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JetBlue to Begin Charter Flights from New York to Havana, Cuba

May 5th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that JetBlue Airways together with Cuba Travel Services will be the first airline to fly charter flights from New York City directly to Havana, Cuba. The announcement comes after Cuomo’s recent trade mission to Cuba that also included Jet Blue CEO Robin Hayes and other New York business leaders. “Our Global NY initiative and our trade mission to Cuba are all about opening the door to new economic opportunities, and JetBlue’s exciting announcement today is proof that our approach is delivering results for New York businesses,” Governor Cuomo said. “By leading one of the first state trade missions to Cuba as the United States reestablishes diplomatic relations, we placed New York State businesses at the front of the line for new prospects in Cuba, that will in turn support jobs and economic activity here at home. I commend JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes for his leadership in making JetBlue the first major carrier to announce a direct flight from New York to Cuba in this new era between our nations.”

The Havana flight will leave on Friday nights out of JFK beginning on July 3.

Travelers, though, still won’t be able to directly book a flight without going through the appropriate agency. [NYS]

Find out more about LGBT travel to Cuba by reading out feature. 

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Five Horrible Things Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee Has Said About Gay People

May 5th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Today, the vehemently anti-gay Mike Huckabee announced that he is joining the growing number of Republican men (and woman) vying for the party’s nomination in the 2016 election. Thanks to the HRC, who has followed the former-Arkansas governor’s career, we have a list of some of the most egregious things he has said in regards to the LGBT community.

Overview: Mike Huckabee has been a staunch opponent of LGBT equality, dating back to when he first burst onto the public scene in the 1990s and declared that “we should isolate the carriers” of HIV and that AIDS research received “an unfair share of federal dollars.” Huckabee has since tried to walk those comments back, but he’s maintained opposition to LGBT equality on every issue that has come before him. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

1) On Marriage Equality: Huckabee opposes marriage equality and has suggested judges who rule in favor of it should be impeached. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

2) On LGBT Discrimination: Huckabee has argued against local ordinances that would protect LGBT Americans from discrimination.  And he defended Indiana’s right to discriminate legislation. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

3) On Conversion Therapy: Huckabee has supported dangerous “conversion therapy” that coerces minors into ‘treatment’ that can lead to depression and suicide. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

4) Harmful Rhetoric: Huckabee compares being LGBT to alcohol use. In opposing Huckabee marriage equality, Huckabee said in 2010, “We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same.” [Citations/Full Research Brief]

5) Adoption: Huckabee opposed allowing gay and transgender Americans to adopt children, because “children aren’t puppies.” [Citations/Full Research Brief]

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Treat Your ‘Mommie Dearest’ to a Drag-Tastic Mother’s Day at W Downtown

May 5th, 2015 Joseph Pedro

 

Image via W Hotels

Image via W Hotels

While we hope your relationship is better than Joan Crawford and Christina Crawford’s was, W New York—Downtown is bringing back cult-classic Mommie Dearest for unique Mother’s Day, but with a twist. The movie will air with “Drag Mommies” reenacting some of the films most memorable moments for hotel guests and visitors on May 10. Those travelers and New Yorkers away from their mommy for the holiday can come down to the hotel to get some motherly advice and share special drink offers and be catered to by our resident “Drag Mommies”  for the day.

Book through  W Hotels Mommie Dearest Link and treat your mom or just yourself to a weekend you all won’t soon forget. Special services including:  themed cocktails, advice session from  W’s onsite Drag Mommie for the day, special room-service offerings, and a creative turn-down service service.

Additionally,  W Hotels New York (that includes Times Square, Union Square, Hoboken, and and Downtown) is offer a special 40% discount on your second night’s stay over the weekend of May 9-10.

 

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Gay Travel: What’s New in Gay and Trendy Chicago, Illinois

May 5th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Chicago-Opening-Sprerad-by-Richard-Cavalleri

Image via Passport

by Jason A. Heidemann

The stools at Dove’s Luncheonette (1545 N Damen Ave. Tel: 773-645-4060. www.doveschicago.com) in Wicker Park are crafted of a shiny, rich brown vinyl and gleam with newness. On a bustling weekday afternoon each one will be flattened by Midwestern butts—which are arguably more voluminous during the winter months. Dee Dee Warwick’s “A Fool for Love” is playing on a record player, not on the vintage Select-O-Matic 100 jukebox hiding in the corner, which works only about half of the time. Meanwhile, gratuitous wood paneled walls give the whole place a kind of 70s dive bar vibe and provides the requisite cue that we are deep in the heart of hipster country. But the real draw at this newly opened throwback diner from superstar chef Paul Kahan (Big Star, the Publican) is the menu whose Tex-Mex inspired standouts include smoked brisket with avocado, pico de gallo, chicarones and green chile vinaigrette rolled into a large flour tortilla, or chicken fried chicken drenched in chorizo verde gravy and topped with sweat peas and pearl onions. It is joints like this that remind the world why Chicago is everyone’s kind of town.

There is much to be excited about in Chicago these days. Yes, it’s still cold December through March (and sometimes November and April), yes the crime rate is higher than residents would like it to be (although way down overall when measured against previous decades), and yes the Cubs still suck (but does anybody really honestly care?). On the other hand, a spate of enchanting new public parks are slated for 2015 arrival (two of which are profiled below), neighborhoods like the West Loop, Fulton Market, Pilsen, and Logan Square that were quiet a mere decade ago are now chockablock with bars, restaurants, shops, and art galleries, and the city’s queer scene has gotten so big that Boystown on weekend summer nights rivals places like the French Quarter and Ybor City in terms of exuberant revelry.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…

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How Does a Stadium React to a Gay Couple on the Kiss Cam?

May 4th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Screen Cap via YouTube

Screen Cap via YouTube

At a recent Dodgers game, the Kiss Cam panned to the usual heterosexual couples, but then, for the first time, displayed a gay couple, not two straight guys. When the two men kissed, the stadium erupted in cheers and applause.

Watch after the jump…

Read more…

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Grand Marshalls of NYC Pride Announced, Along with a Performance by Steve Grand

May 4th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via www.stevegrand.bandcamp.com

Image via www.stevegrand.bandcamp.com

Heritage of Pride, organizers of NYC Pride and the annual New York City Pride March, today announced the event’s Grand Marshals for 2015. This year’s marshals are: Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen, both openly gay English actors currently co-starring in the PBS series Vicious. Sir Derek is primarily known for his stage work and in films like The King’s Speech and Gladiator while Sir Ian is often recognized for his recurring roles as Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films;  J. Christopher Neal, New York–based artist and leader of FluidBiDesign, an advocacy group and a community for fluid men of African descent; and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, considered the mother of the Ugandan movement and co-founder of the first Uganda Pride celebration.

Additionally, it was announced the “All American Boy” singer Steve Grand will perform at this year’s Rally on Pier 26 on June 26. You can purchase tickets for that here. 

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The Out NYC Owners Call Gays Cheap and Entitled in New Interview

May 4th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook.

Image via Facebook.

Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass , who made headlines in recent weeks for hosting a dinner for anti-gay GOP presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, tried to rectify their obvious wrongdoing by sitting down with New York magazine. Unfortunately for them, their interview has seemed to fan the flames, and have given those in the community more reason to boycott the business owners. In just a diatribe, Reisner calls the gay community both cheap and entitled.

“You know, it’s so ironic — I wanted to build kind of a community center in the gateway to Hell’s Kitchen, which in 2008–2009 was already a gay place and now it’s even gayer,” Reisner said. “Very close to Broadway. We decided there’d be so many different ways to give back to the community. We show gay artists there. For gay performers, we have let this cabaret club go on for three and a half years. And you don’t make money when you let drag queens in on Tuesday night and 30 people drink at $10 a drink and you have to pay five people to watch over the place. You don’t make money. … My only point is, this has not been a profitable venture. Gays are cheap. They’re frugal; gays are frugal. Let me retract that … gays are entitled … Do you know how challenging it is to make a penny off a gay person? I’m gay, I don’t pay cover. I’m gay, where’s my comp drink? [Everyone laughs.] No, I’m being serious! The Out NYC has not shown a profit yet.”

Full article here. 

Club Promoter John Blair, who has worked with the Out in the past, quickly responded to Ian Reisner’s irritating and insulting comments on Facebook.

Gays, like any group, will spend their money when you give them something that they want or need. Do not blame the community for any of your failures to make money. XL made over $8M dollars the year Beto and I ran it. Then you all thought you could do it by yourself and we got the ax. You lost your shirt the next two years trying to do it yourself. So you have no one to blame but yourselves. Gays are not cheap… as a matter of fact we spend more of our money on going to bars, nightclubs, hotels and restaurants than do most other people. Just tell the truth. You have lost money on The OUT NYC because of the way you and Mati managed or should I say mismanaged THE OUT NYC … don’t blame us for your mistakes.

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The UN Releases First Report on Gay Rights

May 4th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via www.ohchr.org

Image via www.ohchr.org

The United Nations has released their first report on the state of human rights of LGBT people. The report, which was released by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights delves into the number of people worldwide that “are killed or endure hate-motivated violence, torture, detention, criminalization and discrimination in jobs, health care and education because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.” The report goes onto to find “a pattern of human rights violations… that demands a response,” and the need for government action and describes the abuse against LGBT people as particularly incredulous. “Violence against LGBT persons tends to be especially vicious compared to other bias-motivated crimes,” it states. Additionally, many LGBT hate crimes go unreported because members of the community fear coming out as LGBT.

According to a release:

The report – prepared in response to a request from the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year – draws from information included in past UN reporting, official statistics on hate crimes where there are available, and reporting by regional organizations and some non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In the report, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, calls on countries to repeal laws that criminalize homosexuality, abolish the death penalty for offenses involving consensual sexual relations, harmonize the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual conduct, and enact comprehensive anti-discrimination laws.

In 76 countries it remains illegal to engage in same-sex conduct and in at least five countries – Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen – the death penalty prevails.

 

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Sean Ashby & aussieBum: The Complete Package

May 4th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via aussieBum

Image via aussieBum

Prior to my scheduled meeting with Sean Ashby in New York this January, we had exchanged e-mails in which he shared some personal background and details on aussieBum, the all-Australian swimwear line he founded in 2001 that he has since grown into a global menswear brand with mostly online customers in 70-plus countries worldwide.

In one note, he described himself as “a bit of a larrikin.” That’s Oz slang for somebody with an irreverent disregard for the normal rules of propriety—making him intriguing from the start—and there was no disappointment in learning the full story of his against-the-grain success. The irreverence was certainly there, as cheerful as Australia’s Technicolor sunshine. However, abridging convention and authority was no lark for Sean, but a matter of survival as he confronted doubts and setbacks on his road to success.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…

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Get Your Morning Fix with Male Strippers on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’

May 4th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Screen Shot via YouTube

Screen Shot via YouTube

Last night on a very special episode of Britain’s Got Talent things got a bit steamy, when a group of male strippers punk’d the judges. Lewis Codling, a beautiful “London Boy,” began singing Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” which soon erupted in a stripper-filled good time.

Watch it after the jump…

 

Read more…

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