The morning-after pill often comes with a lecture. A talk about contraception and the dangers of unprotected sex. This is hard enough to sit through in a chemist at home, let alone a South American pharmacy where you can’t tell if the woman behind the counter is crying out of concern or disappointment or something else entirely.
And what if you’re gay? Trying to explain to a gynaecologist that no, you haven’t had sex with a man, and you’ve only had sex with other women, can also feel uncomfortable. Even more uncomfortable when you’re in the middle of Europe and don’t know how to ask for a female, LGBTI-friendly doctor.
Contraception, STI tests, pregnancy tests, abortion access and menstruation products are difficult to talk about and ask for while travelling. There are language barriers, cultural differences, the feeling of just wanting your own bed, with a hot water bottle, and security and anonymity that comes with knowing where and how to find exactly what you need.
Now, there’s a Wikipedia-style forum, Gynopedia, designed to help women find reproductive health services and menstruation products while travelling overseas.
“Gynopedia provides information on birth control, the morning after pill, STI tests, menstrual products, gynecologists, pregnancy, abortion access and more,” the page reads.
“Say you need a low-cost clinic in New York, or an LGBTQ-friendly gynaecologist in Bangkok, or the morning after pill in Lima. Well, Gynopedia is the resource for you.”
LISTEN: What you don’t know about your body. (Post continues below…)
How does it work?
“Contributions from real people, along with research and community outreach,” the site reads.
Travellers record the pharmacies and clinics and specialists that they’ve found to be useful in different countries, as well as the ones they’ve found to be problematic. Users of the site can search for a city to find the most female-friendly services in town.
The site is not complete yet. More cities and experiences and recommendations are being added each day. But it’s a start in making travel a safer, more enjoyable and informed process, for young women.
What are your clever travel hacks?