PROUD Experiences, the LGBTQ+ travel event, has launched a new series of monthly podcasts hosted by the fabulous James Barr, in which James shares the mic with amazing people from across LGBTQ+ communities whilst forging new, inclusive relationships with wonderful travel destinations across the globe. 

“When COVID forced us to postpone our June 2020 event in New York, we were determined to stay in touch with our LGBTQ+ travel community around the world. If we couldn’t come together in person, we would find a different way to celebrate our differences” explains Proud Experiences Director, Simon Mayle. “We noticed that there was already a plethora of webinars on the future of travel and wanted to do something lighter and more personal – something that would bring joy into people’s lives at this difficult time, while at the same time focusing on issues that mattered to them.”  

Simon and his team decided that a monthly podcast would be the most appropriate way to reach out – just as the Black Lives Matter movement arose in the wake of George Floyd’s brutal killing. “The Pride movement was started by a black trans woman and, at the suggestion of one of our team in Brazil, we decided to dedicate the first podcast to the theme of what it is like to be not only a queer traveller, but a black queer traveller” says Simon. 

The team immediately knew who they wanted to host the podcast series, which they have called ‘On the Mic’. James Barr is not only the presenter of a very successful podcast called ‘A gay and a non-gay’, but a former MC at Proud Experiences.  

For the first episode in June, James brought together Raquel Willis, a Black transgender activist, writer and media strategist, and Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride. Stimulating and thought-provoking in equal measure, the podcast was a huge success, generating 1,200 social media engagements (up 327% on the previous month).  

The next podcast, scheduled for later this month, focuses on ‘The Proud Modern Family’ featuring Sharon Knapp, CEO of Leading Hotels of the World, and Proud Experiences own Director, Simon Mayle. 

Proud Experiences is scheduled to take place in June 2021. “We can’t wait to come together again in person as a proud and diverse community of LGBTQ+ travellers” says Simon. “In the meantime, we aim to keep the conversation going with some truly entertaining and inspirational members of our global community. Be sure to tune in!”