Berlin’s Openly Gay Mayor Steps Down After Airport Fiasco

August 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Klaus Wowereit. Image via Facebook.

Klaus Wowereit. Image via Facebook.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, has stepped down after 13 years in office. The mayor, who was one of the first openly gay officials elected, has seen his support crash land after years of delays and skyrocketing costs from the city’s long-planned Berlin Brandenburg Airport. In stepping down, Wowereit called the project his “greatest defeat.”

From Slate:

“I’m gay, and that’s OK,” Wowereit said before his election in 2001. In fact, for Berlin, it was more than OK. Since Wowereit first took office, Berlin, “poor but sexy” (his 2003 quip and the city’s unofficial slogan), has transformed. In 2006, it was likened by the New York Times to “New York City in the 1980s,” in that “[r]ents are cheap, graffiti is everywhere and the city crackles with a creativity that comes only from a city in transformation.” More than 150,000 jobs have been created since 2005, with start-up firms being drawn to the city like tourists to—well, to Berlin since Wowereit took office.

 

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Business Profile: The Burba Hotel Network

August 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Burba, Hayes, Scott Nevins. Image via Passport.

Burba, Hayes, Scott Nevins. Image via Passport.

It’s been more than 23 years since Jim Burba and Bob Hayes met one enchanting night at a black-tie gala for The Center OC (The Orange County, California gay and lesbian center) held at the Disneyland Hotel. Both were quite the socialites back then (and still are today). Jim was with John Duran, former mayor and current West Hollywood City Council member, while Bob accompanied the gala chairman. If you know Jim and Bob, you wouldn’t be surprised that Bob, the more social of the two, made the first pass at Jim, who, according to the couple, “rebuffed him.”

“I was surprised,” says Bob. “His friends told him I was cute and so he should ‘go for it.’” Despite the rejection, Jim did end up getting Bob’s number and called him the next day. This fateful meeting made history not only as a romantic gay love story, but also because it was the beginning of the successful Burba Hotel Network.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine.

 

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9th Circuit Court to Hear Gay Marriage Arguments for Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii

August 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport.

Image via Passport.

On September 8th the 9th Circuit Court will hear oral arguments beginning at the James R Browning US Courthouse, 95 7th Street, San Francisco. The arguments concern laws banning marriage equality in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii. This announcement comes just days after the 7th Circuit Court agreed to hear cases concerning Indiana and Wisconsin. Since the Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, the Seventh, Sixth, Tenth, and Fourth Circuits have heard oral arguments in marriage equality cases. The Tenth Circuit issued rulings on June 25th and July 17th in cases from Utah and Oklahoma. The Fourth Circuit issued a ruling on July 28th in a case from Virginia. All three decisions held that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.

For the law school-inclined we have more details about who is representing whom after the jump…

Read more…

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Chile Welcomes Country’s First Openly Gay Service Member

August 28th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Mauricio Ruiz has made history in the South American country after he announced during a news conference that he is gay. The 24-year-old is now the first openly gay service member in the Chile, and he said the decision has “not been easy,” but he hopes that by coming he help fight discrimination in the country. The armed forces completely has his back and Ruiz made it clear to all LGBT people in the southwestern country that there is “no reason to hide.” “We can do anything, be marines or in any branch (of the military). We can do whatever profession, and we deserve as much respect as anyone else,” he told reporters. “In life there’s nothing better than to be yourself, to be authentic, to look at people in the eye and for those people to know who you are.” [BBC]

Currently gay marriage is not legal in Chile, but it has the full backing of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

 

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PASSPORT Concierge: Hiram L. Cabral, W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island

August 27th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Since childhood Hiram L. Cabral has been passionate about art and design, and what started as a hobby eventually became his college career. He studied audio/video technology and communication, specializing in graphic design. While waiting tables at a restaurant for six years during college (moving between the main island of Puerto Rico and Vieques every week), a golden opportunity presented itself when he landed his dream job: a W Insider at W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, one of the most design-centric resorts in the country.

“My experience in the restaurant industry and my studies in design and communication ultimately mapped out my future at W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island,” says Cabral. “I knew immediately that I identified with the brand’s interest in art, fashion, and pop culture, all of which were reinforced by my past experience in the hospitality industry.”

Born and raised on Vieques, Cabral couldn’t have found a better work environment: W Vieques is one of the most gay-friendly resorts on the island. As an openly gay W Insider at the W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, Hiram represents the energy of the hotel that embraces the LGBT community.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online. 

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Man Who Flew to the Wrong Grenada (or is it Granada?) Loses Court Case

August 27th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

You may remember the story of Dr. Edward Gamson. He was the one who booked his flight by phone to the Caribbean Island of Grenada instead of Granada, Spain. He wasn’t completely in the dark about his blunder, as when he noticed the plane was heading west instead of east after a layover in London, he immediately asked the flight attendant. But even though British Airways offered new “free of charge” flights for him and his travel companion, plus 50,000 miles, Gamson said that the cost of the mix-up cost him over $34,000. Unfortunately, the judge didn’t see it Gamson’s way and immediately dismissed the case. 

 

 

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‘Dr. Who’ Lesbian Kiss Causes Controversy

August 27th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Screen Cap via BBC

Screen Cap via BBC

A groundbreaking, sci-fi lesbian kiss on the long-running Doctor Who has caused controversy for the BBC. OfCom (the UK’s Office of Communications) logged complaints after a lizard woman named Madame Vastra gave a big-ole’ smooch to her human wife Jenny Flint. According to the Independent: “The moment came about when Jenny holds her breath to escape clockwork droids who can sense humans by their exhalations. As she struggles to breathe, Madame Vastra helps keep her alive with her own oxygen.” While the two have been together in the show for three years, this was their first on-screen kiss, which had some of the seven million viewers claiming the show now has a “blatant gay agenda.”

 

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Transgender-Focused Children’s Book Sheds Light on These Special Young People

August 27th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Dial.

Image via Dial.

“From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body,” a new picture book that explores a transgender child’s story reads. Based on the real-life story of Jazz Jennings, the O Network put Jazz in the spotlight as a transgender girl. The book continues: “She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.”

The book, written by Jessica Herthel is the director of the Stonewall National Education Project and Jazz, is set to be release on September 4. 

 

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Flight Fight…Over Legroom!

August 26th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Knee Defender

Image via Knee Defender

Next time you decide to take drastic measures over a bit of legroom, you may want to think again. An airplane from Newark, New Jersey, bound to Denver, was diverted after two passengers got into a heated debate over legroom. One passenger decided to bring aboard a travel gadget called the Knee Defender—a gadget that prevents the person in front from reclining—and the result was a sky-high blow up when a female passenger alerted a flight attendant of the device that’s illegal to use on all major US carriers. When the man refused to cooperate, the woman threw a cup of water. While details of the exact incident have been kept under wrap, the argument got heated enough that the plane was forced to divert to Chicago where the two were taken off the plane. The only statement from the airline read: “United flight 1462, a Boeing 737 aircraft en route from Newark to Denver, diverted to Chicago O’Hare after a disturbance involving two passengers. Authorities met the aircraft, removed the two passengers and the flight continued to Denver shortly afterwards. We do not allow customers to use devices that prevent seats from reclining.”

 

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Gay Travel: World Eats, New York City

August 26th, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Beauty and Essex. Image via Passport

Beauty and Essex. Image via Passport

by Amy Nordrum and Joseph Pedro

No matter where you live, it’s worth visiting New York City at least once a year if only to be able to talk about the newest restaurants and hottest food trends from experience. It really makes no difference whether you long for New York street food or prefer to chase down Michelin stars. Though classic New York staples like bagels as big as your head and dollar-a-slice pizza are here to stay, much of the flavor of New York comes from the rotating cast of characters who are constantly reinventing the city’s cuisine. The choices here highlight some of the city’s most exciting and creative chefs, as well as the meticulously prepared dishes served by the world’s most venerable restaurateurs.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…

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