#travel

Travel Thursday: Why Bristol, Rhode Island is a Must Visit This Fall

When it comes to traveling as a gay man, having a quote unquote “gay scene” as part of your experience isn’t always a want or a necessity. There are areas we can head to that have zero gay bars, parades, etc, but still have a wonderful time in while feeling completely invited by the community itself.

Bristol, Rhode Island is a great example of this. I recently spent a couple of days there last week for the first time in my life and can safely say that I will be back as soon as I can. Located about 20 minutes outside Providence, Bristol is an area surrounded by gorgeous water, fabulous museums, a lush history, delicious food, and ambiance that is on a whole other level compared to its surroundings.

What is great about the area of Bristol is how much of a hidden gem it is. I’ve been traveling to and from Providence for fifteen years now, and never once visited this area. I’m glad I did now, as the places that I went to, the food that I ate and the location that I stayed in was truly incredible.

The history to Bristol is fascinating. Fun fact about it, they have the oldest 4th of July Parade in our entire country. The streets that you walk on in this area have red white and blue in the middle as opposed to just the white stripes, which is fitting given that they hold this record.

Beyond that, the area is pretty much like something out of a travel magazine with just how beautiful everything is. Rhode Island is nicknamed the “Ocean State”, and Bristol is a prime example of why it’s like that given how beautiful the bodies of water are that surround its location.

It’s a complete 180 from the rustic, city life of Providence, and that’s fine. Both have their own aesthetics, and Bristol’s is a lot calmer and more relaxed compared to its capital city.

Let’s talk about where to stay, where to eat, and what to see. For one, the Bradford-Dimond-Norris House is far from a typical place you would stay when traveling. It’s an actual house, a BnB, and a wonderful place to rest your head at night. The family that owns it takes hospitality to a whole other level, and makes you feel so invited outside of the beautiful insides that they have helped create. Two words really describe this: elegant and historic, as the rooms you will stay in transport you to a different time period that definitely isn’t 2018. Essentially: you won’t want to leave.

As for the food, keep in mind, this is the “Ocean State”, so seafood is something that they can brag about and then some. There are, however, other great spots that go beyond our crustacean obsession when it comes to the food we put in our mouth. The Bristol Sunset Café boasts a delicious assortment of breakfast options that will leave you feeling full and ready for the day ahead. Le Central and The Beehive are your lunchtime experts in terms of some great sandwiches and soups. And finally, for the seafood, you can’t go wrong with The Lobster Pot which provides succulent scallops, lobster and more in a gorgeous setting that overlooks the water.

The attractions in this area are what help make Bristol so beyond amazing. Mount Hope Farms, for example, is a 127-acre estate that hosts several special events throughout the year including a ton of weddings and whatnot… and can you blame them? The space is out of this world gorgeous.

Same goes for Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum which you will need a ton of energy in your system prior to arriving (scratch that, both of them you need it due to its sheer size). Blithewold has so much to see its hard to figure out where to begin. Whether it is their lush greenery, iconic views, 45-room mansion that is chock full of a bevy of information about its inhabitants and more, these are two places that are worth checking out during your stay in Bristol.

Overall, Bristol is a truly magical place to visit for this city boy and I look forward to the day when I can go back again. For more information, please check out their official website.


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

Meet the Gay Traveler Who is on the Adventure of a Lifetime

In 2016, a 30-year-old Mikah Meyer embarked on the trip of a lifetime—one that many of us would only dream of taking. He packed all his things into a van and set out for a three-year journey to visit all of the United States National Park Service Units in a single trip—that’s 417 total!

His motivation? To honor his late father’s memory and live life to his fullest. At the time of his father’s passing, Meyer was 19 and never officially got to ‘come out’ to his father who was a pastor. It wasn’t until the Nebraska native was 22 that he officially ‘came out’ and began his own internal journey of accepting being a gay man as well as a faithful Christian. He went on to form a group called “Queer for Christ” in hopes of sharing with other like-minded individuals that it was ‘okay’ to be queer and religious.

On the 11th anniversary of his father’s death in 2016, Meyer, believing that he would not receive support or funding for his trip to all of the National Park Units, made a choice to not be ‘out’ as he ventured on his way. Not knowing what the road ahead of him would look like, Meyer set out in search of clarity and closure with the mantra “Chase your dreams before it’s too late.” But nine months into his journey, Meyer received a message from a young, closeted boy who inspired him to continue the rest of his trip openly, honestly, and proudly. His travels have gained a lot of attention on Instagram because of the snapshots of the picturesque landscapes he’s visited.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you ever need a lake to reflect, this is your place: Crater Lake National Park.

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on

 

When his journey is complete, Meyer will have the World Record for the youngest individual to visit all the U.S. National Park Service Units as well be the first person to visit them all in a single trip. Oh, and on top of that, he’s a trained vocalist who tours churches around the U.S. singing and sharing his inspiring story.

I got to know Meyer in more detail as he shared his story with Instinct. He's shattering stereotypes by proving to the world that there is no such thing as a gay man who doesn't like the outdoors. In fact, right now as you read this, he’s hiking Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, and I hope he gets to read it too--the first chance at WiFi he gets:


How/why did this journey to visit all the National Parks begin?

I lost my dad to cancer when I was 19. He was just 58 and was a big road trip fan. Since he was in hospice and died during my freshman year of college, I never got those long father-child road trips to college my 3 older sisters said were so formative.

So a few days after his funeral I took a road trip to heal. Have done one every year since his passing, and wanted to do something “epic” at age 30 to share this lesson that tomorrow’s not guaranteed; that everyone should pursue their dreams ASAP because we might pass away sooner than we hope.


Where did you start and where do you plan to finish?

I began this journey at the Washington National Monument on April 29, 2016, and will end on April 29, 2019 just a few hundred yards from where I started: walking from the Washington Monument to finish atop the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


How many National Parks have you visited to date and when do you expect to be done?

I’m 368 parks done as of today, will have 30 left by the start of 2019, then will end with site 417 on April 29, 2019 (the 14th anniversary of my father’s passing).


How have you been getting around from place to place? Sleeping? Eating?

I’m living in a self-converted cargo van called “Vanny McVanface.” Doing the #VanLife by sleeping in hotel parking lots, on side streets, and anywhere I can stealthily park for free overnight. I drilled five 100-watt solar panels into Vanny’s roof so I’d have enough power to charge an efficiency fridge, and I eat out of there or fast-casual restaurants where I can plop down with my laptop and get a few hours of internet access.


Are you traveling alone?

I am. It’s definitely the hardest part of this trip. As an 11 on an extrovert scale of 1 – 10, I thought meeting new people constantly on the road would help me survive. But the large amount of time required alone in libraries or behind my computer to pull this off, and the lack of time with friends I’m not just meeting or catching up with, has become way harder than I ever expected.


What’s the longest stretch of driving you’ve done on journey?

As part of 65,000 road miles thus far, I drove the Cassiar Highway from Seattle to Anchorage and the AlCan from Fairbanks to Fargo. Both took over 60 hours of driving time and 7+ days, and gave me mad respect for America’s truckers! They also allowed me to finish some dystopian future, teen-lit trilogies I’d been looking forward to checking-off my Audible playlist—suspenseful stories helping keep me alert for moose on the road!


 What have you learned thus far on during your travels?

Gosh, where to start. The biggest thing has probably been that for this wanderlust--for someone who always thought the answers were “out there!”, I’ve discovered how much it means to me to have a community I’m actively part of. I’m looking forward to finishing this trip so I can cultivate the grass under my feet, rather than assume it’s greener somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong! I still love traveling. I’ve just learned the value of having a place to land beyond where the plane’s wheels touch down.


What have been some of the biggest obstacles for you?

Funding. Funding. Funding. I started this project having only saved up 1/5 the money experts said it would take. I had a Pollyanna belief that companies would all want to sponsor this journey--to donate a RV, insurance, and other expenses--and that turned out to be the furthest thing from the truth. The people on YouTube who get sponsored receive that financial support because they have huge followings. I’ve learned it doesn’t so much matter the substance of what you’re doing (when it comes to funding projects this way) as it matters how many eyes are watching. Cue Logan Paul…

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Water. So much water at Niagara Falls.

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


What have been some of your favorite locations?

The hidden gems. The places you don’t see plastered all over travel magazines or “Best Of” lists. Many of my favorite sites were ones I’d never heard of until I embarked on this journey to check off every single site the National Park Service manages. Sites like Dinosaur National Monument, Buck Island Reef National Monument, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore show you that sometimes the most beautiful things are the ones most people have overlooked.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My final night on Saint Croix provided my favorite sunset of Buck Island. Cheers, St. Croix, next: Saint John!

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


Single/taken?

“Hey Mom, this is the guy I was telling you about who lives in a van!” – Yeah, those words have not happened. I’m driving solo in Vanny’s cab.


Have you met anyone ‘special’ along the way who you might want to continue your travels with? Any friends?

I call myself an “Adventurer” because more than anything, I’m excited by the prospect of what could happen, who I could meet, what could become. So in my 20s, I chased a lot of magnetic connections made over a romantic weekend or a serendipitous meeting. After trying to date guys long-distance from as far as Memphis to Switzerland, my 30s find me more excited by the thought of meeting someone I can see on the reg and building something magnetic together.

I’ve definitely met people who provided that initial spark, whether of friendship or potential romantic relationship, and am open to them or a future someone being the person I share upcoming amazing places with; or at least making the long drives less teen-lit dependent ;)

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Horseshoe Bend Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


Part of your mission in your travels is to tour churches around the nation and share your experiences as an out gay Christian, how has this process been?

It’s been amazing actually. I started singing at churches because I was running out of money and was going to have to quit this project, but took the advice of a friend that suggested I “sing for my supper” using my professional singing background to fund the journey. After struggling horribly at fundraising while getting messages from people who called me a “lazy millennial” and told me to “get a job,” I found there was a large segment of Christians really energized by someone willing to share their existence as an openly gay Christian and reflect their belief that God loves all people—especially LGBT people.

Quite simply, I would not be here today was it not for the financial support of the 100s of churches I’ve sung/spoken/preached for across the country. So whether they were super excited to have a guest presenter who was gay, or were leery but still willing to give me the chance, I owe a huge word of thanks to the churches who’ve allowed me to share this message with their congregations, and in turn an LGBT-inclusive message with the outdoors, travel, and adventure communities.


Do you have an official ‘coming out’ story?

Oh Lawd do I have a coming out story. On National Coming Out day I posted some of it through this segment from my National Parks Cabaret, the rest will have to wait for the book:

 

 


Have you encountered any push back or negativity from these church visits?

I have had hecklers in person--who’ve come from outside the church I was visiting--telling me they were sent there to correct what I was doing. And especially on the internet, people feel more free to come for me (can someone please help anti-gay people learn how to turn off the CAPS LOCK key? I can predict the words of a message solely based on its ALL CAPS AND LACK OF PUNCTUATION).

But the churches who’ve invited me to present have been amazing. Some are already affirming of LGBT people, though my favorite are those who invite me because they want to start a conversation that hasn’t yet been presented in their church. Those are the ones where people especially pour out stories of their LGBT loved ones, because I think it’s the first time they’ve felt allowed to in that space.

Regrettably, I’ve yet to figure out a way to visit those churches that have already staunchly formed their stance against LGBT people. I’ve been turned down by a number who say they “welcome, but do not affirm LGBT,” which didn’t feel very welcoming…

My dream is to speak at Liberty University’s weekly convocation, because it’s essentially the ultimate current gathering of those who follow a theology that calls LGBT people flawed. I think of the 10% of their students, and those at so many Christian colleges, who’ve never seen an example of a faithful LGBT Christian, and would love to show them a person they’ve been told doesn’t exist. I know the school(s) will likely call me Satan or say I was there as a false prophet, but I just want to do whatever I can to help people not spend their lives hating who God made them, or marrying someone of the opposite gender in an attempt to cure themselves, as I for so long believed would be the solution to my “problem.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Usually I provide the rainbow. But at 5am on the Park Road, @denalinps decided it was gonna one up me!

A post shared by Mikah Meyer (@mikahmey) on


What might you say to a member of the LGBTQ community who thinks it’s not possible to be queer and still have faith in a higher power?

The original followers of Jesus were as queer as they came. Hello, a group of 12 men traveling around together in the desert with a leader who can turn water into wine! Sounds like Palm Springs #SquadGoals

Honestly, the first Christ followers were radicals. These Jews who would come to be called Christians were ridiculed by society, jailed, and murdered because they preached a message of love and acceptance over arcane laws and hypocrites. 

Pretty “queer,” both in being outside the norm and in the lived experiences of many present-day queer people, if you ask me.

Jesus’ message and actions are consistently about acceptance and love for the outcasts of popular society. It’s people carrying on his message--often times those claiming to be the most holy of all--who have warped God into being about wealth, power, and shame. Very little has changed since Jesus preached that the Pharisees (the religious leaders of Jesus’ times) were misrepresenting God.

If you compare the love and acceptance of a pride parade to the churches who preach that God hates all of us and wants to send us to hell if we don’t adhere to their church’s specific interpretation of scripture, it seems pretty obvious that LGBTQ people are a lot closer to the original followers of Jesus than anyone else.


What happens when you are done with this travel adventure?

I can finally go on a second date!

Aside from returning to more normal things like sleeping in a climate-controlled room or knowing where I’m showering every day, I am very much looking forward to focusing on my personal life again after 3 years of total dedication to this project.

However, to build on this national parks journey, I will continue performing my “National Parks Cabaret” that has helped fund the project, and I’m really excited to have signed with both a literary and speaking agent as ways to help others live vicariously through this road trip so many have said “is my travel dream!”

My ultimate goal though, is to create a sort of “Queer Eye” follow-up, with a travel show that goes beyond the genre’s safe, typically straight white hosts. Utilizing diverse queers (myself and my African-American best friend from Memphis—who’s the most brilliant comic I’ve encountered) to showcase the world from not only a queer perspective (in all aspects of the word), but through the different lenses of someone who’s traveled the world, and his best friend who’s hardly made it out of the most forgotten parts of Memphis.

Netflix, if you’re reading, Torris and I are packed and ready.


Anything you’d like to add?

I’d love to come speak or sing for readers’ colleges, companies, churches, Gay Men’s Chorus or LGBT Center. Reach out at www.mikahmeyer.com/contact and we’ll find a pit stop down the road!

If you want to come say “Yass Queen!” at one of my current stops, I keep everything up-to-date on the Events tab of my “MIKAH” Facebook.com/mikahmey Page.


We’re with you every step of the way, Mikah!

Keep up with Mikah Meyer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube as he conquers this voyage of a lifetime.


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

Atlanta GA, San Antonio TX Receive Perfect Scores in LGBTQ Equality

LGBTQ equality has been slowly but surely advancing in the United States. There have been setbacks such as the numerous bathroom bills or county clerks not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but the good, in my opinion, outweighs the bad. Certain states have excellent anti-discrimination laws to prevent people from discriminating against LGBTQ people and even some cities in traditionally conservative states have been stepping up in support of LGBTQ people. Namely Atlanta, Georgia and San Antonio, Texas.

According to Project Q, Atlanta received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, which measures things such as anti-discrimination laws, making restrooms accessible to transgender individuals, and protection from forced conversion therapy. This is the sixth consecutive time that Atlanta has received this score, where as nine other cities in Georgia received failing scores. HRC president Chad Griffin said in response to the exceptional score that it is “vitally important that cities like Atlanta are stepping up to provide crucial, commonsense protections for their LGBTQ residents and visitors.”

And it is. Positive change starts small, and by Atlanta and its residents standing up for LGBTQ rights in a state that has no protection for LGBTQ individuals, Atlantians are saying that they want to achieve full equality.

Another city that received a perfect score, according to My San Antonio, the Texas city also received a perfect score in the Municipal Equality Index, making it another safe space in a traditionally conservative state without LGBT nondiscrimination laws. This is the first year that San Antonio has received such a score. Robert Salcido, executive director of Pride Center San Antonio, said "For LGBTQ Texans, legal protections and services vary widely depending on where you call home." San Antonio received a perfect score this year due to increased services for LGBT seniors, added policy language directed toward anti-LGBTQ bullying programs, and other things, says Salcido. 

Other Texas cities that have received a high score on the MEI are Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin. Other cities did not score as well, as Corpus Christi received a meager score of 48 and Laredo scoring a 0.

It is my hope that cities such as Atlanta and San Antonio will lead by example and show other cities that having equal rights for LGBTQ people will ultimately create a more egalitarian society. 


h/t: Project Q, My San Antonio

What are the Safest Manhattan Neighborhoods for LGBTQ Travelers?

Manhattan is one of the biggest and best cities for gay culture. Thousands of people who identify within the LGBTQ spectrum visit "The Big Apple" every single year in hopes of finding some of the best food, entertainment, nightlife, and more while there.

It’s also important that our community is aware of what neighborhoods within Manhattan are its safest, as hate crimes unfortunately still exist here.

GeoSure, an award-winning smartphone app that helps travelers across the most reliable safety information available with easy-to-use ratings that range from 1-100 (the lower the score, the safer the neighborhood), developed their own list of the safest neighborhoods for LGBTQ travelers in

New York City overall ranked a 31 for a score.  Philadelphia comes in at 45, Washington DC in at 40, Fort Lauderdale at 39, and Miami at 49. 

Take a look at what areas of NYC ranked where below: (numbers at time of publication)

Manhattan Neighborhood   LGBTQ
Chelsea 32
Midtown East  32
Upper East Side 32
Hell's Kitchen  40
Gramercy Park 28
East Village  32
SoHo 32
TriBeca 28
West Village  40
Morningside Heights  33

Why the high numbers within Hell's Kitchen and West Village?  It is most likely because the app uses self-reporting to give the ratings of each region.  It seems more concerns have been reported within those two areas. Keep in mind the main number for the area is the overall rating and users must slide up to see the LGBTQ Rating. 

The app is still new and may not have a number for all of the cities out there.  As usage increases, the numbers will be more accurate. Just like YELP and other rating apps, GeoSure gives a good approximation of quality based on others opinions.

As always, be safe and look out for yourselves.

h/t: GeoSure

Travel Thursday: Why Philly is Fabulous in the Fall for Our Community

Philadelphia happens to be one of those places that is great to visit all year round. There's always something super exciting going on in the City of Brotherly Love, especially when it comes to activities that are LGBTQ specific.

The fall season in Philly has no shortage of these events for our community, which should only enhance your desire to want to visit as what they have in store in the upcoming months there is nothing short of spectacular. 

Take a look at 5 great reasons why you should Visit Philly and experience this incredible area for yourself.

Outfest

An event that can only be described as simply fabulous coincides with National Coming Out Day on October 7th. Stellar drag performances, food, dance parties and more will be happening in less than two weeks in Philly's spectacular Gayborhood that is encompassed by some iconic gay bars (more of that below). 

Food, Food, and More Food

Philly is known for their, wait for it, cheesesteaks, but there’s so much more to this city when it comes to the assortment of cuisines you can experience. If you are looking for seasonal American fare that includes some of the tastiest sandwiches I’ve ever had, then try The Love. on S. 18th Street. If you are jonesing for that cheesesteak, which is par for the course, then Jim’s on South Street is iconic beyond words. People actually take photos of the wonderful men and women working there who serve them some of the tastiest cheesesteaks in the area (and possibly the world). Also, if you are looking for a great dessert with a twist, then Sweet Charlie’s will do the trick as they hand roll all the ice cream they make. It ends up looking like something out of an art exhibit with flavors bursting out of every spoon-filled bite you take.

The Laramie Project

The popular staged retelling of the story of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student who died in October 1998 after being severely beaten in rural Wyoming, is something that all generations needs to see as it played a big part in our LGBTQ history and movement towards securing better rights for us. The play, which debuted two years after Matthew's death, eventually became a major television movie starring Christina Ricci and Steve Buscemi. It will take place this coming weekend, September 28th through the 30th, at 401 Dekalb Street in Norristown, More info here.

Opera Philadelphia’s O Festival

Opera Philadelphia's O Festival has returned for its second year. It started on September 20th and will close this coming Sunday. Two of the shows that they are putting on have a big LGBTQ theme to them that encompasses the world of fashion, art, gender-bending and more. More info on both here.

Bar Central

Philly’s gay bar scene rivals many cities like New York and Boston as one of the best in the Northeast. There are a variety of great spots to hit up while there, including Woody’s, The Bike Stop, U Bar and Boxers, all of which are very inviting and will make you feel welcome the instance you walk in.

For more information on all things Philadelphia, please check out their official website


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

New Cuban LGBTQ Resort To Open In 2019

Cuba is getting a new gay resort with 248 rooms.

ContraMuro.com reports that the island nation is preparing for the rise of the Rainbow Muthu hotel.

According to JoeMyGod, MGM Mutha Hotels & Resorts has announced that they are working on a “luxurious five-star” hotel that will cater to LGBTQ people and specifically gay men. So far, plans are for the spot to have five restaurants, three bars, a spa, a theater room, and plenty of pool space.

The resort will be located near Cayo Guillermo and is scheduled to open in the first half of 2019, says Forbes Mexico.

That said, more details are being withheld until the Cuban National Assembly votes on reforming the country’s constitution. Depending on how the vote goes, the new constitution could open the door for same-sex marriage.

The process is planned to run from August 13 to November 15, so we’ll hear more details about the resort sometime after that.


h/t: ContraMuro.com, JoeMyGod, Forbes Mexico


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.

Photo Of Gay Kiss At Brazil's Sugar Loaf Mountain Causes Several Complaints

Millions of people have complained about the photo of a gay kiss at Brazil’s second most popular tourist spot, but the man in charge of photography says he has no intentions to remove the image.

Sugar Loaf Mountain is second only to Christ the Redeemer in Brazil’s list of tourist attractions and million visit annually, according to The Intercept.

Recently, many visitors have been offended to see the image of two men kissing at the front lobby of the establishment.

When you walk into the waiting room, you are given the option of taking a photo in front of a green screen. You can then ask to have a variety of backgrounds supplied for your photo. Many of these images have then been placed up on the wall as sample photos, and at the direct center of the wall lies one of two men kissing.

Pedro Lotti, the 29-year-old manager of the photo operation company, FTG – Fotográfica, shared with the Intercept why he deliberately placed that photo where everyone could see it.

“I did it specifically because roughly 70% of our employees here are gay, and they experience serious problems here because of this,” Lotti, who isn’t gay, stated.

Lotti shares that it took a while to acquire a photo of two men kissing because gay couples are often afraid of displaying homosexual relationships in public.

 

A post shared by Cleber Oliveira (@cleber_) on

While LGBTQ people enjoy many of the same legal rights as their straight peers, despite a Brazilian judge ruling in favor of conversion therapy, there is a toxic and violent atmosphere around LGBTQ life in the country.

A report by Grupo Gay de Bahia states that there were 387 Brazilian homicides related to homophobia and transphobia in 2017. In addition, there were 58 suicides related to LGBTQ people in 2017. This is not only a 30% increase from the year before, but it makes Brazil one of the most openly hostile countries for LGBTQ people in the world.

Eventually though, Lotti did find a couple willing to not only kiss in a photo, but consent to having their image placed in the middle of the sample pictures wall.

Unfortunately, Lotti and his employees have now dealt with complaints and anger on a regular basis..

“We get complaints every day. They typically complain, specifically, that the photo is in the line of vision for children, and are angry that their kids specifically have seen the photo,” Lotti explains to The Intercept.

 

A post shared by Tadeu Ramos (@tadeu_ramos10) on

He also shares the point that there are several pictures of straight couples kissing, but “nobody ever complained about those.”

“The problem,” Lotti said, “is always with the parents, not the kids. Depending on how the parents respond, that determines whether the kids react positively or negatively.”

That said, Lotti did share that there have been a few good moments. Though far and in-between, some parents have responded with love and understanding when children asked them about the photo of two men kissing.

With Brazil becoming an increasingly dangerous place for LGBTQ people, it’s the words and actions of those few parents and Lotti that could slowly edge away at the hate.

h/t: The Intercept

Travel Thursday: Explore The Water Sports, Gay Spaces, And Local Atmosphere Of Key West

At the southernmost point of the United States of America, there lies an island full of culture, fun, and small town atmosphere.

The island of Key West originated as a close-knit community and artistic hub before revamping into a vacation destination in the mid-twentieth century. On top of that, the island has a strong gay community and appeal for vacationers. That makes it the perfect place to write about for Instinct Magazine’s Travel Thursday section.

So, if you’re looking for the best spot to plan your next vacation, here’s some info about why you should pick Key West.


Where to Stay

There are several LGBTQ-friendly resorts and inns on the island. The one I was fortunate enough to stay at was the Equator Resort.

The Equator Resort is a beautiful men's only resort with a definite gay vacay feel. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t shy away from the environment being about the merging of relaxation and sexual exploration. A kind/efficient staff compliment the spacious well decorated rooms all with private bathrooms and eleven complimentary gay porn television channels and don't forget the backyard clothing optional pool area.

Related Post: Can You Say NO To Gay Hookup Culture (And Still Love It Anyway)?

If you want a less sexual resort/inn or are traveling with family, you can look into The Gardens Hotel.

The Gardens Hotel is just as spacious and luxurious as the Equator Resort, but it also has the added plus of being on an absolutely beautiful lot. There is plenty of plant life and animal life surrounding the hotel insuring your vacation photos will be beautiful.


What to Experience: Water Sports

You've found a place to stay now on this beautiful island at the end of Route 1, but what’s there to do in Key West?

Key West, being an island, has a whole bunch of water around it and therefore a great many water oriented activities and sports to enjoy. Fury Water Adventures offers a variety of high-adrenaline activities. If you want to experience just about everything you can on the water, go with Fury and look up its Ultimate Adventure – an action-packed day that includes parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking and snorkeling.

I got to enjoy snorkeling with Fury Water Adventures and jetskiing with Barefoot Billy's Jet Ski Tour. Both adventures were incredible with adrenaline intense activity and a fun/personable staff helping out every step of the way.

Possibly the most interesting water activities out of the bunch was night kayaking. While you can jet ski anywhere in the world, the night kayaking and paddle boarding by Ibis Bay Paddle Sports was particularly dynamic. Paddling away as we watched crabs, fish, and lobsters hang out below us was an experience I’ll never forget.

 

 

I also have to give a shout out to the Blu Q Sunset Sail, a gay owned sail boat tour. We were on the Blu Q to enjoy the Key West Sunset. There's something about the sky turning into the same rainbow colors as the flag flying above the ship’s bow that felt special to me. Check out the boomerang below as well as this statement from Captain Steve:

Key West's longest running all gay charter.

22 Years ago, I left my home in Texas to follow my passion.  That passion, sailing, literally brought me to the shores of Key West.  The day I landed ashore, I realized this was my new home and the beginning of a dream to finally do what I loved.  Growing from two six passenger sail boats and running part time trips, I eventually found the perfect boat, Blu Q.  Thousands of lasting memories later created by my wonderful and loyal customers, Blu Q has truly been woven into the fabric our our island community.  Please join me and my crew for what many have said was the best day of their vacation.  Let us share our personal and intimate experience on the water doing what we truly love to do.  - Blu Q

 

 

A post shared by Devin Randall (@devjackran) on

 


The Delectable Food of Key West

I’ll be honest, Key West is an expensive place. Even the locals usually carry two or three jobs to afford calling this paradise home.

The food is no different in that sense, but it's not impossible. Many restaurants post their menu outside their door for you to see what's offered and how much they cost. On top of that, there are cheap options out there.

But if you wan to splurge a little and enjoy the fine dining experience, you can work your way there too. If you save up before you go, or are just stacked to begin with, you can partake in the plethora of delicious food this island culinary delight has to offer.

Here are some dishes from restaurants that I enjoyed during my stay.


Experience: The “Pink Triangle”

Once you’ve packed away some food and gotten yourself ready for a night of drinks, dancing, and dudes, it’ll be time to head over to Duval Street and the Pink Triangle.

Duval Street is "the downtown street” in Key West, running completely across the island from the north side to its southern side, from water to water. At night time, this street is covered with tourists and locals alike who are looking to enjoy the nightlife on the island. This is especially true around the Pink Triangle.

The Pink Triangle of Duval Street is home to several gay clubs and bars (and even the Gay Key West Visitors Center). This location is full of spots where gay men (and only gay men in several bars) go to party and maybe meet that special someone for the night, a nice Key West hookup. 

Sone of these Pink Triangle hot spots include 

Key West is known for a fantastic drag scene. 801 and Aqua are home to two of the best shows you may ever see.

 

 

 

Experience: Gay Male Spaces

As I’ve touched on in other sections, there is an intense sexual atmosphere in Key West. Several of the men’s only bars and resorts have a gay sex scene feel to them.

One particular spot of note was the Island House Resort. It's another place to stay in addition to the ones mentioned above or you could just decide to visit Island House as a day visitor, like if it were a bathhouse.

The Island House resort is decked out with a large (clothing optional) pool area, sauna, fully stocked bar, and more. Not only is this location a great spot for tourists to relax and have fun, but it’s a well-known spot for locals to gather together and enjoy paradise.

Every Sunday and Wednesday, the Island House becomes THE spot for gay men to gather, socialize, and drink. Island locals and tourists join together to enjoy themselves in this social setting that most bathhouses today have sadly left behind.


Dessert

If men are not on your list of sweets you're craving, there are the caloric ones to enjoy, too.

Key West is the home of the Key Lime pie, and I for sure had my fill, with each slice tasting different than the rest. And if you’re not a fan of the local lime treat, don’t worry. Key West is an island chock-full of desserts. Check out a few I tried down below.

 


Experience: Locals & Tours

What’s great about Key West is that it is complex and dynamic. While you can enjoy the typical tourist spots and water sports or the gay vacation spots, you can also enjoy the history, culture, and small town side of the island, too.

If you visit Key West, take the time to talk to some of the locals on the island. Once you’ve met them, you’re sure to see them all over the island.

My first stop on the island was at Papa’s Pilar, a rum distillery named after famous islander Ernest Hemingway. The tour of the distillery also included a history lesson about Hemingway’s love of the island, how he named himself Papa, how he forced everyone to call him that, why his boat was called the Pilar, and how the rum got named after both.

The staff at the distillery were so kind, informed us about the island’s history, and were knowledgeable about the technical side of creating alcohol making this a tour I HIGHLY recommend for anyone visiting the island.

On top of that, I befriended some of the workers at the distillery and imagine my surprise when I later ran into one while hanging out in one of the gay bars. Small island.

Of course, that’s not the only tour on the island. If you want to be guided around the island and shown all its history, culture, and natural beauty, there are plenty of tours to do that. I was fortunate enough to explore it all while on these tours:

  • A tour of Hemingway’s Home - There's a great artistic history and community in Key West. For instance, Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West for nearly 10 years! He became a community leader and his Whitehead street home later became a popular tourist spot. Walk the halls where he once lived, learn about his time on the island, and pet one of the six-toed cats who are now the great-grandchildren of the cats Hemingway once owned.
  • A museum tour for famous playwright Tennessee Williams - The goal of this museum is to keep the legacy alive of one of the greatest American playwrights of the last century. It offers visitors an entertaining and informative self-guided tour as well as curator led tours to absorb information about Williams's life, career, and devotion to his sister Rose (who also became an Island resident).
  • A Key Lime bike tour around the island - Key Lime Bike Tours takes riders on a historical journey around the island of Key West. The company provides a fun and informative experience that enables guests to discover the island’s history, architecture, and culture. Stops include Hemingway House, Mallory Square, Key West Historic Seaport, Southernmost Point, Mile Marker 0, Key West Cemetery, Margaritaville and the Key Lime Pie Factory for a slice of frozen Key lime pie.
  • The Butterfly & Nature Conservatory - Walk through an inviting environment filled with hundreds of the most beautiful winged creatures in nature. Guests will discover an impressive collection of flowering plants, colorful birds including flamingos, cascading waterfalls and trees that set the stage for the “flowers of the sky.” Attractions also include a learning center where guests can explore butterfly anatomy, physiology, lifecycle, feeding and the migratory world of the monarch.

 


Experience: Key West

Two weeks ago, I was blessed with a visit to Key West, and I can say without a doubt that I now plan to go back someday. I enjoyed the gay bars, the water sports, the food, and the local feel of the island. And now I have to get another look.

Key West is a must for any traveler (gay or otherwise).


We'd like to thank fla-keys.com for all of their great support before and during our trip to Key West. They helped us make some great connections. Look them op if you need pointers and as well, see below for some links to the great places we had the chance to visit. 


If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


 

Resorts

Equator Resort Key West
822 Fleming St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-7775

www.equatorresort.com
@EquatorKeyWest​​

The Gardens Hotel
526 Angela St.
Key West, FL 33040
https://www.gardenshotel.com/

 

Nightlife

801 Cabaret: Sushi and the 801 Girls Drag Show
801 Duval St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-4737

www.801bourbon.com

 

Tours

Hemingway Rum Co.
201 Simonton St.
Key West FL 33040
305-414-8754
http://papaspilar.com/admin/distillery/

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
907 Whitehead St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-1575
www.hemingwayhome.com

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
1316 Duval St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-296-2088
www.keywestbutterfly.com

Tennessee Williams Museum
513 Truman Ave. near Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040
305-842-1666
http://www.kwahs.org/museums/ tennessee-williams/history-of-tennessee-williams​​

Audubon House and Gardens
205 Whitehead St.
Key West FL
305-294-2116
www.audubonhouse.com

Key Lime Bike Tour
122 Ann St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-340-7834
www.keylimebiketours.com

 

Food

Azur
425 Grinnell St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-292-2987

www.azurkeywest.com

Salute! On The Beach
1000 Atlantic Blvd.  
Key West, FL 33040
305-292-1117

www.saluteonthebeach.com

Breakfast at Blue Heaven
729 Thomas St.
Key West, FL 33040
305-296-8666
www.blueheavenkw.com

Dinner and Drag at La Te Da
1125 Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040
www.lateda.com

Latitudes
245 Front St.
Key West FL 33040
305-292-5394
https://www.sunsetkeycottages.com/latitudes-restaurant/

The Stoned Crab
3101 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-4350
http://www.stonedcrab.com/

Spencer’s by the Sea (@TheReachResort)
1435 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
http://www.reachresort.com/dining-en.html

 

Water Adventure

Fury Water Adventures
245 Front Street
Key West, FL 33040
www.furycat.com

Blu Q Sunset Sail
Key West, FL 33040
305-923-7245
www.bluqkeywest.com

Barefoot Billy’s Jet Ski Tour
Casa Marina Resort
At the corner of Alberta St. & Seminole St.
305-900-3088
www.barefootbillys.com

Night Kayaking/Paddle boarding at Ibis Bay
3101 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West FL 33040
305-896-0342
www.keywestpaddle.com/Nightpaddling.html

Pack Up Because An LGBTQ Touring Company Is Offering A "Call Me By Your Name" Tour

Are you a fan of Call Me By Your Name? Well, it might be time to live out the movie you so wonderfully enjoy.

Quiiky Tours is the first Italian company to specialize in LGBTQ-themed travel. According to NewNowNext, the company has announced that they’re now offering a Call Me By Your Name themed tour.

Call Me By Your Name was an Oscar winning film from last year that focused on a Jewish-Italian boy named Elio (played by Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet) as he explored his sexuality and fell in love with a man, 24-year-old graduate student Oliver played by Armie Hammer, for the first time.

Now, fans of the movie can explore the real-life backdrops from scenes in the movie like Milan, Crema, Garda Lake, Verona, Venice, and Bergamo.

Fans will be able to sit at the same table where Elio and Oliver relaxed in Crema’s Duomo Square. They’ll also get to take bicycle tours in the Lodi countryside before dancing to “Love My Way” in Bergamo. Heads up though, you won't be able to visit the villa where Elio's family lived because that building's being sold.

If this all sounds interesting to you, here’s some info you'll need to know before you start planning your tour.

Tour prices start at €1,990 (about $2,300) per person. That price includes 9 days and 8 nights in Italy, hotel stays, car rental for driving around, 8 buffet breakfasts, a guided tour through most of the cities and towns, entrance to museums, entrance to archeological sites, wine tastings, and other accommodations.

If all of this sounds interesting to you, you can click here to start your Call Me By Your Name tour.

h/t: NewNowNext

California Bans State-Funded Travel to Oklahoma Due To Anti-LGBT Law

On the first day of Pride Month 2018, it was announced that California is banning state-funded and state-sponsored travel to yet another state as a result of discriminatory legislation.

On Friday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra made the announcement in a statement obtained by USA Today.

Under a 2017 CA law, the state’s attorney general is required by to keep a list of all states subject to a travel ban because of “laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The Oklahoma bill in question, signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin last month, allows adoption and foster care agencies to reject same-sex couples on the grounds of religious beliefs.

"California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy," said Becerra.

Michael McNutt, a spokesperson for Fallin, defended the Oklahoma law later on Friday. "There appears to be more and more Californians sharing our values as we are seeing more Californians move to Oklahoma,” he said in a statement. "With our state’s economy being as strong as it is, we won’t miss a few Californians traveling on state business showing up in our state.”

An anti-LGBTQ+ adoption bill similar to the one in Oklahoma was signed into law in Kansas two weeks ago by Governor Jeff Colyer. Kansas has already been subjected to a California travel ban on the grounds of the 2017 anti-discrimination law, along with Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

California’s Oklahoma travel ban will go into effect June 22.

h/t: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/06/02/california-bans-travel-oklahoma-due-discriminatory-lgbt-law/666320002/

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