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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