In my last blog post I talked about the difficulties of visiting countries where homosexuality is illegal, in our case Singapore. Other families may have a choice as to where to spend their pink pound but we do not – Dylan’s family are Singaporean and our choosing not to go would be to deny our boys their grandparents, who are too old to travel, and Dylan’s extended family.
But we manage it and continue to plan for our yearly expedition to the city-state.
However, to put the boys’ sense of travel into perspective, we also try to visit at least one gay-friendly destination each year. So over Easter we flew to Barcelona and then travelled further to the beautiful gay-friendly town of Sitges. Granny (my mum) also came with us, so it was a real family affair.
It’s not just the nightlife that’s lovely in Sitges, although Dylan and I partied there when we were younger and it is pretty vibrant. Nor is it the culture; sure, there are a lot of art galleries and things to see, but it’s the fact that being gay is not something to hide. There are other gay families mingling naturally with straight ones, and couples of all persuasions and ages holding hands as they stroll along the beautiful promenade.
Its great for the boys to see that their family is just the same as everyone else’s. I know there are events and holidays run by organizations such as New Family Social in the UK, and they do a brilliant job, but its also good for the boys to see gay families in a ‘real life’ context. The boys made friends with another boy at our hotel – the convenient and friendly Medium Sitges Park – and they were soon playing football on the beach with their playmate’s dad and Dylan whilst his mum and I sat sipping sangria with Granny.
It’s a shame that this sort of natural behaviour isn’t emulated across the globe. It should be!
After a week in Sitges we travelled back to Barcelona for a long weekend: Granny had never been and we promised to show her the sights. We decided to stay self-catering at the Serrenia apartments, which were well placed for exploring the city – particularly if you have two young children and an… ermmm… older lady with you.
Again, the sight of two mixed race guys and their sons didn’t raise an eyebrow – although one waiter did think that Dylan was my mum’s toy boy. She was very pleased, Dylan not so! But the boys loved the tour bus – they weren’t too happy about the churches and museums although they did have a great time at Camp Nou, the Barcelona FC stadium, which Dylan took them round – whilst I accompanied Granny on a shopping trip.
Mixing the two destinations meant that everyone had something to do and no-one got too bored. Finding destinations that are both gay-friendly and family-friendly can be quite difficult but Catalonia definitely offers it all. We’ll be back!