Traveling around the world as a trans woman.
International Transgender Day of Visibility
Trans women are women.
Greether has a mission to empower all and every person that identifies as womxn. Today and every day we stand firm in providing them a resource where they feel welcomed, seen, empowered and safe to navigate and travel on their own terms. On this last day of Women's History Month #TransDayOfVisibilty We would like to bring awareness to the challenges that the trans community face, celebrate them and learn how we can help as an organization to alleviate the obstacles they have. #TDOV
Greether founder Vanessa Karel interviewed Adriana Roberts, also known as “Adriana Bootie” an amazing Performer, DJ trans icon, model and traveler to find out more about her experiences while traveling around the world as a trans woman.
“Meeting Adriana Roberts was incredibly fun and inspiring, her presence, energy and confidence are something that I wish we could put in a bottle for all of us when we need that special boost. When we first connected with her, she told us she was currently traveling in Turkey so originally we thought we would do the interview over zoom. However, when she shared her phone number I realized that she shared my area code and to our surprise, our traveler is based in both San Francisco and Berlin where her partner lives so we were able to meet in person!”
Greether Founder and CEO
Adriana caught her travel bug through her day job, which by the way, is a really cool one! She throws “mashup” parties for a living #dreamjob since 2003. Through her mashup party company she began throwing parties in LA, NYC and eventually in Mexico, Europe and Asia. She mentions that most of the crew she travels with is LGBTQ+ identified and that most often than not, they need to consider where they choose to throw parties at and where is safe to travel by herself. In fact, when an opportunity arose to travel to Dubai for work she got worried, even-though she was thrilled to go, she knew the risks involved. While the gig fell through it is well known that trans people have had difficulties entering the country and Adriana really hopes to visit one day.
Doing our research, we found out that most of the challenges faced by the trans community while traveling begin before the trip even begins; at the airport.
An article published by Volture Magazine covered the story of how a “YouTube star and model Gigi Gorgeous was denied entry into Dubai and detained at its airport for several hours because she’s transgender. The 24-year-old (then), documented her transition online, told TMZ that upon attempting to enter the country, she was stopped by an immigration officer who informed her, “I was told you are transgender. You cannot come into the country.” She says her passport has been updated to reflect her changed legal name (Gigi Loren) and correct gender identity, but airport security officials told TMZ otherwise.”
Adriana tells us a story about how In China she had an incident upon arrival that might have had to do more about appearance than gender. As flying over dozens of hours her looks didn’t quite match her glamorous passport photo.
In previous years when she hadn’t changed her gender on her passport she expressed how lucky she had been at passing by, just fine even when she had an “M” marker and having what was clearly a female in her photo. Years later her gender is officially “F” female since this became easier to do that. Apparently years ago if you hadn’t medically transitioned you needed a letter from a doctor to change the marker on your passport even when it was clear that she was femme and going through medical transition the process used to be much harder.
Unfortunately this process is still very complex in some other countries. However, in the United States it is no longer required to provide any documentation (medical or other) to change your gender and can even choose the X marker if you identify as neither.
Q&A With Adriana Roberts and Greether
Have you traveled recently? If so, where?
Yes. Berlin, Istanbul
Why would you like to participate and share your story?
I'm a transgender woman with unconventional "alt/rock/punk" looks (bright red dreadlocks, nose ring), who is also a professional DJ, performer, live streamer, and event producer (I'm the founder of Bootie Mashup). I often travel for both business and pleasure. My long term relationship partner is based in Berlin (and I'm based in San Francisco and sometimes LA) so yeah, I travel a LOT. Not as much during pandemic years, but it's picking up again.
Have you ever traveled alone? What's one of the things that worry you the most?
Yes, all the time. What do I worry about? Getting clocked as trans and assaulted (or worse) because of it. But I also try not to let that scare me off from visiting places.
In which country have you felt more welcome and unwelcome? Why?
Most welcome? Canada, but that's almost too easy. Most unwelcome? United Arab Emirates, and I didn't even leave the airport! U.A.E. doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to trans people, who technically aren't even allowed into the country, Dubai's attempts at being "cosmopolitan" notwithstanding. But the absolute worst place was Jerusalem, even though the rest of Israel was great. I've never been cat-called or dealt with street harassment from men as much as I did in "the holiest city on Earth." Go figure.
What do you think about Greether’s initiative?
I love it! It sounds like it's a great resource, and it would be amazing to book greeters that are accepting of trans women and queer friendly. Greether would be super helpful if it had an option to look for local customs, tips for the trans community based on geographical locations and trans-friendly places like bars, clubs, restaurants.
Some of the countries and cities that Adriana wishes to visit that are famous for being challenging for the trans community are Egypt, Dubai, Indonesia and Russia. Adriana and her partner (Jupiter) split their time in between Berlin and San Francisco. While her partner is Ukrainian born and fluent in Russian she has been a German citizen since she was 3 years old. The couple have avoided visiting Russia even-though she speaks the language, for safety concerns and now more so than ever.
Her number one recommendation for womxn traveling alone is to:
“…walk with a purpose, as if you knew exactly where you were going to… even if you don’t, try your best to not engage with harassment”- Adriana Roberts
To wrap up with our research for this piece we also contacted Aidan Key who is an educator on the topic of Gender Diversity in K-12 schools throughout the nation and the author of Trans Children in Today’s Schools (due for publication in Dec 2022). Key also founded TransFamilies.org, an organization that offers direct support and resources for families of transgender children.
Kay took the Greether team through a journey of knowledge in the topic as we try to navigate how to incorporate values that are respectful to the community and train our greeters how to make our trans female travelers feel comfortable and connected. Our commitment is to continue learning and to keep pushing for change in strict societal structures that build obstacles to non binary, gender neutral, lesbian, queer and trans people.
Special thanks to Adriana Roberts, Aidan Key, for collaborating with us on this article and for Monica Guerra for photographing the beautiful interview.
For anyone that needs support to connect with a local guide on their next travel journey do not hesitate to reach out to us.
For additional resources covering Trans Day of Visibility, please visit:
To connect with Adriana Roberts:
To connect with Aidan Kay:
To connect with us: Info@greether.com or dm us at @greet.her