Sunday, March 9, 2014

Disney Sponsors Outfest; Queen Makes History; Gay Travel Alert Mississippi

Disney Sponsors Outfest

Outfest is an LGBTI family event being held this July in Orlando, Florida. Other sponsors include Hilton, Macy's, and Nickelodeon.

Organizers are calling Family Outfest: ‘The first of its kind. ‘It is designed to bring LGBT and straight allied families together to experience the city, beautiful theme parks and other family-friendly activities found in Central Florida.'

You can read more here.

It's nice to know we're (gays) not just expected to go to Provincetown, or a handful of other destinations that have always been predominantly gay. Frankly, Tony and I went to Provincetown, MA, for over fifteen years, three times a year...Halloween, Labor Day, and New Year's Eve. I love it and the times we spent there, but it did get tired after a while, which is why we stopped going and went to Vermont to get married this past January.

We've already seen the decline of the gay bar...at least as it once was. In part, that's thanks to the Internet. I think we'll begin to see the decline of the gay ghetto eventually, too. I know I have no intention of retiring early, moving to Wilton Manors or Palm Springs, and living out my last days surrounded by only gay people. I'd like to be part of everything, including the families going to Outfest this year in Orlando.

Queen Makes History

Queen Elizabeth II made history recently when she openly congratulated an LGBTI charity group in Britain. It's the first time she's acknowledged any LGBTI group during her 62 year reign.

“Best wishes and congratulations to all concerned on this most special anniversary,” read the Queen’s message, according to a transcript released by Buckingham Palace.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also congratulated the group, along with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, London’s Mayor Johnson, and the head of the Labour party in Parliament, Ed Miliband.

These acknowledgements from people like Queen Elizabeth are extremely important to many people, and not just in a grand general sense. They are sometimes even more important on a personal level.

You can read more here.


Gay Travel Alert Mississippi

A group called GetEQUAL is issuing what's being called a "travel alert" for LGBTI people who are planning to go to Mississippi. Where they received the authority to issue this warning isn't clear, and I haven't seen any solid examples of any LGBTI people having issues in Mississippi...at least not any examples more distressing than in any other state in the US.

According to most articles I read, and there are plenty out there, the alert issued is because law makers in Mississippi are trying to pass a bill...SB 2681 Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act...that would allow business owners in Mississippi to refuse business to LGBTI people for religious reasons. It's basically that same as what happened in Arizona not too long ago. The Governor of Arizona vetoed the bill.

GetEQUAL Mississippi alerts those traveling to the state of a continued risk of discrimination based upon sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The State of Mississippi does not currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (“LGBT”) people from being legally ejected from their hotel rooms or other places of public accommodation, and is on the cusp of passing legislation that would give business owners even more latitude to legally discriminate against minority groups.
Those who are required to travel to Mississippi are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Avoid traveling alone in the state.
- Only book travel at hotels which have policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Visit only known LGBT-friendly establishments, including restaurants, bars and venues.
- Be aware of your surroundings and adopt other appropriate safety measures to protect yourself while traveling.

GetEQUAL Mississippi will continue to monitor this situation and update travelers as needed.

I get where they are going with this. I don't always like it. I think it helps spread panic and makes things worse. But I get it. I hate these laws and don't fully understand how anyone who calls themselves religious could discriminate.

I know a few LGBTI people in Mississippi who aren't too thrilled about this either.

You can read more here.

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