter a store. Though logic would dictate that I'm a traveling American with funds but hey...I'm going to steal a loaf of bread from this grocery store. Watch me. Even in SE Asia which is touted as a relatively safe space for Black folk.
I'm use to it though, America has taught me well.
I'll report back once we visit the SE Asia bastion that is Thailand.