Same-sex marriage welcomed by Strip resorts, tourism officials

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At the Aria’s wedding chapel, spouses-to-be can choose from two lounges in which to prepare themselves for the big ceremony: one for grooms and another for brides.

Their layouts evoke traditional gender expectations, with the guys getting a pool table and the larger bride’s lounge boasting plenty of mirrors.

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Nevada, the lounge layout might give pause in how to separate the spouses. But Colleen Kestel-Raidmae, the chapel’s director, has had some experience with this — her chapel has been offering same-sex commitment ceremonies since it opened last year.

“We leave it up to the couple,” she said about which partner gets which room. “Whichever one prefers to play pool over having a larger mirror, we let them decide that among themselves. Sometimes — and this goes for all wedding couples — they’ll choose to both be in the larger room because they’re okay with seeing each other before the wedding.”

A federal appellate court ruling allowing same-sex marriages in Nevada is ushering in some changes at the Aria chapel, however. Kestel-Raidmae said she’s trying to organize chapels across MGM Resorts International’s properties on the Strip to receive training from the Gay Wedding Institute to help them better cater to same-sex customers.

In the meantime, the Aria chapel is introducing same-sex wedding promotions, making paperwork gender neutral and including photos of same-sex couples on marketing materials.

“It’s actually a fairly extensive process to make all of the changes,” Kestel-Raidmae said. “But I think everyone’s very excited. It’s something that Nevada should have done years ago.”

Since Nevada’s ban on same-sex unions was lifted last week, about one in 10 calls about reserving the Aria chapel has been from same-sex couples, Kestel-Raidmae said. To attract more, the Aria chapel is offering 20 percent off any wedding package and 10 percent off food and beverage packages to same-sex couples who book before the end of the year.

One package that includes a limo from the marriage license bureau to the hotel, 90 minutes of chapel time, the officiant, live Internet broadcasting of the ceremony and one night’s stay, regularly goes for $3,300 on a Saturday.

Similarly, Caesars Entertainment announced that same-sex couples can receive 15 percent off wedding ceremonies or vow renewals at any of its chapels through March 1. MGM and Caesars hosted same-sex weddings on Saturday, at Mandalay Bay and the Flamingo, respectively.

The embrace of legal same-sex marriage by these and other casino-resorts in Las Vegas fits into the industry’s generally strong track record of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Caesars, MGM, Wynn Resorts and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas — companies which, taken together, account for most of the Strip resorts — have all scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. It is based on a survey that companies complete measuring their policies and practices relevant to LGBT employees.

Additionally, when the Nevada Senate considered a constitutional amendment last year to legalize same-sex unions, representatives from Caesars and MGM spoke in support.

What’s in it for them? Aside from cashing in on a chunk of the millions of dollars that same-sex marriage will bring to Nevada, they see it as a way to improve their relationships with customers.

Gwen Migita, vice president of sustainability and corporate citizenship for Caesars, said legalizing same-sex marriage makes a “significant difference” to guests and employees by making their Las Vegas experiences more “whole and fair.”

Phyllis James, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at MGM, said her company tries to create a welcoming atmosphere for LGBT guests.

“There’s a distinct difference in an environment that treats you on an equal footing with other customers who are not like you, and having a staff that is going to be comfortable and respectful in the way they interact with you, having a comfortable environment to walk around in which people are not … acting like you’re strange because you’re a same-sex couple and you’re walking down the hall holding hands,” she said.

Las Vegas regularly ranks among the top LGBT travel destinations as surveyed by Community Marketing Inc. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has been marketing to the LGBT demographic for years, famously this year with a commercial called “The Check In.”

As a whole, the Las Vegas tourism market may have even better luck attracting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender tourists as same-sex marriages become legal in every state, said Mya Reyes, president of the Las Vegas Gay Visitors Bureau.

Until then, some couples will face the prospect of not having their marriage recognized when they return home.

“Once same-sex marriage is legalized nationally, that will change the entire scenario,” Reyes said. Still, she stressed that when it comes to the current ruling, “Undoubtedly, it will have a positive effect. I’m certain of that.”

Like the resorts, Reyes’ company is wasting no time trying to attract same-sex wedding tourism. The gay visitors bureau is revamping its website to accommodate wedding services, she said, and it’s encouraging guests to tie the knot when they come for Evolve Vegas NYE, a gay New Year’s event produced by the bureau.

SOURCE: VegasInc.com

LAVERNE COX ON HER VEGAS NIGHTCLUB GIG, NETFLIX STARDOM AND MORE

Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox hosts Liaison’s Grand Opening Celebration this weekend.

You’re hosting a grand opening on the Las Vegas Strip this weekend, joining the likes of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Now that Orange Is the New Black is a huge hit, are you being hired frequently for celebrity appearances at events like Saturday night’s at Liaison? This is my first time hosting an event like this. I am very excited about the historic nature of the first LGBT club in a casino in Vegas.

Do you find subtle, if not overt, ways to educate those types of audiences on the transgender rights movement and community, like you do with your speaking engagements? Or is a party not the place for that? Well depending on the context, sometimes just my presence, living openly, is enough.

The transgender community experienced a couple of mainstream media milestones this year when you appeared on the cover of Time and were nominated for an acting-related Emmy award, both firsts for a transgender person. How important is it for us to see the transgender community in the mainstream media? I think when people get to know people as human beings, that goes a long way to change hearts and minds about people who are different. I think it also inspires trans people to believe that their dreams are also possible.

When you’re out in public and fans of the show stop you to talk, are they respectful with their language and questions? Our fans are amazing. They love the show and show me so much love. They are amazingly respectful.

Have you been to Vegas before? Any crazy or fun stories to share from past visits? I have been to Vegas twice, both times with my mother. We ate at buffets, saw shows—theJubilee show was a kiki. The crazy stuff I can’t talk about, ’cause what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

How long are you in town? What are you excited to see and do while in town this weekend? I am only in town for a day. I think I will just get to present at [the] iHeartRadio [Festival] and host at Liaison. But I might be able to squeeze in more fun. It’s Vegas after all.

What’s your go-to cocktail? What will we see in your hand at Liaison Saturday night? I am not a big drinker. I might have a glass of champagne. As a true Sex and the City fan I love a good Cosmo as well.

One of my favorite Orange Is the New Black episodes is the mock job interview episode (you looked fabulous!). Any idea of what you’ll be “showing off your assets” in Saturday night? I am not sure what I will be wearing yet. But my stylist Christina Pacelli is excited about pulling looks for me. I can’t wait to see the options.

Are you still filming Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black? Can you divulge any details at all for fans of the show? I am still shooting season 3 of Orange. Nope I can’t divulge anything. NEXT! LOL

I saw you were tweeting about your upcoming role on MTV’s Faking It. Aside from Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black, what other projects are you working on right now? I also have a guest spot on the new Bravo show Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. I am executive producing a documentary for MTV called Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word. I am also hard at work on my memoir which will be out in the fall of 2015.

LIAISON GRAND OPENING WITH LAVERNE COX September 20, doors at 10 p.m., $20. Liaison, 702-737-5225.

SOURCE: Las Vegas Weekly.com

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You’re A Gay Man

The library is open.

1. “Work”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: Mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment.

What it means to gay men: A congratulatory declaration of support, praise or approval usually yelled with passion. Made popular by RuPaul; appropriated into pop culture by gay icon Britney Spears.

2. “High School”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: A school that typically comprises grades 9 through 12, attended after primary school or middle school.

What it means to gay men: Four long years of trying to enjoy making out with girls.

3. “Girlfriend”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

Vertical Entertainment / Via myniceprofile.com

What it usually means: A regular female companion with whom a person has a romantic or sexual relationship.

What it means to gay men: Any of your female BFFs who ignorantly call you their “GBF” and/or constantly ask you to go shopping with them.

4. “Sunday”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: The day of the week before Monday, often observed as a day of rest and religious worship.

What it means to gay men: The funday of the week before Monday, often observed as the last day of the week to work before your actual work week starts.

5. “Top”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

NBC / Via mouthymag.com

What it usually means: The highest or uppermost point, part, or surface of something.

What it means to gay men: The man who gives during intercourse as opposed toreceiving. *Passes the lube*

6. “Bottom”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

Universal Pictures / Via final—boss.tumblr.com

What it usually means: The lowest point or part of something.

What it means to gay men: The brave man who receives during intercourse as opposed to giving. POWER BOTTOMS UNITE!

7. “Flip-Flop”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

ABC / Via crushable.com

What it usually means: A light sandal, typically of plastic or rubber, with a thong between the big and second toe.

What it means to gay men: The act of switching between topping and bottoming during intercourse. Cheers to being versatile!

8. “Slay”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: To kill something in a violent way.

What it means to gay men: To completely dominate something in an epic fashion leaving the people around you utterly flabbergasted and unworthy of your presence.

9. “Woof”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: The barking sound made by a dog.

What it means to gay men: A term of endearment used in the gay community to describe someone who is hot, sexy, or fine. Like an excited puppy when he sees his master.

10. “Queen”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

Logo / Via dragofficial.com

What it usually means: The female ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth.

What it means to gay men: A flamboyant and sassy gay man. Always FABULOUS.

11. “Bear”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: A large, heavy, mammal that walks on the soles of its feet, with thick fur and a very short tail.

What it means to gay men: A classification of a hairy gay man who has a large body type. Like if John Goodman was gay, he’d totally be a bear.

12. “Twinkie/Twink”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: A small finger-shaped sponge cake with a white synthetic cream filling.

What it means to gay men: An attractive, boyish-looking, young gay man. Usually found hairless in the wild by means of shaving and/or using Nair all over the body.

13. “Daddy”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

Bravo / Via queerty.com

What it usually means: One’s father or the oldest, best, or biggest example of something.

What it means to gay men: A typically older, financially established gay man (usually whom you’d like to be sexually involved with). Exhibit Gay: Andy Cohen.

14. “Beard”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

Paramount Pictures / Via kendragarden.com

What it usually means: A growth of hair on the chin and lower cheeks of a man’s face.

What it means to gay men: A woman used as a cover to hide a closeted man’s homosexuality.

15. “Shade”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: A spot of darkness and coolness caused by shelter from direct sunlight.

What it means to gay men: To insult or give attitude towards someone in a confident manner. Usually thrown.

16. “Scruff”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: Adjective used to describe the facial hair stubble on a man’s face.

What it means to gay men: A gay social networking app to meet other gay men when Grindr just isn’t working out anymore. *Unlocks pictures*

17. “Family”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

What it usually means: A group of people who are related to each other.

What it means to gay men: Terminology used to refer to anyone else who is also gay. Much like Olive Garden, “When you’re queer, you’re family.”

18. “Bye”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

Disney / Via youtube.com

What it usually means: A term used when parting from someone or used at the end of a conversation.

What it means to gay men: A term used prior to walking away from a conversation in an agressive manner when you literally just can’t anymore.

19. “Out”

19 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When You're A Gay Man

FOX / Via glee.wikia.com

What it usually means: Not at home or at one’s place of work.

What it means to gay men: Having your sexuality finally known to everyone in your life, giving you the freedom to finally become true to yourself.

SOURCE: BuzzFeed.com

Win a Gay New Year’s Celebration in LAS VEGAS!

Evolve, Vegas, NYE, New Year's Eve, Gay GayVegas, MGM

The Grand Prize

  • 2 roundtrip flights to Las Vegas w/limousine transportation airport-hotel-airport
  • 3 night hotel stay at The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino w/VIP Check-In
  • 2 Evolve VIP Packages to include:
    • Collector’s welcome gift & Evolve Swag Bag
    • Daily complimentary breakfast at MGM Grand Buffet
    • 2 VIP Receptions
    • VIP seating at Zumanity and Divas Las Vegas Private Show or Jubilee Las Vegas Show
    • VIP seating and bar access at the NYE Main Party
    • Complimentary cocktails at receptions, parties and shows
    • Admission to all events:
      • Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil
      • Kick Off Opening Party at Liaison – Las Vegas’ Newest Gay Nightclub
      • Shop & Play at Fashion Show Mall Las Vegas
      • New Year’s Eve Party with Champagne Toast and Fireworks at The Havana Nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip
      • Slot Tournament at the MGM Grand
      • Divas Las Vegas Private Show or Jubilee Las Vegas Show
      • Official After Party at SHARE Gay Nightclub

CLICK HERE TO ENTER HERE

Evolve Vegas NYE 2014-2015 Packages now ON SALE!

Evolve Vegas NYE

GAY. 
LAS VEGAS. 
NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION.

Need we say more?

It’s never too early to start thinking about New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas!  #EvolveVegas is a first of its kind experience and features 3 days of Las Vegas shows, parties, special events and more! The international event will host gay men from over 30 countries and is sure to be the highlight of 2014 & 2015!

Packages include a 3 night stay at the fabulous MGM Grand Hotel, 3 glamorous parties, 2 Las Vegas shows, 2 special events, shopping, dining, gaming and the party continues with an optional weekend excursion to West Hollywood, California!  Both Evolve & Evolve VIP packages are available online and payment plans are available. BOOK EARLY to reserve your spot as prices will increase.

Will you “EVOLVE” when the clock strikes midnight? 

Visit our website www.EvolveVegasNYE.com for more details and information.