I am very proud to be invited to speak at PROUD experiences in NYC, June of 2019. PROUD Experiences is an international three-day event bringing together travel suppliers and buyers as well as lifestyle brands targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ community are fighting for something non-LGBTQ+ travelers have always taken for granted: the ability for an individual to choose where in the world they feel like they really belong. Safely. This event brings together leaders from the travel & lifestyle sectors to light the way through education and stories and to do great business together.
At PROUD Experiences earlier this year in London, I felt like everyone was simultaneously focused on developing and better serving the LGBTQ+ market. The show is a physical manifestation of the economic power of the pink dollar and a place that will get both suppliers and buyers one step closer to participating and benefiting from it.
People have asked me what is different about an LGBT travel show, and why a specific one targeting this demographic is needed. Well, especially in today’s combative political climate both here and around the world, the ability to meet and connect with likeminded people, focused on a similar mission of inclusion and acceptance is truly powerful. Also, LGBTQ+ travel needs and desires often differ from non LGBTQ+ travelers, and our ability to attain the same levels of acceptance and comfort as we travel around the world differs as well.
It is through events like PROUD Experiences that our peers in the travel industry as well as lifestyle brands can learn how they can be more sensitive to our needs, and in a safe, welcoming environment.
I am excited to share my experiences and insight with people I will meet. And of course, I am really excited to learn from them too. I think a lot of people in our community assume that since we are gay, like myself, that we are experts in all things LGBTQ+. This simply is not the case. I plan on bringing with me a lot of questions, and open mind, and of course, my favorite navy suit.