To be perfectly honest, before I began researching this story, I hadn't really thought about how the rest of the world views the LGBTQ community. In Santa Fe, it's easy to be complacent about LGBTQ equality (with one big exception: marriage). But thanks to a pair of Santa Feans prepared to take on the world, I quickly learned that the wardrobe creativity and convivial dance parties that characterize Santa Fe Pride are hardly the norm.
Katie Cook (disclosure: she's a former SFR video intern) and Maggie Young plan to explore issues of LGBTQ equality on a global scale starting next month with an amazing year-long journey around the world. They call themselves Sapphic Nomads (after Sappho, the Ancient Greek poet from the Isle of Lesbos).
"We liked nomads—it evokes a nice curiosity—and so we thought it was a nice combination: Sapphic Nomads," Cook and Young, who have been partners for almost two and a half years, tell SFR. During their trip, they plan to gather footage for a documentary while blogging about their experiences.
"We hope for it to be a dialogue between communities. We want to find out questions about LGBTQ issues around the world and take those questions and carry them forward," Young says. "We want to make it a multi-layered project where we're not only examining other people's experiences in the world of being gay, bisexual or trans in their own context but, as we travel, the effects of those contexts on us and our relationship."
Both say that since traveling is a strong theme in their lives, the idea of turning a year-long global expedition into reality wasn't a stretch.
"We've taken two trips so far over both oceans and have realized through those experiences that we travel well together," Cook says. "We saw the LGBTQ in those communities…and that's what we were interested in." The pair has no intentions of traveling exclusively to LGBTQ-friendly destinations, however. In some of their destinations, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by law; in others, such as Kyrgyzstan, homosexuality is legal, yet frowned upon.
The grand adventure begins July 19 with Samoa. Cook and Young then plan to visit Australia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tibet, Nepal, India, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Israel, Jordan, Romania, Hungary, Belgium and Iceland.
Contact the Nomads at facebook.com/sapphicnomads and watch their awesome pre-trip video at indiegogo.com/sapphicnomads.