Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Out in the Vineyard - Sonoma County, CA

Coming up on May 5th and May 11th 2010 the City and County of Sonoma are putting forth proclamations as being a Gay Friendly City/County!

The California Wine Country has gone thru a dramatic metamorphosis in the last decade. What was once a rural, agricultural region has transformed into a premier luxury global travel and lifestyle destination.

Having grown up in rural wine county and come of age in a small town, we didn’t know any gay people (or so we thought).  The only thing we knew of being gay was thru the negative images we saw on TV or thru descriptions hissed by our teachers, peers and parents. So like thousands of others before me, after high school, I ventured off to the safety and anonymity of the city.

It was the  mid 20th Century in America and  no one knew US.

Twenty years later, I could never have imagined how much the land of my childhood has changed to become a premiere LGBT travel destination!

Since the turn of the Millennium, there has been a major exodus from cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York of gays looking for The American Dream – with a bit more luxury expected! We moved out of “The Ghetto” and into Wine Country – and like the Castro, Greenwich Village and West Hollywood before , we have helped create a safe place for us to visit and live. We no longer want to be cloistered in the confines of major metropolitan centers or hidden in far removed rural outposts. We have become major contributors to a Rural Renaissance of America, where we can live our lives safely as openly gay men and women – as long time couples or single individuals.

We can walk around a small town plaza - like Healdsburg or Sonoma - and not face scorn. We can celebrate 15 years together over a romantic dinner for 2, or with a group of friends savoring elegant global cuisine, openly acknowledging our love and commitment to each other. On any given weekend we are out, enjoying happy hour with a group of friends – gay and straight alike.

The Wine Country has become a place where we can be ourselves.

We are welcomed in shops and grocery stores. We know the mailman and bank tellers by name. We know our neighbors and their kids - and more importantly - THEY know US.

So come visit. Find yourself Out In The Vineyard. Discover Our Wine Country.

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