Who owns Gay Pride?

rainbow-flagThere’s a lawsuit in New York City right now that asks the question, “Can one group own Gay Pride?”

Heritage of Pride, Inc., is a nonprofit organization in New York responsible for organizing the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade. In recent years, Heritage has expanded its reach to stage multiple events (dances, etc.) during June.

But Heritage isn’t, of course, the only group that organizes Pride events; gay promoters Brandon Voss and Jake Resnicow have been putting on Pride Month events since 2009. In 2011, Heritage filed a trademark claim to the phrase “NYC Pride,” and is now trying to enjoin Voss and Resnicow from using that term.

Obviously, you cannot trademark the concept of “Pride.” But what about the name? Are they inseparable?

It’s an interesting conundrum. Both “Disney World Gay Days” and “Gay Days Orlando” are competing groups that sponsor events every June. But neither owns outright the words “Gay Day.” Can one company own “NYC Pride”? Don’t we all kind of own it, as the Stonewall Riots were in New York and spawn the modern gay rights movement? Could Voss et al. get around it by calling their events “Pride NYC” of “NY Pride”? Should any corporation be able to control the word Pride in any way — isn’t it an expression, not a piece of property?

Thoughts?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TX-based Millions of Moms for Love counters One Million Moms’ hate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor more than 20 years, gays have gathered in Orlando the first week of June for Gay Days at Walt Disney World, where folks and their friends and families can experience the Magic Kingdom and all its camp appeal. Over the decades, it has grown to a weeklong event, covering all the Disney parks (as well as Universal) and attracting hundreds of thousands of out-and-proud people, looking to enjoy the amusements.

And for almost as long, it has been a lightning rod for hate groups.

Disney does not officially sponsor Gay Days (though, as a regular attendee for many years, I can tell you they don’t oppose it), but that hasn’t stopped homophobic groups like the American Family Association and spinoff One Million Moms from accusing the House of Mouse and gays of “expos[ing] and desensitiz[ing] children to this lifestyle by same-sex couples holding hands, hugging and kissing.” Let’s ignore for a minute that “holding hands, hugging and kissing” is also what parents do with the kids, and couples of all ages do in public on a daily basis without causing a stir. Still, OMM is urging its supporters to email Disney and demand they not “go along” with Gay Days.

Of course, I don’t know how Disney could stop it: You show up with money and a ticket, they let you in — they are a business. But that doesn’t stop OMM.

It has, however, spurred a straight Texas mother, Darcy Christ, to act. (Don’t you just love her last name? Christ is on our side!) Earlier this month, Christ started a Facebook fan page to get folks who believe in love to oppose OMM and their rants against gays. She’s also teamed with Outloud Enterprises, which has established a page where you can sign a letter to Disney voicing your support for inclusion.

And, of course, you can show your support simply by attending Gay Days and spending money. For some reason, that seems to work.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Travel Diary • 01.13.12

IMG_3636Gay Days, which for years has organized circuit-party- like festivities during the week-long “Gay Day” in Orlando — covering DisneyWorld, the Universal Parks and more — is expanding west for what they are calling their first “bi-coastal” celebration.

Only the new city isn’t really on the coast, or anywhere near it. Their bad.

Still, Gay Days Las Vegas does bring the signature event style to the Pacific time zone.

From Sept. 4–10 this year, the Tropicana Casino in Vegas will be host to the Pride party, which will include a travel-retail expo (free and open to the public), daily pool parties and other events around town (pictured).

That follows the annual Orlando blow-out, which takes place as always the first weekend in June. You can book reservations and learn more about both at GayDays.com.

Asian markets are organizing to embrace their LGBT travelers more openly.

Following a symposium late last year in New Delhi, sponsored by San Francisco-based Community Marketing, countries across the region discussed reaching out to gay travelers. The New York office of the Thailand tourism bureau even announced a pilot campaign, scheduled to launch during the first quarter of 2012, called “Go Thai, Be Free,” targeting LGBT travelers on the East Coast of the U.S.

Olivia, the lesbian-focused travel company, will celebrate its upcoming 40th anniversary with two special cruises — the largest lesbian cruises yet to set sail.

The cruises — departing from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 27 and again on Feb. 3 on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam liner, for a tour of the Caribbean, including Aruba, the Bahamas and Curacao — will hold 2,100 guests. To book a room or for further information, visit Olivia.com.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

—  Kevin Thomas