Oscar Wilde Tours announced the launch of its inaugural tour today, marking the company’s entry into the high-end gay travel market.
Dubbed “Oscar Wilde’s Dublin, London and Paris,” the tour is the first in a series of offerings that are truly unique: tours that connect gay travelers with their own heritage.
“We’re thrilled to provide gay travelers with the opportunity to learn about same-sex love throughout the ages, in different times and cultures,” said Professor Andrew Lear, president and founder of the company. “We’ve taken the concept of a typical cultural itinerary and given it our own twist: see the past from the gay perspective. Conventional tours tell us about our common heritage; Oscar Wilde tours will do the same, but also let gays and lesbians learn who we are and where we’ve come from.”
The tour uses the life of Oscar Wilde as a way of examining the broader culture of homosexuality at the end of the 19th century, when the Victorian Era was giving way to the modern age and sexual attitudes were undergoing a revolution. It will take its guests on a journey through the capitals of Ireland, England and France to explore places of importance to gay history and illustrate the relationship between the cultural movements of the time and the birth of modern ideas of sexuality.
Scheduled for early October, the tour will initiate a set of offerings that will cover gay history throughout the ages: ancient Greece, imperial Rome, Renaissance Italy, Weimar Berlin and more. The company will ultimately boast a suite of tours that cover gay history from ancient Athens to 20th-century America, and will even venture as far afield as Morocco and Japan to discover the history of same-sex love in other cultures.
“Until now, gays who wanted to discover their history had to do so through books. Finding the places where key things happened hasn’t been easy—and even if you could find them, you couldn’t always get in,” continued Professor Lear. “Now we’re giving the gay community a chance to see the places where gay history took place. And we’re surrounding the experience with a high level of elegance and luxury.”
Professor Lear brings decades of expertise to his company—both as a specialist in gay history and an experienced director of tours. By combining his skills as an educator and guide, he aims to provide a travel experience that is intellectually stimulating and culturally enriching. “As a specialist in gay history I’ve long been able to view ancient Greek vases or Renaissance paintings and see the gay story right in front of me,” he added. “But I realized that for so many gay people, that story is hidden. That’s when a light went off in my head. Gay history is so often “hiding in plain sight,” and I wanted to bring it out in the open. I want to help gay people make that wonderful discovery.”
In addition to differentiating itself with the thematic focus of its tours, the company will also distinguish its brand by offering special experiences that most other companies don’t match. On every tour, for example, it will bring in academics, authors and artists with a gay expertise to deliver lectures and talks that are related to the theme of the tour. Its aim is to deliver the ultimate goal in great tourism: experiences that are unique and truly memorable.
Oscar Wilde Tours was founded in 2014 to provide luxury tours that focus on gay history. The company is the brainchild of Professor Andrew Lear, a specialist in the history of sexuality in the ancient world. Its first tour will run from October 4 to 13, 2014, and it plans to add a minimum of one new tour per year, until it reaches its full complement of between six and nine tours. The company is based in Boston. http://oscarwildetours.com