BY OUTTRAVELER EDITORS
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Spartacus International, the world’s premier Gay travel guide, rated the Scandinavian country of Sweden as the most gay friendly country for tourists in the world last week. Spartacus International, ranked 128 countries according to their laws and customs, with each nation scored across a board of 14 categories.
“In the new Gay Travel Index we include factors other than the current legal position for homosexuals”, said Spartacus editor-in-chief Briand Bedford. These factors are for example the state of gay marriage and adoption or the entry restrictions for HIV-positive people as well as religious influence on governments, the ban of Pride parades and specific marketing activities for gay and lesbian tourists.”
Second place went to Belgium, and third place to France. South Africa only managed 28th place among the 128 countries rated this year. Down from the 20th position we held last year. Russia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates were named amongst the least gay friendly countries for gay tourists.
BY ANDREW VILLAGOMEZ
The Foundation’s first educational symposium earlier this month brought together over 80 individuals from tourism boards, media, government, and charitable organizations to discuss LGBT travel with panels on global tourism trends, destination marketing, and its travel coverage in media. The discussion porition was followed with a networking reception to start having connections form to further build those bridges between communities. It was a successful first step for the Foundation, but we were interested to find out what else it has planned in the coming year and how will it achieve its goals. Charlie Rounds, IGLTA Foundation board chair and managing director of Brand g Vacations, answered some of our questions.
Out: What in today’s travel industry and culture brought upon the Foundation?
It really is about using the power of travel to help not only enhance the LGBT travel experience, but also the local LGBT communities where travelers are going. For example in Chicago at our annual convention, we will offer all of the participants to meet the local LGBT community by joining and participating in volunteer projects. Everyone wins—the traveler gets to see part of Chicago she normally would not, gets to meet the local LGBT community, and feels good that Chicago is a better place because of her work. We hope to do that annually and help organize smaller versions globally.
Also, sustainability is a key trend in the travel industry, so another goal was for us to help local LGBT travel companies benefit from LGBT tourism. Our scholarship and mentor programs should do that.
With the main goal to build bridges with communities worldwide, what global communities does the Foundation think will most benefit from it and which of communities currently need these bridges most?
I think a good example is Prague. Prague Pride was represented at the first symposium and did an exceptional job explaining how [it is being used] to both help the local LGBT community [and increase] tourism to the Czech Republic. Buenos Aires did a great job of using the travel community to raise funds for a local children’s hospital.
Looking forward, Vietnam is considering legalizing gay marriage, so how can we work with all of the LGBT travel companies that are organizing travel there to help. Lastly, the Winter Olympics of 2014 are in Sochi, Russia. How can the global LGBT travel community start the discussion as to how the new Russian anti-LGBT laws will affect not only the travelers, but the athletes and their families as well?
How do online resources and social media impact LGBT travel today?
They are a vital source of information for our guests to have a better travel experience. So not only can we learn if the pillows are properly fluffed and the room clean, but also if the destination is safe and welcoming, from both official sources, as well as peer reviews that may be more trusted. Many LGBT people globally are not out, and online will continue to be their safest method of obtaining the most relevant information.
Lastly, in a culture where gay and lesbian seems to be becoming more mainstream why should we still consider an LGBT traveler specifically?
Great question, but the reality is there is a huge trend in modern travel towards “identifiable community” travel. For example, Blues, Jazz, and Rock cruises. Vacations for liberals, conservatives, photographers, needle pointers, vegetarians, yoga and most types of fitness, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, alumni from a specific school – these are all growing markets. So one year we may go on a bird watching trip, the next year the Harvard University Alumni trip to Peru, and finally in year three an all LGBT vacation – all because they are part of who we are.
BY MICHELLE GARCIA
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos is working to ensure visitors to his city will land in Harvey Milk International Airport.
The openly gay supervisor will introduce legislation Tuesday to change the name of San Francisco International Airport to honor the late city supervisor and LGBT rights icon Harvey Milk. Campos will need the support of five other supervisors to get the proposition on the city’s ballot in November. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there were already four other co-sponsors, including out supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the same area that Milk did in the 1970s.
SFO would become the first airport named after an openly gay person. Currently, about 80 of America’s airports are named after famous people.
While it will cost an estimated $50,000-$250,000 to make the change official, Campos said there may be enough private donations to help float the cost.
Stuart Milk, the nephew of the late supervisor, said this change will have “huge implications” for the 9 million international visitors coming from countries around the world — specifically countries where attitudes toward LGBT citizens are harsh or worse.
“To be in Dubai, and see on the board a flight that ends at Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport, or to be a young Pakistani, in a country where it is illegal to be gay, look up and see the name of a gay icon and feel, ‘I am not alone.’”
TSA recognizes the concerns members of the transgender community may have with undergoing the security screening process at our Nation’s airports and is committed to conducting screening in a dignified and respectful manner. These travel tips will explain the various screening processes and technologies travelers may encounter at security checkpoints.
THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — There’s no doubt the TSA has been the ire of plane travelers in the United States, especially transgender ones. In the early days of the program, trans people were getting “outed” unintentionally (perhaps sometimes even deliberately). Then, contact with the TSA proved to be intrusive and embarrassing. Understandably, many choose not to fly for that reason alone.
The program has been around for a while now, so certainly some progress has been made, not just for trans people, but for the entire flying public. However, in a recent matter not directly related to the TSA, trans people still had harsh words for the TSA.
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Scanners will display prosthetics and identify transgender travellers. This article is based out of Australia and I’m unsure where these more detailed scanners will be placed, but this is something to be aware of. It appears if you have implants, those won’t be detectable, but if you are wearing packers or breast prosthetics, those will be seen and can lead to further pat downs.
The National Center for Transgender Equality has a guide for transgender individuals traveling by air for those that are worried. I can say that I fly on average two times per month and have not run into any problems with my implants thus far.
“Female opt-out!” The cry was volleyed around the Detroit Airport security screening area like a hot potato dressed with derision, topped with shame. This is the technique employed by our U.S. Transportation Security Administration at the entry point to American air travel, where I often feel my stomach tighten at the sight of the Total-Recall, Martian-prison-camp-like body scanners used in the name of security. That is, instead of in the name of the security-industrial complex that it really is.
“TSA Travel Document Checkers will check to ensure that information on your ID matches your boarding pass, however it does not matter whether your current gender presentation matches the gender marker on your ID or your presentation in your ID photo, and TSA officers should not comment on this.”
Miami Beach, for years the destination of choice for LGBT travelers looking for a community that welcomes them without reservation, is going the extra step this fall in reaching out to LGBT visitors. The Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) and the LGBT Visitor Center on Miami Beach are announcing the launch of the Pink Flamingo Hospitality Program on September 28th.
The Pink Flamingo Hospitality Program will be conducted by MDGLCC partner, YES Institute, the industry source for knowledge on gender and orientation. YES institute will provide one-hour educational workshops for hoteliers that address fears and misinformation that lead to discrimination by using a unique discussion method designed to turn “us vs. them” into just “us,” so no one is seen as an outsider.
“The goal of this program is to let our gay travelers feel just like any other tourists who stay on the beach,” said Steve Adkins, president, Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t just want them to feel welcome, we want them to feel like they can act the way they do when at home.”
Figures as of 2004 [via]
I hate using 6 year old figures, but I couldn’t find any newer ones on the same topic.