By David-Elijah Nahmod, October 2015 Issue.
The latest release by Logo Documentary Films, Out and Around: What’s Wrong With My Love?, follows San Francisco-based lesbian couple Jennifer Chang and Lisa Dazols on their yearlong trip around the world.
Produced in conjunction with the It Gets Better Project, the video of their journey screened on Logo Aug. 17 and is now available for online viewing.
Logo cameras followed the women across Asia and Africa as they visited countries where LGBT people were tolerated as well as countries where being LGBT was dangerous.
In each of the 15 countries they visited, the couple spoke with local leaders of the LGBT movement. Their travels made for an eye-opening cultural exchange throughout which they found many commonalities with men and women who come from cultures decidedly different from their own.
As the journey continued Chang was forced to confront the truth about her family’s homophobia, and their refusal to accept her sexuality and her relationship.
Chang and Dazols, now a happily married couple, spoke to Echo about their grand adventure and about visiting countries where LGBT people are not welcome.
“We learned that you have to be respectful when you are a visitor of local laws,” Dazols 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.”
A key component of the couple’s experiences abroad were the wide array of social observations – both good and bad – they made along the way.
“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,” Dazols 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 to.”
When Chang and Dazols visited Brazil, they learned that the country’s LGBT citizens enjoy many federal equality laws even as they deal with a rampantly homophobic culture.
“It’s one step to pass equality laws and another large step to fight institutionalized homophobia,” Chang 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 made.
“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,” Dazols said. “We hit rock bottom during the 12 hour bus rides and almost getting scammed at a train station.”
Chang and Dazols also met inspirational role models during their trip.
“We met David Kuria, Kenya’s first openly gay political candidate,” Chang said. “Despite death threats, he decided to run for Senate because of his conviction to improve the [conditions] 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.”
Following their documentary project, Chang and Dazols legally wed.
“[There is] nothing more validating than legally pronouncing your love in front of family and friends,” the couple said in unison. “Our year of travel was great preparation for marriage as we really got to know each other while working on the project.”
To view Out and Around, visit logotv.com/shows/logo-documentary-films.