Teddy J. Frank is a student participant in the 2013 Building Bridges Scholarship Program. He lives in Liberia, a country in West Africa with a population of 3.7 million people. This is a nation in which the LGBT community face significant issues. The culture has a strong opposition to homosexuality, and same-sex activity for both males and females is considered illegal. Teddy, who is currently enrolled in airline studies, also supports the organization Stop Aids in Liberia and explains, “those of us that provide HIV/Aids service for LGBT people fear for losing our families, friends and even a place in society.”
He believes that LGBT travel can build bridges to help with many of the situations that are being encountered in his country. It can also help strengthen the LGBT community to be more dynamic in its contributions to the development of society – by implementing projects and programs that can impact the lives of many persons and be a visible testimony to the many contributions of the community. He posits that LGBT travel gives an individual the opportunity to share the many experiences LGBT people face because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. As Teddy says, “people who have traveled will always come back with new ideas, experiences and changes in their paradigm.”
With this being his first visit to Chicago, Teddy is looking forward to checking out the city’s diverse neighborhoods and seeing the immenseness of Lake Michigan. For him, the IGLTA Convention offers a wonderful opportunity to meet others in the travel and tourism industry and exchange ideas towards enhancing the experience for all communities.
by Warren Brown, for the IGLTA Foundation
Views and opinions expressed in the IGLTA Foundation Blog are those of individual authors and do not reflect official policy or positions of IGLTA or the IGLTA Foundation.