Gay is OK on plenty of Caribbean islands, so why do gay cruises choose the homophobes?

Ships in Dominica dock at the end of a long pier

With the arrest of two men on an Atlantis cruise in the harbor in Dominica, the question isn’t whether they were having sex, as police claim, or just sunbathing nude, as the couple claims. The question is why a gay cruise is visiting islands where homosexuality is illegal, rewarding these places with tens of thousands of dollars of purchases on each visit when there are more places in the Caribbean where homosexuality is legal and places that even recognize same-sex marriage.

And whether or not they were engaging in sexual activity, the couple was told, “You are being arrested for being gay,” according to the Washington Post. As far as the police on Dominica were concerned, every person on that ship was guilty of crime. Why didn’t they arrest them all? Because they wanted them to come ashore and spend a lot of gay dollars.

While the Caribbean has an anti-gay reputation, the laws vary from island to island. Actually, homosexuality is perfectly legal in more places than not. The differences range from recognizing same-sex marriage to life in prison. Most perplexing, perhaps is that on some islands, lesbians are legal and gays get 10 years in prison.

French and Dutch territories have the longest history of nondiscrimination. Puerto Rico’s laws were struck down along with Texas’ sodomy law in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.

One other thing — in Dominica, the ship does not dock at the shore, but down a long pier. Someone on shore was looking for trouble with binoculars to catch this couple. See which islands welcome the LGBT community after the jump:

—  David Taffet

Haiti concert raises more than $17,000

Jonathan Palant

Jonathan Palant

The concert for Haiti organized by Turtle Creek Chorale director Jonathan Palant raised more than $17,000 that will go to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Donations can still be made on the Chorale Web site.

Palant said that there was never a goal.

“Every dollar collected was a dollar that wouldn’t have been sent to Haiti,” he said.

He said that this was the only cultural event in North Texas for the country that was devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake and he was proud that it was organized by the LGBT community.

The six-hour marathon concert took place at Cathedral of Hope on Friday, Feb. 19. The church’s choir began the evening followed by ENCORE! Anton Shaw sang and then the First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park Men’s Chorus had the fast-growing crowd on its feet.

First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park Men's Chorus

First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park Men's Chorus

—  David Taffet

Belly dancing for Haiti

Neenah

The Authentic Belly Dancing Academy and our good friends at Stratos Global Greek Taverna are teaming up for a special event Thursday night, Feb. 18, at the restaurant to benefit relief efforts in Haiti.

Stratos will offer a special Greek dinner, with salad and dessert, for $20, beginning at 7 p.m. The academy’s Troupe Hareem — including Neenah, pictured above, the dance studio’s owner — will begin dancing at 8 p.m. The dancers will donate all their tips to Hope for Haiti Now, an organization that gives 100 percent of the donations it collects to Haiti relief efforts.

Said Neenah: “The needs are still very great, of course. We think everyone should help, and we feel this is the least we can do for people who have lost it all.”

Stratos Global Greek Taverna is located at 2907 W. Northwest Highway in Dallas. Visit their Web site for more info.

Authentic Belly Dancing Academy offers beginning, intermediate and advanced belly dance classes at their studio in Irving. For more info on the academy, visit their Web site.

—  admin

Help for Haiti

I just got a message from Mimi Casanova over at Havana nightclub here in Dallas, asking that we let people know that they will be accepting donations at the club all day Saturday, Jan. 23, to send to Haiti.

As you know, the island country in the Carribean was devastated Jan. 12 by a major earthquake. Thousands of people were killed and thousands more need medical attentions and the basic necessities of life — food, water, shelter.

If you want to help, Mimi and Havana’s have a way that you can. They will be collecting donations of cash, water, clothing — whatever you have to donate that could be of use to the people of Haiti right now — at the club, 4006 Cedar Springs all day Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

So go by and give what you can.

—  admin

Haitian AIDS organization loses 14 people in earthquake

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reports getting word from Steve La Guerre, the director of SEROvie, the AIDS organization in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Of those at SEROvie at the time of the quake, 14 people were killed, two survived.

La Guerre wrote:

We were having our usual support group meeting on a quiet Tuesday afternoon when the worst happened. The sound is unforgettable. I can’t even describe the horror as the ceiling and the wall of the conference room started to fall and the chaos started. Fourteen young men were lost forever in the earthquake. Paul Emile, the leader of the group, and Stacy were the only survivors.

It is now more than ever that SEROvie and ACCV (Civic Action Against HIV) are needed to provide the quality services we have been providing to our beneficiaries: food, clothes, and any type of help is needed for our members. Any help will do.

Light a candle for these souls and for Haiti. Lord help us.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is directing 100% of donations made on their site to help SEROvie and other groups helping the LGBT community. Donations can be made here.

—  David Taffet

Limbaugh tries to out-crazy Robertson

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh
Radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh

Usually, when one right-wing nut job puts his foot in his mouth and gets called out on it, the others shut up. Not this time.

Earlier this week, Pat Robertson said that the earthquake in Haiti was caused by the Haitians who made a pact with Satan to get rid of French rule.

So along comes Rush Limbaugh. In the face of the greatest loss of life since the tsunami, the most destruction in this hemisphere since Katrina, the utter devastation and complete loss of their government infrastructure, hospitals, homes … we get this.

The earthquake was “made to order” by Obama. OK, so he’s not saying Obama caused the tsunami. Robertson cleared that up for us earlier this week. That pact with Satan actually caused the tsunami. Limbaugh is angry because any relief effort by the United States will make Obama look good.

So he’s out to stop it. Don’t donate, he said. “We’ve already donated to Haiti, it’s called the US income tax.”

Wow. I’ve been getting slammed because I recommended donating through the Rainbow Fund to bundle LGBT dollars. I recommended giving to CARE, which is 100% volunteer, is in Haiti already distributing food and 100% of your relief dollars go toward aid. I recommended giving to Mazon, which also provides food aid, gets the money where it’s needed fast, has helped here in Dallas and was co-founded by a member of Dallas’ Congregation Beth El Binah.

However, I didn’t recommend one particular agency. I didn’t say don’t give to them. I didn’t give reasons they’re not my favorite until their volunteers kept pushing me for it. I simply recommended a variety of other agencies that are in Haiti now helping and said give here, here, here and here. WOW.

And with his outrageous statement, Limbaugh will make the news, keep a number of people from donating in the name of hurting Obama and not only be allowed to continue polluting the PUBLIC airwaves but next year can negotiate an even larger contract. His salary is estimated at $33 million per year (not including fees for speaking engagements, book royalties, investments).

So here’s my suggestion. Give to Rainbow Fund. They bundle LGBT dollars and steer the money to other groups with particular immediate needs that provide relief without discrimination. And do it in Limbaugh’s name. Let him know that his words are generating donations, not stopping them.

—  David Taffet

LGBT organization sets up Haiti relief fund

Rainbow

When making donations for the Haiti relief effort, make sure you are donating to an organization that is established and has the ability to get the money where it is needed. The $10 text message donations are going to the Red Cross. In the past much of the Red Cross money was actually banked and used for the next relief effort, not the one you are donating toward. After outrage about that practice after Katrina, the claim to have fixed that problem.

Here’s an alternative. The Rainbow World Fund was established in 2000 and contributes to the general relief effort, but makes sure your money does not go to groups that exclude the LGBT community or discriminate in providing help.

From their Web site:

  • Rainbow World Fund (RWF) is an international relief agency based in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and friends community. RWF’s mission is to promote LGBT philanthropy in the area of world humanitarian relief. RWF works to help people who suffer from hunger, poverty, disease, oppression and war by raising awareness and funds to support relief efforts around the world. RWF provides a united voice, a large visible presence, and a structure to deliver LGBT charitable assistance to the larger world community.

One of their current worldwide relief partners is CARE, which operates in Haiti and has been providing food since the disaster struck the country.

Donations to Rainbow World Fund can be made here. More information about the organization is available on their Web site. Donating through Rainbow World Fund is a way to pool money to make a measurable impact while assuring that during a disaster, sexual orientation and gender identity are not obstacles to receiving help. Yes, some groups even use catastrophes to discriminate. Of note, the Red Cross is NOT listed on their Web site as a relief partner.

—  David Taffet

Blame the victim

I’d never impose my opinion here, but Pat Robertson is an idiot.

Robertson said that the earthquake in Haiti, which may have killed 100,000 people, was caused by Haitians who made a pact with the devil to rid themselves of French rule. No really. I didn’t make that up. Here. Watch him:

Now this is certainly not the first time he’s said hateful and stupid things.

After Sept. 11, he and buddy Jerry Falwell said that the gays caused the World Trade Center attack.

And after a series of hurricanes hit Florida, again, it was the gays. Yes, once you earn your toaster over, apparently, you are bestowed with a powerful ability to cause catastrophic weather conditions.

But Hurricane Katrina? That one had to do with legalized abortion.

Here are some of his most moronic quotes:

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

“Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up.” Foggy Bottom is where the State Department is located. Why isn’t this man investigated as a terrorist?

“Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It’s no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history.”

Here’s my question to mainstream media. You report on these stupid statements of him. But then you forget all about it and run back to him to come on the air as a commentator. Why is he taken as a serious religious man?

—  David Taffet