other-side-of-rainbow-lgbt-movie

I just learned about this Berlin documentary called The Other Side of the Rainbow. The film is currently in post-production but requires a small amount of additional funding to be completed. Read the information below from Director/Producer Thomas Bartels: Continue reading

VB-00039545-001

With the UK’s summer schedule pretty busy with the Jubilee and the Olympics, it seems all of that wasn’t enough. London is also reaching the global spotlight with World Pride 2012 in Soho. Outside of the capital, Brighton & Hove’s own Pride festival celebrates 20 years of championing the gay community in 2012. Check out all the details about England’s summer of gay pride below: Continue reading

air-new-zealand-onboard-video

Growing up in an airline family, I’m always a sucker for the on-board entertainment.

Ed O’Neill (Modern Family, Married with Children) and Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men, Up in the Air) walk you through the dos and don’ts of safety on-board Air New Zealand. They’re also joined by a host of other big name celebrities from all over the globe. See how many you can pick out, then head to the Air New Zealand channel pageto see behind the scenes shots and a collection of other award winning safety videos.

 

gay-nightlife-in-europe

The following is a guest post from Adrian H.

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2011 - 2

It’s a stark contrast to what the situation was like a few decades ago, or even a few years ago. Today, gay travellers who want to travel across Europe have plenty of choice to have good time without the discrimination. Several major cities across Europe have thriving party scenes for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. A gay-friendly city with a fantastic nightlife experience is just a flight away!

Berlin, Germany

Despite the past, contemporary Berlin is both tolerant and welcoming of the LGBT community. Today, the gay and lesbian lifestyle is widely accepted and there are several pro-gay establishments that can make the tourist feel comfortable. Berlin is one of the few major cities to have elected a mayor who was gay, and made no bones about it. In 2001, before the elections, mayoral aspirant Klaus Wowereit stated proudly, “I’m gay, and that’s a good thing.” His subsequent election proves that the city has no bias. The city’s districts of Schoneberg, Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Tiergarten have several pubs, bars, cafes and discos dedicated to the gay lifestyle.

Orgullo gay Madrid 2008 14

Madrid, Spain

Madrid is fast emerging as one of the top gay tourist destinations in Europe. Inexpensive airlines fly daily to Madrid from most international cities and with one of the busiest and bustling gay nightlife in Europe, it makes it an ideal destination to explore gay and Latin culture. The Chueca district, just off the city centre, has the highest concentration of gay bars and discos, and is very popular with tourists. Gay tourists can choose from a variety of options including chill bars, flamenco bars, leather bars, drag bars and other themed bars. Several of these establishments mark themselves as gay-friendly with the rainbow flag. Lesbians can find many entertainment options and company in the Lavapies area. The Cava Baja Street and La Latina areas have fewer gay party-goers, but the people there are open and welcoming.

Amsterdam, Holland

The city of Amsterdam is known to be very broadminded, but look for no further proof of the fact that it’s gay-friendly: the local government recently launched a micro-website that was called ‘Everyone’s gay in Amsterdam.’ This website is perhaps the first-ever official record of gay-friendly places in any city. The city also has a Gay Tourist Information Centre, dedicated to lesbian, gay and transgender tourists. Offline, gay tourists can find much of interest in the districts close to the city centre, a huge cluster of which is located near the Reguliersdwarsstraat, just off Rembrandtplein. The nightlife of this city is busy and happening; though there are several dedicated gay bars, gay tourists may find it worth their time to visit others as well, where there are no biases or discrimination.

London, United Kingdom

London has been an important cultural and commercial city in Europe. Now, it’s leading the way by being a gay-friendly city too. London is said to have the most vibrant gay community in Europe, and the highest number of gay residents on the continent. A very active community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has developed in the busy SoHo area. The city has special gay tourist offices for information on hotels, maps, guides and even charities. The city has several events catering specially to the LGBT community, and the choices are astounding: from gay parties to amateur strip contests, from special spots for no-shirt partygoers to drag comedy shows. London’s got everything, and it’s served with style! Cafes, bars, shopping centres, pubs and themed restaurants leave the gay tourist with too much choice and too little time to enjoy all of them.

donatella-nyc-icecream

Pride NYC 2012 is fast approaching and Donatella’s rainbow cookie gelato sandwich is the perfect way to celebrate! Sandwiched between two hand-layered classic rainbow cookies is executive pastry chef Andrea Jarosh‘s creamy house made vanilla gelato. During Pride Week, customers can, as usual, order it from the menu, but the Chelsea favorite will also be offering the tasty treat to go ($4 each) as well as giving folks the option of pre-ordering a tray or two for any at-home celebrations they might be hosting

Sahara desert

This a guest post from Brian Ryden. Learn how you can contribute to My Gay Travel Guide here.

Sahara desert

I remembered my time in Liberia working in the Rubber Plantations for Firestone. I had just graduated from college, it was two months after my father died and I found myself thousands of miles away from home among a people I never imagined…but ones I grew to love quickly.

I remember times down in the camps on evenings or even Sunday’s sometimes. I would walk past a building that they were using for a meeting house and I would hear these people inside singing their hearts out praising God. This was a few years before I had my own Christian experience so I did not understand it as I should have, but I still knew that something magical was happening inside. But I was on the outside and even a little scared about thinking what was going on. I left Liberia a few months later, before the country descended into decades of hell. How often I think of those people I left back there. Sometimes I wonder if they made it through, but for these questions there are no answers.

Playing tourist in Dakar

When I left I was flying to New York and when we got to Dakar in the Senegal I decided to get off the plane and play the tourist. It was a special time for tourists then and I did not need a visa so I was able to get one at the airport and stay on. I went downtown and checked into a hotel and spent a few days looking around and enjoying the city. I remember one night I ran into this girl, she was a missionary on her way to what was then Upper Volta. She and I rented a taxi for the night and had him take us all over; it was a grand time.

Then I got the crazy idea of going back to Liberia. I heard there was a train that went to Bamako in Mali and I thought if I took that I could catch a bus to the Ivory Coast and then a flight from there to Liberia. I remember running around Dakar looking for the American Embassy. I could not find it for anything. Finally someone told me to ask for the Embassy Etat Unite or something like that. I went back down to the taxi driver and told him and he said a-ha!, he took me to this building and pointed up, it was on the seventh floor and naturally no elevators. But I had found it.

I told them I was looking for the train station. I had done everything trying to explain to the driver where I wanted to go, I did the Choo Choo thing, trying to imitate the sounds of the train. The people at the Embassy said I wanted the station for the blah blah, I can’t remember the word now. And the taxi driver said a-ha!, and knew what I wanted and took me there.

I arrived and thought I would save some money and bought a second class ticket to Bamako. I proceeded to the train and when I got there I looked at the second class cars and said I don’t think so. It was not much better than a cattle car with benches. I went back in and changed my ticket to a first class ticket. I did not realize until it was too late that they sold twice as many tickets in first class as there were seats in the car. It was a mess.

Train ride to Bamako

I ended up for two days sitting on the part of the cars that was actually between it and the car in front of it. At night I would sleep under the bar in the ‘entertainment’ car. It was horrible, but you know what, I would love to live that trip over again.

We got into Bamako and I realized one of the great truths of Saharan cities at that time: you could smell them before you could see them. About twenty miles before we got to Bamako I could smell it.

When we arrived I proceeded to check into a hotel for a few days. But guess what, I was broke. I had money back in the States but my pocket money was all gone…I had used it all. I knew I would have to go to the Embassy and find a way to send for money the next day. But something so serendipitous happened that morning at breakfast.

It’s a small world

There was only one other ‘white’ couple in the restaurant; translate that as people who spoke English. And of all things they were not only from Pennsylvania, where I was from, they were from Erie where I was from. They were from the part of town near where my parents lived, they even knew the street and to top it off they were good friends with my high school Chemistry teacher. It is indeed a small world.

I took the chance and asked them if they could cash a check for me. I figured forty dollars would get me to the coast where I could catch a plane back to Liberia. It would be a three-day trip by whatever transportation I could find. I went to the area of town where all the buses gathered. I found the area where the buses were leaving for the Ivory Coast and made a deal with the driver to take me for fifteen what were then Central African Francs. I went out to the bus; it was really a converted truck with a big box attached. I looked in and saw all kinds of people, babies, chickens, goats and other critters. I swallowed hard and went back to the driver. I asked him if I paid an extra five CFA’s could I sit up in front with him. The language barriers were enormous but after about twenty minutes of back and forth it was agreed.

Bus ride through Central Africa

I took my seat in the middle, and beside me on one side was the driver and on the other side was a guy with a machine gun—he was the guard I guess. It was funny I didn’t even hesitate; today I would think I was crazy to do such a trip. But then I was young and stupid.

On the first day I was so surprised when the vehicle would stop and everyone would pile out and get out their prayer rugs and do their daily prayers. It was my first real exposure to the Muslim faith. I did not speak French or Mandingo, the Central African dialect, but we managed to communicate.

On the evening of the second night we were traveling along a dirt highway and all of a sudden the vehicle pulled up to this river bank and stopped, It was totally dark and nothing, you could see nothing. It was the first and only time I was apprehensive and had a bit of fear for my safety. The driver honked his horn and flashed his lights and in a few minutes I saw some flashlights across the river. Shortly then a ferry came across, it was pulling itself with a rope that was strung across the river. We proceeded to put the bus on the ferry and pulled ourselves across the river. In many ways I was glad it was dark, if I could see clearly what was probably in the river and the condition of the ferry I would have really had second thoughts.

Well we got across and it was a signal to the town to have a party. At three in the morning everyone came out and made a grand old time. The only food at that time of the day was coffee with bread and butter but I liked it. These little kids would come up to me and rub my arms, I don’t know if they were seeing if they could rub the white off or they had never been exposed much to foreigners. But it was fun. After an hour we gathered everyone up and headed south towards the coast.

Plane back to Liberia

I knew there was a plane that would be leaving Abidjan for Monrovia that day at four. It would be the only plane that week. We got into town at five so I knew I would be stuck. I checked into a hotel, but something made me call the airport to double check. It turned out that the plane had problems with a door and was five hours late. By that time I was out of funds again and knew if I could not get some quick from the states I would be there for another week.

I was working for Firestone then; it was in my passport. I went to the Firestone dealer in the city and proceeded to borrow eighty dollars from them to cover a plane ticket and some clothes. My clothes by this time were so dusty and dirty, you would not believe. This money was repaid to them when I returned to the States. I found out after I bought my ticket that I really only had enough for a shirt. So I bought a new shirt and cut my pant legs off as high as I could and still be proper. I got on the plane and took a seat in the absolute rear of the plane. It was a dinner flight and the stewardess handed me my dinner and gave me this look of disgust I still remember. I was such a vagabond.

I arrived at Monrovia and proceeded to find some friends, spent a few weeks and then really went home. But the story is not over yet.

Two years later…

Two years after I returned, I was going through one of the drive up tellers at the bank. I handed him my check to cash and he looked at my name and exclaimed. ‘You are the guy who sent us a check from Africa written on a napkin’! My mouth dropped and I said yes, and asked how he knew. He said that the bank saved that check and they use it at their training sessions to demonstrate all the strange things that can happen at the bank. I knew that as long as I had the right numbers that the check—a napkin—would be honored, and it was. I also knew one of the banks Vice Presidents and gave the name to the people just in case.

So that is my story of my travels through the southern Sahara and then on to the coast. It is amazing that I have such good memories. But you know what is funny? In all those days of travel I don’t remember once using a bathroom. I know the mind is good at erasing bad memories, and maybe that is what is happening now…I’ve used bathrooms in sixteen countries, but I can’t remember any from Central Africa. Go figure.

bnr

About Brian

Brian Nelson Ryden is a writer that lives in Yuma, Arizona. He was lucky enough to start traveling at a very early age with his parents’ blessings & cautions. He hasn’t stopped traveling since then: “I am a risk taker, with the scars to prove it”

Check out Brian’s blog –> Ryden’s Guide to Grace

photo via tonynetone

bologna_pride_2012-1

I escaped Rimini for the day this past weekend and headed to Bologna to check out their annual LGBT Pride. Was a nice escape and great to see so many people out for it. I’ll make a proper post soon about Bologna and Pride (and Italy and gays), but thought I’d just share a few photos first.

Bologna gay pride photo 2012

Bologna gay pride photo 2012

Bologna gay pride photo 2012

Bologna gay pride photo 2012

Bologna gay pride photo 2012

Bologna gay pride photo 2012

Hope you enjoyed these photos from Bologna Pride 2012! I’ve got plenty more and will try to put a short video together as well. And actually write something down about the festival. It was a bit strange to visit a fairly local pride (Bologna’s not the biggest city) as a foreigner where I don’t even speak the language! But it was still amazing to see so many people come together—it was bigger and brighter than I would’ve imagined. More photos later :)

lattitude-volunteering1

The following is a guest post by Adam Ulivi from Lattitude Global Volunteering. Learn how you can contribute to My Gay Travel Guide here.

The voluntary sector does a lot of great work around the world. Being an international aid worker not only helps communities around the world in immeasurable ways but is also very rewarding for the individuals providing that aid.

With that in mind, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that there is a large number of altruistically minded people who want to volunteer to help communities around the world. Today there are plenty of organizations set up to group prospective volunteers with good causes but one of the first was Lattitude Global Volunteering.

Lattitude were founded in England in 1972 to provide school leavers with the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world, while getting to see some of it at the same time. Lattitude offers 17- 25 year olds volunteer placements around the world, and while they are all LGBT-friendly, there are a couple of destinations which standout as being particularly welcoming.

Argentina

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Argentina since 2010, and is it currently the only country in South America to bring in this law, highlighting the progressive attitude of the country. The country’s capital, Buenos Aires, has an emerging gay and lesbian scene, giving volunteers the opportunity to check out some exciting night life with a colorful flair.

With Lattitude, volunteers in Argentina can work as English teachers, school assistants or community workers in 4 month long placements.

South Africa

While in other parts of Africa homosexual acts are punishable by death, South Africa is not just the only country to have legalized same-sex marriage, it was the 5th country in the whole world to do so. After apartheid, the country become focused on equality and fairness, as a result it was also the first country to ban all forms of sexual discrimination. While South Africa’s population isn’t entirely open-minded, the majority of its population seem to be anti-discriminatory making it the safest part of the continent to be open about your sexuality.

As with Argentina, placements for volunteering in South Africa are available for people wanting to work as a teacher, community worker, or activities instructors. Placements last for 5 to 6 months.

brighton-gay-travel-app

If you’re traveling to Brighton, England, chances are you’re going to enjoy its legendary nightlife. Brighton has an extensive LGBT history and writer/historian Rose Collis recently teamed up with programmer Stephen Watson to create an app that shares all that information with tourists.

The Brighton’s Pink Plaques app features original text and photos from Ms Collis and takes users on three different themed “trails” around the city’s LGBT history: Hotels, Pubs & Clubs and Shops & Cafes. I had the chance to try the app when I was in Brighton a few months ago. I was impressed with how well it worked for a first edition app. The map overlay was particularly useful because it was easier to discover where I was and what was nearby.

The app is available on the Apple App store for £1.99.

*Note: I received a free download of the Brighton Pink Plaques LGBT travel app for the purposes of this review.