I recently got a booking inquiry from a trans man.
The only way I would have known that he was trans was by him telling me, and it struck me as odd that he felt a need to tell me, a complete stranger, about such a personal matter before we’d even met. Why was it so important to him that I know that ahead of time?
Well, of course, we all know why. No one wants to experience bigotry anywhere, but especially where they are sleeping. Your home, even if it’s only a temporary home, is supposed to be your safe haven, the place where no one can hurt you. He wanted to make sure that he’d be safe and welcomed before arriving.
His openness surprised me, but what really struck me was what he said at the end of the conversation. I had answered with something along the lines of “I may out of ignorance say something I shouldn’t, but as long as you realize that it’s not meant to offend, you’d be more than welcome.”
He responded simply with this: “that is more kindness than anyone in my situation could hope to receive.”
I was nearly in tears upon reading that.
I know on this blog I mostly talk about practical things related to hosting and traveling through Airbnb. But the truth is, this is about so much more than just making some extra money. When you let people into your spaces, you have the opportunity to change their life – for good or for bad.
I’ve had many experiences with both guests and hosts through Airbnb. Nearly every single one of them has left me with some unforgettable memory. Some positive, some negative, but almost all will stay with me for a very long time.
If you want to host on Airbnb, there is absolutely no room for bigotry.
You have no idea the impact that it could have on the people who stay with you. The effects could be absolutely devastating.
On the flip side, though, you also have the power to leave an indelibly amazing impression with your guests upon departure. My best example of this comes from my amazing host Vee from when I went to New Zealand. It was because of her kindness that had one of my best travel experiences of my entire life. Not because of where I went or what I did…because of her.
To quote the great philosopher Voltaire, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s a great power, a great honor, to host strangers in your space. Please, use your power responsibly, with kindness and wisdom.