With the Drag Stars at Sea cruise set to depart this weekend, Carnival Cruise Lines made a surprising announcement on Monday: guests are banned from dressing in drag while attending performances or in public areas at anytime during the eight-day cruise. The company has since rescinded the ban, and Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill called the situation "a miscommunication" between the cruise line and AlandCHUCK.travel, the organizers of the specialty cruise. He also said that Carnival will provide full refunds to anyone who wants to cancel their cruise.
In the original e-mail announcing the drag ban, Carnival's vice president of guest services Vicky Ray said, "Carnival attracts a number of families with children and for this reason, we strive to present a family friendly atmosphere. Although we realize this group consists solely of adults, we nonetheless expect all guests to recognize that minors are onboard and refrain from engaging in inappropriate conduct in public areas."
Drag Stars at Sea will feature nearly 40 contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race.
The Associated Press has removed the words "homophobia" and "transphobia" from its style guide, which is widely used as a reference tool by journalists around the country. The updated entry for "-phobia" in the 2013 Associated Press Stylebook extends beyond LGBT terminology, excluding several other words that end in the suffix, such as "Islamophobia." AP editors say those words shouldn't be used in political or social contexts, and that using "-phobia" in certain scenarios implies a person has a mental illness.
"It's just off the mark," AP deputy standards editor Dave Minthorn told Politico. "It's ascribing a mental disability to someone and suggests a knowledge that we don't have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: antigay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case."
But Dr. George Weinberg, who coined the phrase "homophobia" in 1972, told Think Progress why he disagrees with the change:
"It made all the difference to City Councils and other people I spoke to. It encapsulates a whole point of view and of feeling. It was a hard-won word, as you can imagine. It even brought me some death threats. Is homophobia always based on fear? I thought so and still think so. Maybe envy in some cases. But that’s a psychological question. Is every snarling dog afraid? Probably yes. But here it shouldn't matter. We have no other word for what we're talking about, and this one is well established. We use 'freelance' for writers who don’t throw lances anymore and who want to get paid for their work. Fowler even allows us to mix what he called dead metaphors. It seems curious that this word is getting such scrutiny while words like triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) hangs around."
On Friday, Nov. 30, the Supreme Court will likely decide whether to rule on gay marriage in 2013. The country's highest court has its pick of seven cases involving marriage equality, the majority of which call into question Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal mandate that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.