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

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.