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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Out and Around: San Francisco Lesbian Couple Travels The World

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Lisa (left) and Jenni - JENNIFER CHANG
  • Jennifer Chang
  • Lisa (left) and Jenni

In Out and Around, Logo's recently premiered documentary, San Francisco based lesbian couple Jennifer Chang and Lisa Dazols took a year long trip around the world. The video of their journey screened on Logo on August 17 and is now available for online viewing.

Logo's camera followed the women across Asia and Africa as they visited countries where LGBT people were tolerated, and countries where being LGBT was dangerous. Everywhere they went, they spoke to the local leaders of the LGBT movement. It was an eye-opening journey, a cultural exchange in which they found many commonalities with men and women who come from cultural differences decidedly different from their own.

As the journey continued Jennifer was forced to confront the truth about her family's homophobia, and their refusal to accept her lesbianism or her relationship.

Jenni and Lisa, now a happily married couple, spoke to SF Weekly about themselves and their grand adventure. They spoke about visiting countries where LGBT people are not necessarily welcome.

"We learned that you have to be respectful when you are a visitor of local laws," Lisa said. "There are still 72 countries where homosexuality is a crime, so obviously there very serious reasons to be cautious while traveling. We took cues from the local LGBT individuals about safety in their own country."
click to enlarge Lisa (left) and Jenni - JENNIFER CHANG
  • Jennifer Chang
  • Lisa (left) and Jenni

We wondered what precautions they took.

"In Kenya we learned quickly that we cannot walk hand-in-hand as if we were walking down the street in our hometown of San Francisco," Lisa said. "In public we refrained from touching one another or acting intimate in any way. We didn't realize what a stressor it is not to act like a couple until we had too."

When Jenni and Lisa visited Brazil, they learned that the country's LGBT citizens enjoy many federal equality laws even as the deal with a rampantly homophobic culture.

"It's one step to pass equality laws and another large step to fight institutionalized homophobia," Jennifer said. "No movement stops with the passing of laws. The implementation and cultural change takes time."

India was one of the more unforgettable countries the women visited — they said it was the "most and least" enjoyable of the many stops they. "We loved India's unique culture when we spent three weeks meditating in an ashram in Northern India as well as the days we took cooking classes in Delhi," Lisa said. "We hit rock bottom during the twelve hour bus rides and almost getting scammed at a train station."

They also found inspirational role models during their trip. "We met David Kuria, Kenya's first openly gay political candidate," Jenni said. "Despite death threats, he decided to run for Senate because of his conviction to improve the convictions of his country. We worried for the safety of the people we met and often asked ourselves if we would have their courage to take such risks."

The couple is now enjoying their married life and hope to start a family.

"We highly recommend it," they both said. "Nothing more validating than legally pronouncing your love in front of family and friends. Our year of travel was great preparation for marriage as we really got to know each other while working on the project."  

Now happily ensconced in their Outer Sunset home, they spoke fondly of the city.

"I'm a native," Lisa said. "I love San Francisco's queer history, the Giants, and Ocean Beach."

"I love the diversity, the innovation in technology, and the homemade Chinese dumplings sold on Taraval Street," said Jenni.      

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