Politics of Boycotts

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The politics relating to boycotts can be very complicated, especially when it relates to travel. Arecent example, is the call by LGBT leaders and others to boycott Phoenix, Ariz., in light of the harsh new law meant to target illegal immigrants.

The law grants the power to police to determine the status of anyone they think looks like an illegal immigrant. In fact, the law requires police to to do so. Sounds an awful lot like racial profiling since it’s not really clear what criteria they’re supposed to use. Their shoes? And I have to wonder just how many illegal white, blond, blue-eye Canadians will be stopped and questioned because of this law.

It certainly seems reasonable to want to punish the state for this ill-considered and rather Facist-sounding law. However, the boycott of the state will most certainlly and immediately also affect Latinos who make up a huge proportion of the employees in the state’s tourism industry from gardeners, housekeepers, and cleaners, right on up to GM and higher-level executives in hotels and elsewhere. Business goes down; they lose their jobs.

That puts travelers in the uncomfortable position of going and possibly supporting this Draconian and seemingly racist law or boycotting and possibly hurting the very folks they are concerned about. It’s not an easy choice. My personal belief is that we can find reasons to boycott just about any destination for a law or policy or position that hurts people. Egypt has in the past punished its own gay and lesbian citizens — sometimes quite harshly — but rare is the call for a boycott of that ancient country with its important monuments.

Another consideration is that the very act of traveling by out gay women and men is a political act that chips away at stereotypes and leads to increased understanding. In my travels, I’ve met Syrians, Iraqis, African villagers, Indians, Bedouins and more who (thought they) had never met a gay person before. I hope that our interaction helped them understand homosexuality just a little more. Most of the countries in which I met these people could have been boycotted for some reason or another.

Here’s hoping this law is overturned.

About The Author

In dot 429's words: "dot429's Travel writer, Ed Salvato, is highly regarded as a journalist and LGBT travel guru. Salvato's work has been published by some of the most important LGBT media outlets, including Out Traveler, The Advocate, Out Magazine, OUT & ABOUT, SDGLN.com, TripOutGayTravel.com, and PlanetOut.com. Ed's also the on-air call-in travel expert for the Derek & Romaine Show on Sirius/XM OutQ and Proud FM Toronto. Recently Salvato joined OutThink Partners, a communications and marketing firm, where he is excited to focus on travel, tourism, and the LGBT market." "Salvato is dedicated to connecting LGBT travelers with unique, interesting, and exciting experiences offered by hotels, resorts, and attractions that invite and welcome their business. Salvato is an active member of the dot429 professional network and editorial community." I've also been developing an expertise in social media. I have managed two large social media campaigns this year. One was for a $10M 3-week-long arts festival in Philadelphia (PIFA; PIFA.org) ; the other for Philly's 11-day Independence Day festivities (Welcome America; WelcomeAmerica.com).

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