Gay Days Orlando: Rainbow Mickey merchandise part of Gay Days experience – OrlandoSentinel.com

Earlier this week, Disney began to sprinkle merchandise throughout its parks with designs including rainbows, symbol of the gay-pride movement. Red tank tops with rainbow-colored Mickey Mouse heads began arriving in shops along Main Street USA a few days ago. They were paired in store displays with other rainbow items usually found in the parks year-round, such as rainbow pins and antenna toppers.

A rainbow mug can be had for $12.95; a rainbow wallet for $14.95. Mickey Mouse Vinylmations in rainbow — $12.95 apiece — were also prominently displayed.

“We offer a wide range of merchandise items that appeal to guests of diverse backgrounds,” said Walt Disney World spokeswoman Bernadette Davis.

Disney has sold such products in years past. This year’s merchandise, which makes no mention of Gay Days, was being snapped up Thursday by people in town for the event.

Chuck Stickler, who visits Disney about every six months from San Antonio, picked up a rainbow Mickey T-shirt, which went with a rainbow Mickey pin he bought years ago.

“I look good in red. Everybody says it,” he quipped, adding later: “I’m happy to see some Gay Days merchandise — well, it’s not really Gay Days merchandise, but rainbow Mickey merchandise.”

Gay Days’ organizers say they expect 170,000 people to participate in some aspect of this year’s event, which started Tuesday evening and runs through Sunday. In addition to visiting Disney World, participants have a range of planned events from which to choose across the tourism district and the rest of the Orlando area, including a Taste of Gay Days restaurant exposition, a charity auction, pool parties and other social gatherings.

Gay Days, which is based in Orlando, expanded its reach to the Western half of the country last fall with the introduction of Gay Days Las Vegas. And that inaugural event created extra buzz for Gay Days Orlando, organizer Chris Alexander-Manley said.

“Actually, we have a lot of people here that were at Gay Days Las Vegas last year. And that was the first time they had attended one of our events,” he said.

Marcus Blake and David Mendelson, who said they regularly attend Gay Days, bought red rainbow T-shirts as they toured Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of Gay Days’ Thursday agenda. It’s not often they see such rainbow merchandise in the giant resort’s stores, they said.

“We kind of think it’s funny that Disney doesn’t sponsor Gay Days, but they cater to us. We were here just a couple weeks ago — and they didn’t have that shirt. But they put it out for this weekend,” said Blake, who’s from Tampa.

Blake has watched Gay Days grow since his first visit in the late 1990s. One positive development, he said, is that the event has lost a lot of its shock value.

“The first couple of years that I came, those who were not participating in the Gay Days festivities were kind of shocked to see the large number of red shirts and what it represented,” he said. “[Now] we have friends who come here with their

via Gay Days Orlando: Rainbow Mickey merchandise part of Gay Days experience – OrlandoSentinel.com.

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Disney Talks About Its Gay Days Celebration

The Mouse House’s efforts in establishing and maintaining corporate leadership and an employee base representative of the diverse communities it serves has not gone unnoticed. The Walt Disney Company is currently ranked one of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, a media group dedicated to promoting the business value of diversity-management initiatives.

Closer to home, the Human Rights Campaign recently awarded Disney a perfect score of 100 in its most recent Corporate Equality Index. Disney received top marks for its employment benefits for workers and their spouses/partners, as well as offering transgender-inclusive health insurance. Also considered in HRC’s scoring system is a company’s public commitment to, and responsible citizenship towards, its LGBT employees.

Walt Disney World employees, or “cast members” in Disney-speak, are encouraged to participate in the company’s Diversity Resource Groups. The clubs focus on individual populations represented in Disney’s workforce. And while becoming involved can certainly provide an employee benefits, Disney considers these groups more of an employee resource, much like training opportunities and information shared on the company’s intranet, that can be useful both on the job and in life.

Disney’s Diversity Resource Groups include: CastABLE, focused on differently-abled cast members and their allies; HOLA, which promotes Hispanic/Latino heritage; PULSE, dedicated to the development of cast members of African descent; FAMILIES, for parents, caregivers, potential parents and those impacted by parental interests in the workplace; VINTAGE, for older cast members; and PRIDE (People Respecting Individual Diversities in Everyone), which provides resources, learning opportunities and a supportive network to gay, lesbian and ally cast members.

via Disney Talks About Its Gay Days Celebration.

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PHOTOS: Adam Lambert & Lady Bunny Celebrate Miami Beach Pride | GayCities Blog

Miami Beach Gay Pride 2013

PHOTOS: The 5th annual Miami Beach Pride festival took place over the weekend attracting thousands of revelers from across the US.   The two-day event featured performances by Adam Lambert and Lady Bunny. Based on the pics below, it appears Miami still knows how to bring the heat.

via PHOTOS: Adam Lambert & Lady Bunny Celebrate Miami Beach Pride | GayCities Blog.

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LA PRIDE LGBT Pride in West Hollywood

Celebration

The 2013 LA PRIDE Celebration, held in beautiful West Hollywood Park, is the largest gathering of the LGBT community in Southern California. Enjoy live entertainment on multiple stages, headline performances, all new dance venues, numerous exhibitors, food and drink vendors and thousands of members of our vibrant and active community!

Parade
One of the largest and most inclusive parades in Los Angeles, the LA PRIDE Parade steps off at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday and travels westbound along Santa Monica Blvd., from Crescent Heights Blvd., to the main entrance of the LA PRIDE Festival at San Vicente Blvd. Over 400,000 will participate in this emotionally charged gathering showcasing the colorful diversity and creative community participation of the LGBT community. Attendees should plan to arrive early. Traffic will be closed on Santa Monica Blvd. between Fairfax Ave. and Doheny Dr. starting at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 9. Santa Monica Blvd. will re-open immediately at the end of the end of the Parade, which may be as late as 4:00 p.m.

via LA PRIDE LGBT Pride in West Hollywood.

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Key West Pride to Mark Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag’s 10th ‘Birthday’ June 5-9

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Visitors can celebrate equality, meet the creator of the rainbow flag that symbolizes LGBT pride and mark the 10th “birthday” of a 1.25-mile sea-to-sea flag at Key West Pride 2013. Set for Wednesday through Sunday, June 5-9, the festival salutes diversity on the subtropical island internationally known as a top gay and lesbian vacation spot.
Activities include daytime pool parties and late-night dance parties, on-the-water adventures ranging from snorkeling to kayaking, a film festival, three pageants and an exuberant community parade.
The festival’s special guest and parade grand marshal is to be Gilbert Baker, who in 1978 created the original rainbow flag that became the international symbol of the LGBT community.
In 2003, to commemorate the original flag’s 25th anniversary, Baker and a volunteer team constructed a 1.25-mile rainbow flag in Key West that is believed to be the world’s longest. During Pride 2003, approximately 2,000 volunteers unfurled it along the entire length of the island’s Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean in a sea-to-sea showing of openness and pride.
Since then, 100-foot sections of the sea-to-sea flag have been displayed at events and festivals around the United States and Europe. Several sections are being returned to Key West for the 10th anniversary.
Plans call for them to “star” alongside Baker in the 2013 Pride Parade on Duval Street, beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 9. Spectators can view the all-welcome procession, also to feature walking groups and lavishly decorated floats, at parade-watching parties at leading clubs on Duval.
Other Pride 2013 events include a keynote presentation by Equality Florida’s Executive Director Nadine Smith, an acclaimed trolley tour showcasing the island’s LGBT heritage and hotspots, drag shows and themed late-night soirees at clubs and bars, a street fair followed by a block party and dancing on Duval, and pageants to select Mr., Ms. and Miss Key West Pride.
Event information: www.keywestpride.orgwww.gaykeywestfl.com or 800-535-7797
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or www.gaykeywestfl.com

Social: facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywest • twitter.com/thefloridakeys •YouTube.com/FloridaKeysTV Florida Keys Newsroom | Key West Pride to Mark Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag’s 10th ‘Birthday’ June 5-9.

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G.M.A.’s Sam Champion to Wed Rubem Robierb – NYTimes.com

Sam Champion, the weather anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said Friday that he planned to marry his fiancé, Rubem Robierb, at the end of the year.

Mr. Champion first mentioned his plans in a New York Times story about another couple’s wedding. It marked his first public statement about his sexuality.

Mr. Champion is the first co-host of a network morning television show to publicly identify as gay. He is expected to talk about his upcoming wedding on Monday’s “G.M.A.”

In a statement on ABCNews.com, Mr. Champion said Friday, “We are thrilled and so excited and thank everyone for their good wishes.”

The acknowledgment of Mr. Champion’s sexual orientation came a few months after Anderson Cooper, the CNN host, went public with his sexual orientation through an e-mail message to the blogger Andrew Sullivan. A number of other public figures have gone public with their relationships this year in seemingly casual ways, reflecting (and perhaps accelerating) public acceptance of gays and lesbians.

Mr. Champion’s sexual orientation was no secret to the staff of “G.M.A.,” nor to his colleagues and competitors in the media industry. He exuberantly showed off his engagement ring to colleagues the day after becoming engaged and brought Mr. Robierb to parties with fellow co-hosts. But he didn’t speak publicly about it.

via G.M.A.’s Sam Champion to Wed Rubem Robierb – NYTimes.com.

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Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz announces he’s gay – wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Describing himself as “a proud gay man,” Puerto Rican featherweight Orlando Cruz on Thursday became what is believed to be the first pro boxer to come out as openly homosexual while still competing.

Cruz told The Associated Press in an interview that he is relieved about his decision but had initial reservations.

“I developed physically and mentally to take such a big step in my life and in my profession, which is boxing, knowing that it would have pros and cons, highs and lows in this sport that is so macho,” he said. “I kept this hidden for many, many years.”

His announcement comes two weeks before the 31-year-old left-hander challenges Mexican boxer Jorge Pazos for the WBO Latino title. Cruz is ranked as the World Boxing Organization’s No. 4 featherweight fighter and is 18-2-1 with nine knockouts.

Cruz said he met with psychologists and others before making the announcement, adding he has the full support of his family, trainer and manager. He praised his mother and sister for their unconditional love and said his father has always backed him.

via Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz announces he’s gay – wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |.

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