2014’s Gayest Cities in America | Advocate.com

It’s not all piano bars, gender-specific music festivals, and giant disco houses (although we all love some of those things) that make these cities the gayest in America. You say you’re shocked Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City aren’t at the top of the list, this year and every year? What kind of fun would that be? (Spoiler alert: San Francisco comes in at No. 11.) This year’s criteria, designed to uncover the hidden factors that give a city its queer cred, include points for a city’s LGBT elected officials (and fractional points for the state’s elected officials), points for the percentage of the population comprised by lesbian-coupled households, a point for a gay rodeo association, points for bars listed inOut magazine’s 200 Best Bars list, a point per women’s college, and points for concert performances by Mariah Carey, Pink, Lady Gaga, or the Jonas Brothers. The raw score is divided by the population to provide a ranking based on a per capita LGBT quotient. (More details on scoring.)

via 2014’s Gayest Cities in America | Advocate.com.

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Detours the Gay Adventure Travel Company is Giving Away 1 of Their 3 Trips

Detours, a gay adventure travel company based out of Calgary, Canada, is currently giving away 1 of their 3 international trips to Costa Rica, Thailand or Greece on their website in a raffle based contest. Detours Exotic Getaway Giveaway gives you the chance to enter the contest quickly, easily and in a variety of different ways to get one or several entries into the draw. Using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or even just signing up for Detours’ newsletter you can score an entry to win the free trip.

“Even if you don’t enter the draw by connecting with us on social media or signing up for our newsletter,” explains Detours co-founder Miles Mitchinson, “you can still enter the draw daily on our website. It’s great getting the opportunity to grow our online network, but ultimately we want people to see what our trips are all about and have the chance to win one of them!”

After launching Detours with gay adventure trips to Thailand and then soon after adding Costa Rica, Detours Exotic Getaway Giveaway coincides with the release of their newest trip to Greece.

“It’s definitely a great time for us to feature our three trips to three pretty awesome and unique places in the world,” says Mitchinson, “each destination facilitates everything we look for in a Detours trip and we couldn’t be more excited about all of our trips right now, whether to Thailand, Costa Rica or Greece.”

Ending on Christmas day, there is time to load up on entries into the draw and have as good a chance as possible at getting a Detours trip for Christmas. For more details and to enter the draw, go to DetoursTravel.com/getaway.

About Detours Travel:
Detours Travel has created a new genre of LGBT group travel by mixing structure with ultimate flexibility in a group setting. They have been operating as a successful adventure tour operator since 2012. Detours currently runs trips to some of the most exotic and amazing places on the earth, including Thailand, Costa Rica and Greece. Their trips are 12-15 days in length and provide travelers with the time to dive into each destination and experience a different way of travel, life and adventure. Detours Travel head office is located in Calgary, Canada.

via Detours the Gay Adventure Travel Company is Giving Away 1 of Their 3 Trips.

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Plans for Illinois same-sex marriages in the works – Houston Chronicle

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Just a few hours after state lawmakers approved same-sex marriage in Illinois, Chicago wedding planner Lindsay Parrott started getting her first inquiries for summer weddings.

“I got an email at 11 p.m.,” she said. “Everybody is really excited to be able to do this.”

From the wedding industry to tourism, Illinois businesses are gearing up for June 1, the first day that same-sex marriage licenses can be issued under legislation approved by lawmakers on Tuesday. While legislators in favor and the state’s top elected officials have touted gay marriage as a matter of equality and civil rights, businesses hope the start of weddings will be a nice boost to the state’s economy too. But that start date — which falls on a Sunday — also is causing some logistical problems for the state’s county clerks who’ll be issuing marriage licenses.

Illinois is set to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage when Gov. Pat Quinn signs the bill, which the Chicago Democrat said Wednesday he’ll do with a festive celebration this month. The measure says that starting June 1, all Illinois couples can go about the usual way of getting married: Head to the county clerk’s office, get a license and then have it officiated a day later by the government or religious official.

However, businesses and tourism officials say it means that Illinois can expand a niche business too. They cite a 2013 study by UCLA’s The Williams Institute that says allowing same-sex couples to marry in Illinois would generate up to $103 million in new spending in the first three years.

The Illinois Office of Tourism beefed up its website Wednesday to promote gay-friendly spots in Illinois. State travel director Jen Hoelzle said the site will soon include a list of places to get married once the bill is signed. The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, which already promotes Chicago’s gay-friendly neighborhoods and events such as the city’s massive Pride Parade, expects more hotel and restaurant business.

via Plans for Illinois same-sex marriages in the works – Houston Chronicle.

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Gay Rights Protesters Target Sochi Olympic Sponsors Coke, McDonalds and Samsung – Forbes

With exactly 100 days to go until the Sochi Olympics, gay rights protesters have launched a handful of social media campaigns against longtime sponsors Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung, voicing concerns over Russia’s anti-gay legislation.

“Sochi potentially is the danger Games,” one marketing executive tells The Chicago Tribune. “With these major world events, companies are looking for a halo effect for the brand. Sochi is big and high profile but such events are becoming platforms for social and political protest.

The International Olympic Committee has already acknowledged that sponsors, who pay roughly $100 million for marketing rights, are concerned about the legislation’s impact.

“I have heard a lot from the sponsors, especially the American sponsors, of what they are afraid of might happen,” IOC marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg told CNN. “I think this could ruin a lot for all of us.”

One current online campaign is calling for Coca-Cola executives to speak out against the anti-gay law.

By Monday, 350,000 people worldwide signed an online petition circulated by SumOfUs.org, a global consumer watchdog organization.

“Coca-Cola is an incredibly important position of power and has the ability to influence both the International Olympic Committee and Russian leaders,” Joe Mirabella, Director of

via Gay Rights Protesters Target Sochi Olympic Sponsors Coke, McDonalds and Samsung – Forbes.

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11 best places to see fall colors – NBC News.com

It’s that time of year again. We’re deep in the heart of leaf-peeping season and the leaves, they are a-changin’. Whether you’re a fall foliage fanatic or just in the mood for a scenic drive — or train ride — through the fabulous fall scenery, you won’t want to miss these great seasonal spots.

It’s the most colorful time of the year! Here in the Northeast, we’re surrounded by beautiful shades of orange, red, and yellow as leaf-peeping season kicks into full swing — but you don’t have to be in just one region to appreciate all the fall foliage. We’ve got 10 great seasonal spots around the country — and one in Canada — where you can see the leaves in all their colorful splendor, whether by car, train, boat, or by going for a nice, long walk in the crisp fall air. If all else fails, you can always choose to live vicariously through our Fall Into Foliage board on Pinterest.

via 11 best places to see fall colors – NBC News.com.

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Out in the sun: Florida’s top 10 gay beaches | Things to do in Tampa Bay | Tampa Bay Times

Florida’s fantastic beaches welcome all, but some are friendlier than others to the LGBT community. From party places such as Miami, Key West and Fort Lauderdale to mellow, secluded spots in St. Pete Beach and Sarasota, here are some of Sunshine State’s best gay-friendly beaches.

1. South Beach’s 12th Street Beach, Miami Beach

Just look for the rainbow flags flying amid the rental chairs and lifeguard stations. The most popular gay beach in Miami, it’s mostly a hangout for men, but you’ll also find lesbians and straights soaking up the sun with locals. It’s across the street from the Palace Restaurant & Bar, a gay hangout that has been welcoming sunbathers for the past 25 years. At 12th Street and Ocean Drive.

via Out in the sun: Florida’s top 10 gay beaches | Things to do in Tampa Bay | Tampa Bay Times.

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LGBT Community Untapped Market Consumer Brands – Business Insider

Brands from Apple to Budweiser to JCPenney are becoming more interested in gay consumers, with many brands making concerted efforts to target the LGBT market.

Why? What is really at stake? Here are just a few numbers surrounding LGBT consumers and the differences in spending power of gay households vs. the American general market:

  • 23% higher median household income1

  • 24% more equity in their homes1

  • 26% of gay men say they will pay more for top quality brands2

  • 30% have taken a major vacation in the past year2

  • 40% bought a new smart phone in the past year2

Estimates put the buying power of the LGBT community at over $800 billion annually. Some marketers are realizing that they may need to adjust their plans to accommodate this segment, or at least make sure that their marketing spending is inclusive of this valuable target. But many brands have been slow to pick up on the impact of the gay and lesbian consumer on their sales. Some are content to let their general market messages do the job of reaching everyone, and see no reason to pay special attention to LGBT consumers.

via LGBT Community Untapped Market Consumer Brands – Business Insider.

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The 12 Best Honeymoon Spots For Newlywed Gay Couples… | Stuff.co.nz

We asked travel experts to weigh in on what they think will be the hottest honeymoon destinations for newly married gay couples.

And while honeymooners may want to avoid places like Russia, which passed severe anti-gay laws that will even impact gay foreign tourists, there are plenty of awesome destinations that are just waiting to welcome gay newlywed couples with open arms.

via The 12 Best Honeymoon Spots For Newlywed Gay Couples… | Stuff.co.nz.

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10 Principles to Make Your Travels Memorable | Caz Craig Makepeace

You’ve been planning your trip of a lifetime for months.

You’ve saved hard, budgeted and got your hands on every deal you could find. The tickets are booked, your meeting up with friends in London, and your bag is packed.

No more listening to everyone else’s travel stories; it’s time to create your own. This is going to be the Greatest Year of your Life.

Or is it?

What happens if you get on that plane and you hate it? What if all that dreaming, planning, and saving only points to a swift return home?

I’ve had travel experiences that haven’t been what I had hoped. It can be heartbreaking, not to mention a kick in the stomach financially. But it doesn’t have to take you out of the game, as long as you have the right mindset.

How can you make sure you won’t?

The following travel manifesto will help you stay on track to overcome challenges and create those memorable travel experiences you are hoping for.

via 10 Principles to Make Your Travels Memorable | Caz Craig Makepeace.

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Minneapolis mayor courts Chicago’s gay couples to marry in his city – latimes.com

When it comes to economic development, it is not unusual for some chief executives of states to sneak across a border or two to try to poach some jobs. The usual pitch, however, involves tax breaks, available land and a well-trained workforce.

But Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is counting on love to make a difference.

As part of his “I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis” tour, Rybak on Thursday went to a predominantly gay neighborhood in Chicago to remind people that they can visit their nearby neighbor of Minnesota for a while, or at least long enough to marry, because same-sex marriage has been legal since Aug. 1.

Illinois does not allow same-sex marriages, and nor do the other states, Colorado and Wisconsin, that the mayor plans on visiting soon to drum up business.

“Chicago is my kind of town, but it’s a second city in human rights, and right now that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis,” Rybak said.

via Minneapolis mayor courts Chicago’s gay couples to marry in his city – latimes.com.

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