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Gay Travel With Kids | 6 LGBTQ Friendly Hotels for Families

Gay Travel With Kids | 6 LGBTQ Friendly Hotels for Families

Gay travel with kids can be challenging. We have to be more careful in our choices than most other families. This means being on guard to how your family is perceived. It also means we make sure to bring our kids to places that welcome and celebrate families of all kinds. The truth is that not all hotels are family friendly and sadly, not all are LGBTQ friendly hotels for families either. The good news is that that are a growing number that are friendly to all.

According to Matt Jost, Co-Founder & CEO of misterb&b, gay travel can still be very risky and even life-threatening. The travel expert reminds us that some countries have essentially outlawed being gay. Jost created misterb&b to protect gay travelers, whether they’re staying at hotels or booking rooms or apartments. When it comes to where to stay, LGBTQ folks have to do extreme due diligence. Before a trip is booked, families should make sure hotels won’t discriminate against them or make them uncomfortable.

(Photo by Hunter Abrams)

Check out Matt’s 4 tips to make sure you are staying at LGBTQ friendly hotels for family:

4 ways to tell if a hotel is LGBTQ friendly for families:

  1. They heavily market to the gay community. Does the hotel actively advertises in gay publications or creates gay-focused marketing campaigns? If so, you can be sure they’re looking to engage with the LGBTQ community.
  2. They can give you details about the local gay community. Prior to check-in, send an email to the concierge asking about the local gay scene. See what happens with their response. Or ask about local gay bars at the front desk. If it’s a truly gay-friendly hotel, they should have (and be happy to give) local information.
  3. They partner with major gay organizations. The most gay-friendly hotels are very out and proud, especially during PRIDE week. Look for ones that promote partnerships with organizations like IGLTA and GLAAD.
  4. They have a great score on a Human Right Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Look for hotel chains that score big points on the national benchmarking tool. Do they have corporate practices that support and protect LGBTQ employees around things like domestic partnership benefits? These hotels are probably more apt to be open and welcoming to gay travelers. Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels and Marriott Hotels are three hotel companies that all received a 100 percent score. Read the full report here.
    kids at New York Pride March with rainbow flags

    (Photo by Christopher Gagliardi )

6 LGBTQ Friendly Hotels for Families

Here’s a list of some of our family’s favorite LGBTQ friendly hotels, based on our own personal experiences:

 

 

  1. Hyatt Palm Springs, Palm Springs, CA

Head to the always beautiful, always welcoming city of Palm Springs to stay at the nicely appointed Hyatt Palm Springs. Hyatt was the first major hospitality company to offer domestic partner benefits, and that inclusive environment has filtered down to its individual properties.

Pool area at Hyatt Hotel Palm Springs

Lounging by the pool or playing in the water, Hyatt Palm Springs is the place to relax.

  1. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tuscon, AZ

Families will find it a pleasure to stay at the luxurious Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Though many might not think of Arizona as a gay-friendly state, Tucson is decidedly progressive with a live-and-let-live attitude. This city one of the most welcoming places for LGBTQ visitors and residents. Come in October for the Pride in the Desert event. Plus, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort advertises their hotel on GayArizona.com as a wedding venue.

Loews Ventana Resort entrance, Tucson, Arizona

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort & Spa in Tucson is very family friendly.

  1. Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida

Hawks Cay Resort is on Duck Key, one of the Florida Keys islands. The Keys are well-known for being spectacularly friendly to gay travel. This resort is easy to get to and is the perfect jumping off point for fun family activities in the area. Hawks Cay Resort has everything a family would hope to find, including an enormous pool and nearby saltwater lagoon. It’s a little quieter and more family-friendly than Key West too. Read our full review here.

families playing in the lagoon at Hawk's Cay Resort in the Florida Keys, Florida

There are plenty of family activities to enjoy at Hawk’s Cay Resort.

  1. Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle, Washington

Seattle is known for its liberal and welcoming attitude towards LGBTQ visitors. Their slogan, #weSEAlove, is one of the genius ways they have promoted this expression. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is less than 2 miles away from the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Seattle’s LGBTQ epicenter. This posh hotel doesn’t skimp on anything, even luxury. Try their High Tea – it’s a gay extravaganza complete with finger sandwiches and champagne. (And lemonade for the kids). Oh, and tea too. Read our full review here.

High Tea at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, WA

High Tea at the Fairmont Olympic Seattle Hotel is an impressive experience.

  1. Kimpton Ink48, New York City, New York

Like almost every place in New York, choose the Kimpton Ink48 for its location first. Found in Hell’s Kitchen within walking distance to the Javits Center, this chic and elegant hotel is impeccably stylish. Plus it is surprisingly spacious, especially by NYC standards. Downtown New York is as gay-friendly as they come. Plus, Kimpton Hotels earned 100% in the latest Corporate Equality Index. Read our full review here.

colorful lights of Time Square, New York City

The lights of New York City draw families from around the globe.

  1. Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, Los Cabos, Mexico

You don’t have to stay in the states to feel comfortable while traveling. Los Cabos has a friendly, relaxed vibe which has embraced the LGBTQ community. Families can escape to paradise at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, a Four Diamond hotel with world-class amenities. You will feel welcomed and pampered, the best of both worlds! Read about our Cabos adventure here.

pool at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort

This disappearing edge pool at Hilton Los Cabos is a great place to play and relax both.

Whether you’re “TWG” (“traveling while gay”) or feeling like an outsider in some other way, it’s not always easy. We hope our recommendations for LGBTQ Friendly Hotels for Families offer you places to feel welcome and safe, while having tons of fun. LGBTQ travel, especially with kids, shouldn’t be anxiety inducing!

 


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Letter from Sophia to President Obama About 2 Dads Especially Relevant at Election Time

Letter from Sophia to President Obama About 2 Dads Especially Relevant at Election Time

*Updated from original post dated October 29, 2016.

Hard to believe it was just six years ago that Sophia wrote her letter to President Obama about having two dads and he responded, triggering quite the global sensation and an epic adventure for our family.

A different election season this time around, don’t you think?

A Letter to the President

The letter Sophia wrote to President Obama reverberated around the world, and was published in more than 200 news outlets and more than 500 blogs globally. I wonder what would happen if Sophia had sent this letter now, as this next election nears? Here is what our 10 year old daughter of 2DadsWithBaggage.com wrote about having two dads:

Dear Barack Obama,

It’s Sophia Bailey-Klugh, your friend who invited you to dinner. You don’t remember me okay that’s fine. But I just wanted to tell you that I am so glad you agree that two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other. But at school kids think that it’s gross and weird but it really hurts my heart and feelings so I come to you because you are my hero. If you were me and you had two dads that loved each other, and kids at school teased you about it, what would you do?

Please respond!

I just wanted to say you really inspire me, and I hope you win on being the President. You would totally make the world a better place.

Your friend, Sophia

P.S. Please tell your daughters hi for me!

 

Sophia Bailey-Klugh letter to President Obama

Sophia’s handwritten letter to President Obama about having two dads, which reverberated around the world in 2012.

And A Letter Back From The President

President Obama personally wrote a letter back to Sophia, with true class as always:

Dear Sophia,

Thank you for writing me such a thoughtful letter about your family. Reading it made me proud to be your president and even more hopeful about the future of our nation.

In American, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity. And we recognize that whether you have two dads or one mom what matters above all is the love we show one another. You are fortunate to have two parents that care deeply for you. They are lucky to have such an exceptional daughter in you.

Our differences unite us.  You are I are blessed to live in a country where we are born equal no matter what we look like on the outside, where we grow up, or who our parents are. A good rule is to treat others the way you hope they will treat you. Remind your friends at school about this rule if they say something that hurts your feelings.

Thanks again for taking the time to write to me. I’m honored to have your support and inspired by your compassion. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to dinner, but I’ll be sure to tell Sasha and Malia you say hello.

Sincerely, Barack Obama

 

President Obama letter to Sophia Bailey-Klugh

President Obama’s letter he wrote back to Sophia, stating his support in very compassionate terms.

As a result of this letter exchange, Sophia was celebrated with articles in the Huffington Post, and many other news outlets around the world.

We even ended up being invited to appear on The Katie Couric Show, speaking on behalf of families like ours during the critical time our US Supreme Court was making its decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide. It was a surreal experience that will make us all proud and honored for the rest of our lives.

Sophia Bailey-Klugh on The Katie Couric Show about her letter to President Obama about having two dads

Sophia and the Bailey-Klugh clan were invited by Katie Couric to appear on her show. We talked about Sophia’s letter exchange with President Obama about having two dads.


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Sophia’s Letter Exchange with Obama Honored at International Event

Sophia’s Letter Exchange with Obama Honored at International Event

After a heartfelt request, we recently granted permission for Sophia’s now-famous letter to President Obama about having two dads to be read aloud at Net-A-Porter’s annual fundraiser called the Incredible Women Gala. Held October 9 in Los Angeles and attended by a star-studded list of VIP guests, the Gala raised funds for Vital Voices. Not only that, the letter exchange was read aloud by two esteemed actors – Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (reading for Obama) and Storm Reid (reading for Sophia).

PORTERâ€'s Incredible Women Gala

Storm Reid at Porter’s Incredible Women Gala, moments before she read Sophia’s letter to President Obama aloud.

It changed our lives in Fall 2010 when Sophia wrote her letter to President Obama about having two dads. Little did we know how this simple act from Sophia’s heart would resonate around the world. And it still is. This was such an important milestone in our LGBT family and others like us. We call it the Neverending Gift, and the request from Net-A-Porter reminded us again of its significance.

Incredible Women Gala

What an honor for Sophia and the rest of us to know that her words still have meaning, and are kept relevant by events such as the Incredible Women Gala.

PORTER's Incredible Women Gala

Annie Lennox and Charlize Theron attended Porter’s Incredible Women Gala October 9 in LA.

This event has some serious international cred. This year’s Third Annual Incredible Women Gala 2018 was co-hosted  Porter’s Editor-in-Chief Lucy Yeomans and Universal Pictures chairman, Donna Langley in association with Estée Lauder. Featured celebrity guests included Annie Lennox, Charlize Theron,  Amber Heard, Leslie Mann, Tiffany Haddish, Miranda Kerr, Ellen Pompeo, Busy Philipps, Kumail Nanjiani, Kate Beckinsale, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Cindy Holland and Tina Tchen.

This is not the first time we’ve been asked for the permission to read Sophia’s letter aloud. Not long ago the creator of Letters of Note, Shaun Usher, asked to include Sophia’s letter in his latest compilation of notable letters from throughout history. In addition, Letters of Note performed a live reading at London’s Freemasons Hall.

 

Sophia Bailey-Klugh letter to President Obama

Sophia’s now-famous letter to President Obama about having two dads.

 

President Obama letter to Sophia Bailey-Klugh

And President Obama’s letter back to Sophia was epic.

Sophia’s Continued Impact

Especially now when our nation’s rhetoric has taken such an unpleasant turn, we know people around the world need touchstones like this letter exchange. We sure do! We need to be reminded of the goodness in the world, that there are people with hearts and minds that match our own. People that live with love, not hatred – and are trying to spread that love however best they can.

Bailey-Klugh family at the White House

President Obama invited us to attend the Annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House!

Sometimes the words of a child can break through most clearly. We’re so thankful and proud for our daughters’ brave hearts and strong minds. Sophia and Ava mean absolutely everything to us, just like your children mean to you.

Let’s not fuck it up for them, huh?

 

Bailey-Klugh family with Katie Couric

Why yes we did appear on the Katie Couric show to honor Sophia’s letter exchange with President Obama. It was pretty awesome!


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Celebrate Pride Month With Your Family

Celebrate Pride Month With Your Family

June is Pride Month, and it’s the time of year we celebrate our family and other LGBTQ families across the country and the world. Pride is really about recognizing that our family is no different than any other, and we are proud of who we are! You can also celebrate Pride Month with your family by remembering how fortunate we are to live in a time and place where this is truly a celebration. This visibility and acceptance is important for people watching from other countries and places where the LGBTQ community is still struggling.

San Diego Pride rainbow tattoo

Sophia shows her pride with a rainbow temporary tattoo that looks appropriately festive for the occasion.

Celebrate Pride Month With Your Family

Some people think Pride Month is all about parades and parties. Those are fun too, but there are ways to celebrate Pride Month with your family that help promote inclusivity and education as well. Here are a few we enjoy in our family.

Read LGBTQ-friendly books.

Go to the library, hop online, or check out your favorite local bookstore for books that you and your children will love. Since they were babies, we have loved finding books that Ava and Sophia can enjoy that celebrate inclusivity and diversity.

LGBTQ families reading books

A great way to celebrate the diversity of families is to read stories about LGBTQ families with our kids.

Whether or not you have seen the movie, Love, Simon, you’ll want to share the novel the movie is based on with your family. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Simon is able to experience a love story that is typically reserved for heterosexual youth in his world. With some adult sexual themes, this book is best for older teens.

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer follows June as she learns how to handle the bigotry and hatred thrown at her family when her mom marries her girlfriend. This book is appropriate for younger teens and tweens.

A couple favorites for younger children are King and King, where a prince finds and marries his one true love. And Tango Makes Three is the true story of two male penguins who adopt an egg, hatch it together as a couple, and raise their baby penguin Tango to adulthood. We really loved It’s Okay to be Different, with bright, colorful illustrations and easily understandable concepts. There are many more heartwarming stories that help tell our stories in relatable ways.

Volunteer for organizations that support LGBTQ families.

Check out groups in your area that support all families. Popular national groups like PFLAG – Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – provide support and resources for families, allies and people who identify as  LGBTQ. In addition, they lobby and advocate for social change in policy and laws that support people of all genders and sexual-orientations.

Other organizations may include inclusive churches or GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) groups at local secondary schools or colleges. Involving your children, particularly teens, in these groups can also help them form their own sense of identity. Talking with others who are part of LGBTQ families helps.

Shop with organizations that give back to the LGBTQ community.

Tshirt with Pride Rainbow flag

The Rainbow Flag is the international symbol for LGBTQ Pride, and we wear it proudly.

You’ll notice a lot of places trying to capitalize off of Pride Month. If you’re picking up a cute t-shirt for your teen or some rainbow-themed paraphernalia for you or your spouse, make sure you are supporting an organization that will give a percentage back to humanitarian causes that support LGBTQ families. Converse is a good example. The company is donating 100% of the proceeds from its rainbow-themed Pride Month shoes and other apparel to their LGTBQ partner organizations. One we also support is the It Gets Better Project which supports LGTBQ youth.

Tell your story.

We have a platform to tell our story through our blog. Whether or not you’re writing your memoirs, sharing on social media, or have a family blog, you can still tell your story. Tell your children how you fell in love with your partner or spouse. Share the way you became a family. Your story should instill a sense of pride in your family. This month is truly about all of us and how love conquers all, a message that we focus on through our work and play each and every day.

Living our lives with pride and love day in and day out is important to our family. During this time of celebration for the country, there are many ways to celebrate Pride Month with your family.

How do you celebrate your family’s pride?