Carnival Cruises bans “drag” on drag cruise

UPDATE: Carnival is now apparently claiming that the ban on drag during the drag cruise is because of post-9/11 security restrictions.  Uh huh.  And that’s why straight passengers on non-gay Carnival cruises report wearing costumes all over the ship and NOT receiving the same security warning that gay passengers got for their drag cruise.


Multiple passengers, who say they have tickets for Carnival Cruises’ upcoming “Drag Stars at Sea” cruise, say Carnival sent them an email informing them that passengers will be banned form dressing in drag on the drag cruise, under penalty of being kicked of the cruise.

Carnival’s reason? Suffer the children!

Carnival attracts a number of families with children and for this reason; we strive to present a family friendly atmosphere. It is important to us that all guests are comfortable with every aspect of the cruise. 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.

Arrangements have been made for drag performances in the main theater featuring stars from LOGO TV. These functions will be private and only the performers are permitted to dress in drag while in the theater. Guests are not allowed to dress in drag for the performances or in public areas at any time during the cruise.

We’re sorry to say that any guest who violates our policies and/or whose behavior affects the comfort and enjoyment of other guests, will be disembarked at their own expense and no refund will be given.

Now, why exactly would children on a drag cruise not be comfortable seeing drag, you might ask. Apparently, Carnival has booked regular old non-drag families for the same cruise it booked as a “Drag Stars at Sea” cruise.

Um, awkward.

So does this mean that Carnival will be banning transgender people from the cruise too – you know, for the children? And what about transgender children – will they be banned by Carnival in order to protect them from themselves?

Here’s another fun question: Is Carnival violating local public accommodations laws that include gender identity?

Thirteen states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia protect transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations. Although the exact definition of a “public accommodation” varies from state to state, a wide variety of businesses are typically covered by such statutes, including restaurants, hotels, theaters, and retail stores. These private businesses that are open to the public may not discriminate based on a person’s transgender status. Private clubs and religious organizations, however, are often exempt from the reach of public accommodations laws.

If you live in a city that has a public accommodations law that covers gender identity, and Carnival tells you that your gender identity, or more precisely your gender expression, is not welcome on a Carnival Cruise, then Carnival may be setting itself up for a whopper of a civil rights lawsuit.  While you might need to be transgender to sue under gender identity, I’d think anyone could sue under gender expression.  Again, if local law protects gender identity and/or expression in public accommodations, and if Carnival is “doing business” in that town or state that includes these protections, and a Web site making sales in that state could be construed as “doing business,” Carnival could be liable under local civil rights laws to anyone wanting to purchase a ticket on this cruise and wanting to dress as another gender.

PS But don’t call it “homophobia.”

Here’s the alleged email posted by one of the recipients:

Carnival cruise email bans drag

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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43 Responses to “Carnival Cruises bans “drag” on drag cruise”

  1. Teresa Jean says:

    I love this. With so many cities trying to make themselves gay friendly to attract more tourist bucks it astounds me that Carnival Cruises would want to flush this money down the toilet. What marketing genius
    thought up this plan?

  2. IonOtter says:

    I *have* “experienced” other cultures for more than a few *weeks*, and while it was a fantastic experience I’ll always remember, after a week it got a little old.

    Sometimes you just want to detach your higher brain functions and leave them in a closet for a week. A cruise is an excellent way of doing that. Booze, endless food, dancing and other fun things, where your only concern is what you’re going to wear that evening.

  3. IonOtter says:

    If it did, I would *so* go on that cruise!

  4. IonOtter says:

    As a gay male myself, stop being a drama-queen, honey. Lose the tude’ and lighten up. It’s fun, it’s harmless and it’s how people express themselves. If you wanna get your nipples in a twist over something, go bray at the Fulsom Street Fair or the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. I’m sure they’ll be amused.

  5. karmanot says:

    sigh, drops fan

  6. foop_part says:

    Wait don’t leave yet! You almost forgot your baseless sense of superiority.

  7. robert says:

    what are they going to do, throw them overboard if the show up on the poop deck in drag?

  8. Amelattababy says:

    I’d say just screw them.And don’t go on the cruise.i love drag, it’s awesome. But the purpose of a drag cruise is to have drag, dressed up as beautiful women.Just people having a good time. And who in gods name would take a kid on a drag cruise if they know what it is about?its only friggen common sense people.

  9. this is complete bull shit, I really hope some kind of lawsuit goes down.. because like it just isnt fair I know if I was a child and my parents paid for me to be on this cruise I would be so pissed off. Like how can they change the policy at the very last min I know when I was looking into it before for an early christmas present I said nothing of this matter…

  10. Patrick says:

    Holy crap! How’d you know?! According to Vicky’s Twitter, she’s a Romney lover from Florida. So you know what that meansss? She’s still a little bitter after the elections. If she can’t have it her way, no one can!

  11. Fiona Cox says:

    I believe this is her email: [email protected]. I sent her a little message to let her know I thought she and her email were ridiculous. I went here to complain too: I think we all should. A couple of people posted these over here:

  12. As a gay male I do not approve of drag either. It is left over from a time when it was the only acceptable way for gay males to have sex with closeted men. IE they felt comfortable having sex with a man in drag.

  13. jennrubenstein says:

    i am in the process of coordinating a cruise for mid-2013, around my birthday, and just left a message for carnival stating why i will not be booking with them.

  14. Richard Hunt says:

    How ironic is it that while I am reading this article and the comments attached, the online advertising accompanying it are ads for Carnival Cruise Line and their cruises starting from $299.00? Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead on a Carnival ship because it is so “family friendly” (and not in a good way). However, remembering that a cruise ship makes most of its profits from the beverages, liquor, photographs, souveniers, shore excursions, etc. that are sold onboard, I would hope that anyone that is still planning on sailing on this cruise refrain from spending anything onboard the ship. I know it may be hard to go for a week without that fruity cocktail with the paper umbrella, but why give any more money to that homophobic cruise line than you have to?

  15. Why would anyone be ‘sorry’ until they had been caught doing something wrong?
    I understand ‘regrets’ if one thinks his actions borders on assholery, perhaps contrite if they harbor guilt for being unfair, but sorry?
    I only use ‘sorry’ when I get caught.
    To me it appears as if they’ve predisposed themselves by apologizing ahead of the fact.

  16. Cyber-Citizen No. H3nb44 says:

    So, just because I identify myself as a “tomboy”, a girl with manly tendencies, I might be banned? This is blasphemy. This is madness!!

  17. JamesR says:

    Um…. it’s named “Carnival”

    As in dress up in drag.

    As in party, and drink like fishes.

    Linguistically, it means to eat meat. Another modern awkwardness if you think about it.

    Has the author / auithors of these E-mails ever actually been on a Carnival cruise?? It’s about eating and drinking and gambling and partying down, and anyone who brings their screaming brats with them is strictly AYOR. And I’m talking about for the majority of the passengers, who are straight. WTF?

    Carnival is the low budget end of the industry, that on the one hand attracts everybody (until now) and can be (remarkably) fun but also cheap, if you just eat the remarkably not-terrible food and don’t drink too much retail and don’t gamble. On the other hand it does attract the cheapskates and, er, steerage and xenophobes, but good God they’re not the ones spending $$ it’s the festive gays and drag queens! This is not in any universe a business decision.

    Children don’t drink, they don’t gamble, and are frankly undesirable in large groups as they’re usually not that well behaved. Frankly. Everyone knows this. And they’re more welcome than costumes? Please.

    Unless this was someone’s idea of sarcasm gone terribly wrong, I don’t know what they could possibly have been thinking nor what they would possibly have thought the response is and will be. Way to instantly devalue and poison a brand. Bravo Carnival.

    World. Fucking. Gone. Mad.

  18. Max_1 says:

    Q U E S T I O N:
    Why does Carnival’s definition of “FAMILY FRIENDLY” omit gay families?

  19. Max_1 says:

    What’s a Drag Cruise where going “drag” is verboten?

  20. Max_1 says:

    H I N T:
    It’s not about the costumes as much as it is about WHO’S in the costumes.

    Does this cruise come with the standard warning:

  21. teamrujubee says:

    and not just drag queens honey! I’m not a drag, or even gay but I love my queens. I was so bummed about not being able to afford the cruise but I wouldn’t want to contribute money to this fuckery ayway

  22. mirror says:

    The point I was trying to make, but sort of failing…

    This pronouncement seems so obviously homophobic and rude. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate, if any warning is appropriate for anyone, to warn the parents with kids that having chosen the cruise with the Drag Show from TV as a theme that they might expect to see numbers of men in drag as well as others in various costumes, especially since the whole frickin’ cruise line is called “carnival”, i.e a festival where people around the Caribbean and South America wear costumes.

  23. Shane Windmeyer says:

    not everyone conforms to a binary of male or female who are transgender, nor are they able to change markers on state issued IDs. This whole issue is extremely problematic and just shows cisgender privilege

  24. mirror says:

    I’m sure “real” transgender people will be happy to carry their state issued id cards properly marked to show that they are not “hobbiests”.

  25. MandaPants says:

    ^^^ THIS!!! ^^^

    A gem of a comment, and too true. I would rather backpack and slow-boat through the Amazon than get on one of these floating islands!

  26. mysticl says:

    Yeah I sent them a nice yet nasty email letting them no in no uncertain terms that they almost had my business next fall but I would now be choosing to vacation on a competitor’s ship. I an 54 married straight woman but I refuse to patronize any company that does business in an intolerant and yes, homophobic manner. It is unacceptable in this day and age and I am appalled that folks bought tickets hoping to be able to enjoy a fun cruise only to be told once Carnival had their money that the cruise they hoped to go on was now extremely limited but hey … “Now that we’ve taken care of business … let the fun begin!!!” … what a crock …

  27. Naja pallida says:

    I’ve always considered cruising to be be basically the xenophobes way of traveling anyway. People who have to carry around 150,000 gross tonnes of the United States with them wherever they travel because they can’t stand the thought of actually experiencing other cultures for more than a few hours of carefully choreographed tours through the pre-approved tourist areas. The attractions on board are the only thing that would possibly make it worthwhile for someone like myself… but I guess that’s besides the point at hand. :)

  28. KennAgata says:

    Why would LOGO book a show on a cruise line such as Carnival which is known as a family cruise line? It seems ludicrous in the first place. That being said, I think there should be a boycott of Carnival from the LGBT community.

  29. ‘For the children’ is such a ridiculous and insulting excuse to target the LGBT community with an obviously Christian agenda. Women dance around poles and prance around in tiny bikinis that would be considered indecent if they walked down a public street, yet a man putting clothes on is soooo dangerous to family values. F*** them and please, please encourage all people interested in fairness and civil rights to spend their money elsewhere! That means you too, LOGO TV and RuPaul…..

  30. Matt Jones says:

    “We’re sorry to say that any guest who violates our policies and/or whose behavior affects the comfort and enjoyment of other guests, will be disembarked at their own expense and no refund will be given.”

    Anybody wanna bet this *doesn’t* apply to children throwing tantrums? Or screaming in general?

  31. pmackey8 says:

    how dare they send out a letter like this to people who have already booked and paid for this drag race cruise???? this is horrible. something needs to be done about this!

  32. Matt Kovach says:

    find another cruise line

  33. The larger question is why is Logo, or ANY gay group giving their money to homophobes and having their events on homophobic cruise lines? It’s like the fools who insist on giving their hard earned gay money to right wing, anti-gay Christians who will give it to anti-gay causes. I guess it’s true what they say about a fool and his/her money!

  34. karmanot says:

    OCCUPY drag carnival!

  35. To be pedantic, doing drag and being transgendered are completely different things. Drag is usually not a matter of gender identity, it’s performance art and a hobby. Some drag queens are also transgendered, but not all (and not most). Inadvertently implying that being transgendered is interchangeable with being a drag queen is extremely problematic, as the latter usually involves simply putting on a costume and pretending to be a character for a few hours and the former is a sort of internal disconnect most of us will be fortunate to never have to experience. All of the transgendered people I’ve ever met would be extremely hurt to be called “drag queens” by anyone, as most of the time they just want to be identified by the same gender they feel internally.

    That’s not to say this policy change is anything but asinine and offensive, of course, but the two issues are pretty distinct from one another.

  36. Corey says:

    add the scum bags to companies GLBT should not support

  37. AdmNaismith says:

    Carnival produces 2 production shows a week on each chip dedicated to tits & feathers and sequins & butt-cheeks, yet fully dressed drag they suddenly find objectionable. I would certainly hope there are lawyers involved by now. Carnival needs to be refunding some tickets and more to make up for this.

  38. ScootFla says:

    Why not pull an Arlo Guthrie (ala Alice’s Restaurant) and bring the clothes for drag in the checked luggage? If a lot of people are dressed in drag, Carnival would have a bit of a time throwing that many people off the ship out at sea without some noise being made. So in other words, make a statement (which is what Arlo brought up in his song about protesting the Vietnam war). Just an idea.

  39. nicho says:

    Of course Carnival will be offering full refunds to people who were sold tickets under false pretenses. Classic bait and switch. And what dipshit decided that drag was “inappropriate?” Drag is as old as the theater itself. But anytime they start hiding behind “the children,” I smell an anti-gay Christian somewhere.

  40. Kld says:

    Will they be strictly enforcing gender roles and stereotypes throughout the cruise? I hope that no man walks on deck in flip flops and that all women are appropriately clothed in skirts and blouses or dresses. Males with earrings? Surely they cannot be seen in public. What about a woman with a masculine looking cap/hat? I smell a storm a-brewing and I certainly won’t be booking my family vacation with them any time soon.

  41. Yeah, if they think regular queens are bad…

  42. HereinDC says:

    The reason I do cruising or transatlantic crossing in October , November or early December is because kids are in school. I hardly see kids on the ships. I think it’s bullshit of an excuse.

  43. Jim Olson says:

    Hoo boy. Carnival just decided to piss off the drag queens. I suggest that Carnival review this Wikipedia article.

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