three friends holding a pride flag and laughing

2SLGBTQIA+ @FCTG: Stories That Shape Us 


The best way to learn about 2SLGBTQIA+ people is to listen to their stories. For the rest of this blog, we’re handing over the mic to the phenomenal 2SLGBTQIA+ employees across Flight Centre Travel Group brands. Our hope is by sharing these stories, we can give hope and support to 2SLGBTQIA+ people around the world.

two women wearing red shirts face to face holding hands

Name: Angelica Menchero 
Pronouns: She/Her
Title/Company: Director of Account Management , FCM
Location: Mexico

My #TravelWithPride Story:

Traveling with PRIDE is traveling free, confident, and safe, with no fear that something bad will happen, no matter who we are. I’m married to a beautiful Venezuelan woman and together, we have discovered a lot of amazing countries where we have witnessed the openness towards our community. In Mexico City, although the traditional Catholic influence and “macho” culture are still present in our society, in 2015, the Supreme Court of Mexico essentially legalized gay marriage. Since that year, things have been changing positively.

Talking about other countries, we had an “unforgettable” experience, for unfortunate reasons, in Israel in 2018. Despite Israel being without a doubt the best country in the Middle East for LGBTQ+ people to live, we felt threatened when suddenly a man intimidatingly approached us, grabbed my wife by the arm, and invited her to his house. We had to tell him that our “husbands” were waiting for us further down the road. Fortunately, that was enough to make the man disappear, but it was very uncomfortable. 

Improved understanding and more inclusive services have helped to give us more confidence when traveling, but there’s still a long way to go. Therefore, it is important to promote visibility and movements of inclusion and diversity so that no LGBTQ+ person feels unsafe outside of home ever again.


couple standing in the forest on their wedding day

Name: Danielle Mangone
Pronouns: She/Her
Title/Company: Senior Onboarding Success Manager, Corporate Traveler
Location: USA

My #TravelWithPride Story: I am fortunate to work with my wife Aubrey at Flight Centre and am able to be who I am within our company and when traveling for work and leisure. However, in a world where uncertainty looms at every law passed and a line is drawn in the sand from opposing parties, traveling with pride can look a bit different these days for many people. Some are not as fortunate to be who they truly are where they live, and it has caused me to rethink visiting certain states or countries. It means showing up in communities I am comfortable visiting as a leading example of what it means to be Queer and live my life in the way that works for me and my family.

I hope some kid or teenager (or even adult) might see my wife and me on vacation together that have not come out to their friends and family or even perhaps themselves and realize that it is possible to be who you are wherever you go. It also means helping others feel accepted right in their backyard and supporting the communities I encounter. I enjoy frequenting local restaurants/bars and shops that are owned by our and other minority communities to help reinvest my money spent traveling in things that are important to me. I also hope that some people who are on the fence about the community might meet us and have a conversation (I am very outgoing and speak to people wherever I go) and realize that being LGBTQ2+ is not anything to be fearful of. It can help humanize our community in locations that are not as open and accepting. 

two women on a beautiful beach in Jamaica with turquoise water on a sunny day

Name:Tara Lauzon-Williams
Pronouns: She/Her
Title, Company: Senior Team Leader, Corporate Traveler 
Location: USA 

My #TravelWithPride Story: For me, traveling with pride means bringing my authentic self to all experiences – both at home and abroad.  My wife and I have traveled the globe extensively as a lesbian couple and we’ve never let fear dictate our decisions.  That being said, I’m very thankful at the progress that the LGBTQ+ movement has made over the years when it comes to global acceptance.  

I can remember a time at the beginning of my travel career when I attended a conference in Jamaica.  The event was hosted by a resort brand that excluded all travelers with the exception of heterosexual couples.  It felt very awkward and frustrating to know that had I not been invited on a business trip, I wouldn’t have been allowed as a guest at the resort - and even worse, that I was supposed to go back to my job as a travel agent and promote this product to my clients.   

Fast forward 10 years, when my wife and I return at the same resort brand together.  I was attending another work conference, which just happened to coincide with her birthday.  By then, the resort brand had changed their previous discriminatory policy, and it was clear that their staff had completed diversity acceptance training.  Not only were we allowed to share a room, but they pulled out all the stops to ensure my wife had a memorable birthday celebration. We actually enjoyed our experience so much, that we returned 8 years later on a personal vacation to celebrate our honeymoon (and were treated like family)!  
The resort brand operates and employs a substantial workforce in many Caribbean countries where LGBTQ+ acceptance is historically low. This is just one example of how I’ve witnessed the travel & tourism industry change the landscape of diversity and inclusion over the years. I’m excited to report that we now have a son and are looking forward to visiting our island paradise as a family!  

Person with circular glasses and beard looking at camera slightly smiling

Name:Casey Soto
Pronouns: He/Him/They
Title, Company: Technical Implementation Manager, Flight Centre 
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada 

My #TravelWithPride Story: Each thread of your lived experience, woven into your being creates an identity that provides this earth with a beautiful perspective only you can share and only you can create. When I think about traveling with Pride, it’s not about flaunting my gender or sexual orientation. To me, its building on the threads of my existence by curating an understanding through my perspective of each place I visit, each person I meet. I have had the opportunity to visit many countries and every time, I come back with a visceral feeling of completeness that only adds to my identity. Traveling with pride, should never be about you but about how you create your own pride within your being from the mere experiences you share with the world. 

Travel agent with long dark hair smiling at the camera


Name: Viviana Pena 
Pronouns:  She/Her
Title, Company: Team Leader, Corporate Traveler 
Location: Remote/Miami, FL, USA 

My #TravelWithPride Story: I was always very open with my friends and family about being gay and they have been my biggest support! When it came to the work environment, I was always a bit hesitant expressing myself. Flight Centre has been such a welcoming, diverse company. I feel a sense of community and acceptance.  

couple on their wedding day

Name: Myles Jeffries-Phan
Pronouns: He/Him
Title/Company: Team Leader, Optimizations Americas, Corporate Traveler
Location: USA

My #TravelWithPride Story: I love the idea of traveling with pride. I think it’s extremely important, and I love that it can mean something different for everyone. For me, traveling with pride means always being able to be myself wherever I go. Whenever my husband and I travel anywhere, we always try to be authentically ourselves. We love sharing experiences together as a couple and don’t want to have to hide who we are while we travel.  

While I know some places have a long way to go, we are extremely grateful for the progress the LGBTQ+ community has made. Everywhere we have been has made us feel accepted and loved. I hope that more and more countries and cultures continue to educate themselves on the LGBTQ+ cause and the acceptance we have felt continues to grow and grow. I appreciate the love and acceptance I have felt here at Flight Centre and the company’s continuous efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community. 

A couple together in a city one giving the other a kiss on the cheek


Name:Yannick Desautels
Pronouns: He/Him
Title, Company: Chef des opérations / Operations Leader, Corporate Traveller 
Location: Montréal 

My #TravelWithPride Story: Opening up about one’s sexuality in a workplace is not always easy, but I believe it’s important to shine as who we are. I am lucky to live in a country that accepts me as I am, but the world is so much more than the comfort of home.

As an avid traveller, I’ve sailed a good part of the world in my young adult life onboard HMCS Calgary as a Canadian Navy Diver and Air Combat Radar Operator to places I did not always feel safe. But it was the last 10 years or so that allowed me to be more selective of where I travel as a gay man while working with FCTG.  

It is important for me that I visit and support places that I feel are welcoming and open about who I am as part of the LGBTQIA2+ community, and even if part of the world is still closed to me, there are many more amazing destinations that I can enjoy. 

Nom/Pronoms: Yannick Desautels (Il/Lui) 

Titre, Entreprise: Chef des opérations / Operations Leader 

Lieu: Montréal 

Mon Histoire #VoyageAvecFierté: S'ouvrir sur sa sexualité sur un lieu de travail n'est pas toujours facile mais je pense qu'il est important de briller comme nous sommes. J'ai la chance de vivre dans un pays qui m'accepte tel que je suis, mais le monde est bien plus que le confort d'un chez-soi.

En tant que grand voyageur, j'ai parcouru une bonne partie du monde dans ma vie de jeune adulte à bord du NCSM Calgary en tant que plongeur de la Marine canadienne et opérateur de radar de combat aérien vers des endroits où je ne me sentais pas toujours en sécurité. Mais ce sont les 10 dernières années qui m'ont permis d'être plus sélectif quant à l'endroit où je voyage en tant qu'homme gay tout en travaillant avec FCTG. 

Il est important pour moi que je visite et soutienne des endroits où je me sens bienvenu et ouvert sur qui je suis en tant que membre de la communauté LGBTQIA2+ et même si une partie du monde m'est encore fermée, il y a beaucoup plus de destinations incroyables que je peux apprécier . 

colleague in dotted shirt with glasses looking at and smiling at the camera

Name:Tanner Ferris 
Pronouns: He/Him/They
Title, Company: Corporate Traveller Technical Delivery Specialist / Corporate Traveller
Location: Uxbridge, Ontario

My #TravelWithPride Story: 

drag queen speaking into a microphone

My name is Tanner and I am a Drag Queen referred to as Pam Damnic. As a drag queen, I tend to shave my eye brows to simplify the ‘drag over’ process. Due to this, I tend to travel with a basic makeup bag in my carry-on ensuring I don’t look like Spaak from Star Trek. The makeup bag includes the general things like eye liner, a brow pencil, a few brushes, lashes, some eye shadow, lipstick and, of course, eyelash curlers.

A couple years back we travelled to Vancouver for business. On the return journey, while passing through security, I was stopped, and my bag dissected. The culprit, eyelash curlers. Now, I do not blame this man for the misidentification. I mean, what straight man has lash curlers, or more or less is aware of their existence? As he pulled apart my bag and questioned the odd pair of scissors I was travelling with, I attempted to explain their importance to no avail. A lovely lady dolled up to the nines whilst sporting her security uniform burst into a bellowing laughter and approached the man. She whispered in his ear, and apologized to me. The man swiftly turned beat red and slid my products back to me. As he walked away embarrassed, he turned to me and said 'Do you have an Instagram? I love drag queens!' I proceeded to provide him with the information as we chatted about the art form and connected over his girlfriends obsession with RuPaul's Drag Race. I proceeded to my flight with a smile plastered to my face. This could have been a very different interaction.

As I boarded the flight, I received a new follow notification. He still follows and comments to this day. Support can come from the smallest of interactions. You never know where you will find support so never stop being who you are, and always travel with pride!

man on vacation on a bridge with colourful buildings in the background

Name: Jose Velazquez 
Pronouns: He/Him
Title/Company: Corporate Travel Operations, FCM 
Location: USA

My #TravelWithPride Story: Traveling with PRIDE is exploring and understanding cultures while remaining true to myself. I decided to go on a solo trip to Europe last summer, and even though I had many reasons to be fearful, I was excited to see what the world had to offer. I thought about acting, speaking, and presenting myself to “fit in.” That all disappeared once I realized how everyone was super accepting. The fear quickly went away as I explored each city. I felt super comfortable, and it made me realize that the world is slowly progressing. Hopefully, no matter what a person identifies as, we will all be treated equally and respectfully. 

man smiling standing in front of a basilica

Name: Daniel Baker
Pronouns: He/Him
Title/Company: Customer Success Consultant/ LGBTQ2+ ERG Coordinator, Corporate Traveler
Location: USA

My #TravelWithPride Story: I am so excited to work at a company promoting traveling within the LGBTQ2IA community. It speaks volumes to know that your professional job cares not only about your community but also about those outside our doors. I love the idea of traveling with pride. It is so important that anyone from any community can travel and see the world. The idea of traveling with pride means that I can be myself and enjoy the new communities that I travel to. I always want to be myself wherever I go, and knowing I can be accepted means so much to us in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Traveling is the best thing anyone can do to immerse themselves in the culture, food, and people. Living your authentic self in those communities and traveling with your authentic self is the best feeling. I hope that more countries and cultures continue to educate themselves on becoming more inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community so that more acceptance continues to grow.