Prague Pride 2014 to support gays and lesbians from the East

The Czech Republic remains the most tolerant country of the former Eastern Bloc, which is reflected by its Pride event, which is the biggest and most open LGBT festival of the region. However further East many gays and lesbians face persecution by their government and extremist groups in their societies. This is why Prague Pride decided to support them by giving them an opportunity to attend this year’s Prague Pride parade virtually. They will be able to connect to a secured website www.LGBTavatars.cz, which will be launched shortly. Here people can choose a person physically present in Prague, who will represent them in the Parade. These „live avatars“ will join the Parade on their behalf and share messages, photos and short videos from the Prague Pride Parade through an easy mobile application. Those who do not enter the interaction with a concrete avatar can still access the public contents on the website.

“People cannot organize festivals similar to Prague Pride to the East of our country. In Moscow, such parades have been banned until 2112 and attendees in neighboring countries risk attacks from the police or extremists,“ said Czeslaw Walek, the president of Prague Pride.

The main theme of Prague Pride 2014 is also reflected by the festival poster in the style of propaganda posters from the 1950’s and will be visible in several events during the week, such as a debate on LGBT in diplomacy and the Pride Talks, where people from different kind of societies from all over the world will talk about LGBT life in their respective countries.

Overall Prague Pride will provide a week-long cutting edge program, with almost a 100 different kind of cultural and social events, parties, debates and much more. Many of those  events are catered especially to tourists and will be held in English. There will be a week-long festival village on the banks of the river, where people can join in various activities, see exhibitions, watch movie screenings, enjoy concerts and get all the information about Prague and its gay community. It will be a place of to meet participants, guests and the organizers of the festival. Other highlights of the program include a concert by the famous British duo the Pet Shop Boys, the election of Mr Bear Czech Republic and the annual Business Forum.

The main event of the week, the Prague Pride Parade, will take place on Saturday 16 August and will start at the world-famous Wenceslas Square. This year more organisations than ever before will participate. The route of the parade will lead through the beautiful historical city centre to Letná Park, where a free concert with several DJ stages and an information fair will be held until late in the evening. The Saturday will conclude with several parties all over town, showing the many facets of Prague’s gay scene.PraguePride_visual_Eng

Join us for Give OUT Day on May 15 – National Day of LGBT Giving

giveout day

Being based in Minnesota, we at Brand g vacations know the power of giving back. Our state hosts one of the largest “Days of Giving” in the country, when people are encouraged to give to their favorite non-profit organization(s) during a 24-hour period. Following that same great model, on May 15th, the LGBTQ community and allies across the country will come together for 24 hours of generosity. Watch as our dynamic Minnesota LGBTQ organizations compete for local prizes and try to win the National Title of most individual donors!
Minnesota organizations will compete for a prize pool of $15,000 as well as competing for national prizes. Prizes are based on the number of individual donations – so every organization has a great chance of winning one of the prizes. On Give OUT Day itself people will be able to see which organizations are getting the most gifts – in real time – by checking out the Minnesota Leader Board on the Give OUT Day home page.

http://giveout.razoo.com/giving_events/giveout14/home

Details for Minneapolis Give OUT Day Event
Mason’s 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
528 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 516-3344

http://www.masonsmn.com/

Cash Bar
Appetizers complimentary paid for by the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation
Internet available and results will be projected on screens
As we all agreed at the last meeting – no entertainment..

Brand g Vacations Reunites with Prague Pride

Brand g Vacations is teaming up with the leaders of Prague Pride for our second Danube River cruise. We’re working with local LGBT organizations in Prague to provide guests with optional activities that stray from the conventional. Our pre-cruise stay in Prague will coincide with the 2014 Prague Pride Festival – August 12-18.Prague Pride blog
We have continued our relationship with Czeslaw Walek, an advocate for LGBT rights and Director of Prague Pride. Walek helped organize the first-ever and highly successful event in 2011, which drew strong criticism from Czech president Vaclav Klaus and right-wing groups.
“I was very impressed that Brand g Vacations made the effort to reach out to us again,” said Walek. “It shows that they are going above and beyond in their continued commitment to their guests.” Following our pre-cruise nights in Prague, our all gay group will sail down the Danube from picturesque Nuremberg to Passau, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava and ending in Budapest. We have created a custom itinerary that includes two of the best Eastern European cities which have become prime destinations for gay and lesbian travelers.
“There’s no better way to support destinations that welcome us than with our tourism dollars,” says Rounds. “A full ship of LGBT passengers can make a strong statement, and it gives us the chance to validate the power of travel through our choices.”

Making a difference with our LGBT Tourism dollars

By Susan Cogger, LGBT rights activist

VietPride 2013The Vietnam LGBT community is celebrating Pride this month with parades in eight cities. The government is considering legalizing same-sex marriage with the Justice and Health Ministries having publicly supported the move. If approved, Vietnam would be the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

There is no question that a ship full of LGBT passengers makes a strong statement.  Brand G Vacations’ October Mekong River cruise will be spectacular.  You’ll travel through some of the most interesting parts of the world in the company of other LGBT folks on a luxury riverboat.

Just saying the names of these countries conjures memories and images from war to peace, ancient temples to bustling cities, street food to luxury service. This is a chance to get to see some of the best of Cambodia and Vietnam in a great environment in the comfort of an all LGBT trip.  This 12-day trip takes you from the amazing Angkor temples, to the Mekong river with floating markets and small villages, to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

The trip is during the latter part of October as the rainy season tapers off and the weather is cooler. This is a beautiful, lush time to visit. Recently, Cambodia and Vietnam have experienced huge growth in travel and the infrastructure to support travel. No doubt, these countries will continue to change and evolve so this is a perfect time to explore these Southeast Asian countries.

Brand G Vacations (www.brandgvacations.com) has an extensive background in cruise travel and creating great vacations.  As this is a Brand g vacation, all are welcome on board!

Author’s Note: I’m especially excited for this trip, as it will be Terry’s and my honeymoon.  Since the freedom to marry became legal in Minnesota on August 1, many of our friends have married.  And we’re not the only ones celebrating by going on this trip.  Do join us!

Brand g Vacations and Freedom to Marry’s President Evan Wolfson team up to celebrate gay marriage in France

Evan Wolfson

Founder and President of Freedom to Marry

Brand g Vacations is pleased to announce that Evan Wolfson, Founder and President of Freedom to Marry, will join us as a featured speaker on our Burgundy and Provence cruise this August. Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage throughout the United States and Evan is the civil rights attorney who is generally considered the architect of the national marriage equality movement.

“What better place to celebrate the progress on gay rights and the freedom to marry than France, the latest country to end the exclusion from marriage?” says Evan. “And what better time than this summer, when we will be marking victories in four countries round the world while teeing up the next wave of work globally and in the US? I can’t wait to make new friends and combine activism and good conversation with the delights of a river cruise through la belle France, courtesy of Brand g Vacations.”

Evan goes on to describe the focus of the discussion he has planned for our cruise. “This year France becomes the 17th country on 5 continents where same-sex couples can share in the freedom to marry — up from zero little more than a decade ago — reflecting the same momentum that we are seeing in the freedom to marry movement in the United States.” Evan will also explain how the Freedom to Marry campaign has made such progress, and what more needs to be done to secure the freedom to marry and full equality in the US while continuing to propel global human rights for all LGBT people.

“There is no one who exemplifies the fight to win gay marriage in the U.S. better than Evan. We are thrilled that he will be joining us” says Brand g Vacations’ Charlie Rounds

For more information about this cruise:http://www.brandgvacations.com/Pages/Burgundy-Provence-Riverboat-Cruise.aspx

Join us for Give OUT Day on May 9 – the First-Ever National Day of LGBT Giving

Give Out logoBeing based in Minnesota, we at Brand g Vacations know the power of giving back. Our state hosts one of the largest “Days of Giving” in the country, when people are encouraged to give to their favorite non-profit organization(s) during a 24-hour period. Following that same great model, we’ve designated May 9, 2013 as Give OUT Day – the first national day of LGBT giving!

Our goal is for as many of us as possible, including our friends and families, to give what they can to the organization(s) of their choice on May 9 and to take the first step toward increasing LGBT philanthropy in the U.S. Whether it is $25 or $2,500, to your local gay chorus or a national LGBT rights organization, every gift matters. This also is a great opportunity to learn the depth and breadth of our LGBT organizations, with over 500 expected to participate.

To celebrate here in our hometown, we are organizing an event to gather people together as the clock ticks down and the money raised goes up. So if you are in the Twin Cities, please join us, and if not, please contact us as to how you can organize your own local event. Nominate your favorite LGBT organization today so that they can benefit on May 9: http://giveout.razoo.com/giving_events/giveout13/home

Details for Minneapolis Give OUT Day Event

The Graves 601 Hotel and Brand g Vacations invite you to join them to watch as the clock ticks down, and the funds go up for Give OUT Day. We hope that our Minnesota organizations will raise more money than any other state, so please come join Jim and Julie Graves of Graves Hospitality, as well as Jeff Gundvaldson, Brian Van Wey and Charlie Rounds from Brand g Vacations for a great night of giving.

Where: The Graves 601 Hotel (601 1st Avenue North, Minneapolis)

When: May 9, 2013, 6:00-9:00 PM

Fun: Great hors d’oeuvres provided by the Graves Hotel and Brand g Vacations, and special drink prices.

More fun: Live music, online computers so that you can give right on the spot, and of course a chance to see old friends and make new ones. Special Guest Ben Francisco Maulbeck, Executive Director of LGBT Funders.

http://giveout.razoo.com/giving_events/giveout13/home

Proud to Partner with OutServe

silhouette of solider saluting rainbow flagWe’re very proud here at Brand g Vacations to become a founding partner of OutServe, the association of actively-serving LGBT military personnel, and to participate in its second annual International Leadership Conference October 25-28 at Shades of Green Walt Disney World Resort.

With more than 4,500 members and 45+ chapters worldwide, OutServe is the one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world, working to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.

This partnership means a lot to me personally because I know it would have made my father, a decorated World War Two pilot, very proud to see the progress that has been made for these dedicated service members.

I’m here at the conference at Shades of Green in Orlando, which is one of five vacation resorts operated by the U.S. Army. It’s so exciting to see the support being offered to OutServe’s members at this year’s event, which includes a job fair open to veterans and employers to address the ongoing employment crisis affecting veterans returning from service.

The Conference is welcoming currently serving LGBT and straight military members, veterans, spouses/partners, and allies to join workshops and meetings. Like the 2011 Conference, it will provide an international forum on creating an environment of respect in the military with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity, and provide the LGBT military community a venue for building professional networks, sharing best practices and formulating strategies that help build a stronger military community.  OutServe’s International Leadership Conference is the only conference designed around and for LGBT members of the largest fighting force in the world.

Congratulations, OutServe!