Transgender couple Hannah Winterbourne and Jake Graf had delegates at the TTG LGBT Conference captivated with their personal journeys and provided key lessons for the travel industry.
The Army captain and actor/film director wed in London in March to widespread media coverage.
After recounting their experiences – including a period of substance abuse for Graf and Winterbourne hiding her true identity while on tour in Afghanistan, the couple then
discussed their travel experiences.
They said word of mouth was extremely powerful in the LGBT community, and there was a gap in the market for a Trip Advisor-style database on how safe restaurants, resorts and bars are.
“With the exception of Tel Aviv [where the couple honeymooned] and [travel agency] OutOfOffice.com, we haven’t really got what we’re looking for, which is to go to a website and find out more information,” said Graf.
“I’m looking for someone to say yes or no… it’s knowing that people like you have been there and they’ve felt safe and comfortable.”
Winterbourne added when the couple visits an Airbnb she’s often “mute”, fearing her masculine voice will cause problems. “It’s easier to be quiet,” she said. “It’s frustrating and doesn’t make me feel very good. A rainbow logo on accommodation listings would be helpful.”