LGBTQ+ travel website provides community, safety for gay tourists

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A tech start up is trying to help make travel safer for the LGBTQ+ community with a platform described as the world’s largest short-term vacation rental marketplace for gay travelers.

The site is called MisterBandB.com. It features one million hosts in countries worldwide, all confirmed to be LGBTQ+ friendly.

One host in San Francisco told CBS News Bay Area he loves providing a safe travel space for LGBTQ+ vacationers.  

Joaquin Aran has lived in his San Francisco home for three years.

“I love my neighbors. I love my neighborhood,” said Arana.

His love of traveling safely as a gay man and his love of the Bay Area is why he wanted to be a host on the website. More than one million LGBTQ+ travelers can not only find housing on the site, but also connect with locals to get safety tips and plan trips and activities.

Mattieu Jost, the creator of Mister B&B, came up with the idea after experiencing homophobic harassment when he booked a room at a home in Spain with his partner.

“She really reacted badly and so we decided to leave. And on the way back to the airport, this is how I created Mr. B and B,” said founder Jost. The global traveler and entrepreneur is now living in Paris, France. 

The website is getting support from investors and hosts like Arana, who also uses the site to travel himself.

“We have traveled to Norway, the Philippines, Taiwan, Portugal and India,” said Arana.

He admitted traveling can be risky in some states and countries if you are gay.

“There are places where the politics and people are not necessarily aligned. There are people who are welcoming LGBTQ communities,” explained Arana.

He says it’s about finding community in other parts of the world. 

“In those places, our people need to be supported. They need to be seen and they also need to see that they need to see us. The world needs to see us that we have families and jobs and are home,” said Arana.

He regularly cooks for the travelers he hosts and makes sure his home is a welcome all year long.

“I like having a flag out. It is home and it’s part of who I am. It is a large part and important to understand,” said Arana.

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