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Published on Friday, February 22, 2019

Man behind European Gay Ski Week calls for greater awareness of homophobia







The organiser of European Gay Ski Week, taking place in the French Alps next month, is calling for greater awareness of homophobia faced by LGBT travellers.

Kevin Millins, former director of London's gay nightclub Heaven and head of Pure Organisation, says there is still a need for LGBT-specific holidays, including those for winter sports.

"With the LGBT protections and rights that have developed over the past 13 years that we have been running this event, it has prompted many people to question the need for LGBT-specific leisure spaces, be that gay-only bars and clubs or LGBT-specific tourism.

"But for LGBT holiday-makers, knowing the laws of the land can be critical to actual or perceived safety, making holidays another source of worry rather than a relaxing, rejuvenating leisure experience."

"For many, skiing and snowboarding epitomises feelings of freedom and self-expression. For the LGBT community, these are sentiments not taken for granted and there is huge demand for spaces that are guaranteed to be welcoming, inclusive and where LGBT people can relax, be themselves and just have fun."

He said homophobic slurs are still commonplace in mountain action sports.

"Snowboarders have long been referred to as 'gays on trays', while world-class snowboarder Terje Hakkonsen caused outrage on Twitter by quipping 'Isn't [sic] all skiers gay?' when freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy came out back in 2015," he added.

Around 1,000 LGBT people will gather in Les Arcs from March 23-30 for the week-long event to enjoy queer-specific spaces, including on-mountain gay ski guiding groups to apres parties with cabaret acts and international clubs and DJs.

Packages including accommodation, lift pass and event pass start from €399.

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