Get Ready To Celebrate Pride With Disney's New "Rainbow Mickey" Apparel

Looks like Disney’s doubling down on Pride this year.

Last month, we shared with you that Disneyland is now selling rainbow Mickey ears, and now Disney has announced that it’s selling Pride merchandise just in time for Pride month.

The “Rainbow Mickey” pride merchandise is on sale now. Even better, the merchandise can be bought online unlike the Mickey ears which are being slowly rolled out across Disney theme parks. Even better, the rainbow shirts, bags, and more are going to be doing great things for the community as well.

Until June 30, every Pride styled Disney item you buy will make money for LGBTQ charity GLSEN (pronounced glisten), which fights to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ youth. Disney has announced that it's willing to donate up to $50,000 and 10% of every purchase will go towards that donation.

Can we all make Disney donate the fill $50,000? If you want to try, go run over to Shop Disney now and get your rainbow sunglasses, t-shirts, hats, and more.

Mark Your Calendars - Pride of the Americas in 2020 Planned for Fort Lauderdale

Wouldn't you want to come to paradise and celebrate Pride with beautiful men from all over the world? Well, how about from half the world? Get ready for Pride of the Americas 2020.

When I moved to Fort Lauderdale, my friends said I moved to paradise.  The beaches, the men, the weather, the inexpensive alcohol, and people coming from all over the world to visit throughout the year.  I agree, it is paradise, but what is great is that this paradise I call home gets better and better every single year.

From its position in southern Florida, Fort Lauderdale celebrates life and gayness like no other city. The year I graduated from college was the year this city took a leap to become a hub of LGBT travel and tourism. 

In 1995, Richard Gray proposed to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) a business plan for marketing Fort Lauderdale as a gay destination.  It was accepted and in 1996 with a $35,000 gay marketing initiative, Gray went to work promoting the city and what it had to offer tourists.  Within a half a decade the number of gay resorts in the area grew to 30.  His work and the work of others in the CVB has been so successful and the returns so great that his position of LGBT Managing Director for the Fort Lauderdale CVB was made fulltime 7 years ago and now has an annual budget of $1 million.  The budget is impressive, but what also needs to be mentioned is that Richard Gray is one of a kind as it is believed (as of 2014 when we first chatted at length) that there are no other Convention and Visitors Bureaus in North America or Internationally that Gray knows of with an employee whose sole responsibility is the LGBT market.

I've been fortunate to see some of the great progress The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB has made to make the city and the area more and more inclusive and welcoming. 

The support the CVB gives to the LGBT community has made it much easier for Fort Lauderdale Pride to move forward with bettering what they have to offer the citizens of southern Florida.

My first interactions with Pride in the FTL area had been the Stonewall Prides held in June every year in Wilton Manors.  It's a great celebration that mirrors other pride celebrations across the country.  But it wasn't until last year in February of 2017 that I attended Fort Lauderdale's Pride celebration during its first year on the Fort Lauderdale beach.  It was one of the happiest, sexiest, down to earth, inviting events I had been to in the United States.  This year in 2018, the event was repeated but was even more glorious and was even called the Love Pride.

One thing I loved about Richard Gray's and the Greater Fort Lauderdale's CVB's vision is that they all love where we live and want to share it with as many people as they can. Pride Fort Lauderdale did desire to host the WorldPride in 2021, but it was awarded to Copenhagen.

Related Post: Travel Thursday: The Love Pride 2018 Hits Fort Lauderdale In 10 Days.

What to do when you don't get the bid?  Lemons, lemonade, lemon drop martinis, let's party!  Pride of the Americas sounds like a great consolation prize and one that is not only still in my front yard, but a year earlier!

And Fort Lauderdale is the ideal spot to launch one. Our area is not just a premiere tourist destination, it also boasts a particularly diverse and welcoming community, with one of the largest concentrations of LGBT households in the nation. Broward County is the most diverse county in Florida and the second most diverse in the nation (we’re coming for you, Queens, New York!). More than 58 percent of our population is minorities, 32 percent were born in another country, and approximately 79 percent of those foreign-born residents are from Latin America. - hotspotsmagazine

The news is fresh and exciting about this event.  When the dust settles, it may be clear which organization is sponsoring, in charge of, or fully organizing the event, but what is seen now is that the Fort Lauderdale community will be hosting this event. The partnership with Broward County, Fort Lauderdale CVB, and the Fort Lauderdale Pride organization will make this event grand!

Related Post: Travel Thursday: The Love Pride 2018 Hits Fort Lauderdale In 10 Days.

The writers over at HotSpots Magazine have shared these possible tid bits with us all as what may occur during this celebration:

  • Possible 350,000 LGBT celebrants from around the world.
  • A Sunday parade and beach festival, capped off with a spectacular fireworks show.
  • A full week of Pride festivities with opening ceremonies, an arts festival, a business expo
  • A human rights conference focused on LGBT rights in the Caribbean and Latin America
  • Daily sunset concerts, a beach party, and dance parties and other social activities at venues all over town.

Pride of the Americas is a little over a year and a half away (omg that's not too far away), so they have a little time to iron things out.  Fort Lauderdale Pride is usually in February, but the 2020 celebration may explode in February or April of that year.  Latest announcement is for April.  Will it take some of the umph out of Miami Pride which is usually the first weekend of April or will it be later in the month?  They're working on it and we will let you know more when we know more.


h/t: HotSpots Magazine

Philadelphia's Pride Parade Is Honoring A Gay Politician Couple

Philadelphia Pride has announced the names for its Grand Marshal panel, and for the first year ever it’s introducing a couple to the mix.

Every year, Philadelphia Pride Presents releases a list of people who will carry the title of grand marshal. Philly likes to celebrate several grand marshals with different titles and categories including youth grand marshals. This years, they’re even including a Grand Marshal Couple.

The couple gaining the inaugural honor are Dante Austin and Robert “Tito” Valdez. Austin is the LGBT liaison to the Sherriff’s Office and Valdez is an assistant city solicitor in the Child Welfare Department.

The two met back in 2016 while participating at the “Future of the Movement” panel during the Democratic National Convention. As they talked about politics and criminal-justice reform, they realized there was a level of respect and understanding forming between them. They then exchanged numbers and became important parts of each other’s lives from that point on.

Speaking to Philadelphia Gay News, the two commented on juggling their relationship and their busy political careers.

“Being in a relationship is work,” said Valdez. “It requires the capacity to prioritize another person’s feelings and needs as a key component of your decision-making. It requires you to be compassionate, to understand that not every day will be sunshine and flowers, and be able to count on your partner to love you.”

“I like to think of it like most things in life — you get out of it what you put into it,” added Austin. “Tito and I live pretty busy lives but we make sure to always make time for one another. It may sound cliché, but he really is my best friend and so much more. Life certainly throws challenges our way, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we can tackle anything.”

The two stated that they were honored to be chosen for the new Grand Marshal category and will try to live up to the title.

Meanwhile, the two will be joined by many other grand marshalls including John James, a Philadelphia citizen who’s participated in the Annual Reminder Days march since the mid-1960s; Heshie Zinman, the co-founder of the AIDS Library;  David Fair, a member of the Elder Initiative; Barbara McLean, a dedicated LGBTQ health advocate who’s worked with Philadelphia FIGHT and the Philadelphia AIDS Consortium; and Deborah Johnson, the visitor-services director at the African-American Museum of Philadelphia.

All of these people and more, like comedian Margaret Cho who's headlining, will be honored and celebrated at Philadelphia’s 30th annual Pride Parade on June 10.

h/t: PGN

Middle East & North Africa LGBTQ Activists Share Personal Stories In New Video Project

Amid state-sponsored repression and social stigma, LGBTQ people across in the Middle East and North Africa are speaking out against homophobia and transphobia. Some of them are building national movements, while others are simply sharing their stories. - nbcnews.com

Yesterday, on our Facebook Page, we asked:

Have you become more involved or less involved in politics since the last presidential election?

I often receive calls to donate my time and/or money to this gay cause, this LGBTQ+ event and I say I don't have the time or money or often think that the cause does not align with my personal life and I go on with my personal life and don't think any more of the call, this email, that Facebook post. 

YouAreNotAlone is the name of the campaign in which 34 gender activists have taken part. Participants' efforts have tackled LGBT issues in Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, and Yemen. - raseef22.com

We shouldn't say we have it easy in America, but we have it so much easier than many nations in the world.  It's a reality check when we hear that hook-up apps, that we throw on when we see a cute guy in public to see if he's "on the grid," are used to hunt down gay men.  That men are turned in by their neighbors to authorities because they may be gay. 

A new multimedia project from Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) is seeking to amplify the voices of these human rights activists. Their initiative includes a 75-page report about the state of LGBTQ activism in the region, titled "Audacity in Adversity," and a video series, titled "No Longer Alone," which includes Arabic-speaking LGBTQ people sharing their personal stories and experiences as activists.

YouAreNotAlone, as it is called overseas or No Longer Alone by the HRC, is somewhat of a reality check for some of us that do say no to that phone call or just delete that email.



Many of the nations where the participants are from criminalize homosexuality. With that in mind, the creators of "No Longer Alone" allowed some interviewees to hide their faces, use false names, and if desired, alter their voices.

Going back to our Facebook question:

Have you become more involved or less involved in politics since the last presidential election?

Should we have asked, when was the last time you participated in a pro-LGBTQ+ event or political event?  Bravo for those that speak up for the LGBTQ+ causes when we do not.




h/t:  nbcnews.com, raseef22.com

Could the Pride Flag be Offensive?

A woman in Brevard County, Florida received a surprising email from her HOA at Rockledge’s Ashwood Lakes community. The message was requesting that she remove the Pride rainbow flag that had been flying in front of her home for over two years.

Jenifer Raymond shared with WFTV 9 Orlando that her landlord received an email from a member of the neighborhood’s architectural review committee that only American, state, or military flags are allowed to be flown.

Raymond told WFTV:

It's a symbol of acceptance, tolerance and equality. They're saying it's offensive. To me, that's like saying I'm offensive because I exist.

Based on the community bylaws, the flag was deemed offensive and detrimental to the subdivision it also read the following:

Allowing the flag to be flown is setting a precedence for other homeowners to fly other offensive flags -- for example, the Confederate flag.

Meanwhile, other flags were found in the neighborhood which included one that displayed a flower, a Florida Gators flag, and a Thin Blue Line flag in support of law enforcement. Did these residents also receive this email? If flags are not specifically limited in the HOA bylaws, this could definitely be considered discrimination.

After the incident gained some statewide attention, Raymond received an apology from the HOA and stated that she can fly the rainbow flag for as long as she chooses.

According to WFTV, Robert Kelso, Vice President of the HOA, sent Raymond an email that read:

I thank you for contacting me this afternoon, as I and the rest of the Ashwood Lakes Homeowners Association, were unaware of the erroneous assertions of one of our ARC committee members. Board members contacted the property owner and his tenants to inform them that the rainbow flag is both acceptable to the board and welcome in Ashwood Lakes. Appropriate steps are underway to prevent a similar recurrence in the future.


Two Major US Cities Will Welcome Permanent Rainbow Crosswalks This Year.

It may be a small step (pun intended), but a permanent installation of rainbow crosswalks goes a long way.  That may be my opinion, but I believe others may agree.

May they be in a gayborhood like I saw during on of my trips to Philadelphia (a little faded during September, but still visible),

or the crosswalks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada accompanied by rainbow picnic tables,

A simple paint job puts a smile on the face.  It's also a statement that we are here.

Every year more communities are added to the permanent rainbow crosswalk club. Up next to join?  Phoenix!

Phoenix Will Add Rainbow Crosswalks to Celebrate LGBT Community

Phoenix will join a nationwide trend of painting crosswalks with a rainbow design to celebrate the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.  Three of the largest LGBT organizations asked the city to install two rainbow crosswalks in Phoenix to convey permanent support for the community.  The City Council voted unanimously (with council members Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring absent) Tuesday April 24, 2018 to allow the crosswalks if the groups foot the bill for the installation and maintenance, which they've offered to do. 

The new crosswalk designs will be displayed at Seventh and Glenrosa avenues and Central Avenue at Portland Street. That's near the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, where several LGBT organizations are located. - azcentral.com

The Arizona Central elaborated that other cities in the US that have installed permanent rainbow crosswalks are Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C.. They left out Philadelphia!

The Denver Channel is quick to trumpet that South Broadway to get Rainbow-Striped Crosswalks in Time for Denver Pride.

Organizers say they’ve raised most of the money they need to convert two crosswalks at South Broadway and West Irvington Place into a rainbow-striped symbol of support for Denver’s LGBTQ community.

The initiative is a joint venture between Buffalo Exchange, the Baker-Broadway Merchant Association and city councilors Jolon Clark and Robin Kniech.

Buffalo Exchange holds its annual “crosswalk walk-off” fashion show at that intersection during Denver Pride. This year’s event is set for June 15 and organizers plan to have the crosswalk finished by then.

Organizers plan to use a permanent thermoplastic material for the design rather than paint.

To learn more about the Denver project, visit  https://broadwayrainbowcrosswalk.weebly.com/ and if you know anyone in Denver that can hook us up with some good seats to view the fashion show ...

Not to be left out, other Canadian cities are hopping on board the paint crew. Granted this town is much smaller than Tuscon, Philadelphia, or Denver, but when you're a town of 2,000 people, how many crosswalks do you have?  And now, if you're painting two of them, well that's a big percentile of your crosswalks being all LGBTQ-ified.

The Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove town council voted Tuesday evening to create two brightly coloured crosswalks in the community of about 2,000 people.


Deputy Mayor James Cadigan says councillors took it upon themselves to bring the motion forward and all seven members supported it, adding that the crosswalks will likely be in place in a few weeks.

The approach is in stark contrast to a simmering debate in Springdale, a Newfoundland community of about 3,000 people that attracted national attention after its council voted against painting a rainbow crosswalk.

Looks like it might have been part of a step to say our town of 2,000 is better at inclusion and acceptance than your town of 3,000, but then again, maybe it's just people unanimously being humans. 

In looking at the funding for these crosswalks, LGBTQ organizations are hefting the bill in the larger cities.  Since the small union of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove is establishing these most likely temporary rainbow crosswalks, they mat be covering the cost.

Do you think rainbow-painted crosswalks serve a purpose?

Do you think cities should pay for the upkeep of the rainbow crosswalks or should it be up to the LGBTQ community?

Other than the cities we mentioned, where have you seen them?

What did you think when you saw your first rainbow-painted crosswalk in person?

h/t: azcentral.com, denverchannel.com, globalnews.ca

More than Two Thousand People Showed Up For Gay Pride At Mike Pence's Hometown

Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown had its first ever gay pride event, and its all thanks to an 18-year-old high schooler.

Erin Bailey, the 18-year-old in question, came up with Columbus Pride as a school project. Her school, the Columbus Signature Academy, has a mandatory policy where students have to "explore endeavors that fuel their passions and to act as a bridge between a student's high school experience and his or her future goals" before they can graduate.

Bailey, who identifies as bisexual, decided that she wanted to create a project that could better her community, but in order to pull it off she needed the community’s help. Bailey created a GoFundMe campaign and soon raised $6,000. Then before she knew it, April 14th came and the event was underway.

The event was RSVP’d by over 1,000 people on Facebook and double that amount showed up on the day of the event.

In order to entertain all those people, Bailey had to organize some events such as the appearance of Drag Queen Oriana Peron or the giving away of a Marlon Bundo book, the story of a gay rabbit that parodies the children’s book written by Mike Pence’s daughter.

All of the excitement and fun was welcomed and appreciated by most, if not all, of the guests as they told WCPO Cincinnati.


Love is Love

A post shared by Tony Vasquez (@tony.vasquez_) on

Even conservative and religious townsfolk like Ann Jones, who was there to represent the First Presbyterian Church of Columbus, could feel the love in the air.

"I believe so much in unity and the divine presence of God in everybody," Ann Jones said.

In addition, LGBTQ citizens, like 18-year-old Job Willman who grew up in a religious household, were especially touched by the Pride event.

"Growing up queer is -- it's been a little rough," attendee Job Willman told WCPO. "But I think with events like this and continued support and trying to educate people, people like me can grow up better."

Unfortunately though, the three hour Pride event soon came to a close and the weather took a turn as it began to pour. That said, as the townsfolk walked away with rainbow flags high (mostly to protect from the rain), most left feeling better than when they arrived.

As for Erin Bailey, she was beyond thrilled by how her high school project turned out. She was so happy that she was unbothered when she heard news of a message from the Vice President.

"Vice President Pence commends Erin Bailey for her activism and engagement in the civic process," press secretary Alyssa Farah told CNN. "As a proud Hoosier and Columbus native, he's heartened to see young people from his hometown getting involved in the political process."

In fact, she was very unbothered as she told Bustle.

"We're here, we're queer, and we're not going to listen to his agenda," she said. "He does not define our town. Columbus is Columbus."

h/t: WCPO Cincinnati