Category Archives: Stories and Interviews

A breath of ‘FreshAir’: the world’s first “gay airline”.

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Lufthansa had launched the world’s first ‘gay airline’ or ‘gayline’ called FreshAir – which would “fill the gap left by traditional, boring airlines and to satisfy the increasing demand by all sorts of consumers – sporting a rainbow of tastes and sexual orientations – for services provided in a gay atmosphere.”

The service will operate from 27 June to 1 July to coincide with the EuroGames, a usually annual LGBT sporting event that is not to be confused with the Gay Games, which will take place in Budapest, Hungary this year. The airline’s motto is: “We all play the same, no matter which team we belong to” and they say they have “strong grip or rather, a gentle, but firm massage” on participants and spectators’ travel options from 32 countries around Europe. To see what separates FreshAir from other airline services, take a look at their official advert below, where they “shake things differently”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qjsbFE0iLk]

The five-day sporting event will be host to 18 sports, 3800 athletes, 2200 supporters, and 4000 visitors, as well as help promote tourism and culture and also five days of conferences that will talk about human rights, minority issues, equal representation and business opportunities.

While Budapest does have a well-known and growing gay community, Budapest Pride has not always been rosy; in past years, the event and the parade has been dogged by protesters and police and political opposition… Perhaps this year, when Pride takes place on 7 July, things will be different and more positive?

Are you planning on going to Budapest for the EuroGames or for Pride? If so, why not book a place at one of our numerous hosts in the city? We have seven great accommodations to choose from!

Shanghai Pride set for June

China is usually always a difficult place to have oneself heard, especially when it comes to something as controversial as LGBT rights. Such topics surrounding this are normally unspoken of by the government and media and are seen as a taboo by the general public, but in recent years some encouraging progress has been made. Shanghai Pride, the first LGBT pride event of its kind in the People’s Republic of China is now entering its fourth consecutive year and is set to be held in June, the same as its first year. During the past two years it was in October.

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Due to law forbidding any public gathering of more than 50 people without state approval in China, there will not be a parade, but instead activities such as picnics, parties in some of Shanghai’s few but vibrant gay bars and clubs, film nights, talks, discussions and many more, will take place from 15-23 June. Profits raised from Shanghai Pride will go towards setting up an LGBT centre in the city.

One must remember that Shanghai Pride is run by expats and it is predominantly other expats who have participated, although every year has seen more local people and companies getting involved in organising it and its events, even at the risk of getting into trouble. Even though being gay is not illegal in China, Shanghai Pride has hit various obstacles with authorities in the past, such as some events being cancelled or postponed or its website being shut down.

 

While a gay-friendly and open attitude in China is still a long way off compared to other countries, you may find the indifference a lot of people have will not hinder you at all. Gay China may be a small and very much underground world, but it’s gradually growing and certainly has the potential to be big enough to make an even more positive impact there.

Have you ever been to China or would you go to Shanghai Pride in the future? To read more about LGBT issues in China, click here.

Our Top Summer Destinations

I think we’re all starting to look forward to our summer holiday now, if we’re lucky enough to be going on one. Whether you’re off for a couple of days or two weeks in the sun, there are some destinations for everyone.

1. Sitges

Sitges is a Spanish seaside town not far from Barcelona. It has 17 beaches, and from 5th to 9th July is Sitges Gay Pride – only the second they have ever held, but it’s guaranteed to be a blast.

2. Milan

You don’t have to be a football fanatic to visit the second largest city in Italy. If you go on holiday to find art, culture and architecture, this is the place for you. And if you’re a football fan, all the better!

3. London

With the Olympics set this year, we’re pitching London as one of our top summer destinations for 2012. As if there isn’t enough to do in London already,  this year will be choc-a-bloc with extra things to see and do. One of those is at the Tate Modern, where Damien Hirst will be showing until the summer.

If you’d like to tell us about any of your favourite destinations, we’d love to hear about them!

What is a Homestay?

What is a homestay? We’re sure everyone knows by now, but in case you don’t, we thought we’d shed some light on the newest travel craze.

A homestay is when you stay in the home of a local person when you travel abroad. This can be when you go abroad for a holiday, on business, or you might have come across homestays in the form of school foreign exchanges. If you or your friends went on foreign exchange as part of a language course (like French) at school, then they would have stayed in the house of a French family while they were over there. When the French exchange student came to England for example, they’d stay with an English family.

Foreign exchange is a great example of why homestays are a good thing. They are used to teach people things. Students who go on homestays abroad learn a lot about the language and culture of the other country. They actually get to speak to local people, instead of a multi-lingual receptionist in a hotel.

Gay Homestays provides a unique experience because travellers can stay with like-minded people who often live in and around the gay scene.  Alternatively, some hosts rent out their spare apartment or holiday home, which is ideal for those travellers who would prefer their own space. Travellers also use homestays to find out about the culture and make the most of their host’s local knowledge. Then again, some people use it merely as a base when on a business trip.

Although it’s less impersonal than using a hotel because you may be sharing the space with your host, you are both a guest and a customer, which means you can be as sociable or as private as you like.  You will have your own key,  can come and go as you please and it is up to you if you choose to befriend your host or not.

Really, homestays cater for all kinds of people, and all kinds of travel adventures.  We’re going to let you know what travellers get up to when they use Gay Homestays in the next few weeks, so watch this space!

3 reasons to be a host with Gay Homestays

The title of this week’s blog might be misleading – we’re not trying to persuade you all to become hosts with us. Well, maybe just a little bit. We’ve put together the top 3 reasons why people become hosts with us to show you how much fun being a host is. If doesn’t make you want to be a host, it’ll make you want to stay with one of them!

1. Never stop learning. Travelling is all about finding out about new places and cultures. But you don’t even have to go anywhere to learn if you’re a host. All of our hosts say one of the best things about being a host is meeting people from around the world.

2. Earn some extra cash. The financial incentive was one of the top ones for our hosts, but as you’ll see it didn’t come above the social aspect of having people to stay. Weekends are the busiest times, which means you can earn some spare cash without having a lodger there all the time.

3. Make new friends. Our hosts are a sociable lot, but we hear the travellers are too. Those who opt for staying with a host instead of a hotel are the more sociable type, and the hosts often have great fun with their guests.

We hope we’ve convinced you, and that you’ll join us soon!