Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snowbirding to an anti-gay state

Join Travelpride and Be Part of the Most Exclusive All-Gay New Year's Celebration Ever...Finally, the answer for what to do for New Year's! Leave the chaos, crowds and cold weather behind and spend it in the company of 150 newfound friends in the warm Caribbean. Our holiday cruise will take you to some of the exclusive yachtsman's ports rarely experienced by the large mega-cruise ships.For the holidays we are going to be “snowbirds”. We are leaving the cool and wet Northwest and traveling to where it is warm and sunny (fingers crossed).
Christmas morning we fly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stay for several days at the gay resort Pineapple Point Guesthouse. We then fly to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and board the 150 guest “Wind Spirit” ship for a gay New Years cruise of the Caribbean.

This is my first visit to Florida and the Caribbean. When we planned the vacation almost a year ago, we talked about that both locations do not have gay friendly laws or supportive politics. The conditions in the Caribbean have been well documented in the travel press. Out Traveler describes the region as: “Generally speaking, the gay-friendliness of each Caribbean island is tied to cultural heritage, meaning French or Dutch equals friendly; Spanish less so; and British even less, though of course this is completely different in the United Kingdom itself.”

In the tradition of Old World Florida comes Pineapple Point Guesthouse. Situated in the heart of gay Fort Lauderdale, the Victoria Park neighborhood is within walking distance of vibrant Las Olas Boulevard, and central to the city’s wealth of gay bars, restaurants, and shopping.More troubling to me is Florida's anti-gay stance on adoption ban, marriage equality, safe schools, workplace anti-discrimination laws, and hate violence. Several times we have discussed the possibility of canceling our Florida trip. But we decided to go ahead with it. There are so many good and supportive people and places in Florida we felt it important to experience it first hand. However, until Florida changes its oppressive and hateful laws, we will not bring our kids to Florida. (No Disney World, Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens, etc.) We have heard and read of too many horror stories of GLBT families being treated as second class citizens by state and its institutions. Unfortunately, the laws and politics of Florida are anti-family, repressive, and cruel.

We will be back in early January 2008!


Jess said...

Hope you have a great and safe trip!

Anonymous said...

While I certainly respect your feelings about Florida's medievel attitude towards us LGBT folks, I wonder if you're cutting off your nose to spite your face? The only way gays will ever achieve equality in society is by being visible; it's much harder to demonize people who are your friends and neighbours, rather than strangers in some far off place like New York or San Francisco. I think this extends as well to business wants to offend potential customers and, if they start to realize that more and more of their customers are gay, chances are their business practices will chane to reflect that.

And, of course, Disney is well-known to be pretty supportive of their gay customers, as well as their gay employees.

The bottom line here is that Florida is not going to change on its own. We have to help...and sometimes helping means just showing up and being who we are.

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