Is the Dominican Republic ready for its gay close-up? It’s a slow zoom, increasingly coming into focus.
Last month, the CHIC Punta Cana, the all-inclusive resort (or “all-exclusive” as the brand boasts) hosted the second annual Caribbean Pride. For one week, the expansive resort turns into an adult playground packed with pool parties, drag shows, culinary workshops, and a slew of fitness activities—all geared toward the LGBTQ traveler…
Learn more about Caribbean Pride and how the Dominican Republic is emerging as a gay travel destination, by reading the rest of my article, published in EDGE Media Network.
Want to hang on to summer just a little bit longer? Pride Season is not yet over!
This weekend IQ is heading to the powdery-soft beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for the second-annual (my first) Caribbean Pride. Held at the luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive CHIC Punta Cana over seven days packed with pool parties, beach parties, foam parties (yes, that’s still a thing apparently) and whatever kind of party you can imagine.
There will also be shows from beloved Toronto queen, Miss Conception, culinary classes, cocktail samplings and even a broad range of fitness activities for those who… do fitness activities while on an all-inclusive gay vacation.
Follow @travelingiq on Instagram to share in the festivities.
And visit CaribbeanPride.com for photos, event schedule and booking info.
There’s a gay-party-in-a-can giving us a rainbow of reasons to celebrate beyond Pride. This summer, House Wine is honoring LGBTQ equality with the Limited-Edition Rainbow Rosé Bubbles cans, available until August 31. The colorful cans are fantastic for summer day drinking. They are fruity and effervescent, just like you. And like you, they’re more than just pretty. Standing behind their “Everyone’s Welcome in Our House” motto, House Wine is donating $2 per case to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). So you have multiple reasons to drink up this summer.
The 375mL Limited-Edition Rainbow Rosé Bubbles cans are priced at $5.99/can and are equivalent to half a bottle of wine. They are available at wine stores throughout the country or you can order 6-packs from the online store.
I am very excited to join the Global Correspondents team at ManAboutWorld, a digital gay travel magazine available on iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
Curious to learn more? Enjoy a FREE trial subscription by clicking here.
And check back soon on TravelingIQ.com for upcoming collaborations.
The Mantamar Beach Club at the Almar Resort
The newest and only luxury beachfront LGBTQ hotel in Puerto Vallarta will make your tub bubbleth over. With hot tubs in 29 of its 78 suites; an infinity pool (featuring swim-up bar and more hot tubs) off the sands of Los Muertos Beach; member access to Mantamar Beach Club, the premier beach club in Zona Romantica; and a rooftop bar with heart-warming sunset views, drag shows and — yes, even more hot tubs — the Almar Resort is making sassy classy in Mexico’s favorite gay beach retreat…
Click here to read the full article published in EDGE.
A Perfect Day at the Almar Resort in Puerto Vallarta
I’ve recently had conversations with several gay men in their 20’s about the necessity, or lack thereof, of the “gay hotel.” First, I think it is truly amazing that many of our younger gay peers feel so completely comfortable in their skin in any surrounding. I think it is tangible evidence of progress. And one I celebrate—wholeheartedly—as I toast with my frozen cosmopolitan, pomegranate margarita or glass of crisp sauvignon blanc. But these conversations have made me examine why I personally am still drawn to the congregation of gay. Now, I love to travel often and on many different types of trips, frequented by many different types of people. And I don’t ever want that to change. But yet I find myself consistently drawn to the comradery of the gay hotel.
I’d guess this is greatly generational. Perhaps it’s the childhood years of being schooled in the appropriate ways boys gesture. Or the exhausting energy expended in youth hoping no one will figure you out. Or the many times you heard the f-word and continued walking pretending you weren’t the subject. And I am thrilled if kids these days don’t grow up with any of these same concerns. Because though I have never been targeted or mocked as a traveling adult, this well-adjusted gay New Yorker still can’t wait to return to Puerto Vallarta or Key West or Provincetown.
There is a world of difference between not feeling endangered and feeling truly welcome. I am so accustomed to my life in New York City, where I never worry about holding my boyfriend’s hand as we stroll through Hell’s Kitchen or fret if my shorts are the appropriate length on a hot, summer day (I’m bringing the 5” inseam back!). With so many elements of which to keep track on vacation—currency exchanges, language barriers, convoluted directions—watching yourself so you are not watched seems like wasted energy.
I prefer to spend that time meeting new friends—many of whom, especially now in the age of social media, will continue to be part of my life beyond my departure from the destination. I have been fortunate to share unforgettable moments with some pretty fantastic people who I may or may not ever see again. But if I ever visit their home cities, I guarantee you they will be my first call. Because they are now part of my community.
So, I will continue to travel everywhere and stay anywhere, but I will always have a soft spot for the gay hotel. And I hope all of our generations can join in the spirited, tipsy conversations which could never be replicated on an app or anywhere else, other than at that pool, with that fruity cocktail in hand, while blasting that Deborah Cox remix that will forever give us life.
There is more than one Queen in England.
And soon their histories will find national representation.
Queer Britain is working to establish the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum. With an anticipated opening in 2021, the brick- and-mortar museum will host permanent and temporary exhibits, with an innovative digital presence. It will feature objects and records from the worlds of art, fashion, film, literature, TV, theatre, news, music, diaries, letters, photographs and legal records.
According to London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, “As Mayor, it’s so important to me that London is seen as a city where LGBTQ+ people feel valued, happy and safe – this sends a clear message to the world that London is a beacon of diversity.”
Queer Britain hopes its museum extends beyond celebrating modern-day gay London and creates historical context. As its website further explains, “Many young people now have a strong sense of freedom about identity, but not how these were formed or the lives of those who came before them. A healthy plant needs deep roots.”
For more information, visit QueerBritain.org.uk.
IMAGES COURTESY OF BISHOPSGATE INSTITUTE / (CC) LSE / NAPOLEON SARONY / JANE MCCORMICK SMITH / BEX WADE / ROBERT TAYLOR (via Queer Britain)
© Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
On April 2-8, Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy will trade the snow for sand as a Grand Marshall of Miami Beach Gay Pride 2018.
The Sochi Silver Medalist, PyeongChang puppy-saver and Ricky Martin admirer (see photo below) will join musical guests, festive floats and 135,000 partiers for the week-long celebration.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Miami Beach Gay Pride shifts into party gear on Friday, April 6, with a VIP Gala at Faena Forum and Pride Kick-off Party at Basement in the Edition Hotel. On Saturday, the festivities move surf-side with the all-day Beach Party Festival, featuring DJ Yazz, DJ Dan Slater and a performance by Betty Who.
Starting Sunday at noon, the Pride Parade struts down Ocean Drive and keeps the party pumping past nightfall with music, fireworks and a headlining performance by perennial pop favorite, Taylor Dayne. For a view fit for a queen, reserve a table at the recently reopened Palace, alongside the Pride Parade route.
For more information and tickets, visit MiamiBeachGayPride.com.
For a preview of the festivities, check out the video below:
Filed under Events, Gay, U.S.A.
You are welcome here—no really, you are, we promise—has been the predominant U.S. travel campaign theme of 2017.
The travel industry has been working overtime to offset a negative international perception of the United States since the presidential election. Cities such as Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco (to name a few) have invested in various versions of “Welcome” campaigns. In February, Hyatt Hotels launched the “World of Hyatt” integrated marketing campaign during the Oscars® broadcast, with a video celebrating empathy and multiculturalism. In June, Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, announced their “One Big Welcome” strategy, using personalized video invitations from “real people” to attract potential visitors.
Unfortunately, the President’s “America First” political message is translating to “America Alone” when attracting international tourism. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1.3 million fewer foreigners visited the United States during the first half of 2017. The New York Times reported that European readers overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding travel to the United States. And last month, the National Brands Index, a global survey measuring perception of fifty nations, saw the U.S. drop from No. 1 to No. 6, in overall nation brand.
International travel is America’s number one service export, boasting an $87 billion international travel trade surplus last year. In an article in Worth, Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association writes, “The Trump administration has yet to convey a sustained message of welcome to international visitors. Long-term failure to do so will unnecessarily deter travelers, which could have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.”
While we wait….
Let’s take a look at a few of my favorite, inclusive travel campaigns of 2017:
Los Angeles: #EveryoneIsWelcome
Hyatt: “World of Hyatt”
San Francisco: #AlwaysWelcome
(Photo via NYCgo.com)