Friday, May 20, 2011

LGBT advocacy groups urge Orbitz to drop Fox News over anti-gay rhetoric

By: LGBTQnation

Media Matters on Monday kicked off its “DropFox” campaign by urging Orbitz, an online travel site, to pull its ads from the anti-LGBT Fox News network.

Three high-profile gay rights organizations — GLAAD, Courage Campaign and Equality Matters — signed the letter to Orbitz CEO Barney Harford, asking that the company no longer support Fox News through ad revenue.

Media Matters’ multi-issue DropFox campaign aims to hold Fox News accountable for its hate speech, misinformation, and other alarming deviations from the usual standards of a news organization.

The campaign includes an online ad component to raise awareness about Orbitz’s financial support for Fox News.

“Orbitz risks alienating gay and lesbian customers by giving ad dollars to Fox News, a network that blatantly promotes an anti-gay political agenda,” said Ilyse Hogue, Senior Adviser at Media Matters.

By sponsoring Fox News, advertisers are associating their brand with anti-LGBT bigotry, said Media Matters, in a news release. The site has cited dozens of anti-LGBT attacks on Fox News broadcasts; you can see them here.

Media Matters for America is a web-based, non-profit organization that monitors, analyzes and corrects conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who Tops World’s LGBT Holiday Wishlist?

By AJ Allen via: lezgetreal May 12, 2011

According to figures released by Out Now Global 2020 study, 10 May, New York is top of the world’s gay holiday wish list.

The study, carried out from a mix of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people, in ten languages from eighteen countries, showed that the Big Apple beat famously gay-friendly destinations including Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco.

LGBT travelers were asked where they would most like to visit in the next three years, with the results showing Sydney placed second and Rio third.

Despite being a firm favorite of LGBT travelers from Europe, North America and Australia, London was only placed sixth. Out Now Consulting saw that the huge aspiration for South Americans to visit Paris contributed to it trumping the British capital to become Europe’s top LGBT destination.

France also edged past Spain and England to become the second-most in demand country for gay tourists globally, just behind top spot the USA.

LGBT Top Destinations – Cities:

1. New York
2. Sydney
3. Rio de Janeiro
4. Paris
5. San Francisco
6. London
7. Buenos Aires
8. Tokyo
9. Hong Kong
10. Melbourne
11. LA + West Hollywood
12. Amsterdam
13. Sao Paulo
14. Barcelona
15. Las Vegas
16. Cancun
17. Mexico City
18. Cape Town
19. Rome
20. Berlin

What is your top LGBT destination you want to visit?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Poland Waives Visa Fees for Warsaw Pride

By Editors

The foreign ministry of Poland will honor a request from organizers of the Warsaw Equality Parade scheduled for June to waive visa fees for attendees from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

According to the Warsaw Business Journal, parade organizers said that a few hundred people would benefit from the decision not to impose the visa fees, which amount to around $40. The foreign ministry will verify that visitors' aim in coming to Poland is to attend to parade on June 11.

“What we wrote in our letter to the Ministry was that Poland in the 17th and 18th century was famous for its tolerance, and that we are trying to change Poland and let people around Europe know that Poland was and will become again a tolerant country,” said Jej Perfekcyjność, a spokesperson for the parade’s organization committee, to the Journal. He added that he believed the argument persuaded Polish officials.

In past years, Poland has banned the parade, a move that contributed to the majority-Roman Catholic country’s reputation for intolerance. The country will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union in July, a development that could intensify scrutiny of its LGBT rights record.

The Journal reports that, “As in years past, the city of Warsaw declined to become a patron of the parade, and Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz is not expected to attend. Among the official figures who have confirmed they will attend are politicians Grzegorz Napieralski, Janusz Palikot, Marek Borowski and Ryszard Kalisz.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poll Ranks World's Gayest Travel Destinations!

Though it may seem like these days the majority of gays prefer their vacations on the open seas, a new poll has unveiled the planet's land-based travel destinations that are gayer than a sweet-smelling jock-strap (see previous post)! Find out which world-cities land on top (or bottom, if you prefer) after the jump!

Results of the largest study of its kind are out today, revealing for the first time which destinations are the strongest magnets for LGBT travelers.

The results from Out Now Global's LGBT2020 study surveying nearly 40,000 individuals aren't so surprising:

What city would you rank #1?

The Cosmopolitan Responds to Transgender Incident

via: Outtraveler

The Cosmopolitan, Vegas' flashy new adult playground with slick design, sassy attitude, tongue-in-cheek slogan ("Just the Right Amount of Wrong"), and focus on the gay community has fast become one of our go-to recs for Sin City sleeps. We even highlighted them in our print article Diva Las Vegas (April issue).

Needless to say, reading last week how a trans woman was barred for life after being "caught" using the woman's restroom got us growling. For shame! How could this happen, and from an advertiser in our mag, no less?

They got the message. We spoke with the hotel's reps to follow up on their rather canned first response and, admirably, they didn't pass buck. Instead, they recognized it wasn't a lone security guard showing his bigot card but rather a need to further educate all employees to ensure each guest receives the maximum respect he/she/v deserves.

So if anything, out of the ire comes something positive: the hotel has partnered with Las Vegas Gay and Lesbian Center and plans a training for May 18 to further its commitment to diversity. As for the woman involved? She's welcome back any time.

Official response follows after the jump.

"The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is committed to maintaining a community that recognizes and values the inherent dignity of every person, by fostering sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect of our guests and employees.

We sincerely regret any misunderstanding or inappropriate actions that any member of our staff may have taken. And to ensure increased sensitivity within this area, the organization will focus on continued training and on-going awareness initiatives. In addition, we apologize to the individual guest and welcome her back to the resort anytime.

To demonstrate our firm commitment to this matter, we are creating an internal task force to raise issues on LGBT diversity and to keep continued dialogue between The Cosmopolitan and the LGBT community. In addition, we are partnering with Las Vegas Gay and Lesbian Community Center to provide content and information for diversity training around the LGBT community. This training will begin May 18. After the training there will be a second round of meetings with LGBT advocacy groups to review the training process and ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our community informed, accepting and effective.

Again, we would like to apologize to the LGBT community and anyone concerned and hope to demonstrate our firm dedication to fair and unbiased treatment of all.”

— The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Friday, May 6, 2011

By Wayne Parry, Associated Press via: Deseretnews

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — For the first time in its 33-year history of legalized gambling, Atlantic City has a permanent gay nightclub in one of its casinos.

Prohibition opened its doors Thursday at the Resorts Casino Hotel, marking the city's strongest bid yet in a yearslong effort to attract one of the tourism industry's most sought-after demographic groups.

"It's long overdue for Atlantic City to have a club like this," said Joel Ballesteros, the casino's new director of marketing for the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender communities. "It filled right up and people danced until 3 o'clock in the morning. With the rainbow flag flying outside and all the energy in here, it felt like a celebration."

Prohibition is housed in a 13th floor room that used to be a lounge for slots players. Its name is a play on the casino's new roaring '20s theme, inspired by the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" about Prohibition-era Atlantic City.

Friday afternoon, a few hours before the club would open for the night, the colored lights were flashing, four giant palm trees scraped the ceiling and Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" played on a giant video screen.

"I think it's going to work," said Gary Hill, executive director of the Metropolitan Business & Citizens Association and a leader in the city's gay community.

"A lot of casinos have done things for the gay and lesbian community, but never to this level," he said. "They'd do a weekend or a night or hold a special event. But this is what this community wants and needs."

Atlantic City has long been popular with gays, dating back before New Jersey's first casino — Resorts — opened in 1978. John Schultz, a former city councilman and philanthropist, once owned nine gay clubs during the 1970s. Back then, he said, 250,000 gay visitors would come to Atlantic City on holiday weekends.

But when casino gambling arrived, land values soared and developers bought up — and knocked down — old hotels that contained many gay nightspots.

"Who could afford to open a gay bar anymore?" Schultz said.

He sold his last business, Studio Six, five years ago. But he and Hill, his longtime partner, helped talk new Resorts owner Dennis Gomes into opening a permanent gay bar in the casino.

"People think gays don't gamble," Schultz said. "That's not true. They gamble. They drink. They like to travel. And they have that extra income. Why do cruise lines have gay weeks? Because 2,000 to 3,000 gay people who can afford it go on their ships. It's a new world now."

The four Caesars Entertainment casinos in Atlantic City — Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Bally's Atlantic City and the Showboat Casino Hotel — have hosted "Out In Atlantic City" weekends in recent years, and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort hosts "gay bingo" nights.

The city also hosts a drag queen spoof on the now-departed Miss America pageant, called "Miss'd America" that draws gay tourists from around the country.

In Las Vegas, the Krave nightclub at the Planet Hollywood casino is a full-time gay club. And many of the Vegas strip casinos host gay nights on Sundays, or pool parties at certain times.

Gomes chose Thursday night to open Prohibition without announcing it in advance, in part because the club just got its permits to open several hours before. But it also coincided with the debut of a drag show, "Believe — Divas In A Man's World," that the casino is presenting.

"I believe love is the most powerful force in the universe, and when you believe that, you have to welcome everyone," he said. "You can't say, 'You're not important enough to come to our facility during its peak periods.' I want to embrace this community because I love them. I really do."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Make sure you get the best deal for summer travel

Sure, the discounts aren't as deep as they were last year, but airlines have continued to offer deals in one form or another just about every week.

Air fares in general are pretty high right now. In fact, airlines have successfully raised domestic fares six times already since the beginning of the year. Plus, they have significantly increased fuel surcharges on international flights, to the tune of $400 per round trip ticket for some flights from the U.S. to Europe! Over the next six months, odds are good that average fares will continue to rise.

Here's some tips and advice that can save you some money.

1. Check early, check often.
While now may not be the right time to buy, it is definitely the right time to start searching. Start checking fares at least once a week, so you get a sense of what the market?s like and whether fares to your destination city are rising or falling.

2. Day of the week matters.
For domestic travel, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the least expensive days to fly; Friday and Sunday the most. If you are flexible and can schedule your trip on these less expensive days, you can often save $40-$100 per ticket.

3. Do your searching on Tuesdays.
Believe it or not, some days are cheaper to buy flights than others. If you are checking for fares every week, your best odds of finding a good deal will be on Tuesdays. Second best: Mondays.

4. Be Realistic

Fares in 2011 are higher than in 2009 or 2010. If you wait around to find the same deal you got last year, you may be out of luck. Fuel is almost twice as expensive and the economy is in at least somewhat better shape. So expect to pay more. On average, the lowest possible fare in each domestic market is $40 more than it was a year ago.

5. Don’t Wait too Long

The ideal time to buy an airline ticket is usually about 4-8 weeks before your trip for domestic travel — and 6-10 weeks for international. One immutable fact, though, is that once a flight starts to fill up, it gets more and more expensive and there is nothing you can do about that. So don’t wait too long. Especially for domestic flights where many of the sales are flash, one day sales that are limited to only a handful of seats per plane. If you do suddenly see a good fare on a flight you’ve been watching, we suggest you grab it before someone else does. If you can’t buy it immediately, at least try to come back that same day, in case the fare increases overnight.

To search for airfares:

Monday, May 2, 2011 gets Sweet!

For the entire month of May, will be running our "Sweetstakes" where one lucky winner will win a free all inclusive vacation for 2 to Cozumel, Mexico on September 1 - 8, 2012 with Sweet.

Sweet takes lesbians on fabulous, affordable vacations all over the world where they combine debauchery and do-goodery for loads of meaningful glee.

Enter today for your chance to win. Once you've signed up and entered our "Sweetstakes", you will have the opportunity to invite friends to enter. For every friend that you invite that enters our sweepstakes, you will earn an extra entry. Limit 6 per day.

In addition to the grand prize, there are gift certificates in the amounts of $50 and $25 valid for use with towards your next trip.

To enter, click here., it's the way you travel!

Good luck!