The Realities of “Coming Out” in the South…

Breaking Out of the Bubble _ Header

Over the years, I have come to know a lot of guys who grew up in “the south” – a completely different world for gay guys trying to figure out their sexuality. Fantastic cities like Austin, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Dallas, Nashville, New Orleans and Savannah are becoming more gay-friendly, but the overall mentality is still steeped in old-school traditions, which are oblivious to so many things happening outside of the safety of their hometown “bubble.”

Breaking Out of the Bubble _ Pic1Breaking out of this bubble is never easy for gay guys; while I understand that technology is allowing more teens to both understand and accept their sexuality at a younger age, the southern states do not exactly go out of their way to encourage acceptance. In most cases, it’s easier for the older generation to simply put on blinders to anything “new,” and encourage their teens to play sports, hunt, fish and find a nice girl to settle down with for a lifetime.

Having grown up and experienced this firsthand, the amount of guys either living in the closet or having a secondary hidden lifestyle is huge in the south. Thanks to the many great LGBT organizations and the Internet, teens today have a lot more opportunities to learn, understand and accept themselves while still living inside the bubble. In general, these cities are becoming much more gay-friendly and forward-thinking, but the majority still simply don’t understand anything outside of the “heterosexual” label.

Breaking Out of the Bubble _ Pic2While the conceptions and scene changes, there are plenty of LGBT businesses thriving in the south, with a growing number of hotels, inns, bars/clubs and more catering to everyone, but specializing in being gay-friendly. Fortunately, today most teens in the south don’t have to wait until they are exposed to the outside world and officially “come-out” well into their 20’s and 30’s, but instead find others with similar likes and preferences both in-person and digitally while still in their teens. So, for those both in the closet and out, here are some links to best guide you through these popular southern cities:

Breaking Out of the Bubble _ SidePicAtlanta: CVB | GayTravel.com | GayCities.com

Austin: CVB | GayTravel.com | GayCities.com

Charleston, SC: CVB | GayCities.com

Charlotte: CVB | GayTravel.com | GayCities.com

Dallas: CVB | GayTravel.com | GayCities.com

Nashville: CVB | GayTravel.com | GayCities.com

New OrleansCVB | GayTravel.com | GayCities.com

SavannahCVB | GayTravel.com | GayCities.com

President Obama Reaches Out To The LGBT Community

ObamaCreating Change is the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies. The conference is run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and attracts more than 3,500 people from all over the country. Presenters and participants include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations. Though President Obama couldn’t attend himself, he didn’t let that stop him from sending a message of support.

“I’ve always said that the change we need in this country—real change—doesn’t come from Washington, it comes from folks like you,” the president said. “Change has always come from ordinary Americans who sit in or stand up or marched to demand it. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been a partner at the forefront of that movement for 40 years. With your help, we will continue the journey to perfect our union. The work will be hard, the road will be long, but I’m more confident than ever that we will reach a better future as long as Americans like you keep reaching for justice—and all of us keep marching together.”

Click on the screen below to view the video…

President Obama's Message: Creating Change 2013

Where to say “I do”

I was recently asked to provide some industry feedback to a publication printing a story about a hotel’s special wedding packages designed for same-sex couples. In some ways, I hate to see the need to create these packages since the stereotype of flamboyant “gay weddings” with pink boas, glitter falling from the ceiling and house music playing in the background should be a thing of the past. Then, after learning that many weddings in the deep south include rolling around in the mud with pigs, suddenly even the stereotypical gay wedding of the past seems fairly “normal.”

However, it’s great seeing the travel giants like Travelocity, Expedia, Starwood Hotels, Marriott Hotels and a growing number of more industry leaders simply reaching out to the gay community in an effort to pave the way for this very influential demographic when it comes to the travel and tourism industries. This is helpful when locating the destinations and properties that will best suit the needs of today’s gay traveler interested in luxury amenities and accommodations within a “friendly” environment…

Gay Weddings - Cake

Beginning with the battle being fought (and often won) to simply be able to marry throughout many parts of the world, more and more gay couples are now saying “I do.” The question becomes “where” – where is the best place for friends and family to be together and where is the best venue for this special day. In the US, there was a surge of fantastic Wedding Packages offered to same-sex couples back in mid-2011, and we are continuing to see a growing number of wedding packages, destination wedding packages and companies who cater to same-sex wedding planning. Last year, The W New York even presented the happy couple with a honeymoon vacation to their amazing W Vieques sister-property. Fortunately, there are too many amazing wedding locations and packages available today to possibly feature all of the hotels who will go above and beyond to cater to these same-sex weddings, but several worth highlighting include:

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It seems that most of these packages are being offered in the greater New York area, but they certainly exist in most larger cities when looking for a great hotel venue nearby, or a destination wedding worldwide. Even Tokyo Disney has been making headlines with their personalized same-sex wedding packages. It’s simple marketing in many cases, where hotels will offer packages to compete and attract new guests, so it’s increasingly important to do your homework to find not only an amazing location, but also a consultant or hotel contact that makes a connection with you, and understands the importance of your wedding day. If you are getting married, or have a great wedding destination or hotel to share, please comment here, or find us on Facebook and/or Twitter

Socialize With Têtu International

I realize many of you have already found Têtu International on Facebook, and “Liked” the page so you can keep up with all the posts, announcements and updates. However, if you haven’t yet done so, please join us and be social with us in all of these areas. As part of the further development of the International edition, it means a lot to all of us to have you join us on both Facebook and Twitter… Thanks!

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Destination Curaçao

The cooler weather is upon us, and a great time to find a few days for a quick getaway. I am sure we have all heard numerous horror stories associated with the Caribbean destinations and hotels not being at all LGBT-friendly. Personally, it’s shocking to learn of major resorts refusing to acknowledge gay couples on their honeymoon… and that’s just one of the many insulting stories I’ve heard recently. Fortunately, it seems to be a growing trend for certain destinations and hotels to be reaching out to the LGBT community in an effort to change this perception.

Gay Curacao - Living With Style, Tetu

A great example of this is the philosophy behind Curaçao Tourism Board’s marketing campaign and detailed website, “Gay Curaçao’s – We Live and Let Live.” With over thirty white sand beaches, luxury hotels and villas, a championship golf course, Dutch and Caribbean inspired restaurants, amazing activities and friendly locals, you’re sure to create a vacation getaway that best suits you! It’s obviously not a destination with Beverly Hills shopping or Manhattan dining, but ideal for a quiet and relaxing getaway. Amazingly, this intimate island destination has the largest number if IGLTA members in all of the Caribbean. Also a very popular destination for eco-tourism and diving, Curaçao attracts the adventure traveler as well as those looking to unwind and enjoy the near perfect climate.

Curacao - Living With Style, Tetu

It is important to us that it’s known to the gay & lesbian community that everyone is welcome in Curaçao. Our island offers diverse culture, art galleries, beaches, museums, fine accommodations and exquisite cuisine that are enjoyed by all visitors to the island.” commented the Executive Director of the Curaçao Tourist Board.

Now is a great time to plan a Curaçao getaway with their fantastic deals as part of an island-wide Curaçao Best Deals promotion. So, grab your partner and/or friends and take advantage of either the luxury spa hotel properties or personal villa options; along with some pretty amazing amenity and restaurant options to fit any desires and budgets. I’m not a diver, but for those who are certified, or want to learn, Curaçao has incredible dive spots and multiple locations to take the dive.

Avila Hotel - Living With Style, TetuEven with the multiple options out there, I really like the award-winning Avila Hotel. With their motto being “Make It Your Hotel,” you know you’re going to enjoy your stay at this home away from home. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a couple’s getaway, or small group of friends and family. The staff makes sure to take care of your every need; providing great food and drink options, exquisite spa, fitness center with a view and a picture-perfect beach and pool to keep you refreshed. Enjoy Curaçao and let us know about your getaway!

Curacao Drink - Living With Style, TetuBe sure to visit the websites for all the details:

Best Deals Promo: http://www.curacao.com/deals

Curaçao Tourist Board: http://www.curacao.com

Gay Curaçao: http://www.gaycuracao.com

Avila Hotel: http://www.avilahotel.com

Editor’s Note: Would love to hear from you about any positive/negative stories about your Caribbean experiences recently – Thank you.

Kimpton’s HIV-AIDS Awareness Events and Discounts

Always a favorite brand when it comes to unpretentious luxury properties, Kimpton Hotels always seems to be thinking outside of the box. The senior team is so connected with their communities and non-profit organizations in their own lives that when it comes to incorporating this same great respect for these organizations as a brand, they do a fantastic job! Among the many national and local projects, organizations and efforts they support, pro-LGBT efforts are always included. Going beyond the standard donation or single event, they sincerely care about these efforts, and managed to donate over $150,000 in 2011 with their Red Ribbon Campaign.

Kimpton_Red RibbonThese are several events that Kimpton has happening over the next few months to further enhance their impressive efforts:

FireSky Resort & Spa, Phoenix: Toy Drive :: Nov 12-26
Jackson 20 at Hotel Monaco Alexandria: Red Ribbon Dinner :: Nov 28
Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City: Annual Red Party :: Nov 29
Summer Salt Pool and Lounge at Palomar San Diego: heART in Motion :: Nov 29
Nine Zero Hotel Boston: Red Indulgence Party :: Nov 30
B&O American Brasserie at Hotel Monaco Baltimore: Happy Hour :: Dec 1
Zentan at Donovan House Hotel DC: Red Ribbon Dinner :: Dec 1
Hotel Monaco Portland: Bingo Featuring Local Drag & Queens :: Dec 1
Central 214 at Hotel Palomar Dallas: Red Ribbon Bash :: December 6

Also, “Join The Fight By Staying The Night” package gives you a 15% discount and donates $10 to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. Remember to use the code, “RRC”. So, make a point to stop-in and enjoy these events, as we hope that Kimpton will exceed their 2012 goals within the next few months. Be sure to post on Facebook, Twitter, or here with any great stories from your Kimpton experience this season. Just to give you an idea, below are the 18 organizations that benefited from the 2011 Red Ribbon Campaign.

Kimpton CharitiesKimpton Hotels & Restaurants

Fashion Designer Profile: Patrik Ervell

Patrick_ModelOf course, the constant battle remains between the international designers within the highly competitive world of fashion. Like many, I love shopping the local designers and boutiques in the streets of Paris, London and Milan, but also love to show my support to the many fantastic US-based designers in New York. Most of these designers work for years before breaking-out onto the fashion scene, and then hope to have what it takes to compete and survive. I always enjoy learning about the designers who are on the verge of becoming a household name; their creative designs and passion for their work generally allows for some really fantastic collections.

One of these designers who I’ve been watching the past few seasons is Patrick Ervell. This California-raised Swede has a great background story, innovative designs and big plans for the future; making him one to watch!

Patrick Ervell PhotoAfter finishing school at Berkeley studying political science, economics and art history, he decided that he wanted to design clothes. Obviously, this has been a great choice, as his designs are loved by guys like Ryan Gosling and characterized as utilitarian, minimal and elegant by industry experts. After debuting in 2005, Ervell has won numerous prestigious awards and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. His designs can speak to a wide audience with formal, casual and great outwear collections being a major part of his success. Beyond his cutting-edge designs, the clean lines and animated models on his website speak to our generation; creating a brand with a strong future…

Ervell Website

Miami’s Sizzling South Beach

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It’s that time of the year when the cool weather arrives, and immediately, you look to warm weather getaways. With so many options only a plane trip away today, always a favorite weekend getaway for those on the US’s East Coast is Miami’s South Beach for the sun and fun. Regardless of your wants and needs, South Beach has something to offer everyone… not to mention one of the most entertaining destinations to people-watch!

Miami_Guy A mix of styles and fashion trends converge along the open-air mall on Lincoln Road. You can find a great outfit to hit the town later that evening, things for the home and the latest in swimsuit fashion all within a few short blocks. When it comes to eating, be ready to enjoy an international mix of cuisine 24/7. From amazing brunch spots around town to the culinary masterpieces from celebrity chefs and the accessible food trucks around town, you will never find yourself without dining options while visiting Miami Beach! Pool parties by day and an abundance of bars, cafes and clubs open all night allow for options upon options, regardless of what kind of mood you’re in for the day (and night).

South Beach is certainly not lacking in the areas of hotels and restaurants – with so many hotels offering fantastic dining options, delicious brunch in the sun by the pool and inventive fusion cuisine by candlelight for dinner is just a normal day when you’re a guest of South Beach’s thriving hospitality industry. Hotels range from very affordable, beachfront options to the luxe spa accommodations worthy of the most discerning traveler. I’ve had so many great hotel experiences in South Beach that I am going to include a few of the many options available at any budget… Of course, it’s great for you to leave a response with additional options, as I know there are too many to possibly mention here.

Surfcomber, A Kimpton Hotel
1717 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 532.7715 • http://www.surfcomber.com

Surfcomber Miami

Z Ocean Hotel
1437 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 672.4554 • http://zoceanhotelsouthbeach.com

Z Ocean Hotel

SLS Hotel South Beach
1701 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 674.1701 • http://slshotels.com/southbeach

SLS Hotel South Beach

Lords South Beach Hotel
1120 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 674.7800 • http://www.lordssouthbeach.com

Lords South Beach Hotel

The Perry South Beach
2377 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 604.1000 • http://www.perrysouthbeachhotel.com

The Perry South Beach

Sagamore: The Art Hotel
1671 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 535.8088 • http://www.sagamorehotel.com

The Sagamore

The National Hotel
1677 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 532.2311 • http://www.nationalhotel.com

The National Hotel

The Raleigh Hotel
1755 Collins Avenue • Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 534.6300 • http://www.raleighhotel.com

The Raleigh Hotel

When it comes to enjoying South Beach in style, the opportunities are endless. With most of the South Beach hotels, they have a huge range of options; including glamorous penthouses with every possible amenity desired, and more affordable standard room options to meet the demands of all their guests. Remember that watching for the Internet deals is always a great way to grab a fantastic deal, but don’t forget to investigate the options at your favorite hotel, such as choosing a less expensive room that might not be beach / pool facing or on a high floor, but still provide you with a prime location to enjoy all that South Beach has to offer! If you love being pampered and spending hours in the fabulous spas and making the most of the gym and yoga facilities, South Beach will leave you feeling very satisfied. So, now beach, shop, spa, eat and party like only you can the next time you’re in this iconic art deco destination! Here are a few quick links for you to take advantage of additional information from their Tourism offices:

Miami Tourismhttp://www.miamiandbeaches.com
http://www.facebook.com/visitmiami

https://twitter.com/miamiandbeaches

Welcome To “Living With Style”

Hi guys. I am thrilled to begin working with Têtu International, bringing a collection of posts directly to you. With so many exciting events, hotels, destinations, fashion trends and products at our fingertips these days, it’s going to be a wild ride trying to keep up with all the potential stories. I’ll do my best, and look forward to every minute of the ride! To begin, I’ll give you a quick overview of me…

With a dynamic background in public relations, marketing, brand consulting, video production and entertainment media, I have always loved to base my work assignments around the travel and tourism industries. Serving as Senior Account Executive at a PR Firm, I specialize in Travel, Tourism, Hospitality and Brand Development for a variety of clients. As you’ll discover, I make every effort to balance this work schedule with my writing, typically based around the things I love most: luxury, yet affordable travel, lifestyle, cooking, fashion, LGBT issues, golf and fitness.

As a monthly editorial contributor, consultant and advisory board member to global travel and lifestyle publications, I remain current with all of the latest travel, tourism and lifestyle trends. Of course, adding Têtu International is exciting because of the rich history Têtu has as being such an iconic publication out of Paris with such a global perspective on what we all love most; not to mention a great editorial team dedicated to the publication’s success. When not working, writing or sleeping, I can usually be found collaborating with various non-profit organizations on their efforts, playing golf, cooking/baking, reading, working out, practicing yoga or planning my next vacation. Other than this, my drink of choice is red wine, I love coffee and I’m a Pisces.

Now that you know more than you wanted to know about me, let’s get started with some posts that will be of interest to you… hotels, restaurants, events, vacation packages, fashion trends, new products and what ever else we all decide to chat about here. Looking forward to having you stay connected with the stories and providing some feedback. Here are a few other ways you can stay connected:

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