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?


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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New rules for airline fees are a partial victory for travelers

By Jeremy Bryant

Starting Jan. 26, a new U.S. Transportation Department rule will require airlines to include all taxes and fees in their advertised fares. Other provisions of the rule -- banning post-purchase price increases and allowing passengers to hold certain reservations without payment or to cancel them without penalty for 24 hours after booking -- will take effect Jan. 24.

The DOT is also requiring airlines to disclose baggage fees when passengers buy a ticket, mandating that the same baggage allowances and fees apply throughout a journey, and stipulating that those fees be shown on electronic ticket confirmations.

As you can guess, the airlines aren't thrilled about these new rules. The industry's stated reasons for these objections are not political but technical. It says that the systems aren't yet in place to offer such disclosure. "Critical sources of information needed to comply with these rules do not yet exist," says Steve Lott, a spokesman for Airlines for America. "This extension would give carriers essential time to overcome fundamental changes in baggage rules that require substantial investment and re-engineering of carrier reservations, check-in and baggage information systems, in addition to retraining of airline employees."

An extension might also allow airlines to continue earning more money from baggage fees until 2013. Even a small rule change could interfere with a revenue stream (in the billions) that has by most accounts allowed the industry to remain profitable in recent years.

The DOT hasn't made a decision on the extension yet. But some believe that regardless of how it rules, the government needs to do more.

The problem is that airlines continue to remove fees from their fares -- a process called unbundling. For example, the first checked bag, a confirmed seat reservation, even the ability to carry a bag onto the plane all used to be included in a base fare but now might not be. Breaking them out leads to confusion and ultimately to customers paying more than they thought they would.

Until now, airlines have claimed that their baggage fees are simple and that normal travelers can easily figure them out. But it turns out that the system isn't that straightforward, even for the airlines that run it. All the exceptions and reservation rules make it kind of complex, actually.

As the battle continues in the courts, who will win? My hope is for the consumers.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Civil union law set to boost LGBT travel to Hawaii

Via: Etravelblackboard.us

A new law legalizing civil unions in Hawaii is expected to lead to an upsurge in gay and lesbian travel to the state, meaning a windfall for the islands’ hotels, resorts and event planners.f

News of the legislation, which came into effect on January 1, has seen a spike in the number of hotels actively reaching out to the gay and lesbian community, as same-sex couples look to the state to formalize their relationships, according to The Maui News.

Chuck Spence, owner of the Maui Sunseeker LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Resort in Kihei told the newspaper forward bookings at his property had risen by 50 per cent over the year before.

"We've had 10 ceremonies booked so far," he said.

"Already we've also seen an immediate boost in bookings, and not just because of civil unions, but because the law also opens up the perception by the gay and lesbian community that Hawaii is truly a welcoming state.”

Among the resorts looking to lure same-sex couples their way is the Grand Wailea, whose managing director Matt Bailey said that reaching out to gay and lesbian travelers not only made good business sense, but was also “the right thing to do”.

“Maui has a nurturing and welcoming environment, with a small-town feel and open-mindedness to it,” he remarked.

“I wish I could say it was all altruistic, but we're not trying to make a political statement.”

State Senator Roz Baker, who represents West and South Maui said she hoped the law would add to the appeal of Hawaii as a destination for couples.

"The wedding business has always been good to Maui,” she commented.
"Let's face it, too, nowhere is the weather nicer in January, or are there as many beautiful places to visit year round, than in Hawaii.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Not so Hungry... New Hungarian constitution comes into effect with same-sex marriage ban

By: Stephen Gray via: PinkNews.co.uk

Hungary’s new constitution, which bans gay marriage and does not explicitly protect gay people from discrimination, has come into force amid public unrest.

The constitution was enacted 262-44 in April of last year, with 80 members of parliament boycotting the drafting and voting process, and took effect on 1 January 2012.

The document specifically restricts marriage to straight couples and appears to ban abortion by saying that fetuses will be protected from conception onwards.

It does not protect citizens from discrimination on the grounds of age or sexual orientation, and Amnesty International said last year it would not satisfy international human rights laws.

Viktor Orban, leader of the ruling Fidesz party, which came to power with two-thirds majority in the parliament last year, has been dubbed “Viktator” for his leadership style by the crowds who are now protesting the constitution in Budapest.

Tens of thousands have taken to the streets of the capital to voice their opposition to the new state framework.

The former constitution dated back to 1949, with major amendments following the fall of Communism in 1989, and Fidesz argued a new set of rules was vital to deliver the economic growth it had promised Hungary.

But the new text has reportedly removed the safeguards the 1989 amendments put in place, causing wider civil unrest.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had last year urged Orban to enshrine “the independence of the judiciary, a free press, and governmental transparency” in the text.

In a Leader editorial entitled ‘Back to Autocracy?’, The Times highlighted the discrimination against gay couples and said the constitution “is an extraordinary affront to basic liberties.”

But Gergely Gulyas, a Fidesz MP, told Reuters when the constitution came into force: “Despite political debates we think it is an important value that for the first time, a freely elected parliament created the Basic Law.”

Lawmakers said the constitution was based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, but gay rights activists have questioned why it does not mention discrimination protections for LGBT people, when gender and race are protected.

The Hungarian organization of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights said last year the constitution “expresses a preference for an explicitly defined family model, a certain way of life and conveys the message that it does not wish to become the constitution of those who wish to pursue a different way of life”.

Hungary decriminalized gay sexual acts in 1961 and allows gay couples to register their partnerships but does not allow them to adopt. Since 2002 it has had an equal age of consent and gay people may serve in the military.