Passersby at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C., can't help notice an 83-foot-tall banner featuring NBA player Jason Collins under the hashtag #LoveTravels. "Every time I travel, whether for my personal life or with the NBA, I want to feel welcome," says the Brooklyn Nets center, who came out as gay in 2013.
Marriott International's latest outreach campaign features several prominent LGBT advocates. And it's among a growing number of U.S.-based travel companies to voice support for the gay rights movement -- benefiting not only travelers, but also those working behind the front desk.
Transportation companies are increasingly LGBT friendly as well. American, Delta, and Southwest all spoke out against the anti-gay legislation pending in Arizona earlier this year, protesting that their customers and employees deserved better. And Zipcar is donating $1 per hour driven in a special fleet of "Pride Zipcars" to local LGBT charities in honor of Pride month.
By recognizing and advocating for employee diversity, and by welcoming LGBT guests with open arms, these companies are responsible for making travel in America more inclusive.
-- Peter Schlesinger
See all of the companies we're proud of.
See More of the Gay-Friendly Travel Companies We're Proud ofThe country’s major rail service has a dedicated Ride with Pride site for LGBT travel, and, in June 2014, it encourages travelers to ride to Pride, highlighting train routes to key U.S. celebrations. A member of IGLTA, Amtrak sponsors Pride events in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Photo courtesy of Amtrak
See More of the Gay-Friendly Travel Companies We're Proud ofVegas-appropriate taglines—Be yourself, it’s a good bet and We always root for two of a kind—carry weight at Caesars. A partner with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and IGLTA, it has scored a perfect 100 on the Corporate Equality Index six years in a row. The resort company has a microsite for LGBT travelers, with links to themed events and wedding planning. Photo courtesy of Caesars Palace
See More of the Gay-Friendly Travel Companies We're Proud ofAmerican has a history of acceptance: it was the first airline to include sexual orientation (1993) and gender identity (2000) in its nondiscrimination policies for employees. This year, it loudly criticized anti-gay legislation in Arizona. No surprise then that it has scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s index since the ranking’s inception in 2002. Photo courtesy of American Airlines
See More of the Gay-Friendly Travel Companies We're Proud ofFounded in San Francisco in the 1980s, Commune Hotels—parent company of Joie de Vivre and Thompson Hotels—is no stranger to the gay rights movement. Each Joie de Vivre property is TAG-approved, and the brand is a longtime sponsor of San Francisco's Pride celebration. Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel in New York, is also TAG-approved, and offers promotional packages for NYC's Pride festival each June. Photo courtesy of Joie de Vivre
See More of the Gay-Friendly Travel Companies We're Proud ofWhen drivers rent one of the company’s fleet of Pride Zipcars—specially branded Ford Escapes—during the month of June 2014, Zipcar will donate $1 for every hour to a local LGBT charity. The company also sponsors several high-profile Pride celebrations. Photo courtesy of Zipcar
See More of the Gay-Friendly Travel Companies We're Proud ofDelta joined several other airlines in criticizing Arizona’s pending anti-gay legislation in February, stating that such a law would “violate Delta’s core values of mutual respect and dignity.” Its website includes a rundown of lesbian and gay travel ideas, from Amsterdam to Johannesburg to Zurich, complete with helpful links. Photo: Lyndsey Matthews
See More of the Gay-Friendly Travel Companies We're Proud ofOrbitz produces its own guides to top LGBT-friendly destinations, including hotels, all-inclusive resorts, and event calendars, all available for direct booking through the site. It also sponsors various Pride events around the country. Photo courtesy of Orbitz
More from Travel + Leisure:
Follow Travel + Leisure on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TravlandLeisure