Early this morning, prominent (and wonderful) Florida drag queen Misty Eyez posted this letter she got from Carnival Cruise Lines:
This DRAG CRUISE was a joint venture of Carnival, Al and Chuck Travel and LOGO.
According to NewNowNext, LOGO was unaware of the policy:
To be very, very clear, LOGO TV had absolutely nothing to do with this decision or this letter or was even aware of its existence until alerted by someone attending the cruise.
Al and Chuck, for its part, initially took to its Facebook page to deliver this mealy-mouthed defense of the policy:
We are sympathetic to your sentiments that you have expressed via email and social media. As a gay man who has been partnered for 25 years, I have suffered many forms of discriminations because I am part of the GLBT community. But please take note, Carnival’s regulation is NOT an example of discrimination. Carnival is an ally of the GLBT community. Please understand that this cruise could not even be happening on the GLORY if Carnival was not an ally of our segment of society. When they say they are a “family friendly” cruise line they mean it in both the traditional and metaphorical sense of the phrase.
Oh, that clears it up. It’s not discrimination just because you say so!
The bullshittery at Al and Chuck continued:
Ultimately, let’s use this opportunity to set an example so that all the world can see that the GLBT community can follow rules and regulations just like everyone else. Finally, I want to say from the bottom of my heart, we have done our absolute best in creating this event. We have tried to communicate effectively and bring you the best possible experience, which we believe would not be available to you any other way. At the end of the cruise, I hope you will agree with my sentiment humbly expressed here.
It’s difficult to put into words how angry I feel right now. But putting things into words is kind of my job, so let’s go.
This is a DRAG CRUISE. Almost everyone booked on this cruise is booked because they want to see drag queens. Everyone else who is booked on this cruise is at bare minimum chill with the notion that there are going to be drag queens there.
It is not as though a ragtag band of roving drag queens boarded the USS Homophobe and set up shop, forcing padded ass and sequins down the gullets of Republican senators and their coddled future titans of industry. It is a mothertucking drag cruise!
It is shocking and shameful in two-thousand-mothertucking-twelve to see a gay travel agency sticking up for an alleged ally of the community when they throw around words like “family” to shame members of the queer community.
To see so-called allies use language that has been used for decades to scare people about queers and to see queers excuse it just so they can collect their money? It literally kept me up last night.
Al and Chuck Travel was at least crafty enough to point out that this ban (ALLEGEDLY!) would not affect trans guests:
Additionally, we know that transgendered members of our community will be aboard with us during this event. Please do not worry, Carnivals rule is not meant towards you. Your right to live your identity is always supported.
But what if a trans woman decides to do a smoky eye with an updo for a fancy dinner on your Carnival cruise? What if she – gasp! – uses a wig or a hairpiece? What if a trans woman who hasn’t had permanent hair removal runs out to get some ice before she shaves that morning? Is she suddenly a drag queen? (No, duh, obviously, but I hope you can see where I’m going with this.) Will she be debarked at her expense with no compensation?
AND AND AND. I don’t want to go off the rails on a tangent that really deserves its own post, but everyone who tries to draw this thick line between trans women and drag queens over which apparently no one ever crosses is engaged in actively dehumanizing the many trans women who are also drag queens. That shit needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.
So…Carnival apologized and issued a reversal of the drag ban.
I’m sorry, but that’s the no fucking duh plot point. No shit they apologized and reversed the ban.
But it shouldn’t fucking take the ire of drag queens and their fans to undo this shit, because it shouldn’t have fucking happened in the first place!
Says the apology:
Within the last 24 hours, we became aware of a miscommunication between Carnival Cruise Lines and AlandChuck.travel, who have booked a large special interest group [my emphasis] on the upcoming Carnival Glory cruise departing December 2, 2012.
The group, “Drag Stars at Sea,” includes several performances by stars from Logo TV as part of a series of private events onboard. When the group was presented to us we were advised that only the performers would be dressed in drag during the private events. However, we are now aware that this was not clearly communicated to members of the group and therefore anyone who wishes to dress in drag may do so.
Jim Dandy, y’all, it was a “miscommunication!”
Not the very clearly worded and then strongly defended memorandum that the company distributed to guests. No! It was a “miscommunication!”
At Carnival, we are proud to carry more than 4.5 million guests every year and we welcome them all aboard. We do not practice any form of discrimination against the LGBT or any other community. We sincerely apologize for the miscommunication and for any unintended offense we have caused.
Sadly, not seeing anyone take responsibility for this isn’t shocking. It’s just gross.
Al and Chuck Travel, meanwhile, have of course taken responsibility…for reversing the ban after the fact, that is.
Al has spent much of the day today with the cruise line executives, fine tuning many of the issues our guests have faced from the email and other items brought to our attention.
Al and Chuck’s tea culpa continues, begging their guests to show some respect for Carnival, ‘cos, ya know, they like the gays and stuff. Just not the ones who pay their bills, apparently.
Carnival’s gross retraction included this little gem:
Please keep in mind that our safety and security procedures require guests to present government-issued ID, and to be recognizably that person.
Every genderfucker knows what that means. Fuck, everybody who’s ever changed anything about their face or had anything change about their face (injury, time, gravity, whatever) knows what that means. It means your face better look like the face in this picture, and your junk better look like what I think it looks like based on this picture.
Which is in no way a sentiment exclusive to Carnival Cruise Lines. But emphasizing it in what purports to be an apology letter for banning genderfuckery on what purports to be a cruise dedicated to genderfuckery is just plain. old. fuckery.
You can keep your argument about a post-9/11 world to yourself, Carnival. And Al and Chuck, you can keep your spineless defense of this bullshit, too. ‘Cos I know a lot of gay family/ies that are going to be keeping their travel money to themselves.
~Big Mama Schlomo