79 responses

  1. Mindy & Ligeia
    May 19, 2014

    What an extremely intimate look into your life of traveling in and out of the closet! Thank you for sharing. Having lived in Thailand for the last 2 years, I have a different impression of how the 3rd gender thing works. For me, society seems to shove everyone into heterosexual pigeon holes. So, as an example, since I’m a butch-looking lesbian, it makes sense that I’m attracted to women and I’m seen as a “male”. I’m generally called “Mr.” and I receive compliments for being a “handsome boy”. Thus, Ligeia and I are understood as a couple. However, if you have two muscle boys or two femme lesbians together, it’s more confusing for Thais. Physical violence is rare in Thailand, but homophobia is quite prominent.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      May 19, 2014

      That’s very interesting. It’s good to hear from someone who deals with it at a deeper level.

      Reply

      • Sarah Pittard
        December 26, 2014

        Wow Talon. Greet post and share. I travel single with my kids and have a hard time as a woman sometimes. Can’t imagine what goes through your head sometimes. I’m proud to call you a fellow writer and will continue to follow you and your son.

        Reply

      • Talon Windwalker
        December 26, 2014

        Women definitely have different, and probably more, challenges. Thanks for your kind words!

        Reply

  2. Natasha
    April 3, 2013

    A powerful and moving post Talon . I’m sorry to hear that you still experience difficulty with your travels. It’s interesting how you say that you are not happy being gay . I have never heard that before. Hopefully travels will change and soon you will be embracing a different engagement and open acceptance . Stay strong !

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 4, 2013

      I wouldn’t say they are difficulties. Probably the biggest part of the challenge is in my own head. 🙂

      Being gay just isn’t something I would choose. If I had a choice, I would prefer to be straight. It’s an easier life in many ways. I’m not ashamed of it either, but if I HAD a choice, boy would I choose differently. At least I think so.

      Reply

  3. Andi
    April 3, 2013

    Wow I’m completely blown away by this post! Your honesty and courage is so inspiring!!! I hope more people read this poignant post!

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 3, 2013

      Thanks, Andi!

      Reply

  4. Lorena (alifetype)
    March 31, 2013

    Hi Talon, I’m a new reader in your blog, thanks for being so open about your life. Your writing shows what a great person you are.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 1, 2013

      Thanks, Lorena! Glad you found us and are enjoying it.

      Reply

  5. Colleen Lanin
    March 31, 2013

    Talon – my hope for you is that someday you are able to love yourself enough that you not only accept your “gayness” but that you embrace it. God doesn’t make mistakes. You are just as you are meant to be.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 31, 2013

      Colleen, I’ve typed 4 responses and keep deleting them. So for now I’m just going to say thanks and sit with this a while longer. 🙂

      Reply

  6. Barbara
    March 31, 2013

    I am always learning from you, Talon,… I take your words and wisdom to heart, and share whenever I can. Thank you, Talon, for being exactly who you are!

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 31, 2013

      Thanks, Barbara!

      Reply

  7. Rene
    March 31, 2013

    Great post. It benefits everyone when people can share their individual truth, as in an article like this. At 57 years old, back here in dull but open Denver, I’m finally able to come out in a matter of fact way whenever something comes up in conversation, and it feels like sailing in a strong breeze. My mother used to say, “It takes all kinds to make a world,” so keep on being your very own individual kind to the best of your ability. You’re a brave and beautiful person.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 31, 2013

      Thanks, Rene. It sure feels wonderful when you can finally be open! That was one of the things I loved about my last job there in the Denver area. Our company was EXTREMELY LGBT friendly. In fact, there were so many of us working there we started to joke the company was straight friendly. It was SO refreshing to be in an environment where diversity was respected and appreciated. Even at the company’s holiday party, significant others were invited, and you would see all kinds of pairs and groups up there dancing together. It just wasn’t an issue if there were 2 men or 2 women doing a slow dance together, just like there wasn’t an issue that there were hetero couples doing the same.

      Reply

  8. Jessica
    March 30, 2013

    Thanks for sharing more about such a personal part of your life!

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thanks, Jessica!

      Reply

  9. Michele Chavez
    March 30, 2013

    I hope by the time you finally return to the USA that there will be marriage equality in all the states, no DOMA, and that laws that discriminate against LGBT people in housing and employment will be gone as well. Things are looking more hopeful by the day.

    Promise me, though, that if you go to Uganda, you will be careful.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      That would be quite lovely indeed!

      No worries about Uganda. We won’t be going. I know others who have gone and were okay, but it’s too big of a risk for me.

      Reply

  10. Lainie Liberti
    March 30, 2013

    Beautiful article and your beautiful heart shines though, Talon! As you know, my Mom (Miro’s grandma) is gay and we’ve lived the “accept who you are” lessons throughout our lives through our own challenges and the challenges of others. Your honesty and vulnerability are the two traits that make you so endearing.
    We love you so much! Can’t wait to have the honor to hang out with you and Tigger once again!!
    Lainie + MIro

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thank you, Lainie. The world could seriously use more people like you. I constantly strive to be as good a parent as you are. You inspire me. Hope to run into you again very soon!

      Reply

  11. John Northrop
    March 30, 2013

    I hate you for having 3-tone hair

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Jealousy is not a good look on you my friend. 🙂

      Reply

  12. Jenn Wiest Carter
    March 30, 2013

    I have to admit that growing up I was taught that being a male and gay was wrong, and for a long time I believed that- but I now know that thinking that way was wrong. For me, love and attraction is about the person, not the gender. I am very happily married to a man, but could I fall in love with a woman? If she possessed the qualities that are important to me- then yes, I probably could. I have never liked labels, so I dont consider myself to be “bisexual” “straight” or “gay” I consider myself “human”.
    One problem I have always had about the “gay” debate is- why is it more accepted for women to be gay than for a man to be gay? I could never figure that one out. I know and are close friends to many different kinds of people- I have white friends, black friends, native American friends, male friends who like males, female friends who like females. I have friends that arent perfect physically (I dont like to use the term “disability)…I think you get the point. I see it this way- the people that I have in my life are kind, compassionate, loving, and loyal and thats all that matters to me.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      I don’t get it either. Someone once wrote an article about it being because men are supposed to be masculine, and so when they don’t fit that envisioned criteria, it’s a problem, whereas there are no similar expectations for women. It is interesting to me, though.

      I know some people who others would label as straight that use the term “queer” because they don’t like the labels either. They feel much like you. It isn’t the gender they fall in love with the but the person. Labels have their own inherent danger, so I much prefer this more open view. They give me hope for the future.

      Reply

  13. Kate @30Traveler
    March 30, 2013

    Thanks Talon. Great post.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Reply

  14. Estelle
    March 30, 2013

    Talon, I appreciate your brutal honesty where being gay is concerned. It is a part of who and how you are as a person. There is sooooooo much more to you that makes you a very fascinating person, gay and all! Your son is blessed to be with you, and I know he is a great blessing to you, too. Go out there and keep enjoying the world together, keep finding those places you can call home…for whenever you decide to “go home.” 😉 Thank you for expressing and sharing such intimate thoughts with a sense of freedom that must’ve been so difficult to muster. Estelle

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thanks, Estelle. I appreciate that!

      Reply

  15. Jonathan Welford
    March 30, 2013

    Loved the post, really heartfelt. As a gay man myself I have been Out for most of my adult life, and even in my teens. This year I hit the big 4-0 and still find it difficult to comprehend gay people having issues coming out, however as a traveller, this has bought me into contact with people who have come across similar struggles.

    Thank you for sharing.

    So my question is…. have you dated anyone on your travels? and… would you consider setting down with someone?

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      For me it was difficult to come out because gay people were so maligned. You were less than and defective. Now I can honestly say if you know me and the type of man that I am and still think I’m defective because I’m gay it’s definitely you with the problem.

      I have not dated anyone on my travels yet. Mostly because it’s a bit hard being a single parent, and I don’t really like the gay bar/club scene that much. Yes, I would love to be in a relationship with the right person. I don’t know about “settling down” if that means permanently curtailing my travels, but if I found someone I felt showed promise, I’d be willing to stay put for a while so we could see what comes out of it and take it from there.

      Reply

  16. Stacie
    March 30, 2013

    Great article!! Thanks for sharing. Such a wonderful and honest perspective. Can’t wait to see you in Vietnam!

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thanks, Stacie. Looking forward to it!

      Reply

  17. Craig
    March 30, 2013

    Talon, the only thing wrong with you is your insistence on bragging about your latest travel destination. And the fact that we could, I just noticed, almost be brothers, which is weird. Other than that, you haven’t a thing to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite actually.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thanks, Craig. I’m not ashamed anymore. It’s just how I’m wired. Nothing wrong with that. And it isn’t bragging. It’s informing. 😛

      Reply

  18. Caz Makepeace
    March 30, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your story Talon. It’s so beautifully written. Society makes me so sad some times. Nobody should ever have to hide who they are. Underneath our differences lies a core that is very much the same as everyone else. If only everyone’s eyes were made to see that deeply.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Well said! In the end we all want the same things, really. They just may be wrapped differenty.

      Reply

  19. Anonymous
    March 30, 2013

    Lots of bloggers are bi buts it not as acceptable as gay or straight. We often sit in plain sight.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      That’s so interesting to me because when I was younger you were more accepted if you were bi since you at least liked the opposite sex, too. I tried being bi, but I’m just not wired that way. I have always been confused, though, by the apparent discrimination of bis by gays and lesbians. I don’t get it.

      Reply

  20. Sam
    March 30, 2013

    So beautifully written, Talon, and kind of bitter-sweet. Your story about your obviously queer colleague at school reminds me of one of David Sedaris’ stories (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/27/transcript), though I suppose it’s all used to be (maybe still is in some places) all too common.

    Silly question: I’m curious, was the Queer as Folk series you watched the UK or the US version? I grew up in the UK, and saw that version (which happens to be the original) when I was about 14. Seeing the first episode of the US version a few years later, I was like “this is a total rip off!” I hadn’t grasped the concept of remakes by then!

    I’m glad that being part of the travel blogging (and specifically the LGBT* travel blogging) community has helped you with this. And I’m glad to be among those who has helped!

    (*or perhaps better just LG. Unless anyone knows any out bisexual or transgender travel bloggers?)

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      It was the US version. I heard the UK one was even better, but I haven’t been able to find it for viewing yet. They do seem to like remaking things. I watched the US Shameless before I knew there was a UK one, and thankfully watched the UK Skins before the US version.

      QAF was so powerful for me. It seems weird to say that a TV show changed my life, but that’s exactly what happened. It helped me find the courage I needed to be honest with myself and others.

      I haven’t run into any bi or transgendered bloggers. Curious, isn’t it (esp about bi ones)?

      Reply

  21. Harvey (H-Bomb’s Worldwide Karaoke)
    March 30, 2013

    What an amazingly honest and insightful post — thanks so much for sharing, Talon. And the more I learn about you and what a strong person you are, the more I admire you.

    Also, I feel compelled to mention — there’s a fairly extensive gay karaoke subculture. 🙂 Hey, you know that I HAD to find a way to bring up that subject. I actually had a really fun time in Istanbul ending up with some fellow twitter travelers at karaoke night at a gay bar . . .

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      HAHAHA! Nice way of introducing karaoke in there. 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m always humbled by that type of response.

      Reply

  22. Donna McNicol
    March 30, 2013

    I always enjoy your posts, Talon, but especially the more personal ones. I am proud to know you online and hope that one day I’m privileged to meet you and Tigger in person. I have to admit that I never really thought about the issue of being gay and foreign nations. I think the fact that you are staying in areas longer than a typical vacationer changes things.

    While it is sad that you can’t always be yourself, I don’t think this will diminish you in any way. You are putting SAFETY first, yours and his. You are being a perfect role model for him. Kudos to you!!!

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thanks, Donna! Yes, it more of a challenge when you’re staying in an area for a longer period of time. Especially if you live in neighborhoods vs. typical tourist lodging, and if you’re trying to connect with locals and develop some sort of friendship.

      Reply

  23. monique
    March 30, 2013

    When I read “travel closet” I thought I was going to read a post about what you keep at hand when you’re traveling (like clothes, backpacks, etc) and was excited to read what the traveling necessities were. Stuff like that gets me excited to travel. Ya know, being prepared and all.

    When I hopped on over to read your blog, I was blown away by your honesty, your courage, and your humor. Thanks for sharing (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and keeping it real. I am saddened that people cannot be themselves because they’re afraid (and rightfully so, oftentimes) of the judgment of others. I really am.

    But I am so proud (as if I had *anything* to do with it), when people tell their story in spite of their fears.

    Thank you for sharing, and caring, and believing in yourself.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      I’ll be doing a post like you were hoping for soon. LOL Although, I don’t know how helpful my very minimalist, nonfashionable style will be for you.

      For me it isn’t a concern about being judged. It’s more of a concern over my physical safety.

      We have to believe in ourselves. When it really comes down to it, that’s all we have. 🙂

      Reply

  24. Vanessa
    March 30, 2013

    Great article – so moving and heartfelt! I think it’s always so difficult to be in any situation where you cannot be true to yourself, but travel has away of stripping away all the layers and helping to reach your authentic self – so it’s even harder to present your “fake” self.

    I’ll be spending time later on this year in a country that has a very bad track record with regards to human rights. It has been improving, and that’s one of the reasons that I’m interested in traveling there now. But it raises the question about how reserved I’ll be, how I can be honest and stand up for what I believe in while keeping myself (and those around me) safe.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Those kinds of things are even harder when we’re tourists. As guests in a country we have to be really careful with what we openly advocate. It sounds like you’ll be in for quite the adventure!

      Reply

  25. Judy
    March 30, 2013

    I loved reading your story, Thank you for sharing Talon. I have wished for so long that people would not look at a persons sexuality. I am smiling, because your story will not only touch many peoples heart, it will help them too. Your rock my friend. 🙂

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thanks, Judy. I wish sexuality didn’t matter as well. I love the line from the movie Get Real where he says “It’s just love. What is everyone so afraid of?”

      Reply

  26. Craig
    March 30, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your story. I also lived for a long time in the closet. I live in probably one of the most progressive states in the US and I still felt very uncomfortable being who I really was. I think through sharing our stories, we can open up people’s eyes so they see what it’s like being in our shoes and hopefully make someone think twice before picking on someone for being gay. I hope that one day sexuality will be a non-issue, that no one will care. That day is coming, i just hope it comes soon. Great post and I look forward to reading more of your stories and adventures.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      It’s been nice seeing progress. Sometimes I wish it was faster, but at least we’re moving forward!

      Reply

  27. Erica
    March 30, 2013

    I always feel so blessed to know you Talon! You are a pillar of strength for me and I love that you are being so inspiring for everyone else. I’m glad that you are telling your story. <3

    Miss your face.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Aww, thanks Erica! Love and miss you!

      Reply

  28. David Brown
    March 30, 2013

    Great post Talon! I have to agree with Aaron that I feel grateful that our generation has so many public proponents for gay rights and to be making the progress that’s occurring. At the same time, Auston and I won’t hesitate to jump back in the travel closet when necessary. There have been those moments of regret I’ve felt when I wish I would’ve been strong enough to come out abroad. But sometimes that fear of something ‘bad’ happening is hard to overcome. I just try to learn from it so I can be stronger the next time around.

    I’m also surprised that people don’t realize we’re gay when we’re not specifically out. It’s hard to stop acting like a couple. Discussing finances together. Making travel plans together. Stopping each other from getting that second slice of cake. We’re so obviously a gay couple! It’s hard to turn that off and I’d prefer not to.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      You definitely have to be careful in some areas. Some places jail gays, others approve of killing them. My need to be alive and free overrides my need to be me in those situations. Although, I’ll also admit that I’m probably going to avoid certain places that are known to be aggressive toward gays, i.e., Uganda. Even if I didn’t have a child, I doubt I’d go to those areas because of it. But WITH a child forget about it!

      I’m sure it’s probably tougher as a couple in those areas.

      Reply

  29. Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures
    March 30, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your story Talon. It’s easy to forget how lucky my generation is to have been born when we did. Being gay was not a problem in my upbringing (didn’t help that my parents are incredibly liberal and I work in the arts) so, as an adult, I’ve never struggled to hide who I am. Even traveling, when it comes to other travelers, I can’t say I do anything differently than I would in my every day life. I also don’t carry a rainbow flag or anything, nor, am I told, that I’m all that flamboyant, so if it comes up in conversation, whatever. If it doesn’t? So what?

    Locals though are the people I feel like I need to be careful around. You never know, particularly in an ultra-religious places like many Middle Eastern countries. Of course, I did have that experience in Egypt (which I wrote about for the GlobeTrotter girls) when I clammed up after an Egyptian man asked me point blank if “I wanted to marry a man.”

    That said, I very rarely feel like I’m “hiding” when I travel. Maybe this is just a matter of mentality. I didn’t feel great about that experience in Egypt which is why I wrote about it, but generally, I wouldn’t consider myself to be someone in the “travel closet.”

    As for Thailand, even with their amazing acceptance of Kathoeys, they are also really gay friendly. Buddhism, unlike most other religions, doesn’t mention homosexaulity at all. I’m sure that helps.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      I agree it’s only the locals I mostly get concerned with. So far it seems that most travelers are more open in their acceptance of others. Great that you feel you don’t have to hide when you travel! It’s a much freer feeling to feel you can be you.

      Reply

  30. Adam @ SitDownDisco
    March 30, 2013

    Interesting story for sure. I travel because I am want to be free. I’ve semi-settled in Indonesia because I feel free here. But something that is core to who we are, our sexuality, is something we also need to be free. Must be tough even in the US to be constantly having to make excuses and the like so as to not offend of embarrass others.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thankfully, I didn’t feel that way when I was older. For me now, it’s only time for the temporary closet when it’s a matter of safety. I honestly can’t be bothered hiding just to avoid offending someone. Life is too short for that.

      Reply

  31. Barbara Weibel
    March 30, 2013

    This is a really courageous article, Talon. With the honesty you display in your writing, I can’t imagine you are ever hiding, anywhere. You’re just being conscientious and making sure you and your son are safe. But you know who you are, and you’re fine with that. I think that’s the most important thing. Can’t wait to meet you in Thailand later this year.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      I like the way you reframe that, Barbara! Looking forward to meeting as well.

      Reply

  32. Nicole @ Suitcase Stories
    March 30, 2013

    Another honest and heart warming post from a brilliant writer.

    I hate that we live in a world where you have to hide who you are at times. I’ll never understand those who discriminate. I am glad you have found somewhere you can be your true self without being concerned for your welfare. No one should ever have to hide.

    From what I have read in your posts, you have been through so much – I am so glad you have now found happiness in your life by traveling the world with Tigger. I don’t know you that well true, but it seems to me you deserve every bit of happiness you find!

    Thank you for sharing your life with us Talon. You truly are a remarkable man.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 30, 2013

      Thank you for those very kind words! I, too, wish the world was more accepting of differences. It would be so nice if people could celebrate that we’re different rather than try to make everyone the same.

      Yes, I have definitely been through quite a lot in my life. Perhaps because of that I can more fully appreciate the happiness I now have.

      Reply

  33. Catherine Forest
    March 29, 2013

    What a great post, Talon! I command you for your raw honesty! Thank you for being so real and authentic. I can only understand how hard this must be. At the same time, I agree that you are lucky to at least have the opportunity to leave whereas the locals that are gay in their own country are really trapped and often truly miserable there… It was interesting to see how strongly Ticos (Costa Rica) reacted to our girls being on the beach top less last year (they were 7 and 5, not formed yet of course)… It was a really big deal for them… One day, a lady even walked by my daughter and spat at her feet! Woah! Very young girls (11-12) dress in a way that I would qualify of almost prostitute… Isn’t interesting? I know Thaïland would be a better option for us in that regard… But I love South Am… The Catholic beliefs are just a tad too strong for my comfort level…

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 29, 2013

      That’s just awful! Latin America is absolutely wonderful, but the Old World beliefs can be tough. Thankfully, many of those countries are changing. Little by little.

      Reply

  34. Mary
    March 29, 2013

    Come on Talon, broccoli never did anything to you;)

    I often feel badly when people have to hide who they are. I think we all do it to some degree but not because of fear of being hurt. That is so unacceptable! I understand different cultures but to me respect and tolerance should be a given….anywhere!

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 29, 2013

      A vile, disgusting weed!

      I agree. I wish more cultures focused on mutual respect and accepting differences. The world has a long way to go still.

      Reply

  35. Mary
    March 29, 2013

    Funny you mentioned your voice, I had seen your pics and thought you were cute. Then heard your voice in a video and knew instantly you were gay. This doesn’t make you less attractive by any means.

    I found traveling some men and women are very affectionate and I never know how to handle it. IAre they making a pass? Just friendly? Creapy?

    I guess I have to keep wondering and wandering.
    M

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 29, 2013

      When I was in Morocco it threw me a bit because males are very affectionate with each other. I had to keep reminding myself that was the norm instead of worrying for them when they were walking in public hand in hand. LOL

      Thanks for the compliment. The voice really gives it away. That’s why I’m always surprised when people express shock at discovering I’m gay.

      Reply

  36. Gillian @OneGiantStep
    March 29, 2013

    I’m really enjoying learning more about you Talon. Thank you for sharing. I think what you are experiencing is common (or should be more common) in the traveling community; you have to adapt your behaviour according to the country you are visiting. ‘When in Rome’ so to speak. As a woman I may be able to wear a butt baring, somewhat daring, bikini in Brazil however I cover in more conservative countries such as Turkey and even here in Northern Thailand. What is accepted in one place is often not in another and, although we may not be comfortable with that, it is our responsibility as travelers to honor it. I am as hopeful as you that one day homosexuals will be treated with respect no matter where they are; I hope the same for women also. But until that time you should be proud that you are doing what you can while at the same time honoring the cultures you visit. You son cannot be learning a bad lesson in that.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 29, 2013

      VERY true, Gillian. I am very careful to be culturally sensitive, and my son and I discuss this frequently during our travels. When he makes a decision based on cultural appropriateness, it warms my heart. Respect is such a simple thing we can give.

      Reply

  37. Nicole
    March 29, 2013

    This was lovely, Talon. Thanks for always sharing your story and opening up to us.

    At least in the internet world, you’ll always be able to be yourself. Let’s hope that the world will change soon and not hinder you being you, no matter where you are!

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      March 29, 2013

      Thanks, Nicole. I AM thankful that things are improving in many countries and that the newer generation is having a much easier time than we did in mine.

      Reply

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