CVS Health features bear couple in new campaign

CVS drugstores have rebranded as CVS Health, and in doing so have launched a new campaign underlining many of the changes they’ve made to position the company as leaders in healthy living.

Some of those changes include not selling cigarettes anymore, designing programs to help folks stop smoking, and expanded “Minute Clinics” for minor illness exams.

Included in the ad, that is clearly meant to demonstrate the diversity of the CVS customer base, is a shot of a handsome bear couple (near the :26 mark).

It’s a quick shot, but inclusion like this is important for those small steps that make it clear the LGBT community is in many ways just like everyone else.

Thanks CVS Health.

NYC: St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade has announced one gay organization – OUT (at) NBCUniversal – to march under it’s own banner in the March 17, 2015 event:

The private New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, in a statement made available to The Associated Press, said Wednesday that OUT(at)NBCUniversal, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group at the company that broadcasts the parade, would be marching up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on March 17 under an identifying banner.

OUT(at)NBCUniversal is described on its website as “the affinity group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at NBCUniversal.” Parade directors voted unanimously to include the group, the statement said.

In past parades, gays and lesbians were allowed to march as individuals as part of contingents, but not as specifically “LGBT” identifying groups.

Catholic League’s Bill Donohue issued this statement:

“Never in the history of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade have homosexuals been barred from marching, anymore than pro-life Catholics have, but in both cases they were not permitted to have their own unit. I have been assured that the rules have been formally changed to allow both of these groups, as well as others, to march under their own banner. That being the case, there should be no controversy. One would hope that all the new entries will conduct themselves in a manner that honors St. Patrick, lest another round of controversy emerges.”

From GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis:

“It’s about time. Discrimination has no place on America’s streets, least of all on Fifth Avenue. As an Irish-Catholic American, I look forward to a fully inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade that I can share with my wife and children, just as my own parents shared with me. Until then, parade organizers must be held accountable to ending this ban once and for all.”

Las Vegas doubles down on the LGBT tourist

Itay Hod at The Daily Beast has a big feature today on the progress Las Vegas has made in attracting LGBT tourist dollars by bringing in entertainment and attractions that have slowly made Sin City the fourth most popular travel destination for the gays (behind New York City, Chicago and San Francisco) in the US.

In addition to world-class entertainers like Bette, Cher, Celine, Elton, Shania and now Olivia Newton-John and Britney, Las Vegas provides top-notch restaurants, shopping and nightlife that makes for a big draw for the LGBT traveler.

For example, Scott Martin, a gay tech exec from Spokane, plans to celebrate his 40th birthday in Vegas with 20 of his closest friends. On the agenda are concerts by Olivia Newton-John and Britney, plus pool parties and five-star dining. Martin says his group will probably spend over $20K in one weekend.

Even the Chippendales, known for their “Ultimate Girls Night Out!” slogan, are embracing their gay side. Buy a ticket to their show and you might be surprised to see more than a few gay men in the audience cheering and hollering. Back in the ’80s the Chippendales were known as much for their Velcro pants as for their refusal to let men attend their show. “It really revamped itself,” says Jaymes Vaughan, Chippendales’ first and only openly gay stripper. “Vegas is definitely gay, and it’s only getting gayer. I mean, have you seen the sign to the city? It reads, ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.’ I think that pretty much sums it up.” Vaughan has yet to pull a gay man up to the stage for a private lap dance, but he knows it’s only a matter of time. “Gay money spends just like straight money.”

“I think it’s great isn’t it? It’s wonderful!!!” says Olivia Newton John. “Cities are opening up to the reality of it and they’re embracing the whole idea.” Newton-John estimates at least a third of her audience is made up of gay men who have followed her career ever since she donned that pink jacket in Grease. “People are coming to see me from all over the world. That’s love, and I’m grateful for that.”

Check out Las Vegas’ first-ever gay television ad, as part of its “What Happens Here Stays Here” campaign, currently running on Bravo, E! and Logo TV.


Tourism ad: What happens in Vegas…

Cute ad from Visit Las Vegas. 

Some folks interpret this as guys on the down low.  I took it as “hey, why not?”  And it was subtle enough that it doesn’t hit you over the head. 

I liked.

From the clip description:

Las Vegas means: no assumptions, no judgment, come as you are, be who you want and do what you like. When you visit Las Vegas, we encourage you to embrace who you are at your very core. A Las Vegas vacation will push your comfort zone and create unforgettable moments.


Catholic League President Bill Donohue invited to march in NYC Gay Pride Parade

Recently, Catholic League mouthpiece Bill Donohue had applied to march in NYC’s LGBT Pride parade carrying a “Straight is Great” banner in a challenge to its inclusiveness following controversy over gay exclusion from the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Now, NYC Pride has happily invited Mr. Donohue to march in the :

In response to email communications from Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, NYC Pride representatives provided instructions for the March’s online registration system.

“Mr. Donohue and his group are free to participate in the 2014 March. His group’s presence affirms the need for this year’s Pride theme, ‘We Have Won When We’re One.’ Straight is great – as long as there’s no hate,” said David Studinski, March Director of NYC Pride.

Chris Frederick, Managing Director of NYC Pride, added, “Straight allies are great. We have thousands of straight people participating in the Pride March, including Catholic groups, who support LGBT youth, families and married couples.”

On February 27, 2014, Donohue gave a video interview with World Over with Raymond Arroyo in which he stated, “If I wanted to get into their gay pride parade with my own float with big banners saying ‘straight is great,’ they would have a right to feel put-upon and I wouldn’t do that to them.”

You can watch Donohue talk about the idea of his marching in the LGBT Parade here.

You’ll note he immediately assumes we would want to bar him from being in our parade. And thus the difference between Donohue and his ilk. Once again the LGBT community shows our inclusiveness in happily allowing people to join us in our celebration.

It’s a shame that Donohue can’t learn the same lesson of inclusion himself.

Mr. Donohue has been an outspoken opponent of legal recognition of
LGBT people, loving LGBT families, the science of sexual orientation
and HIV/AIDS education.

He continually refers to marriage equality as
“crazy” and “one of the most bizarre ideas in human history,” and he has
equated the marriage equality movement with the “minority of people in
South Africa who took away the rights of Black people.”  On multiple occasions, Mr. Donohue has referred to AIDS as
“self-inflicted” and due to going against “natural order.”

And yet, in spite of all that, aren’t we gays great?  WE want to include everyone, even our haters.

Yay us!

See you at the parade Bill!

Chevrolet includes LGBT families in new commercials/campaign “#TheNew”

Chevrolet is set to launch a new campaign of eight commercials defined by the them “#TheNew.”  Two of the spots feature LGBT families as part of the diversity in today’s American life.

This Chevrolet commercial, set to air during the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, features a same-sex wedding in Cape Cod:

“The New Us” commercial from Chevrolet features several shots of same-sex families:

Boy Scouts of America close to ending ban on gay members

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MSNBC is reporting that the Boy Scouts of America are close to ending their ban on gay members and leaders. This would be a big shift in policy for BSA.

The policy change is now before the organization’s national board of directors.

The decision would be left to each individual chapter whether or not to accept gay scouts and leaders.

MSNBC reports that this changes comes from communications from the grass roots level of the Boy Scouts. Local chapters have apparently urged the national organization to reconsider the discriminatory policy.

Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality, had this to say: “This would be an incredible step forward in the right direction. We look forward to working with BSA Councils and chartering organizations across the country to end the exclusion of our gay brothers in Scouting, as well as the gay and lesbian leaders who serve the organizations so well.”