'Pose' Star Indya Moore on the Realities of Transgender Travel and How You Can Help LGBTQIA+ Travelers

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“I’ve never been personally victimized by transphobia while traveling, but I have been accused of being a bomber because I wore a head wrap in first class,” said Indya Moore, star of FX’s hit show Pose, which focuses on the queer community in New York City’s underground ball scene. Moore, who uses they/them pronouns and was named one of Time’s Most Influential People of 2019, doesn’t know exactly what made the person sitting next to them uncomfortable, but that the best reaction was no reaction. “I live in a world where I don’t have credibility being a Black trans person… People don’t hear trans people telling them they are unsafe.” 

And that’s exactly why Moore is using their voice — along with that of Pose co-star Jeremy Pope — to help give back to the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Teaming up with travel booking site Orbitz, Moore and Pope are reflecting on their own journeys of self-love and the people who helped them get there — and they want you to do the same. Now until Dec. 6, Orbitz will donate $20 (up to $50,000) to the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) for every “thank you” sent to someone who has helped them along their own journey of acceptance. 

For trans travelers, organizations like IGLTA are vital because they provide “free travel resources and information while continuously working to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ tourism worldwide.” In a recent phone interview with Travel + Leisure, Moore shared some of the realities that transgender people face while traveling. TSA body scanners, for example, are challenging because they make assumptions about what a body should look like. “It ends up putting people in a predicament when the agents assume who has what body parts just by looking at them. They end up violating trans folks,” said Moore.

Traveling is also a luxury, Moore points out, that’s not necessarily afforded to the most vulnerable groups of people. “I just recently came into a space where I can actually travel and get to know the world,” Moore said. “A lot of trans and queer people don’t get to travel because traveling costs a lot of money… It’s just not very accessible.” Luckily, Moore and organizations like IGLTA — along with others like Kam Burns and Aria Sa’id, who recently shared their own experiences as trans travelers on T+L’s podcast Let’s Go Together — are working to change that.

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As for where to travel, the model and actor has a few recommendations, including Costa Rica, which is “wonderful,” and Thailand, which Moore has heard is pretty welcoming. “I just think that trans people should be able to visit any place we want to go, but we should also be careful,” they said, adding that “just because the country has laws protecting trans people, it does not mean we are necessarily safe there. I want us to travel, have full lives, and have so much fun. I also want us to remember that Black [transgender people] are the most vulnerable group in the world — and that we must always prioritize our safety everywhere we go.” 

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To Moore, travel isn’t the only luxury discussed during the interview. Self-love — the root of the entire campaign with Orbitz — is also often defined by conventional societal norms. “Self-acceptance [is] just not a thing that a lot of people have to think about because they happen to live in a world that accepts them just for who they are,” Moore told T+L. “The world teaches us to fear anything that isn’t the status quo — and I say no, because I cannot define myself by the fear and shame of other people. We deserve the love and acceptance we look for in this world, and giving it to ourselves is a radical act.”

Donate $20 to the IGLTA by writing a thank you to someone who has helped you on your own journey here.

Tanner Saunders is the Associate Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow his journey on Instagram @Tizanner.

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