When queer, trans couple Sujay and Erick first met, just over two years ago, they quickly realized they shared plenty in common. This included a love of traveling and discovering new countries and cultures.
A joint Instagram (@twotransnomads) they set up now documents their travels. They talked to GayCities about their favorite locations and some of the challenges that come when traveling as trans people.
Erick grew up in London and studied in Maastricht in the Netherlands. Aged 23, he has varied experience across film festivals, publishing, and research.
Sujay, 30, grew up in Singapore and then spent his 20s in Australia. He works in marketing. The couple are now both based in Singapore.
“We met in Sydney, Australia,” says Erick. “When I was on a semester abroad – cliché, I know! We clicked instantly. Sujay brought so much joy into my life and I loved having my own personal tour guide! A highlight for us was volunteering together at the QueerScreen film festival.”
“After the first few months in Sydney, Erick had to go back to the Netherlands to finish his degree,” says Sujay. “But soon after I flew to Europe and we spent a lot of time together there.”
The pair both love traveling and say they’ve been pretty lucky during the pandemic to still manage to visit several European countries.
“It’s so hard to pick a favorite,” says Erick, “But I don’t think anything can beat the magic of falling in love with Sujay in Sydney. I also think Sydney is a great city – sunny weather, amazing beaches, good food, interesting arts events, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had!”
“I loved Venice,” says Sujay. “We got off a boat to live music playing on the streets. It felt like a movie. I loved getting lost in the narrow, windy streets, having an afternoon Aperol by the canals and the architecture. It’s quite a special city.”
Sujay adds that London threw up some surprises for him.
“I was really surprised to find a huge South Asian population and scene in London. The Indian restaurants and food scene in London were fantastic. I guess I never really expected that! Also, I found out their national dish is the Chicken Tikka Masala, which was pretty cool.”
Erick says they like both cities and the great outdoors.
“I guess that’s why I love Sydney – because it has the city and the beach!”
As for dream locations, Sujay says he’d love to finally visit Japan.
“I love Japanese food and I would love to take a ride on the bullet train. I’m also very drawn to Japanese minimalism.”
Trans traveling around the globe
There have been news stories about trans people facing problems when traveling. For example, with airport security or getting the correct gender on their travel documents. Have the couple encountered any issues?
“I’ve been quite lucky that I’ve ‘passed’ as a cis man for a long time,” says Erick. “I was able to update the name and gender on my passport fairly quickly, so in terms of documents, I haven’t experienced any major difficulties so far.
“Something that has surprised me recently is that because I have long hair now and because you have to wear a mask all the time in Singapore, I am constantly getting mistaken for a woman, which makes using public bathrooms quite uncomfortable – I haven’t had to deal with that since I was still using the women’s bathroom and everyone thought I was a boy (which I am!).”
“Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to change my gender markers on my documents, so traveling can be very stressful,” says Sujay. “Being a Brown man in Europe was an interesting experience. I was stopped by authorities on the street and asked to hand over my documents when we were traveling in Europe. That was pretty nerve-racking. We also have to be careful when we have layovers to make sure not to transit in regions that are known to be homophobic/transphobic.”
Lastly, as we head into the New Year, what are their hopes for the coming months?
“My biggest hope for 2022 is that we don’t have to do long distance again,” says Erick. “Spending every day with Sujay just makes me so happy and I’m looking forward to finally spending a whole year by his side!”
by David Hudson
Source – Gay City News