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We skimmed the headline at first. "British tourist jailed for 'homosexual acts,'" it read. Our natural assumption was to think the person in question had been caught in public, in flagrante delicto, somewhere in the deep Middle East where any open expression of love is frowned upon, if not outright prohibited.
Alas, we did read the news, only to be shocked to discover that the destination imprisoning a 69-year-old retired Briton, who was arrested while waiting for a bus, is Morocco. The arrest happened in Marrakech, the most popular city with foreign tourists for its major transportation connections, excellent shopping, and historical sites.
Now that the man, Ray Cole, has been sentenced to four months in prison, cries for a boycott of tourism to Morocco are in full swing.
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It's already nearly mid-June and thus well into the season for donning some rainbow hues and head out in the the "wild pink yonder" to Gay Pride festivals all over the country. Even if the parades, floats, and glitter are not your thing, it's important to recognize that now is also the time travel companies market extra hard for your dollar.
Sure, it's simple to book a regular flight, train trip, or even cruise without having to proclaim your sexuality, but it's good to have options.
Here's your one-stop reference for websites of airlines, trains, and cruise lines specifically dedicated for the gay traveler:
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Is that a wrench in your pocket or are you just happy to see this airplane?
That's a question for the 12 men chosen to star in the newest naughty calendar from Thai budget airline Nok Air.
Just as they recently partnered up with Playboy Thailand for a 2014 calendar of ladies, so too has the low-cost carrier done a deal with gay lifestyle magazine Attitude to produce a 2014 calendar of hot men.
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"Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay." It's a cute slogan, and believe it or not it comes from the tourism board of Philadelphia, PA.
The words are backed up by a new commercial following the "selfie" antics around the city by drag queen Miss Richfield 1981, all with the aim of driving Gay Travel to Philly. So what's the big deal? Well, this is actually only the third commercial by a US destination focused on the LGBT audience, and yet here we are in 2013.
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Russia travel is a white-hot topic as of late, after the nation's government outlawed any type of gay "propaganda." We've talked about the warnings for any LGBT travelers visiting the country in the coming months, even leading up to the this Winter's Olympic games in Sochi. As you can imagine, the debate is only gaining momentum as some celebs throw their weight behind a boycott.
While we aren't going to get into the back-and-forth of celebrities flexing their political muscle, we do understand they are allowed to voice a personal stance on the topic.
Shortly after the law passed, Tilda Swinton snapped some pics of her holding a rainbow flag in the Russian capital in an act of political defiance, but she's not the only celebrity to stand up for equal rights. This week, Bravo exec Andy Cohen announced that he will be turning down the Miss Universe hosting gig this year because it will be in Moscow and, as a gay man, he wouldn't feel right about "stepping foot into Russia."
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The island nation of New Zealand Travel may have become one of the newest countries to extend marriages to same-sex couples and now the national airline has gotten in on the fun. The creative Kiwis at Air New Zealand have come up with a fabulous new way to celebrate the passing of the country's marriage equality law allowing same-sex couples to say their "I dos" in a memorable way.
Last week, the airline announced they will host a contest for gay couples to vie for the chance to wed at 30,000 feet onboard a flight from Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island to the North Island's Auckland.
Similar to contest run by SAS a few years ago, the lucky couple will get to tie the knot in the air and, just like the Scandinavian equivalent, Air NZ will set aside some seats for the winner's families to witness the nuptials. Along with memorable matrimony, the winners will also jet off to Palm Springs for a honeymoon to escape the Southern Hemisphere winter.
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With plenty of victories on the same-sex marriage front on our own shores and now the UK getting one step closer to full recognition, it's easy to get caught up in the jubilation that is progress. One country that standing in the way of such celebrations, however, would be Russia. Recently President Putin signed new laws onto the books prohibiting the spread of any type of "gay propaganda."
What can this mean for foreign LGBT nationals traveling to the country to get some snaps of the Saint Basil's Cathedral or even heading to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi? In short, we would recommend to watching your back and being more vigilant than what western Europe travel would require. Since bad things can happen to good people regardless of sexual orientation, here are a few tips to ensure your safety if traveling abroad:
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Now that we've shared all of the over-the-top festivities celebrating all things LGBT in North America, we can now profile the hottest international Gay Pride parties. If you are looking to get a few more passport stamps while still letting your rainbow shine, this is when you'll want to be paying attention.
Here are our picks of the must-do LGBT celebrations all throughout the Summer and, fortunately, a few more that extend well into autumn:
"Airplane!" the movie debuted in 1980. That means it's been a good 33 years since the world has had another good comedic film (let's not talk about 'Airplane! 2') which takes place mostly on an airplane, despite all the changes to air travel over those decades which have been ripe for parody.
Waitwe take that back. There has been one other comedy set onboard an airplane in recent yearsSoul Planebut a purple jumbo jet on spinners with Snoop Dogg in the captain's seat meant a very loose interpretation of...well, everything.
Solving this problem is Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almódovar, with his new "very light comedy," I'm So Excited.
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June not only marks the first full month of Summer, but it's also the month that many cities hang the rainbow bunting and celebrate their LGBT community. By the amount of marriage equality news already happening this year, 2013 is the best year yet to be out and proud.
Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit and Washington D.C may still be nursing their glitter hangovers from last weekend's celebrations, but we're looking forward to the rest of summer 2013's gay pride parades and events:
During a recent stay at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, we mentioned to a local how we were looking to explore the local nightlife scene. He rattled off a few nearby bars, none of them too appealing, and then casually mentioned a male strip club about five miles away in North Miami Beach.
He even had a car, he said, and could give us a ride.
Four hours later, we were zipping down Biscayne Boulevard on our way to Swinging Richards.
In just the last year, America has made some great strides in LGBT communities with the advancement of multiple states' marriage equality laws and the 'Big O' announcing his support for all gay Americans. Now it's the State Department's turn to get in on the gay ol' fun.
When it comes to gay rights, there are places way better at it than the USwe're looking at you Tel Avivand on the flip side, there are nations who fail miserably. The folks we elected into office have opened up an info portal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers to visit, to ensure that international travels are smooth.