First Official Olivia Travel and R Family LGBT Vacation in Vallarta Recap

Diane Anderson-Minshall - Advocate
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September 7, 2016

Surf, Sand, and Solidarity.

I remember the crying the most. There were a sobbing 7-year-old, a teary-eyed middle schooler, and even a glum collection of adults in the elevator with me. This is not how my vacations usually end.

I saw sullen teenagers, too, a few exchanging phone numbers in the lobby, others doing one last dip in the pool with friends, all with an air of resignation. I assumed that after this long week of celebration and frivolity, we were all just exhausted, sunburned, fulfilled but ready to go back to regular life. I had just spent the week snorkeling and body surfing and boogieing to the oldies with dance partners young and old (and the one I’m married to). I had at least two dozen piña coladas and enough food to feed a football team. We were all just drained, sun burned, and happy, but ready to go back to regular life. I assumed the kids were too.

It wasn’t until I spoke to a group of the older kids, who were bracing themselves for the trip back to the heartland, that I finally got it. What was a delightful vacation for me — an out queer person who lives near other queers and works full time with LGBT people — was, for some of these kids, their one respite from a world of homophobia and bullying. It was a break from living in states that are battling over bathroom access, among neighbors with campaign posters for “build a wall” politicians, going to schools where lockers are routinely emblazoned with slurs like “faggot,” even when the locker user isn’t gay.

This week in Puerto Vallarta was, as one mom explained on Facebook later, a rare time when the kids were “free to make connections without explanation or otherness,” and a week when they felt “unconditional love in every smile, hug, and hello.”

Let me back up. My co-pilot and I have just spent a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at a Hard Rock resort with hundreds of LGBT families of at least a dozen different configurations. It’s a combination trip, officially the first Olivia and R Family LGBT Family & Friends Puerto Vallarta vacation. It combined elements of Olivia Travel (great entertainment and excursions, lots of powerful queer women) and R Family Vacations (lots of LGBT parents and kids and programs for them) and some elements of both (growing diversity, safety in numbers, and socially conscious programming).

Read the rest at The Advocate.

Read related: R Family Vacations and Olivia Travel Join Forces to Bring Guests to Puerto Vallarta

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