07 APR 2016: March was a relatively quiet month for LGBT travel news items. Well, unless we look at all the ruckus going on south of the border once again. State after state is introducing new “religious freedom” bills that could possibly lead to discrimination toward individuals based on sexuality and gender.

Look on the map and locate Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Mississippi, and that will give potential LGBT travellers an indication as to where they may want to think twice about visiting. Rainbow Roundup has done a special report on this trend, speaking with tourism officials in a couple of these states, which you can read here.

All is not all doom and gloom however, and we also have some upcoming event listings where you may want to consider travelling to south of our border. As well, here are a few headlines that perhaps may influence your decision as to where to travel to and where to spend your money.

North America

With all the “religious freedom” rhetoric going around in the southern United States, who would have thought that Buffalo, New York would be labelled the most homophobic city in the country. Apparently that’s the case according to an article in the Buffalo News that based its analysis on a report released by apartment renting website Abodo on the number of derogatory tweets toward the LGBT population.

The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has approved an order applicable to all City buildings that allows transgendered individuals to use the washroom of choice by the gender they identify with.

According to a federal judge, the US Supreme Court’s marriage equality legislation doesn’t need to be adhered to in Puerto Rico, as it’s officially an unincorporated territory and not the functional equivalent of a state.

So, while same-sex marriage may now be considered banned again in Puerto Rico, there are many couples who have been married since the ruling last year, so it seems there will be a bit of back and forth in the court system on this one. Puerto Rico’s Governor García Padilla stated he would support the supreme court’s decision over the judges.

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has named lesbian-owned California-based Equator Coffees and Teas the award winners for the state’s Small Business of the Year. It’s the first time ever an LGBT business has won this award. So if you’re planning a visit to California, stop by for a beverage and let them know Travel Industry Today sent you.

Europe

The European Union has drafted an agreement that would prohibit discrimination and promote awareness of the LGBT community throughout, with all countries in compliance except Hungary.

It is now legal for same-sex couples to tie the knot on Greenland. LGBT individuals can now marry civilly or religiously.

The Dutch city of Utrecht has joined other European cities by installing two sets of ‘gay’ traffic lights, featuring same-sex couples holding hands. Utrecht was also the first city in the Netherlands to have a rainbow cross walk.

Sweden is issuing LGBT themed rainbow stamps in celebration of Pride across the country. Post Nord spokesperson Per Ljungberg emphasized this was to show support for all citizens to be treated equal. Ljungberg stated, “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the Pride Flag has been reproduced on a stamp – which makes it particularly gratifying that people will now be able to send affectionate greetings with the Pride Flag stamp to all corners of the world.”

Latin America

Argentina joined the U.S. Global Equality Fund  to recognize global LGBT rights, joining other Latin American countries of Uruguay and Chile. Argentina was the first to legalize same-sex marriage in the region as well.

The Azuay province in Ecuador voted in favour of recognizing same-sex civil unions, however as a “symbolic gesture” only. Currently only three South American countries have equal marriage: Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

Caribbean

The Jamaican government is considering a ‘referendum’ on the country’s anti-gay law, although it is widely known that the country has strong opposition towards homosexuality, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The Dominican Republic now has its own LGBT Chamber of Commerce, albeit one that was put in place by the United States Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The announcement was made at the annual LGBT Summit of the Americas, attended by many dignitaries including James Brewster, the open gay and married D.R. Ambassador to the United States, who stated tourism may benefit from this initiative.

Events

If you’re planning a journey abroad, here are a few upcoming travel suggestions.

The UK’s Stonewall organization is looking for participants to join their team at a couple fundraising events this month. First is the Brighton Marathon which takes place April 15 to 17, 2016, and the second is the London Marathon  happening April 24, 2016. Run for a good cause, and help provide support against bullying of young LGBT individuals.

Puerto Vallarta Pride celebrations take place May 16 to 30, 2016, and are the largest in Mexico.

This year is especially significant with the recent legalization of same-sex marriages in the state of Jalisco. There are also many new LGBT owned/friendly places that have recently opened, included the new renovated boutique property Casa Kimberly, well known as the vacation villa of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

The Almar Resort and Suites also recently opened, as well as Garlands Del Rio B&B. Also, there are new bars and clubs, and even a dedicated LGBT concierge service. A listing of Pride events can be found here - vallartapride.com/en/events

Transgender Vacations has announced that the world’s first “All Transgender, Cross-Dresser & Friends” cruise will sail down the Danube River this October, passing through Germany, Austria and Hungary. An onboard programme will feature motivational talks and workshops delivered by celebrities and industry leaders from the transgender community including Kellie Maloney, Sophie Cook, and Alexis Dee.

World OutGames IV  are being held in Miami 2017, and registration is now open. This 10-day international event takes place May 26 through June 4, 2017, and will include more than 450 events that spotlight Sport, Culture and Human Rights.

Registration is also open for the 12th annual NLGJA National Convention and LGBT Media Summit taking place September 8 to 11, 2016 also in Miami. The event attracts more than 350 journalists, news executives, communications professionals, and educators

Atlantis Cruises turns 25 this year. There’s still time to get onboard the largest all-gay cruise of the year to celebrate Atlantis’ 25th Anniversary, with an epic experience on the new Anthem of the Seas. May 21 to 28, 2016. The 7-day cruise sails from New York City and back, with stops in Florida and the Bahamas.

Finally, Antarctica has become the world’s first LGBT friendly continent in the world. Well, at least according to the advocacy group Planting Peace who recently travelled across the continent carrying a Pride flag to show support for LGBT rights, both in Antarctica and globally.

Safe travels, wherever your adventure may take you!


Read our report on The Impact of Religous Freedom laws on travel.

 

 

 

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