Discovery is the best part of travel, and when every corner yields a new hidden oasis, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Join Bob Devin Jones as he shows us why St. Petersburg, Florida is a haven for artists, foodies, and explorers alike.
Mississippi’s Legalized Anti-Gay Discrimination Bill Faces Business Backlash with New Business Coalition
It’s been two weeks since Mississippi became the first state in the nation to legalize anti-gay discrimination through a hate-filled bill that is clandestinely referred to as a “religious freedom” law. The bill allows for businesses to refuse to serve customers who are LGBT based on religious conviction. The bill, signed by Mississippi Republican Governor Phil Bryant, is now facing a statewide backlash by small businesses who want to make it clear that they are open for business for everyone. “I’m in a business to sell a product, and I want to sell that product to everybody, and I don’t care what you do in your life,” said Mitchell Moore, owner of Campbell’s Bakery in Jackson, Mississippi. This sentiment rang true for many other businesses who decided to spearhead a campaign “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling.” So far, the new coalition has been backed by the state’s LGBT gay-rights activists, has acquired over 500 businesses. Businesses who participate will receive a blue sticker for their storefront. “The bigexample that all of the politicians kept giving over and over was a bakery that might have to bake a cake for a gay wedding,” says Moore. “I own a bakery, no politician called me and asked if this was something we should do.”
“We started brainstorming about ideas, and he mentioned starting a page and coming with a sign that businesses could display,” said Eddie Outlaw, owner of the William Wallace Salon and Fondren Barbershop in Jackson and LGBT rights activist. “We as business owners don’t condone discrimination against anyone because it’s wrong, because it’s bad for business, and it’s bad for our state.”
So far the campaign has sold out of their initial 500 stickers and anticipate thousands more in the coming weeks to show solidarity with the LGBT community. [MSNBC]
Malta’s Parliament Appoves Gay Civil Unions, Adoption, and an Anti-Discrimination Constitutional Amendment
Malta’s Parliament passed a bill to legalize gay and lesbian civil unions, allow for same-sex couples to adopt, and introduce anti-discrimination constitutional amendment that will protect “sexual orientation.” Although it will not be called marriage, same-sex couples will be granted the same rights as married heterosexual couples. The law will also allow for gay and lesbians who choose to marry outside of the country to have their unions recognized. It will also allow for couple’s to adopt.
Joining the ranks of openly gay media personalities such as Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow, Robin Roberts made headlines this year with her decision to come out as a lesbian. While Roberts has spoken about her satisfaction with the decision, and many people have applauded her for her openness, some people people have criticized Roberts for taking her time in making this announcement.
In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping, Roberts addresses these comments, acknowledging that she is satisfied with her own decision. But while Roberts acknowledges that this choice was right for her, she emphasizes that, for many people in the public eye, their sexuality may be too personal to make public:
News flash: Some people like their anonymity. This is what’s right for me…Sometimes there’s a stigma attached to how people view you if you’re living a certain way. But I don’t care — you gotta live your life. You gotta find what happiness is and what it means for you, and you can’t get caught up in what someone is saying about you on Twitter. You don’t go through a year like I did to not be happy and not make your own choices.
Finland is celebrating the life of the late artist Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen) by releasing commemorative stamps in September 2014, according to the Finnish postal service, Itella Posti Oy. “His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures. The drawings on the stamp sheet represent strong and confident male figures typical of their designer,” the post office said of the homoerotic artist’s work that they chose to highlight.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has filed a lawsuit today so that the legal marriages of 300 tqy and lesbian couples performed in Michigan last month are recognized by the state. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight same-sex couples who were married after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban and before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put the decision on hold. “As a matter of law and fundamental fairness, the state is obligated to extend the protections that flow from marriage to all those who celebrated their weddings last month,” said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. “Doing anything less treats legally married gay and lesbian couples like second-class citizens, and adds to the confusion and instability these loving families have endured.”
The lawsuit argues that once same-sex couples are legally married in Michigan, they gain protections that cannot be taken away retroactively. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution compels state officials to recognize those protections regardless of the ultimate outcome of the appeal of Judge Friedman’s ruling.
We have the full backstory after the jump in case you forgot….
An uproarious Southwest Airlines flight attendant gave an unexpected stand-up comedy routine on a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah that had the cabin in hysterics. Beginning the safety announcement by introducing her three colleagues as “…my ex-husband, my new boyfriend, and my divorce attorney,” the pearl-wearing comedienne continued through the typically mundane safety demonstration with quick wit. “Position your seat belt tight and low across your hips, just like my grandmother wears her support bra,” she said.
We won’t give it all away, but check it out after the jump…
Tickets are now on sale for Atlanta’s popular HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner on May 3. The event has proved an efficient moneymaking machine for a good cause, earning $250,000 annually. Past attendees included American Idol-alumna Frenchie Davis, Looking‘s Jonathan Groff, Sean Hayes of Will and Grace, and Tammy Baldwin. This year, news anchor Sam Champion will be taking home the Visibility Award and Dana Goldberg will surely have the crowd laughing, but expect many more surprise guests. Tickets are still available for the event that takes place at STK Atlanta.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam. Both friends and family spanning several generations brought up the war, one of the only things they identified with Saigon. Many had advised me to trek somewhere else in Southeast Asia considering the stigma that remains with the war that occurred fewer than 50 years ago.
I don’t blame anyone for having one singular perception of this bustling city or for trying to derail me, war related or not. Saigon is not the most obvious destination in Southeast Asia. It doesn’t have an Angkor Wat (Siem Reap), a Petronas Tower (Kuala Lumpur), or tropical paradise (Phuket). It doesn’t brim with a large ex-pat community (Singapore), boast ancient temples (Ubud), nor is it home to the happiest people in the world (Bhutan). Saigon lacks an identity, more so because it’s relatively new in existence and still evolving. And so, when it came to expectations, mine were expectedly low. During my trip, however, I discovered what made Saigon unique. It didn’t need an iconic attraction, exotic thrills, or Eat, Pray, Love to make it alluring. It didn’t need centuries-old history, futuristic skyscrapers, or Michelin-rated chefs to make it a top destination. In fact, Saigon is perhaps Southeast Asia’s best-kept, under-the-radar destination. It has tons of charm, modesty, and a progressive pace that’s mostly organic. It’s not swarming with mass tourism (double-decker buses are thankfully few), so expenses are still considerably low. There’s just the right amount of quality street food, shopping, and top hotels, all of which offer visitors a well-rounded experience without rushing, jostling, or stressing. An added bonus for LGBT travelers is that there is a gay scene in this burgeoning city.
Ever wonder what that good-looking person in the seat in front of you does for a living or where they’re from? A new app from Virgin America, called Here On Biz, will allow fliers to more easily connect with one another. As the world’s first in-flight social network, Virgin America hopes that the new app will help their frequent business travelers “network on the fly.” Before taking off, download it from the Apple Store and login with your LinkedIn account. Once on board, you can access Virgin’s fleet-wide Wi-Fi and use the app to see business professionals nearby who are interesting and chat with those they are connected to. The app provides the real time location of a user’s contacts through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and those in the user’s address book who use the app.