What It’s Like to Travel With Kids as Gay Parents
Being gay is hard. There, I said it. It’s definitely easier than it was even a few years ago, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t encountered any problems because I’m gay and married to a woman instead of a man. While my wife and I have had our fair share of issues from being gay—including hateful comments, unfair treatment at work and an assortment of challenges creating our children, because being gay and making babies is not an easy task—we live in California, and for the most part we have it good. Our problems aren’t life threatening as they are in many places around the world. Which is why when my wife and I decided to start traveling the world with our kids, we thought twice about where we should go. How do you travel with young kids as gay parents?
Being a parent means you’re always doing what you can to protect your kids. Starting out, my wife and I were maybe too overprotective following the rough experience we had creating our children through reciprocal IVF. After the emotional, physical and financial problems we faced during the process, we never wanted to leave our house. We were afraid that if we ventured too far from home, we’d be putting our child in danger. After our second (and equally rough) pregnancy, though, we knew having children was just going to be hard, but we couldn’t keep our kids locked inside a bubble for life. Before kids, my wife and I traveled a ton. We had forgotten all about travel when we started our journey to parenthood—but after we had our second child, we once again caught the travel bug.
We got the kids passports and started looking up places around the world we wanted to see. We knew traveling with kids wouldn’t be easy. They’re messy, they’re loud and they’re a lot of work. We also knew that they’re a lot of work at home too. Would there ever be a good time to travel, especially when we still want more kids? No. We just had to go out there and do it.
We took our kids on a few local flights before making the decision to take them to Europe. Before booking anything, we did our fair share of research. We also asked on social media if the places we wanted to go were gay-friendly. After all, there are areas that are safer than others in certain countries. Not all places have areas that are gay-friendly, and sadly those are places we’ll likely never visit. If we did, we’d have to hide the fact that we’re gay for the safety of our family, and we haven’t yet decided if that’s something we’d ever do.
So far, our kids (ages 3 and 1) have traveled by plane to: Arizona, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Canada, Spain, Italy and France. Our oldest daughter has adapted well to travel and has learned more with each adventure, whereas our youngest one experiences travel like it’s the first time every time.
We’ve learned many things on our travels. No place is 100 percent safe. I remember overlooking a beautiful sight on the Italian coast with my family, and my wife and I stopped for a quick kiss. A passerby made a rude comment about how inappropriate it was. We try not to let comments like that affect us, but it still made us feel bad. This happened in a gay-friendly place, but it goes to show that not everyone who lives there is supportive of the LGBTQ community. After that experience, we’ve become very aware of our surroundings and know when we can or can’t show public displays of affection.
On the flip side, we’ve also had some amazing experiences. Also while traveling in Italy, we had people ask us about how we’re all related, and when we told them we’re married and that the girls are our daughters, they responded, “your family is beautiful!” and it truly warmed our hearts.
We’ve learned that there will always be people who support our family, and those who don’t. We’ve also learned a bunch of travel tricks, like packing light, and wearing our kids in carriers when we’re in crowded places. We teach our kids to be responsible and carry their own toys through the airport (well, mostly our 3-year-old, since our one-year-old is just learning to walk). Best of all, we’ve learned that traveling as a family is fun. Seeing breathtaking sights that leave you in awe is incredible to experience together. Plus, if my wife and I traveled without the kids, we’d miss them.
If you looked at our social media accounts, you’d think we’ve been traveling for years, when in reality, we only recently started again. The lesson: It’s never too late to start taking trips. Just because you have kids or just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you can’t travel. It just means you need to do your research and prepare yourselves for where you’re going. We’re constantly saving and planning, eager to set off on our next family adventure.
We are a girl meets girl love story! My name is Christina and my wife’s name is Katie. We have two daughters, Kennedy (3) and Charlotte (1), who we had via reciprocal IVF. Our family is still growing, but for now, we’re enjoying our time as a family of four. We love to travel and show our kids as much of the world as possible. Follow us on Instagram at @babybaileymamadrama and Youtube.
Published July 2019