Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Best Hotels Celebrating Pride Month

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If you're looking to get away from it all this Pride season but you still want to participate in the festivities, take a look at these hotels celebrating Pride month. Some of the hotels are right in the middle of all the action. What better way to mix travel and Pride celebrations than visiting these LGBTQ+-friendly destinations and hotels?

While Pride season is in full force around the country, if not the world, there are plenty of destination choices to visit and celebrate. You can pick a Pride-themed hotel, a beach resort for some Pride downtime, or be in the thick of it all and experience locations that celebrate year-round. The choice is yours; where will you go?

Virgin Hotels Nashville

women and drag queens posing and laughing under the virgin hotels neon sign.

Virgin Hotels Nashville

Photo Credit: Virgin Hotels

Virgin Hotels Nashville is the official host hotel of Nashville Pride and is nominated for an LGBTQ Chamber Pride in Business Award as Allied Business of the year. Experience Nashville hospitality with a mix of food, drinks, music, and culture in a vibrant and inclusive space for everyone.

Events you can expect for the month of June:

  • Upside Down Drag Tea with Vidalia Anne Gentry – Sunday, June 12 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Rooftop Sounds at The Pool Club – Wednesday, June 15 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
  • King at Elvis Day – Thursday, June 23 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Pride Parades – Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26
  • Official After Party – Saturday, June 25 at 8:00 PM
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Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club

rainbow colored Adirondack chairs lined in front of the Ocean Edge Resort.

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club

Photo credit: Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club

The Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club is located on 429 acres in Brewster, Massachusetts. Spend a weekend sitting in the rainbow-colored Adirondack chairs and learn about some queer history. Each arm of the Adirondack chairs has a QR code that links to stories about prominent LGBTQ activists and changemakers that helped pave the way. You can take tours of Cape Code oyster beds, take in the view of the resort's private Bay Pines Beach, and enjoy being in the ocean air.

If you're looking for outdoor activities, you can paddle board and kayak on Blueberry Pond, play pickleball, and tennis, or play on a Nicklaus Design Golf Course.

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AC Columbus Downtown

lumin skybar patio overlooking downtown columbus.

AC Columbus Downtown Lumin Skybar

Photo credit: AC Columbus Downtown Lumin Skybar

Book the Pride Parlor Package during Columbus' Pride Parade June 17 - 19 and join over half a million people in celebrating Pride. Work your way up to the Lumin Skybar and sip mimosas, Bloody Marys, and special handcrafted Pride cocktails. While waiting for the festivities to begin, you can have your Pride makeup styled by artists from the Paul Mitchell School. They'll help you with neon eyeshadow, rhinestones, and airbrushing. The Pride Parlor is a safe space to express your style to look and feel your best during the parade.

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Caribe Hilton

palm tree lined swimming pool area over looking the ocean.

Caribe Hilton Swimming Pool Area

Photo credit: Caribe Hilton

No passport is required when visiting Puerto Rico, one of the friendliest LGBTQ+ islands in the Caribbean. You can visit Old San Juan for amazing dining, nightlife, and shopping then head over to the white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Caribe Hilton is a beachfront oasis just minutes from historic Old San Juan where you can enjoy everything the tropics have to offer. Puerto Rico is famous for being the birthplace of the Piña Colada and for pushing Reggaeton to popularity.

During your stay at the resort, you can visit any of the 11 dining options, hang out by the secluded beach and swimming pools, or sip on those rum cocktails. Maybe you're looking for a bit more adventure and you decide to take a rum tour, visit the rainforest, or visit the local bars. Either way, you'll be right at home and ready to enjoy the Pride events and festivities.

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Aruba Marriott Resort

Marriott entranced lined with rainbow colored lighted palm trees.

Aruba Marriott Resort

Photo credit: Aruba Marriott Resort

Stay at the beachfront Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, IGLTA-certified and moments away from LGBTQ+ friendly establishments. The June 17th Pride celebrations include Pride Gelato popsicles from Gelato & Co, a Pride Night Brunch with performances by local drag queens, handcrafted Pride cocktails, and unlimited Prosecco. If you miss this year's festivities, you can get a "Pride in Paradise Package" year-round which includes luxe accommodations in the Tradewinds Club which is the resort's adults-only hotel-within-a-hotel, a romantic dinner for two, a reserved cabana at the H2Oasis adults-only pool, a sunset sail for two, and more! Just use promo code: 8LG. Aruba is the perfect travel destination for a vacation in paradise and to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, diversity, and an inclusive environment.

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Playa Largo Resort & Spa and Southernmost Beach Resort

nighttime view of Playa Largo Resort & Spa with lounge chairs lined up on a deck.

Playa Largo Resort & Spa and Southernmost Beach Resort

Photo credit: Playa Largo Resort & Spa and Southernmost Beach Resort

Ahh, the Florida Keys, famous for being gay-friendly and a favorite among queer travelers. Rent a convertible and make the 1.5 hours drive from Miami to Upper Florida Keys in Key Largo. If you're looking for tranquil and a relaxing experience, you'll find it here with nature-based outdoor activities. This luxury resort has swimming pools lined with cabanas, white sandy beaches, and calm waters. What do you get when you cross Nashville's southern charm with a touch of Las Vegas? You get Key West, the Gay Mecca of the country, just a little over a 2-hour drive. In Key West, you can experience beach bonfire parties, drag queen brunches, Pride Parades, and more. The Southernmost Beach Resort sits along the southernmost limits of Duval Street and has three palm-lined pools, a tanning pier, private beach with lounge chairs and cabanas.

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Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.

Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.