Monday, August 27, 2012

CURAÇAO HOSTS 8TH ANNUAL "GET WET" WEEKEND

By Jeremy Bryant

The beautiful island of Curaçao will kick off its eighth annual Get Wet Weekend of gay and straight friendly activities on September 27-30 hosted by Curacao Gayplasa Foundation, a local GLBT community group. Travelers can enjoy cultural and dance celebrations along with get-togethers to celebrate and rejoice all that Curaçao has to offer for the whole community.


The exciting weekend kicks off on Thursday, September 27 at 89PM with a traditional "Meet and Greet" Official Opening celebration at the historic Hotel't Klooster, followed by an all white "Get White" Illumination party at G-Lounge, located in downtown Punda in Willemstad.


Friday brings about a "Spoil Me" cocktail event at Rainbow Lounge located in the Floris Suite Hotel, followed by an entertaining after-party at Otra Cosa Bar in downtown Willemstad.

On Saturday the 29th, visitors and locals alike will not want to miss the exhilarating beach edition of the "NaviGAYtion" beachparty at the Wet & Wild Beach Club from 9PM to 2AM.

The weekend concludes on Sunday, September 30th, at the relaxing "Starfish" pool party at the iconic Floris Suite Hotel.

Curaçao welcomes all visitors to explore its colorful history and culture, uncrowded beaches, pristine dive sites and exciting night life.  

For more information or to book, e-mail packages@queertrip.com



Las Vegas gets Gayer!

By Jeremy Bryant

Las Vegas recently welcomed the opening of a new gay nightclub, SHARE which opened in November of 2011. SHARE Nightclub is a bar and ultra lounge that spans 2 floors offering everything your queer hearts desire. From boys, drinks, music, dancing, and more boys, SHARE creates a night you’ll never forget. 


SHARE Nightclub features a modern and hip nightclub downstairs and upstairs that every guest can enjoy. The luxury and privacy of the SHARE Ultra Lounge and bar located on the second floor is a welcoming retreat from the dance floor. With unique dance floor encased by couches, tables, and VIP cabanas, club goers can keep a full view of the dance floor at all times. Oh, and let’s not forget the GoGo dancers everywhere! 


While most of the Vegas gay bar scene is located around the “fruit loop” area off Paradise Road, the location of SHARE is relatively close to the Strip just West of the 15 Freeway off West Tropicana Avenue. It’s recommend to either take a cab or drive over.

SHARE Nightclub is transforming the gay scene in Vegas and doing a great job at it. Need a gay night out in Las Vegas? SHARE Nightclub is located 4636 Wynn Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89103. 

For more information about SHARE Nightclub, follow on Facebook & Twitter or visit their website.


 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE QUEER!

MONTREAL PRIDE WELCOMES “QUEER OF THE YEAR” FINALISTS TO SERVE AND TURN AND WIN BIG MONEY


Montreal, Quebec (August 15, 2012) – Whether you’re looking for a summer thrill or to get down by watching stiff competition go at it, Montréal is calling you. Five “Queer of the Year” 2012 finalists are off to Montréal to snatch that crown. It’s that time of queer again!

Tourisme Montréal has been teasing the “Queer of the Year” freaky fanbase by revealing the five fresh faces one by one online, sprinkling in cheeky content (oh yes, they’ve been going to those places) over the last six weeks. The five finalists are now being brought to Montréal, one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly cities, to bring it throughout Montréal Pride Week (August 11 through August 19). Social experiments have been designed with good times in mind, based on personality, community involvement, sex appeal, healthy lifestyle and talent. Now it’s up to the fans to separate the fabulous from the anti-fierce.

Meet the Finalists:

Caleb Judy (Connecticut, United States) a.k.a., Son of a preacher man
This son of a pastor with a Masters in Biomedical Anthropology and a pro sign language interpreter is tall, handsome, fit and selfless. We love him already. And so does everyone he touches (not literally, of course).

Topher McFarlane (Ontario, Canada) a.k.a., The Glamazon
Our second finalist says he “brings down walls and connects people.” No, it’s not Bob the Builder – it’s Topher McFarlane: stand-up comic, drag show organizer, community activist and occasional Zac Efron stalker. What’s not to love?

Ivette Gonzalez-Ale (Brooklyn, United States) a.k.a., Brooklyn Badass
This Cuban-Mexican bombshell of a finalist feels just as home on the dance floor as she does at…home. A self-proclaimed badass housewife with an appetite for Oaxacan cuisine and salsa music, she’s also an entrepreneur, designer, and creative director of her own genderqueer fashion line.

Shane Jenek (Sydney, Australia) a.k.a., Down Under Diva
He hails from Down Under, loves yoga, and is sometimes a she. Meet Shane Jenek aka Courtney Act, our 30-year old fabulous gender illusionist and pop singer. He says he’s never met a person who has as much fun as he does. Judging from his stage performances, neither have we.

Peter Picciano (Palm Beach, United States) a.k.a., Muscles
With abs to kill for and a magnetic personality, our fifth finalist makes friends easily. When he’s not working out, he’s working the crowd at LGBT fundraisers and community events. Looks like a fighter, acts like a lover.

Queers Give Good Facebook
Throughout Montreal Pride Week, the fivefinalists will be captured on film in episodes co-produced by digital artist Joe Sabia who is already hard at work having created Queers Through the Years and 33 Quips for Queers. Through August 31, viewers can keep up with the action online and vote for their favorite contestants on Facebook. Closing ceremonies will include a final episode with the nomination of the 2012 “Queer of the Year.”

Multiple Partners?
One winner will receive a round-trip air ticket on Air Canada and three free nights at Hotel Le Germain to return to Montréal for a future visit, along with $5,000 CAD in spending cash. The four runners-up will receive a $1,000 CAD cash prize. Montréal Pride is the event partner for Queer of the Year. This is a community-driven, not-for-profit organization overseen by members of the businesses community, local LGBTA associations and event-planning and tourism industry representatives. The Queer of the Year finalists will be flown to Montréal on Air Canada. Hotel Le Germain Montréal is the official hotel partner, providing accommodations to all contestants and the production team.

For more information, prize info, rules or the latest Montreal LGBT news…

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gay couple wins human rights battle after reservation cancelled at Christian Bed & Breakfast


GRAND FORKS, B.C. - The owners of a now-closed bed and breakfast in southern B.C. must pay more than $4,000 for refusing a room to a homosexual couple.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered Susan and Les Molnar to compensate Brian Thomas and Shaun Eadie for injury to dignity and self-respect after their reservation was cancelled at the Riverbend Bed and Breakfast in Grand Forks, about 500 kilometres east of Vancouver.
The Molnars admitted to accepting the reservation in June 2009, but cancelled it minutes later, after confirming Thomas and Eadie are gay.
According to the Molnars, such a lifestyle is contrary to their Christian beliefs and unacceptable in the business they operated as a ministry, with some profits going to the local Mennonite church.
The human rights tribunal says although the Riverbend was run out of a portion of the Molnar's home, it was still a commercial activity, subject to laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Thomas and Eadie each claimed $2,500 dollars for loss of self-respect, but the tribunal has ordered to Molnars to pay each man $1,500, as well as travel expenses and wages lost while attending last year's two day hearing in Kelowna.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ef5fBbZdpfA/T82joMQ7yfI/AAAAAAAAAPY/Ow_72jnl-KY/s1600/pagebreakbar.gif

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gay cruise ship turned away by Morocco docks in Spain



The cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam, on its present voyage catering to a gay clientele, docked Sunday in the southern Spanish port of Malaga after Moroccan authorities prohibited it from making its scheduled port of call in Casablanca.

The vessel, carrying 1,564 passengers and 869 crewmembers, docked about 7:25 a.m. and was scheduled to depart from Malaga later in the day, Malaga Port Authority spokesmen told Efe.

The RSVP Vacations travel agency, which specializes in organizing tourist trips for gay and lesbian customers, said Saturday in a letter to its clients that its agent in the port of Casablanca had reported that "the authorities have cancelled the scheduled July 1 visit despite having previously confirmed it."

The agency said that they considered this to be "disappointing news" and added that the decision was made after the "visit of a gay cruise ship" turned into "a public and potentially controversial matter."

The ship, which belongs to the U.S. company Holland America Line, had scheduled a program for its stay in Casablanca that included a visit to the Hassan II Mosque and to several souks - or traditional marketplaces - in the city.

After the stop in Casablanca, which had been supposed to last for about 12 hours, the cruise ship was due to sail to Cadiz, also in southern Spain, and then to continue on to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, then to the eastern Spanish city of Valencia and finally to end its journey in Barcelona.

Organizers emphasized the "historic welcoming tolerance for gay tourists" in Morocco, despite the fact that the religion - Islam - and the laws of the North African country punish homosexuality.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tour Los Angeles with Star Maps by Josh Flagg

By Jeremy Bryant

Star Maps App by Josh Flagg

Ever dream of visiting L.A. and seeing where the star's live? Well thanks to author and celebrity realistate agent Josh Flagg, from Bravo's TV show "Million Dollar Listing" there's an app for that. Flagg's ingenious idea takes the popular concept of star maps from the streets of Los Angeles and brings it to your phone and tablet allowing you to create your own customized guided tour to see the homes of your favorite Hollywood stars.  

Most Popular SearchesMap out your own customizable celebrity tour route.Tour celebrity homes with Star Maps by Josh Flagg

Compared to the traditional star maps you'd find on the streets or even one of those star tour vans that drive you around, Star Maps by Josh Flagg only costs $0.99 for the download and you get to guide your own tour. Just type in the name of your favorite celebrities whose homes you want to see and the app tells you where to go and how to get there. 

Star Maps users can access an extensive database of thousands of stars' homes, top-notch GPS technology, and tons of interesting facts and photos. All information is backed by years of public records, which guarantees that all the information is accurate... unlike the maps found on the streets. 

So, what celebrity's home would you want to see? Download the Star Maps app by Josh Flagg today and start your tour today. 





Friday, May 18, 2012

Disneyland Tokyo backs gay marriage

By Justin McCurry  /  The Guardian, Tokyo


Days after US President Barack Obama gave his public backing to gay marriages in the US, Mickey Mouse has emerged as the unlikely champion of same-sex unions in Japan.

Tokyo Disneyland said this week it would allow gay couples to hold ceremonies on its grounds, although same-sex weddings have no legal status in Japan.

Disneyland’s decision came to light after Koyuki Higashi, a 27-year-old woman, inquired about marrying her female partner, identified only as Hiroko, at the resort.

Higashi was initially told she would be able to marry her partner provided they were dressed “like a man and a woman,” she wrote on her blog. Staff at Disneyland, which attracts about 14 million visitors a year, were apparently concerned about how other visitors would react to the sight of couples both dressed in wedding dresses or tuxedos.

A spokeswoman for Milial Resort Hotels, a subsidiary of Tokyo Disney Resort, later said there had been a misunderstanding, telling Higashi and her partner they could dress how they pleased, although they would not be able to exchange vows in the chapel because of “Christian teachings.”

The park said it would accept all applications for same-sex wedding ceremonies. The only obstacle now appears to be financial: a full wedding ceremony in Cinderella’s castle, with Disney characters included on the guest list, costs about US$95,000.

Disneyland’s stance was a rare sign of progress in a country still uncertain about its attitude towards homosexuality. There are no laws against homosexuality, and Tokyo is home to a large lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population, many of whom took part in the capital’s first rainbow pride event last month.

Gay and transgender celebrities are regulars on TV variety shows, while Taiga Ishikawa became Japan’s first openly gay politician when he won a seat in Tokyo’s Toshima ward assembly in April last year.

Ishikawa welcomed Disneyland’s decision, which apparently came after officials in Tokyo contacted the company’s US headquarters. “I wrote 10 years ago that I looked forward to the day when gay and lesbian couples could hold hands and go to Tokyo Disneyland, so I’m very happy,” he said.
But he added that Japanese gay men and women were still uncomfortable about making their sexuality public.

“We’re still not at the point where a man or woman can say they have a same-sex partner, especially to colleagues. But now that gay marriages are in the news overseas, there is better awareness here, at least.”

Obama’s endorsement of gay marriages was the cue for an outburst from Takeshi Kitano, the internationally acclaimed filmmaker, who caused dismay in the LGBT community when he ridiculed the US president’s stance during an appearance on a TV news program.

Kitano suggested permitting gay marriages would lead to unions between humans and animals, and questioned the ability of gay couples to raise children. “The child will be bullied,” he said. “People will say, ‘But your mum is actually your dad.’”

His homophobic comments were not the first by a high-profile public figure in Japan. In late 2010, Shintaro Ishihara, the outspoken governor of Tokyo, suggested gay people were “deficient” after watching same-sex couples take part in a parade in San Francisco.

“We have even got homosexuals casually appearing even on television,” he said. “Japan has become far too untamed.”

Higashi and her partner have visited Disneyland to break their good news to Mickey Mouse, but have yet to set a date for the wedding. “Mickey first looked surprised to hear that we are a couple of girls,” she said on her blog. “But we said we were there to thank him ... and he celebrated with us.”

But, she added, taboos surrounding sexuality had forced many gay and lesbian couples to keep their relationships secret. “There is still a lot of prejudice at work and in people’s homes to prevent a lot of us from coming out,” she told Reuters. “Also, when the only public gays you see are the comedians on television who are the butt of public ridicule, it’s hard to find a good reason to come out.”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spirit Airlines to increase baggage fees.


On November 6, Spirit Airlines is introducing a new pricing system that will see most baggage fees rise by $5 per item. A handful of international fees will be reduced, creating a single set of baggage charges for both domestic and international flights.

The new charges apply to both carry-on and checked bags. There is no change in the fees for sporting equipment and overweight or oversized baggage. You can see a detailed list of the new fees on Spirit’s website.

All baggage fees are $10 cheaper if you’re a member of the $9 Fare Club. Under the new system, members will pay $25 per carry-on bag and $20 for their first checked bag. Non-members will pay $35 and $30, respectively. Spirit will still let you bring one bag into the cabin free of charge, provided it can be stored on your lap or underneath the seat.

In 2010, Spirit became the first US airline to charge for carry-on baggage, attracting criticism from consumer rights groups and angry travelers. The airline has continued to post strong profits since then, but we’ll be interested to see the reaction to this latest money-grab.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top 10 LGBT Honeymoon Destinations

By Jeremy Bryant

Now that more states in the U.S. have legalized gay marriage, there’s even more reason to take a gay honeymoon. But where to? We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 gay and lesbian honeymoon destinations Queertrip.com travelers are heading to.


10. The Caribbean – St. Barts, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Maarten, and Puerto Rico – The Caribbean Islands are very popular for honeymooners across all walks of life. With crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches, and little umbrellas in your drinks who wouldn’t want to relax on an island in the sun with their loved one, right? While quite tempting as a destination, gay and lesbian travelers should be aware that not every island is as welcoming towards us queers. Destinations in the Caribbean that are not friendly towards the LGBT due to their laws against homosexuality are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands, and Jamaica. So which islands are safe for honeymooning gays? Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. Martin, St. Maarten, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are great destinations where LGBT travelers can feel safe and comfortable.


9. Barcelona, Spain – Barcelona has it all! Beaches, nightlife, Spainish architecture, and best of all equality for all queers. With one of the most progressive laws favoring LGBT rights, queer travelers feel welcomed with open arms. The city of Barcelona makes for a memorable honeymoon destination. There are several gay beaches including Platja de Sant Sebastià and the clothing optional Platja de la Mar Bella. Only 45 minutes south of Barcelona is the city of Sitges, a popular gay resort destination. Relax on the beaches, hit up the clubs, view the museums and art, and people watch!


8. Las Vegas – Las Vegas, the sin city that lures in everyone whether it’s for the shows, food, opulence, or gambling has been making a huge push to welcome us queers for the past few years. Most of the major hotels and resorts are gay-friendly and there are even some properties just for us gays. The Blue Moon Las Vegas has been home away from home for us homos (men only) for years. Traditionally, the “gay scene” in Vegas has been focused around the area called “the Fruit Loop.” The Fruit Loop is located on Paradise Rd near the Hard Rock Hotel. Krave, a staple in the gay Vegas nightclub scene is the closest to the strip, right near Planet Hollywood. However, the excitement has shifted north-west where the new nightclub: Share Nightclub. Located on Wynn Rd between the Orleans and Palms Casinos, what makes Share unique is its male stripper license. (Oh boy... I can see it now, Vegas is going to break our pink banks.) For gay and lesbian honeymooners, Las Vegas is sure to leave a lasting impression for you to remember forever. Just remember what they say: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”


7. Sydney – A popular choice for many gay and lesbian travelers is Sydney, Australia. Sydney’s gay welcoming vibe has been attracting the LGBT community for years. The city of Sydney offers incredible restaurants, shopping, and art scene. The gay scene in Sydney rivals that of any other major queer city, so you can dance and party the night away. Sydney is the most mainstream gay cultured city in Australia. For the LGBT community, head for Taylor Square, on Oxford Street at Bourke St., and you'll be in the heart of the gay district, with plenty of free newspapers and maps to guide you to the latest attractions and events. The beaches are also a part of Sydney's gay life. The clothing optional Lady Jane beach is a leisurely ferry ride from town.


6. Napa Valley & Sonoma – Vineyards and wine! Need we say more? Lol. What queer doesn’t enjoy a glass here and there? This northern California region, world renowned for its wineries, makes for a perfect honeymoon getaway. In fact, many people opt to host their weddings here too! It’s just that beautiful. Stunning wineries are sprinkled throughout the valley surrounded with the backdrop of the Mayacamas Mountain Range on the western and northern sides the Vaca Mountains on the eastern side. Coupled with the Mediterranean climate, the region is perfect for producing quality grapes. Quaint towns like St. Helena, Calistoga, and Yountville offer rich history and culture of the area. Sit back, take the wine train, stay at a local Bed & Breakfast, and just relax with your loved one. Oh, and of course… enjoy the wine!


5. South Africa – Cape Town – With stunning beaches, dramatic mountains, and an openly gay population (same-sex marriage is legal in South Africa), it’s no wonder gay couples are flocking to South Africa. Recognized for its local wines and dinning, South Africa is renowned as being one of the most gay-friendly locations in the world. That’s a huge since the majority of the continent is not gay-friendly at all! Luxury boutiques and Safari tours are popular choices for many honeymooners. Either way, South Africa offers it all.


4. Mexico – Puerto Vallarta & Cancun – The country of Mexico flourishes in LGBT life attracting queers from all across the globe. Cities that stand out to LGBT honeymooners are Puerto Vallarta and Cancun. Puerto Vallarta’s old Spanish feel and lively gay scene make it well worth consideration. Plus, there are more than a dozen gay hotels in Vallarta. Cancun on the one hand certainly does not have the same gay scene as Puerto Vallarta might, but its location on the Gulf Coast and tropical climate attracts just about every vacationer. Most travelers choose Cancun for its all-inclusive properties and luxury resorts. It doesn’t hurt that the costs are generally cheaper than other international destinations either, which is a huge factor for couples planning a honeymoon.


3. Canada – Vancouver & Toronto – The country Canada in general is a huge hit with us queers. With friendly citizens, inviting cities, and an overall clean atmosphere, it’s no wonder we’re heading north for honeymoon havens. Two cities that stand out are Toronto and Vancouver. With liberal laws protecting gay and lesbians and one of the most progressive, gay-friendly tourist bureaus on the planet, LGBT travelers feel comfortable and safe. That being said, Canada is a popular choice for queer honeymooners.


2. Maui – The islands of Hawaii have been attracting honeymooners for years. Maui in particular has been a hot spot for gay and lesbian honeymooners. Incredible weather and white sandy beaches are just two of the reasons Maui keeps popping up on many honeymooner’s lists. When many people dream of their honeymoon they imagine a tropical island paradise, and that’s exactly what the island of Maui is. Each island has its unique features and cater to different travelers, for instance Kauai is definitely more quite and remote where Oahu is vibrant and "touristier." Maui is a nice blend of the two islands and offers great activities for couples to enjoy with just enough privacy.


1. Costa Rica – Costa Rica is the destination rising to the tops of most LGBT traveler’s lists. Known for its rain forests, volcano, and wildlife… this natural gem of a country makes for the perfect honeymoon destination. Probably the best part about Costa Rica is its laid back attitude and way of life, attracting tons of travelers who are looking to just get away from it all. From tree houses to costal casas, gay and lesbian travelers are flocking to Costa Rica to experience the laid back lifestyle. There are tons of LGBT properties to choose from across the country. Eco tours, nature hikes, the floura and fauna, activities, and the animals will keep you busy for days.
To book your dream honeymoon package, contact us at LGBThoneymoons@queertrip.com

Queertrip.com – your LGBT travel agency.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Other Famous Beach - Queen's Beach - Honolulu, Hawaii

By James from HawaiiGayTours.com
 

QUEEN'S BEACH- Honolulu, Hawaii.


Waikiki Beach!  The famous beach known worldwide. How nice it is to see a postcard perfect beach with perfect ocean waves, palm trees lining the beach walk and golden sand. 

On any given day you will see beach mats of people after people enjoying the sand, the smell of coconut or jasmine suntan lotion wafting through the air, so many languages being heard like a tower of babel. I walk down to the shore, dodging small kids and their beach balls, the warm sea invites me to get my feet wet.

I walk on another famous section of the beach called "Queens Beach",  famously known as the gay beach. Looking above the beach in the shaded patch of green in the park one could see the stalwart gays, seemingly desperate to claim their shrinking territory. Speedos which are a bit lower, revealing things for those who can reveal something, and an array of pink colored whatevers. Sounds of “go girl” and voices of "miss bitch" entertain the other guys lounging in their space.

I run into the sea, and with a sudden burst of energy, swim and swim for a few moments until my feet can not touch the sea floor. Looking around me I feel a wonderful sense of my own private oasis and tranquility, I can see palm trees, a pink colored hotel, and many tall buildings. I feel far away from all the din of the beach shore The feeling of gentle waves rubbing against my body, with every rhythmic flow, invites me to swim more. Who can resist such an invitation? Before you know it I am enjoying one of the most crowded beaches around - all by myself!

Customs rule change would expand definition of family to include partners in long-term relationships

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, SROTHAUS@MIAMIHERALD.COM
 
 
A proposed federal rule change would expand the definition of “family” and allow nonmarried couples and others who live in one household and are traveling abroad together to reenter the United States with a single U.S. Customs declaration.

“It’s really an acknowledgement of what’s obvious to most people: that gay families are families and should be treated as such when they enter the United States,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality in New York.

In addition to adults in committed, long-term relationships, the rule change would also include foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, according to the proposal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security and the Treasury departments.

Nowhere does the proposed rule change mention gay or lesbian partners. The wording specifies “two adult individuals in a committed relationship wherein the partners share financial assets and obligations,” not including “roommates or other cohabitants.”

Also, the change removes the phrase “regardless of age” to include adult partners, children and others. The proposal will be officially released Tuesday for comments and could take effect in two months.

Customs estimates an annual savings of 72,600 “burden hours” under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The government believes the change would effect more than a million travelers a year or four minutes per response.

Gay activists say the savings goes beyond dollars.

At present, gay couples traveling together must each go through Customs separately.

“I’ve experienced it personally and it’s humiliating,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, the state’s leading gay-rights group. “I know of people returning from their honeymoon and it’s a particularly cruel slap in the face.”

Also, many gay families today travel with their children. “We should never have to explain to our child why the person at the desk says we’re not family,” said Smith, who co-parents son Logan, nearly 11 months, with wife Andrea.

Key West real estate brokers Rudy Molinet and Harry Hoehn, partners for 19 years, were married in 2003 in Canada. Last September, they had their “lunch counter moment” when confronted by a Customs official at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

“When Harry and I approached the customs officer to enter, we walked up together as did every other married couple in line. I was ordered to ‘get back in line, only families can come up here together,’” Molinet wrote on his personal blog.

“My partner was like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen?’” Molinet said Monday.

Molinet said he and Hoehn, returning to the U.S. from Paris, faced off with the armed Customs agent.
“We were very professional. We did not get irate. If you do get irate, they arrest you,” Molinet said. “He let us through because we stood our ground. Begrudgingly. Rudely, I might add. We were being treated like criminals. Some people might think it was not big deal, but it was a big deal. ... It’s a metaphor for all the things gays and lesbians go through.”

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2012/03/customs-rule-change-would-expand-definition-of-family-to-include-partners-in-long-term-relationships.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Couple Returns From Gay Cruise To Address Public Sex Allegations

Originally posted by: Kesq.com

 
It's a vacation a Palm Springs couple will always remember, but not for the reasons they planned.

Dennis Mayer and John Hart tell KESQ their problems started when their cruise ship pulled into a port-of-call they'll never return to. 

"We went to a couple different islands, and when we arrived in Dominica, we walked out onto our balcony naked," John Hart said.

That's when he said their vacation ended. "We actually got a phone call and asked if we could come down to guest relations, that the captain would like to speak with us," Hart said. 

"I immediately asked them is this an investigation. Is there any reason we should believe we should need counsel or contact someone from the U.S. Embassy? The assistant captain told me he did not believe so," Dennis Mayer said.

Dominica officials told them if convicted of "buggery" -- a law similar to U.S. sodomy laws -- they could spend 14 years in prison.

"When we were getting ready to go into the cell, Dennis told me 'be prepared to fight and protect yourself.' It was scary. These people were calling us nasty names," Hart said."

We sat on the cardboard because there were cockroaches and bugs and ants in there, and I don't know why but we thought maybe if we sat on those, the bugs wouldn't crawl on us, but eventually they did and we got bit by the bugs," Mayer said. "We plead to that indecent exposure charge, we apologized to the court, we paid our fine."

With their nightmare over, one question remains. Should a gay cruise ship dock at an island that considers gay activities illegal?

"I don't think so. I was never informed that any of my activities that I do as a gay man were illegal there," Mayer said. 

"We also trust that Atlantis Events, which is a gay cruise company, would not take a ship of 2000 gay people to a port where we are hated," Hart added.

The couple returned to the states, thankful they only suffered emotional scars.

"It just goes to show that in this world, hatred and bigotry exist," Mayer added.

Now, back in the desert, Hart and Mayer have some advice for anyone thinking about a tropical vacation.

"The big message here is: do your research before you travel to foreign countries," Hart said.

The couple of seventeen years say they'll move forward, having learned what doesn't kill them makes them stronger. 

 ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Separately, The Advocate posted the following:

Hart and Mayer paid a $4,000 fine before heading to Puerto Rico, where they spoke by telephone on Saturday. Rich Campbell, the president of Atlantis Events, which operated the cruise with nearly 2,000 gay men on the Celebrity Summit ship, said that they were not arrested because of their sexual orientation or the anti-gay law. He argued on Facebook that they “were seen engaging in a sexual act outdoors on their balcony in full public view of the port and town,” resulting in complaints to police.

In subsequent comments to KTLA, Campbell called what happened to Mayer and Hart “minor” and “unfortunate,” and he compared their experience to getting a “speeding ticket.” He said that his company has taken over 50,000 gay men on cruises to the Caribbean without incident in the past 15 years.

Friday, March 23, 2012

2 US men arrested on gay cruise in Caribbean

By via MSNBC.com 


 Two California men on a gay cruise of the Caribbean were arrested Wednesday in Dominica, where sex between two men is illegal. 

Police Constable John George said police boarded the cruise ship and arrested the two men on suspicion of indecent exposure and "buggery," a term equivalent to sodomy on the island. He identified the men as John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, but did not provide their hometowns.

George said the men were seen having sex on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship by someone on the dock.

The two were later charged with indecent exposure and are scheduled to appear before a magistrate Thursday morning. If found guilty, they could be fined $370 each and face up to six months in jail.

The ship carrying about 2,000 passengers departed Puerto Rico on Saturday and arrived in Dominica on Wednesday. It departed for St. Barts without the men, who are being held in a cell at police headquarters in the capital of Roseau.

The cruise was organized by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel.

President Rich Campbell, who is aboard the cruise, said in a phone interview earlier that he thought the two men would be released. He later said in an email that the company has organized many trips to Dominica and would "happily return."

"Many countries and municipalities that gay men visit and live in have antiquated laws on their books," he said. "These statutes don't pose a concern to us in planning a tourist visit."
Campbell said he expects the two men to be released on Thursday and that they only face misdemeanor charges.

"The guests' actions were unfortunate but minor in this case and have no bearing on our overall guest experience," he said via email.

The pastor of Dominica's Trinity Baptist Church, Randy Rodney, praised the police for their intervention.

"I am very pleased that the police were called in and have arrested the people in question. I have warned about gay tourism and its implications for Dominica," said Rodney, who is a vocal critic of homosexuality and lesbianism.

The presence of gay cruises in the Caribbean has riled several conservative islands including Jamaica and Grenada, where anti-sodomy laws are enforced with strong backing from religious groups.

According to Cruisemates.com, no gay cruise lines sail to Jamaica or Barbados for fear of homophobia and possible violence. It said other places like the U.S. Virgin Islands welcome gay cruises.

In 2010, the Cayman Islands rejected the arrival of an Atlantis gay cruise amid protests from religious groups even though homosexuality is legal on the archipelago.

Don Weiner, a spokesman for Atlantic Events, referred all questions to Campbell, including why the company organized a trip to Dominica and whether it knew about the island's anti-sodomy laws.

Elizabeth Jakeway, a spokeswoman for Celebrity Cruises, referred all questions to Atlantis.

The last time authorities in the Caribbean intervened on a gay cruise was in February 2011, when agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested a California man aboard the Allure of the Seas, which had docked in St. Thomas. The man, Steven Barry Krumholz of West Hollywood, pleaded guilty to selling ecstasy, methamphetamine and ketamine to fellow passengers.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Say Goodbye to Continental Airlines


The next time you search for airfares, there will be one less airline to choose from, as an airline we have all grown up with is about to disappear.  At 11:59pm tonight Continental Airlines flight 1267 will depart from Phoenix and land a few hours later in Cleveland as United flight 1267.  While that flight is airborne, Continental will be be officially absorbed by United, essentially completing the merger that was first announced in 2010.

As of March 3rd, the “Continental” name will cease to exist and the two airlines will fly as one, with one name (United), one frequent flyer program (Mileage Plus), and one web site (which will look like the old Continental site).

The name “Continental” will still be painted on some of the planes for a while but the airport signs are all being changed.

The United-Continental merger continues a consolidation trend among U.S. airlines.  Over the last several years, Delta has absorbed Northwest and Southwest has acquired AirTran, although those two are still operating as separate carriers for the time being.  The new United will be the world’s largest airline, leap-frogging Delta who temporarily held that honor since they combined with Northwest a few years ago.

If you are holding a Continental ticket, there is no need to worry.  United will honor the ticket as is.  In most cases, schedules are not changing, so your flight time and flight number will stay the same, just with a different airline name.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at support@queertrip.com

Sheraton Hotel's response to Lesbian Couple asked to Leave.

Dear Queertrip,

We have a statement from Leo Percopo, General Manager, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel: 

At the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel and District American Kitchen & Wine Bar, we embrace a diverse service culture. Our mission has and always will be to do the right thing. As a result of our conversations with the couple, we are taking immediate steps to reinforce the importance of diversity awareness among our associates including scheduling additional sensitivity training for all management and staff. We are also committed to expanding our valued relationship with the LGBT community. In addition, we are working with the mayor’s office and the city of Phoenix to establish further outreach opportunities.

At the same time, we will continue our role as an active member of ONE Community, an organization that is dedicated to creating stronger relationships among gay, lesbian, allied individuals and corporations; and The Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. We also look forward to broadening our efforts with Equality Arizona. We again apologize that this incident ever happened and our restaurant is open for all to enjoy. 

 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lesbian Couple Told to Leave Sheraton on Their Anniversary for Daring to Kiss

By Kevin Farrell via Unicornbooty.com


Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz were celebrating their one-year anniversary Sunday at Sheraton’s District restaurant, inside the downtown hotel, when they were asked to leave.

The couple says they shared a simple kiss and they didn’t think anything of it until the manager came up to them and told them to get a room.

The women said the manager told them other patrons had complained to him.

“By no means at all were we doing any inappropriate activity. It was a light kiss a kiss that you could give your friends on the lips. It wasn’t any make out at all and so we were very puzzled as to why we need to get a room,” White said.

After the manager saw how upset they were they say he apologized and offered them free drinks if they would leave and come back another time.

What are your thoughts? Please share your comments. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Airberlin introduces a microsite catering to LGBT travelers in North America


 
Airberlin announced on Wednesday, February 15 the launch of a new mircosite catering to LGBT travelers in North America. Airberlin flies nonstop from San Francisco International to gay-friendly Dusseldorf.  That service began nearly two years ago. Both Dusseldorf and Cologne have large gay communities, so travelers should feel comfortable.

Airberlin is now providing the airline’s valued lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers with additional travel resources when planning travel to Europe and introduces its new microsite airberlin.com/lgbt. The microsite features information on LGBT travel to Europe and a calendar of events, providing customers with highlights about some of the most popular LGBT happenings in Europe.


To celebrate the launch of the microsite together with its U.S. customers, airberlin will launch a “Pride” sweepstakes between the months of March and June, 2012. One lucky winner and a companion will fly for free from any Airberlin gateway in the U.S. to Germany. Among airberlin’ s worldwide destinations are many cities favored by the LGBT community, such as Berlin, Cologne, Munich, London, Barcelona (Sitges), Ibiza, Mykonos, Venice, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna, Zurich and more.

It's great to see more airlines participating in LGBT travel. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

UPDATE: Passenger Who Fell From Atlantis Cruise “Intentionally Went Overboard”



The unnamed passenger who fell off a Atlantis gay cruise “intentionally went overboard,” reports The Sun UK.Representatives from Royal Caribbean International say a review of CCTV tapes indicate the man, who has been reported to be British, did not fall accidentally over the railing and was not pushed.

The 30-year-old passenger plunged from his balcony on deck 11 of luxury liner Allure of the Seas in waters off Mexico… The ship made multiple public announcements and began a complete search of the ship, in efforts to locate the guest. When the guest did not respond to the pages and was not found onboard, the captain alerted the local authorities of the situation. Our care team is providing support to the guest’s family and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Another passenger saw the man go overboard at 7:10am EST and raised the alarm. The Mexican navy and coastguard have taken over the search while the Allure continued on its journey.The man’s family has been notified but his name has not been released to the press.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Passenger Overboard from Atlantis Allure of the Seas.

Via cruiselawnews.com By: Jim Walker

The AP is reporting that a British cruise ship passenger went overboard.from the Allure of the Seas, which is the world's largest cruise ship cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean states that another passenger allegedly saw the British passenger, age 30, go over the railing from his stateroom on the Allure. The cruise line then apparently verified the overboard by viewing images from closed circuit television.

The incident occurred as the cruise ship had stopped off the coast of Mexico near Cozumel. The ship was to depart tonight at 8:00 PM tonight and was scheduled to be at sea tomorrow, with a return to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

There are no details regarding when the incident occurred.

The last British citizen who disappeared in international waters near Mexico is Rebecca Coriam, a Disney cruise member employed as a youth counselor aboard the Disney Wonder.

The last reported incident aboard the Allure of the Seas involved multiple rapes earlier last month.

The cruise ship was under charter by Atlantis, which hosts parties for the gay and lesbian community. The Allure had sailed from South Florida on January 29, 2012 to Labadee Haiti, Costa Maya Mexico, and then to Cozumel.

In the past, the Atlantis - Royal Caribbean cruises have been marred by controversy, with drug overdoses, suicide, and a travel agent busted for selling drugs (arrested with 142 ecstasy pills, 3 grams of methamphetamine, ketamine and about $51,000 in cash). You can read about these incidents below.

One year ago: Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

Two years ago: Another Death on a Royal Caribbean - Atlantis Cruise

Three years ago: GLAAD Board Member Dies Aboard Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas

Does anyone know what happened on this latest Atlantis cruise party?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gay Russian Flight Attendant Forced To Marry A Woman To Keep Job

Via PerezHilton.com

Awful!

A gay flight attendant says Russia's leading airline forced him into a heterosexual marriage to keep his job.

No, this isn't our pitch for a for a shitty rom-com, it's Maxim Kupreev's real life.

The 25-year-old flight attendant claims that when he tried to found a gay support network at the airline, Aeroflot, the company heads shut it down.

A spokesperson for the airline said they didn't need an LBGT group because:

"One should separate personal and professional life."

Yet, that's not what happened a year later when Aeroflot gave him a really weird ultimatum to either marry his high school girlfriend beard, Sofia Mikhailova or lose his job.

That's not fair to ANYONE!! Especially not Sofia (even though she gets 10% off the flights now) because she was already married! Where are the family values in that??

Aeroflot is insane.

Gay activists in Russia are planning to ask air passengers to boycott Aeroflot and not to use its services until the creation of equal conditions for all workers. We fully support this boycott!!

If you are planing a trip near Russia PLEASE do not travel with Aeroflot!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Canadian rule which bans transgender flight

By Jane Fae via: Pinknews.co.uk

Canada is now officially a transgender no-fly zone.

This is the result of new rules, introduced last July, but only now coming to light, which state that an air carrier “shall not transport a passenger if … the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents”.

The reason that it has taken so long for this provision to percolate through to public awareness is that it was introduced not through formal legislation before the Canadian legislature, but as part Identity Screening Regulations, implemented unilaterally by the Ministry of Transportation, in support of Canada’s so-called Passenger Protect programme.

Its impact will be felt first by members of the Canadian transgender community, who may only change the ‘sex’ designation on a Canadian Passport, on provision of proof that surgery has taken place, or will take place within one year. This, it is argued by blogger, Christin Scarlett Milloy, means that non-operative transgender persons, gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and the vast majority of pre-operative transsexual persons will find it literally impossible to obtain “proper” travel documentation.

However, there is likely to be some degree of impact on trans persons from any other country travelling through Canada on documents that fail to meet these new criteria.

A petition calling on the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to have these regulations set aside has been launched on change.org.

Meanwhile, cynics are speculating whether this move is ill-thought accident – or a rather more sinister piece of revenge by Conservative MP and Minister for Transport, Denis Lebel.

The change to regulations took place shortly after the federal election in 2011. In the previous parliament, Bill C-389, a bill to amend the Human Rights Code to explicitly enshrine protections against discrimination for transgender people, had successfully passed in the House of Commons, only to die on the Senate floor when the election was declared.

As Ms Milloy asked yesterday: “Is the timing of this disturbing and blatantly discriminatory regulatory adjustment merely a coincidence?

Analysis

Some people have been asking how many individuals have actually been prevented from flying by these regulations: but that misses the point entirely – which is that the use of perceived gender in this fashion is deeply offensive not simply to trans men and women, but to all men and women who fail to live up to societally imposed “norms” of gender and appearance.

A particular issue, which i have reported on in the past, is how women whose appearance is in any way “butch” or masculine frequently report difficulties in some women’s spaces.

While some will inevitably defend this move on grounds of “security”, it is important to understand what is being required here. No-one is objecting to government rules that require an individual’s appearance to match to their description on their pasport – or indeed that they should be allowed to duck out on biometric measures such as fingerprinting or retinal scans.

But this is about something else: whether an individual fits with the preconceived notions of what a border guard believes constitutes a “normal” appearance for their declared gender.

Over the last twelve months, Australia has stated its aim of permitting an “indeterminate” status to be recorded on passports for intersex individuals: and the UK Government has revealed that it is examining the entire question of whether gender markers on official documents are useful – not just, as critics would have it, for reasons of “political correctness”, but because there are genuine doubts that it really adds much that is useful.

This makes the Canadian regulation looks all the more like a seriously retrograde – and spiteful – step.

Jane Fae is an independent writer and sexual rights activist.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Airline rules taking effect January 24, 2012.

By Jeremy Bryant

Taking effect today, airlines and online sellers of travel have new rules to abide by. With these new rules going into effect this week, we’ve compiled a list of what’s changed.

What to expect from the new rules for airlines.

• Airlines & online sellers of travel must include all mandatory taxes and fees in published airfares.
• Baggage fees must be disclosed to consumers buying tickets.
• Information on baggage fees is required on all e-ticket confirmations.
• Passengers now will be able to hold a reservation without payment for 24 hours or cancel a reservation during that period without penalty. (Not applicable with 1 week from departure.)
• Airlines also will be required to notify passengers of delays of more than 30 minutes, as well as flight cancellations and diversions.

Our site is in compliance with the DOT’s news rules and supports the new rules for consumer disclosure.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at support@queertrip.com.

Queertrip Team!

Friday, January 13, 2012

New York City's First Gay Hotel Is About To Open Its Doors

By Julie Zeveloff via: businessinsider.com

In March, The Out NYC, which bills itself as New York City's first gay hotel, is set to open its doors to guests.

The boutique hotel, which bills itself as an "urban gay resort," is located in Hell's Kitchen (where else?). It will include 105 rooms and XL Nightclub, which the creators say is the first nightly gay dance club to open in the city in the last 15 years. XL is slated to open this month.

Plans for the hotel also include a three courtyards and a massive gym.

Rooms will start at around $250 a night, with sleep shares starting at $99 a night.

With gay marriage now legal in New York, you can be sure The Out will become a go-to wedding destination.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Car Rental Agency Sued for Offering Gay and Lesbian Discounts

By Dave Rice via: Sandiegoreader.com

An Arizona woman has initiated a class-action suit alleging discrimination based on her sexual orientation by Avis Rent A Car.

Lynn Evenchik claims that Avis’ practice of offering discounts to members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce constitutes a violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits businesses from offering discounts to customers based on sexual orientation.

Evenchik paid $311.36 to rent a car from Avis at San Diego International Airport for a period of one week in July of 2011. She later learned that members of the aforementioned groups received discount codes entitling them to 20 to 25 percent off standard rental rates due to marketing agreements Avis had entered into with the organizations.

“These unfair and unlawful business practices result in many consumers who are not affiliated with those organizations paying substantially higher rental rates than those made available to gay and lesbian renters,” the complaint states.

Evenchik is seeking damages and restitution on behalf of anyone who rented a car from Avis since the company began offering the discounts, which is believed to have begun around September 2010.

She also seeks an injunction to stop Avis from continuing to offer reduced rates to members of the gay and lesbian organizations.

Gay Marriage In Cancun, Mexico Suspended

Via ontopmag.com

The upcoming weddings of six gay and lesbian couples near the tourist destination city of Cancun, Mexico have been suspended, La Reforma reported.

The weddings were expected to take place later this month after two gay couples said their lawyers successfully argued in front of judges that the Civil Code ohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giff the Mexican state of Quintana Roo does not specifically bar such marriages from taking place because the state's marriage application is gender neutral.

Quintana Roo Secretary of State Lois Gonzalez Flores has ordered a review of the legality of such marriages.

Patricia Novelo, the spokeswoman for the gay rights group Diversity Collective, announced that she married her partner in the state in November by exploiting the loophole and that a second gay couple had as well.

Novelo and gay travel groups said they were preparing to market the state as a destination for gay couples to marry. Spanish news agency EFE had earlier reported that travel agencies on average receive about 200 requests per month from gay tourists wishing to marry in the Mexican Caribbean.

The city-state of Mexico City legalized gay marriage in 2010 and remains the only municipality in Mexico where such marriages are officially allowed.