I’m a fan of holidays and I’m also a fan of prizes, so a prize that’s also a holiday it’s pretty much up there with buttery crumpets and that new car smell for me, but I have to plead with the marketing departments at large corporations not to offer trips to countries where being LGBT+ could wind you all banged up.

This afternoon a Caffe Nero marketing email landed in my inbox advertising a competition where the prize was a holibob to Cairo. How nice I thought until I wonder what are the legal ramifications of a visit to Egypt for a card-carrying gay like myself.

Not good. it turns out.

A little digging from the marketing department would have them discover homosexuality has been “defacto illegal” in Egypt since the year 2000. Yes, in Egypt under its “morality laws” people found guilty of breaking such a law could face “up to 17 years with or without hard labour and fines”

Not to pick on Nero’s but they really should know better, after all, they do use the rainbow flag, during pride season in some of their stores.

But they aren’t the only company to offer competitions where the prize could land LGBT+ people in trouble.

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You wouldn’t think that in 2020 it’d be acceptable to offer a prize that actively discriminated against LGBT+ people, but when you see a prize that’s a holiday to any country which outlaws homosexuality, and there are a lot of them – that’s effectively what they are doing, especially to gay and bi men who don’t want to end up in court facing punishments ranging from fines, lashes or even death.

Even high profile game shows can get it wrong, in May 2019, Channel 5’s Blind Date sent two bisexual men on a romantic trip to St. Lucia, where it is illegal for males to have sex with other males.

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If we want change, we are going have to call on companies and allies to do their part.

If we want a world that is tolerant of LGBT+ people we have to start showing that being anti-LGBT isn’t good for business, travel or politically and that includes using them in your marketing campaigns.

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