Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Sheraton refuses gay couple for wedding, so Hilton offers to host them for free

Published

on

Vancouver vlogger and groom-to-be Josh Rimer (Image via YouTube)

When a pair of gay grooms wanted to book their wedding at a major chain hotel in the middle of a famously gay-friendly city, they had no reason to expect that would be a problem.

That’s what made it so surprising to them when they were denied.

Josh Rimer, a popular Vancouver vlogger and TV host who also happens to be Mr. Gay Canada 2019, posted a video earlier this month in which he shared the story of the difficulties he encountered when he and his husband-to-be, Heath, tried to arrange their dream wedding at the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center in Puerto Vallarta. After an initial process in which it was difficult to get a response from the hotel, Rimer – who is an LGBTQ activist – finally thought he would be able to set up the event, but when he mentioned there would be an extra boutonniere required because there were two grooms, things got even worse.

As Rimer shared with Vancouver’s CityNews, a staffer at the Sheraton hotel sent them an email that reads:

“I am infinitely grateful that you have thought of Sheraton for your big day, however, our hotel and our staff is not specialized to carry out an equal wedding and we would not like to take your wedding as a trial and error, and our service could be poor compared to what characterized Sheraton, because we know and we are aware that is your special day for you and your fiance, and do not want that by our non-specialed service some conflict can be generated on your big day, my apologies.”

Understandably frustrated, the travel vlogger decided to vent about it to his YouTube followers (“I don’t know if she thinks we’re going to show up in speedos with go-go dancers and we expect the officiant to be wearing leather chaps, this is just a normal wedding. It just happens to be with two guys.”). That’s when things took another unexpected turn – this time for the better.

A couple of days after Rimer posted his video, Hilton Puerto Vallarta tagged him on Instagram with an offer:

“Hi @JoshRimer, we’re looking for you! We’ve heard you want to get married at Puerto Vallarta and we want to offer you the #HiltonExperience! ? We want to celebrate with you this special day, so we’ll gladly host your wedding ceremony and feast for FREE for you and your 45 guests at Hilton Puerto Vallarta!”

Then, things took an even brighter turn when VACAYA, a shipping line specializing in LGBTQ cruises, offered to provide them with free honeymoon cruise as well.

“We’re thrilled to join Hilton Puerto Vallarta in celebrating the love between Josh and Heath because we believe that together we can shine a brighter light on the work we still have left to do to reach equality,” the cruise line wrote on Facebook.

Needless to say, Josh and Heath were thrilled to accept the offers. Rimer told CityNews that the experience was “very frustrating,” but he thinks the incident was “just a case, probably, of somebody not knowing what it’s like to have gay clientele, for some reason,” and that the service at the Buganvilia would probably be improved with “some training in this area.”

Despite the drama he says, “We’re still in love, despite the whole ups-and-down process, so, yeah, we’re just excited for the big day.”

As for the original would-be venue, Jeff Flaherty, a spokesman from Sheraton’s parent company, Marriott International, parent company of Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, said they reached out to Rimer directly to express “our sincerest apologies for his experience,” according to NY Daily News.

“We are troubled and greatly concerned about the experience reported by Mr. Rimer. Marriott has long been committed to providing an environment where all are welcome including our LGBTQ guests and their loved ones,” Flaherty said. “In addition, we are looking further into the matter to better understand what happened and do what we can to prevent hurtful experiences like this from happening again.”

He added, “Marriott has long been committed to providing an environment where all are welcome including our LGBTQ guests and their loved ones.”

You can watch Josh’s original video below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sports

Carl Nassib comes out as gay, first active player in NFL history

Nassib also announced that he is donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project

Published

on

Carl Nassib. Courtesy of Instagram @carlnassib.

LAS VEGAS – Carl Nassib, who is a fifth-year defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first active NFL player to announce he is gay. The Raiders defensive end is now the NFL’s only openly gay player.

“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in a video he posted on his Instagram account. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life. I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I’m not doing this for attention, but I think representation matters.”

Nassib also announced that he is donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project.

“The Trevor Project is grateful to Carl Nassib for living his truth and supporting LGBTQ youth. This generous donation will help us scale our life-saving crisis services to reach the more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth who seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project in an emailed statement to the Blade.

“Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and it can be an incredibly scary and difficult one to make. We hope that Carl’s historic representation in the NFL will inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams. 

“At a time when state lawmakers are actively trying to restrict transgender and nonbinary youth’s participation in school sports, this news should serve as a clarion call for greater LGBTQ inclusion in the locker room and on the field,” Paley added.

Continue Reading

Television

Sesame Street embraces ‘Gay Dads’ for this year’s Pride month

Love is love, and we are so happy to add this special family to our Sesame family and Happy Pride to all!!!!

Published

on

Screenshot via Sesame Street YouTube

NEW YORK – The iconic children’s program Sesame Street enhanced LGBTQ visibility this Pride season introducing two gay dads and their daughter, in a special episode directed by Japanese American actor and theatre director Alan Muraoka who also plays Alan, the current owner of Hooper’s Store on the show.

Muraoka shared the exciting news on Facebook, saying he was “honored and humbled” to have directed such a milestone episode, “Love is love, and we are so happy to add this special family to our Sesame family. Happy Pride to all!!!!,” he posted. 

“The ‘Family Day’ episode of Sesame Street sends the simple and important message that families come in all forms and that love and acceptance are always the most important ingredients in a family,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Frank and Dave, as Mia’s dads, are the latest characters in an undeniable trend of inclusion across kids & family programming, one that allows millions of proud LGBTQ parents, and our children, to finally get to see families like ours reflected on TV.”

Sesame Workshop (formerly Children’s Television Workshop), which produces the show for National Educational Television on PBS has long embraced LGBGTQ visibility and equality. In addition to having openly gay celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Eichner, Billy Porter and recently Lil Nas X, guest star or make appearances, the show has produced several shows with positive LGBTQ themes over the past decade.

Continue Reading

Sports

Mexico soccer fans punished for anti-gay slur chanted at games

FIFA sanctions team by banning spectators from first 2 World Cup qualifier matches

Published

on

Estadio Azteca Mexico City

MEXICO CITY – When the Mexico men’s national team play their all-important 2022 World Cup qualifiers come September and October, they will do so without a single fan cheering them on. As Yahoo Sports first reported, FIFA has sanctioned the team and ordered it to play to an empty home stadium because its fans won’t stop using a controversial chant—widely seen as anti-gay—during matches. 

For years, fans have shouted “puto” during opposing goal kicks at almost all Mexican men’s national team games, a word that one soccer fans site described this way: 

“For some, it’s a harmless word that they’ve been shouting at opposing goalkeepers for decades. For others, it’s a salty, inappropriate swear word you’ll hear at some soccer games. And for many others it’s a homophobic slur that denigrates LGBT individuals and makes attending a soccer game feel like an unsafe space.” 

“On behalf of the FMF, the players, the Liga MX, the clubs and all the national teams: Let’s stop. Let’s stop the fucking cry, please,” said Yon De Luisa, president of the Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF) at a press conference Friday, as reported by El Economista. “It is taking us away from our team and although many think it is fun, it is not.” 

Coach Gerardo Martino, added: “I invite our fans to make a reflection so that they understand once and for all the meaning and scope of this type of attitude. They are great at cheering, but we ask that you focus exclusively on the selection. We have a great concern.”

The punishment of banning spectators will reportedly impact two World Cup qualifying matches against Jamaica and Canada in September and October at Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium. It is in addition to a fine of 60,000 Swiss francs—roughly $65,000 specifically being levied for the chanting of “Eh, puto” at two Olympic qualifying games held in March in Guadalajara, according to Mexico News Daily. An investigation has also reportedly been opened into chanting of the word at Mexico’s friendly against Iceland last month in Arlington, Texas.

Despite what the coach and FMF president said, there are many straight soccer fans who argue against “puto” being considered a slur. Soccer writer Elliot Turner, who has lived and worked in Spain, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua, explained that in a 2014 piece for Fusion:

“In Spanish, the term puta means prostitute, and Spanish, like other romance languages, has gendered nouns (a noun is either male or female). Thus, the term puto is the masculine form, meaning a male prostitute. (The feminine form is puta.) 

Did you just get a big tax bill from Uncle Sam? You’re likely to say ‘putos impuestos!’ Did your boss just give you a shitty assignment? You may mutter under your breath ‘puto trabajo.’

‘Puto’ is thus used similarly to ‘bloody’ in the United Kingdom and ‘fucking’ in the United States. It’s pervasive. The chant only reflects the ugly linguistic reality of Latin America and Spain. Everything that provokes rage is a ‘puto.’”

“Puto” can also mean “coward,” Turner argues, and writes “the typical El Tri fan means ‘coward,’ not ‘fag’ or ‘queer.’ And contextually, that has some support. Fans only use the term when the opposing goalkeeper punts the ball up the field.”

But because it also means “faggot,” a clearly hateful slur, Turner concludes the puto chant is “a form of prejudice and homophobia.”

This year, Mexican officials have stepped up efforts to stop the chant but social media campaigns and stadium announcements have failed, according to the Washington Post.

The chant was widely used at Mexico’s June 3 and 6 games against Costa Rica and the U.S., but as Yahoo Sports reported, officials enacted only Step 1 of FIFA’s three-step protocol, which call for match stoppages and PA announcements whenever the chant is heard; temporary match suspensions – with players returning to locker rooms – if the chant is heard again; and forfeits if it arises a third time.

Whether having to watch the team on TV, playing in front of 87-thousand empty seats, has an impact on this fan tradition remains to be seen.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular