Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cancun Plans to Pass Gay Marriage Bill to Attract Tourists

Via: Fox News Latino

Cancun and other resort areas on the Mexican Caribbean will have a new attraction for gay and lesbian couples from the United States, Canada and Europe, allowing them to legalize their unions thanks to a quirk in the local civil code, activist Patricia Novelo told Efe. "This market niche ... is very attractive for European, Canadian and American (homosexual) couples," said the spokesperson for Colectivo Diversidad.

Novelo said that in January the first same-sex group wedding will be held in the resort area as part of local support for the human rights of the gay community.

She said that already several couples have expressed their wish to formalize their unions at the ceremony.

Eight couples have been confirmed to marry in January, most of them Mexican, but she said that more are expected and preparations are being handled by the groups Colectivo Diversidad, Fusion G, Gaytoursmexico and the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.

The activist said that before the unions of same-sex couples in Quintana Roo state were legally recognized, a great demand from travel agencies for such marriages in Cancun and other resorts already existed from abroad.

Therefore, she said, agreements have begun to be struck with different airlines and hotel chains to hold these marriages all along Mexico's Caribbean coast.

Novelo said that this "is something very positive. Besides the social part there are many economic benefits because the gay community generates between 45 and 60 percent more income on top of conventional tourism."

She said gay and lesbian marriages are possible in Quintana Roo, "thanks to a legal gap in the Civil Code," which only makes mention of "people interested in getting married," without specifying their gender.

Mexico City passed a same sex marriage bill in 209. Through Dec. 15 of this year, 1,246 gay couples have been married in the city, many involving citizens of other countries.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gay Couple Sue Hawaii B&B, Claim Discrimination

by The Associated Press via:

HONOLULU (AP) — Two Southern California women filed a lawsuit Monday against a Hawaii bed and breakfast, saying the business denied them a room because they are gay.

Aloha Bed & Breakfast discriminated against Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, a couple living in Long Beach, Calif., claims the lawsuit filed on behalf of the women by Lambda Legal in First Circuit Court in Honolulu.

Cervelli, 42, called the business in 2007 to book a room because it's in Hawaii Kai, the same east Honolulu neighborhood where the friend they were visiting lived. When she specified they would need one bed, the owner asked if they are lesbians. Cervelli responded truthfully and the owner said she was uncomfortable having lesbians in her house because of her religious views, the lawsuit said.

Refusing to let the couple book a room was solely based on their sexual orientation because the owner indicated that if they were married, she would not have allowed them to stay there, said their attorney, Peter Renn of Lambda Legal's Los Angeles office. She also would have a problem if they were an unmarried heterosexual couple, he said.

The lawsuit claims the business violated Hawaii's public accommodation law prohibiting any inn or other establishment that provides lodging from discriminating based on sexual orientation, race, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, ancestry or disability. Lambda Legal said there are 21 states that have public accommodation laws that protect against sexual orientation discrimination.

The couple ended up booking a room in Waikiki and the experience with the bed and breakfast "soured" their trip, Cervelli said Monday while in Honolulu with Bufford, 28. "In my past experiences in Hawaii, people have been so friendly," she said. "It was just hurtful. It made me feel we weren't good enough."

Reached by phone, owner Phyllis Young declined to comment and referred questions to her attorney. Honolulu attorney Jim Hochberg said he is representing her on behalf of the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization of attorneys representing people whose religious freedom is infringed. He said he hadn't yet seen the complaint.

According to the lawsuit, the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission investigated. During the investigation Young told the commission homosexuality is "detestable" and "defiles our land." The commission issued a notice of "reasonable cause to believe that unlawful discriminatory practices have been committed" and notified the couple of their right to sue.

The lawsuit wants the business to be ordered to comply with the law, for the court to issue a declaration making clear what happened was illegal and for the couple to be awarded unspecified monetary compensation, Renn said: "No amount of money is going to erase the humiliation and pain."

Renn said Lambda Legal is also looking into whether the bed and breakfast is licensed to operate. Aloha Bed & Breakfast is not on a list of properties approved for transient vacation unit or bed and breakfast use that have been issued nonconforming use certificates by Honolulu's Department of Planning and Permitting.

Latin American Airline Launches Gay Site

Via Press Release:

LAN Airlines is proud to announce the launch of its new LGBT travel website dedicated specifically to gay and lesbian travelers. The airline's new dedicated LGBT site, found at, showcases the diversity found throughout South America, and is a one-stop-shop resource for LGBT travel to South America.

LAN's new LGBT microsite features a host of information and resources for the prospective traveler to South America. It includes detailed descriptions of key South American destinations with information of interest to gay and lesbian travelers. The site also features recent LGBT-related news pertaining to countries throughout South America, as well as events of interest to gay and lesbian travelers to South America, including trips from leading LGBT tour operators.

"If you're traveling to Buenos Aires, not only can you purchase your ticket from the online booking engine, but you can read current news relating to LGBT topics in that region, view dates for the Buenos Aires International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival or Buenos Aires Pride, and find restaurants and hotels in the city that are popular among gay and lesbian travelers," said Katitiza Mandakovic, Leisure Director, LAN Airlines North America. "Our goal was to make a trusted source for news and information on LGBT travel to South America and we are so proud to be able to offer such a unique resource to travelers all over the world."

The new LGBT microsite also features interactive Facebook and Twitter feeds to enable visitors to share their comments and connect with other like-minded travelers. Through the microsite, LAN will also offer periodic deals, specials and sweepstakes for travel to South America on LAN Airlines and its affiliate carriers.

LAN has been a major supporter of the LGBT community for a number of years. In 2009, LAN became the first Latin American airline to develop an advertising campaign specifically targeting the LGBT community. The campaign highlighted the importance of diversity and showcased South America's diversity.

LAN has also been a proud sponsor of organizations such as the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and San Francisco Pride, as well as a Gold-level Global Partner with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, IGLTA.

LAN was nominated "Best Airline" in LOGO's 2010 TripOut Gay Travel Awards and "Favorite International Airline" in 2011 by Edge Publications, the largest network of local LGBT news portals in the world.

"LAN is proud to be a supporter of the gay and lesbian community and is honored to be recognized as a valued partner," added Mandakovic. "We pride ourselves on being South America's premier airline and the best choice for LGBT travelers to the region. Our new LGBT travel site is a way to create an even better travel experience for gay and lesbian travelers and our hope is that more people will be able to discover the many wonders found only in South America."

For someone who has dreamt about climbing Machu Picchu at sunrise, swimming with the giant turtles of the Galapagos, frolicking on Ipanema Beach in Rio, or experiencing any of the other wonders that can be found Only in South America - today LAN Airlines brings those dreams one step closer for LGBT travelers with the launch of the dedicated, new LGBT travel website.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adam Lambert blames arrest on travel and alcohol

Via: The Times of India

Adam Lambert has blamed getting arrested in Finland on a combination of travel, alcohol and confusion.

The former 'American Idol' star was taken to a police station and questioned after a fight with his boyfriend, Finnish reality TV star Sauli Koskinen, in Helsinki gay bar Don't Tell Momma became physical in the early hours of this morning (22.12.11). Sauli was also arrested following the incident but both men have been released following what Detective Superintendent Petri Juvonen called a "not very serious incident".

Really? Fighting because of travel? We understand the alcohol part, but when did traveling become a gateway for brawling?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thai Airline Hires Transgender Flight Attendants

By Neal Broverman via The Advocate

Recognizing how difficult it is for gender-variant people to find stable employment, Thailand's P.C. Airlines has made it policy to hire transgender flight attendants.

Four transgender female flight attendants worked on a recent flight out of Bangkok publicized by the airline. P.C. Air — a charter carrier that runs from Bangkok to China, South Korea, and Japan — featured one of their new employees in a moving commercial. In the ad, a young boy transitions into a beautiful woman.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

HRC's Corporate Equality Index

By Jeremy Bryant

The HRC's CEI report, released each fall, provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

To achieve a perfect score and the coveted distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality,” companies must have fully-inclusive equal employment opportunity policies, provide equal employment benefits, demonstrate organizational LGBT competency, evidence their commitment to equality publicly and exercise responsible citizenship.

In the first year of the CEI, only 13 businesses achieved a top score. This year, 190 corporations, across industries, geographies and size, earned a 100 percent score on significantly more stringent criteria.

Even with the new scoring criteria, most of the nation's leading hotel and airline companies received high scores.

So where do the airline and hotel companies rank? The list is below.


Alaska Air Group Inc. (Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air): 90
AMR Corp. (American Airlines): 100
Delta Air Lines: 90
JetBlue Airways Group: 90
Southwest Airlines Co.: 90
United Continental Holdings Inc.: 100
US Airways Group: 85
Virgin America: 90


Caesars Entertainment Corp. (Caesars/Harrah's): 100
Carlson Companies Inc. (Radisson): 85
Choice Hotels International Inc.: 100
Hyatt Hotels Corp: 100
Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant Group Inc.: 100
Marriott International Inc.: 90
MGM Resorts International: 90
Starwood Hotel and Resorts Worldwide (W Hotels/Westin): 100
Wyndam Worldwide Corp: 90
Wynn Resorts Ltd.: 90

As a result of HRC's new scoring criteria Hilton Hotels Corp. and InterContinental Hotels Group Americas scores dropped significantly. With a score of 60, Hilton dropped 30 points from the previous year; and InterContinental received a 65, down from 85.

HRC's complete report including the scoring criteria is available online here:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

U.S. to Use Foreign Aid to Promote Gay Rights Abroad


WASHINGTON — The United States will begin using American foreign aid to promote gay rights abroad, Obama administration officials said on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama issued a memorandum directing American agencies to look for ways to combat efforts by foreign governments to criminalize homosexuality.

The new initiative holds the potential to irritate relations with some close American allies that ban homosexuality, including Saudi Arabia.

But Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored Mr. Obama’s remarks, in a speech delivered in Geneva on International Human Rights Day.

“I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes,” she said. “They can and they do. Just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable. But it should never be a crime to be gay.”

The directive comes after the Parliament in Uganda decided to reopen a debate on a controversial bill that seeks to outlaw homosexuality, a move that could be expanded to include the death penalty for gay men and lesbians. That bill had been shelved earlier this year amid widespread international condemnation.

“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world,” Mr. Obama said in the memorandum, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, “whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women and children for their perceived sexual orientation.”

Specifically, Mr. Obama said in the memorandum that the State Department would lead other federal agencies to help ensure that the government provides a “swift and meaningful response to serious incidents that threaten the human rights” of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people abroad.

It was not immediately clear whether that would mean a cut-off of American aid to countries that target the gay community, but it suggests that American agencies will have expanded tools to press foreign countries that are found to abuse the rights of gays, lesbians and others.

Based on findings in the State Department’s latest annual human rights report, several countries, including several vital American allies, could face increased pressure over their treatment of gays and others.

The report said that in Saudi Arabia, under Sharia law as interpreted in the country, “sexual activity between two persons of the same gender is punishable by death or flogging. It is illegal for men ‘to behave like women’ or to wear women’s clothes and vice versa.”

The law in Afghanistan “criminalizes homosexual activity, but authorities only sporadically enforced the prohibition,” the report said. And in Pakistan, homosexual intercourse is a criminal offense, though rarely prosecuted.

Homosexuality is accepted in most of Europe. In India, law permits consensual sexual activities between adults. In China, according to the report: “No laws criminalize private homosexual activity between consenting adults. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997 and removed from the official list of mental disorders in 2001.”

With campaigning already under way ahead of the 2012 presidential election, Mr. Obama’s action is bound to be viewed through a political lens, as well. While the gay community tends to vote Democratic and would seem to be a natural ally of his, and has generally been supportive, he has faced criticism for failing to clearly support a right to same-sex marriages.

He has, however, received praise from many in that community for moving to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

The presidential memorandum issued by the White House said that federal agencies engaged abroad had been directed to “combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. response to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination; and issue reports on progress.

Mr. Obama has frequently made use of presidential directives to protect the rights of gays and lesbians, particularly when political sensitivities might have made legislative action impractical.