Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Travel Industry Supports Gay Rights

The Advocate recently ranked U.S. companies according to gay issues, and you’d be surprised by how many of the 25 companies are in the travel industry.

From the list of the 25 companies in the U.S., we noticed that 10 of the 25 were either a hotel or airline. That’s 40% of the list of companies that happen to be in the travel industry. What does this mean? The travel industry supports gay rights.

Here’s the Advocate’s list:

22. U.S. Airways — In 2005, US Airways joined American and became the second airline to receive a 100% rating on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. The company also boasts a diversity council that actively recruits LGBT employees.

21. Marriott — Bill Marriott is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but shortly after Prop. 8 was passed in California, he made clear in a blog post that neither he nor his company contributed to the campaign to ban marriage equality. Marriott was among the first companies in the hotel and tourism industry to offer domestic-partner benefits and has scored a 100% on the Corporate Equality Index since 2007.

20. JetBlue — JetBlue scored its first 100% rating on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index in 2010 on the strength of supporting some lesser-known gay charities, including Boston’s Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project and the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youths in New York City. This year JetBlue also ran a special Pride flight from San Francisco to Long Beach, Calif.

19. Hyatt — A longtime leader in diversity training and LGBT outreach, Hyatt has hosted several events for the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Those who are boycotting Doug Manchester’s Hyatt in San Diego should note that the antigay Prop. 8 donors is a franchise owner and are currently negotiating to give up controlling interest in that hotel. Protesters at that location have noted Hyatt’s support of the gay community as a whole.

18. Continental — Scoring 100% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for the first time this year, Continental has made it a point to extend its diversity to training to suppliers and subcontractors the company works with.

17. Starwood Hotels & Resorts — Starwood owns and operates some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, and since 2002 it has been dedicated to reaching out to gay consumers through its Diversity Council. Numerous Starwood hotels partner with Pride events across the United States each year, offering discounted rates and sponsorship deals. Starwood first received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index in 2007.

16. Delta — In addition to playing host to an LGBT specific travel site, Delta boasts GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Employee Network), one of many affinity groups for employees from various backgrounds. The world’s largest airline, the company joined the Corporate Equality Index in 2009.

9. AAA — For five years in a row, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah has been voted the Best Place to Work for LGBT employees by the Human Rights Campaign. AAA has also been given the Award of Excellence from the Points of Light Foundation, the most prestigious national award for volunteerism.

8. American Airlines — Not only does American Airlines market directly to gay travelers (who represent a $65 million industry segment), but the company flaunts its Rainbow Team, the first LGBT sales staff in the sky. American also sponsors flights to and from national gay events like Pride festivals and HRC galas. In 2002, American became the first airline to score 100% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.

2. Kimpton — In 2004, Kimpton was the first hotel company to score a 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. In 2010, Kimpton was awarded the HRC’s Award for Workplace Equality Innovation, recognizing advanced and forward-thinking LGBT policies. For more information visit

When it comes to gay rights, we are proud to support these companies as they show a true concern for gay issues in the LGBT community.

For the complete list of the Advocate’s 25 of the best companies in the U.S. when it comes to gay issues. (Click here)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gay Labor Day Weekend Parties!

Have plans for this Labor Day weekend? If not, why not party hard with one of these weekend parties in a city near you.

New Orleans: Southern Decadence (Sept. 1-6) — Southern Decadence is exactly as it sounds: extravaganza of partying in the South’s infamous New Orleans.

Austin: Splash Days (Sept. 4-5) — Bask (or melt) in the Texas heat and dance it out to circuit DJs like Roland Belmares at this two day bash. Then head to the lake party at Hippy Hollow to cool things down.

Las Vegas: White Party Weekend (Sept. 3-5) – Jeffrey Sanker brings the white party to Vegas for Labor Day. Most of the action is centered around Krave, with a pool party lined up on Sunday at Mandalay Bay.

Los Angeles: Scandal & The Freemasons (Sept. 4-5) — On Saturday the Hollywood Palladium gets scandalous, but you’ll want to save some mayhem for Sunday when The Freemasons and DJ Joe Gauthreaux tear up Arena.

San Francisco: Hard French (Sept. 4) – This daytime soul music party packs the crowd in, disproving the theory that you need a synth beat to get a gay crowd up and moving.

New York: Matinee (Sept. 5) — The Matinee group is known for their epic European parties, and this outdoor bash on Governor’s Island will be just as excessive.

Boston: Out Weekend (Sept. 1-5) — Chris Harris brings another Labor Day party-fest to Boston with a full five days of events.

Hope you have a fun filled Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SAS and VisitSweden launch LGBT social media campaign

SAS Scandinavian Airlines is hoping to host the world‟s first same-sex wedding in the air onboard an Airbus A340 between Stockholm and New York on December 6 this year. To find the couples, the airline today launched its first major social media campaign, Love is in the air, which is aimed at the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) market.

For the US LGBT market, SAS has partnered up with VisitSweden and Stockholm Gay&Lesbian Network to offer one lucky couple the chance to win an unforgettable wedding and honeymoon package to Sweden, including Business class flights with SAS to Sweden, two nights‟ accommodation at the world-renowned ICEHOTEL, where the couple will get married, three nights‟ accommodation at Hotel Skeppsholmen in Stockholm and a VIP Stockholm package organized by the Stockholm Visitors Board. This competition is only open to US-based residents, whilst the European-based winners will win a trip to New York and Los Angeles, as well as be the first to marry in what we hope will be the first same-sex weddings onboard a commercial flight.

At couples can create a profile and upload either a video or photos along with a presentation, which others can then vote on. For the best chance to win, couples are recommended to share their profile with as many friends as possible via various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, in order to increase the number of votes. The US couple with the most votes will win the fantastic wedding and honeymoon package to Sweden.

“Airlines, including SAS, have organized weddings onboard flights for decades, but we are proud to be the first in the world to organize same-sex weddings in the air. SAS is the national airline of three of the world‟s most liberal and progressive countries in the world, especially when it comes to LGBT rights, so we feel this is a natural celebration of love,” says Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, SAS.

For the world-unique flight on December 6, SAS will turn a part of its Stockholm lounge into a wedding lounge and one of the Business class cabins onboard SK903 on December 6 will be made into an exclusive wedding cabin.
To enter a profile or view other couples, please go to

For more information, please contact:
Anders Lindström, PR Director, Scandinavian Airlines
Tel: +46 797 3994;
Annika Benjes, Director Public Relations, VisitSweden Tel: 212 885 9762;
Magnus Lindbergh, LGBT Marketing, VisitSweden
Tel: 646 226 3588;