LGBTI fans can board a Golden Girls cruise from Miami next year

what is the Golden Girls Cruise miami

A Golden Girls themed cruise will set sail next year for a five-night journey.

The Golden Girls at Sea, organized by Flip Phone Events, will take Golden Girls mega-fans from Miami to several places around Florida and the Caribbean Sea. Miami, of course, is where Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia lived.

Setting sail on 24 February 2020, destinations include the Mexican island of Cozumel and gay host-spot Key West.

Other than being surrounded by a thousands of fans of the show, there’s an itinerary of activities based around the sitcom. Expect a themed bar crawl, a fancy dress dinner party, ‘Dorothy’s bingo’, and a karaoke party at the Rusty Anchor. You’ll recognize that as Blanche’s favorite place to pick up men.

Prices range from approximately $1000 (884.56EUR) for a standard cabin to around $1200 (1061.47EUR) for a deluxe cabin with a balcony – all based on double occupancy. Each ticket includes an unlimited drinks package.

The event is hosted on cruise ship Celebrity Infinity, which has a 2170 person occupancy.

Thank you for being a friend

The Golden Girls starred Betty White (Rose), Rue McClanahan (Blanche), Estelle Getty (Sophia) and Beatrice Arthur (Dorothy). The sitcom followed the lives of four older women who were friends and lived in Florida.

It enjoyed seven seasons, from 1985 to May 1992.

The show amassed a large LGBTI following, especially from gay men. The raunchy humor, savage wit, and themes of friendship were especially popular – and there are still drag versions of the character today.

See also: 

Golden Girls action figures are coming soon

A gay Golden Girls, called Silver Foxes, may be on the way

New York now has a Golden Girls-themed café

Author: Tom Capon

The post LGBTI fans can board a Golden Girls cruise from Miami next year appeared first on Gay Star News.

Meet the lesbian couple who found true love at work in Heathrow

Maria and Ginny meet heathrow

Everyone’s love story is different. Some people meet in nightclubs, a few vodkas and dodgy dance moves later. Some people swipe through enough people on apps until they finally – finally – meet someone who can hold a conversation. But a lucky few manage to find the love of their lives at work.

This is exactly what happened to Ginny Masselot and Maria Radford. Among the 76,000 people working on site and 80 million yearly passengers, the pair found each other. Ginny is a security officer; Maria, now a passenger experience manager, used to be her security manager in Terminal 3.

How did they get from colleagues to married with dogs (and the cute habit of telling each other’s stories)?

We sat down with Ginny and Maria to find out their story.

So, obvious question first, how did you guys meet each other? 

Ginny: [laughs] Well, she was my manager and… basically, she introduced herself.

Maria: I did! Because I was a very good manager, I always made sure to introduce myself to new people.

G: You couldn’t get my name right.

M: Yeah, I sent someone over to get your name first. Then we kind of-

G: We? You mean YOU came to ME. God, let me do the interview. [laughter]. So she came and introduced herself like a good manager. And we had a bit of a handshake that lasted five minutes. With a deep look in our eyes we kind of knew without knowing, if you know what I mean.

M: We kind of fell in love then to be honest. I was actually with somebody but I couldn’t stop thinking about Ginny. So I had to finish my eight year relationship and start this relationship.

ginny and maria heathrow couple gay women

Photo: Maria and Ginny

So straight after you met each other, did you go on a date?

G: Not straight away. I was quite firm on the fact that she was in a relationship and I respected that. We hadn’t really spoken about it straight away. We became friends. It was the easiest way to start something.

M: Remember when we were all supposed to go out…

G: We had that date. Not a date. It became a date.

M: So all the new guys and some of the older guys at Heathrow decided we’d all go out in Windsor to get to know each other. There was supposed to be about 15 or 20 of us. So when we got to All Bar One in Windsor, we sat and we chatted. Then about an hour later no one turned up and I thought – that’s a bit rude.

So we kept chatting and still no one turned up. I checked my phone – someone messaged me to say the location changed. It was just me and Ginny for about two hours but we didn’t care. We did end up meeting with a few of them…

That sounds VERY convenient

M: They already thought we were in a relationship. I followed her around. I ended up being wherever she was.

After that, how long did it take before everyone found out you were in a relationship at work?

M: Well, I went home one day and I told my partner at the time, ‘We need to talk’. I told her I was leaving, picked up my rucksack with a few bits, got into my car and drove to Ginny.

G: You didn’t call me straight away, because I had no make-up on, my hair was up, I had red Christmasy pajamas, and she turned up and I was freaking out.

M: I said, I’m here. I’ve left my partner and I’m hoping that maybe we could start a relationship?

Maria and Ginny wedding meet

Ginny and Maria on their wedding day | Photo: Ginny and Maria

And never looked back?

M: No, now we’re married, we’ve bought a house, we’ve got two dogs. We got married two years ago.

Are there any unique challenges you face by being a couple at work?

M: At first there was, when I was in security, because I was her manager. Luckily enough, she hadn’t done anything wrong-

G: – I never do –

M: But you know, what happens at work, stays at work, and what happens at home, stays at home. I did take advantage of the fact she was my other half.

G: Used me for your advantage!

M: I used her for last minute crowd control. I didn’t even ask her, I just said she was doing it!

G: People at Heathrow have been supportive of us as well. They are so happy we got together. I think they can see the connection between us two.

Have you two always been out at Heathrow?  

M: I originally started in 2007 as security officer and nobody knew. I then went on to be a security trainer for four years. But I didn’t tell anybody for the first two years that I was gay simply because I wanted to gain everybody’s trust and let them get to know me.

I was searching women’s bodies and they were searching me, and I didn’t want them to be like ‘Oh my god, I’m being touched by a lesbian’.

G: We’ve never had actually had any problems.

M: No, the company is very supportive, no matter what creed, race, sexuality. Heathrow is really good with things like that. In CRS (Customer Relations and Services), basically all my bosses were gay. My next senior boss, my line managers. The company supports gay people and it’s good that we have the Heathrow branded Proud network too.

Ginny and MAria lesbian couple at heathrow

Ginny and Maria at Heathrow | Photo: Maria and Ginny

What attracted you to Heathrow? 

G: I always liked the security side of things in my old jobs – I worked as a celebrity PA and a prison officer – so I thought working for a place like Heathrow, as big as Heathrow, the responsibility was huge and it attracts me.

I like the challenge. So I went for it, I got the job, and I’m loving it. And I got to meet my wife – you can’t get any better than that, can it?

M: I’m not twisting her arm – honestly!

For me, I thought it would be a different world. I used to run a barbershop for twenty years. It was quite close to Heathrow and I met quite a lot of people who worked there. They said it was an amazing world to work in.

The landlord at the barbershop hiked up the rent. So I picked up the magazine Skyport and they were looking for female security officers. I thought, I’ll give it a go. And I didn’t look back.

Heathrow is a partner of Gay Star News.

See also:

Meet the gay guy who’s improving Heathrow and the work life of LGBTI folk

Author: Tom Capon

The post Meet the lesbian couple who found true love at work in Heathrow appeared first on Gay Star News.

Why the deserts of Arizona are surprisingly great for a gay USA road trip

What to see in Arizona gay

Arizona is a state of contradictions.

On the US political map, most of it is a deep shade of red, but it’s also home to some of the most diverse cities in America. Most of the place is a desert, but it’s lush enough to grow vineyards. It’s a modern state, but with a more than a touch of the Old West about it.

And I was ready for an old-fashioned American adventure. I landed in Phoenix, hired a car, and took a road trip through the southern part of the state.

Hitting the road

I visited three cities: Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city, and its capital; Bisbee, a tiny former mining town about 3.5 hours’ drive from Phoenix; and Tucson, about halfway between the others, the former state capital, and home to the University of Arizona. Thanks to the ease with which American interstates can be tackled, you can comfortably navigate this route in a week.

Arizona roadtrip gay

Arizona is pure road trip territory | Photo: Andrew Gonsalves

As mentioned earlier, Arizona is pretty darn lush. There were a couple of days of belting rain when I visited in December (it’s sunny about 85% of the year), but if the state got any more rain, it would lose desert status altogether. This makes the Sonoran Desert feel more alive that you’d ever expect.

A note about driving in the USA. This was my first time doing so and it was the easiest thing I ever did (and, driving along the Gate Pass Road towards the Desert Museum, of the most beautiful).

My only advice is to make sure you have a satnav and, if you can, consider getting a car that’s a step up from the economy model. The distances are vast – I traveled a little over 700 miles in a week – so you’ll want to know exactly where you’re going, and you’ll want to be sat in something comfortable.

The best way to experience the deserts is to get into them. By night, I made for the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix for Electric Desert. This is an immersive experience, where the desert is brought spectacularly to life using lights and music. Seeing a mountain (a small one, admittedly, but a mountain’s a mountain) illuminated while a Mexican band sang Christmas songs was a spine-tingling experience.

ARizona cactus

There’s more than a few wonders waiting for you | Photo: Andrew Gonsalves

Touring Tucson

I started my time in Tucson with a tour from Tucson Bike Tours. Spending just a couple of hours with my guide, Jim, brought the whole of the city to life. This included the huge, just-like-the-movies University of Arizona campus and an accompanying frat house, where I may’ve imagined I was in House Bunny.

It’s a fantastic way to get under the skin of Tucson’s history, see some super-pretty houses, and explore the city’s relationship with the desert. At two hours long, I thought I’d build up an appetite for dinner (or at least burn off breakfast) but, as we stopped midway for the very best empanada I’ve ever eaten, my calorie deficit remained non-existent.

Sufficiently biked-out, I headed to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is a veritable treasure chest of life in the desert. Reached through the Gateway Pass, probably the prettiest road I’ve ever driven along, it’s less a museum and more a zoo.

I got up close and personal with the surprisingly large number of critters that call the Sonoran home. My favorite was the mountain lion who was clearly used to tourists, and gave zero f***s about being on display. I was also very much there for the river otters (…not for that reason) and the hummingbird aviary was breathtaking. The museum also offers a selection of nicely thought-out trails, so you can lose yourself in the desert without actually getting lost.

Arizona airplanes desert see

Everything looks more dramatic in the desert | Photo: Andrew Gonsalves

Desert-based, but not desert-related, the PIMA Air & Space Museum, outside of Tuscon, is essentially a giant parking lot for old planes. I gaped at the Air Force One that ferried JFK around the world and stood in awe at the permanent exhibition on women in flight.

A particularly poignant moment came as I admired a B-52 that flew over Germany during WWII. The elderly guide, Richard, started telling me his story. He was based in Norfolk, UK, during the war, flying B-52s. An attack of food poisoning meant he couldn’t fly one morning, but the rest of his crew set off.

Their plane was shot down over Germany in 1942. There were no survivors. 

Eating through Arizona

Arizona was once a part of Mexico, (it didn’t become part of the US until the mid-1800s), and where you’re most likely to feel this Mexican history is in Arizona’s food.

Forget the usual Tex-Mex mush, you’ll find some truly delectable tacos at Contessa’s Cantina in Bisbee and Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails in Tucson. The latter has a mouthwatering locally and seasonally based menu. I also loved Tucson’s Barrio Bread. Its hand-crafted loaves are obscenely delicious; trust me when I say that you’ve not tasted bread until you’ve tasted a warm jalapeño-cheddar loaf.

churos where to eat in arizona

If I could marry these churros, I would | Photo: Andrew Gonsalves

The culinary highlight of my trip was Phoenix’s Barrio Café. Run by Silvana Esparza, who gave up everything at the age of 41, bought a backpack and set off on an adventure through Mexico. She visited every region, finding out what they cooked and how they cooked it, before opening Barrio (no relation to Barrio Bread) with her then-partner, Wendy, in 2002.

The food is magnificent; far, far removed from the nasty tacos and yellow cheese you associate with Tex-Mex. Everything I tasted at Barrio was an explosion for the senses. The colors and flavors left me longing for a stomach twice the size of my own. Whatever you do, leave space for the churros.

Scouting the scene

Given that you’re reading Gay Star News, there’s the chance that you’ll want to sample the scenes in some of the places you visit.

More importantly, you’ll want to know you’re safe doing so. Here I bring good tidings. All three of the destinations I sampled were liberal, welcoming and, in my opinion, very safe. (While we’re chatting about bigotry, it’s also worth noting that no one I spoke to in the Arizona thought Trump’s wall was anything other than a bad idea.)

Phoenix and Tucson have thriving LGBTI scenes; there’s a wealth of bars and restaurants, and a live and let live attitude that permeates both cities. Indeed, the LGBTI people I spoke to felt just as comfortable in ‘straight’ bars and restaurants as any space on the scene.

Visit Arizona

So. Many. Steps. | Photo: Andrew Gonsalves

The biggest surprise, however, was Bisbee. Officially the City of Bisbee, it’s really no more than a large village, with just over 5,500 full-time residents. You’d be forgiven for thinking that small-town, southern America would be just what you expect.

It isn’t. It’s like a desert version of Brighton. The very first thing I saw as I drove into the town was a rainbow crosswalk. This was followed, almost immediately, by a shop proudly flying the rainbow flag. The city’s probably the the smallest place I’ve ever visited that has its own pride – every June.

Beyond the queerness, it’s a wonderful, bizarre place; like someone’s mixed small-town America with a winding hill town in Italy. There are over 1,000 stairs in Bisbee, making exploration more of a hike. If, like Mariah and I, you don’t do stairs, you can book a jeep tour. They’re big, purple versions of the jeep Stuart Jones from Queer as Folk drove.

The tours take in the smallest bar in Arizona – the Silver King, an establishment with four seats – and the old town jail, which John Wayne converted into a home. I also headed to Erie street, just outside of the town. It’s been preserved as it was in the 50s: with an old-school diner and classic American motors littering the sidewalk, and was easily the most Instagrammable man-made stop on my trip.

Friends in the desert

I left Arizona on a high. It’s easily one of the prettiest and friendliest states I’ve visited so far. The food is divine, the landscape magnificent and the people warm. I don’t feel like I’ve begun to scratch the surface. I’ll be back for sure.

Plan your trip to Arizona at visitarizona.com.  

See also: 

St Louis is the Midwest’s hidden gay gem just waiting to be discovered

How this city-living gay guy found a love of the great outdoors in Scottsdale, Arizona

Is The Chase Park Plaza the perfect spot to rediscover historic St Louis?

Author: Andrew Gonsalves

The post Why the deserts of Arizona are surprisingly great for a gay USA road trip appeared first on Gay Star News.