In this issue, we talk about protecting yourself - both from harmful
exposure to the sun, and from the potential legal pitfalls facing gay and lesbian families
in the event of accident or death. And we give you a little bit of a refresher course
about posting cruises at LezCruise, along with a recap of the cruises currently posted.
Setting Sail with Ship-Shape Legal Documents
By Beth A. Allen, Attorney at Law, and Kerry N. Lear
If your partner ends up in a hospital while the two of you are in
Greece, will you be allowed to be in her room with her? If you
get ill in Mexico and are not well enough to make your own medical
decisions, will your partner be allowed to make decisions for you?
It is important for everyone to plan for incapacity and death, but it
is often even more important for lesbians and gay men to make sure their
documents are in order as the default laws and policies often do not
adequately protect our families. You can increase the chances that you
could answer “yes” to questions similar to the ones posed
above by having the appropriate documents in place before you travel
and taking copies with you when you go.
Before You Leave
Perhaps the most important document to have in place before you travel
Advance Directive. In this document you can appoint a health care
representative to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to
make the decisions for yourself. You can also give explicit instructions
to health care providers about what kind of care you do and do not want
in certain situations.
It is also a good idea to make sure that your finances would be taken
care of should you become incapacitated or die. A
Durable Power of Attorney will allow you to appoint someone to control
your finances should you become incapacitated. This person would be
able to access bank accounts, pay bills, and send you additional money, if
necessary. Often, people who travel with their partner will draft the
Durable Power of Attorney so that someone in the States could act if both
you and your partner are incapacitated.
It is unlikely that you will die while traveling, but nonetheless,
you should have a
(and possibly a
to ensure that, in the event of your death, your property goes to the
people that you choose as opposed to the people that the State says are your
closest relatives. Additionally, you should make sure that you have
chosen beneficiaries for any accounts that allow you to do so. To
provide yourself more reassurance, consider having a
Disposal of Remains drafted. This document sets out who controls
post-death decisions concerning issues such as burial or cremation, specifies
your wishes concerning your remains, and can go a long way towards avoiding
a family battle while coping with your grief in a foreign country.
It can be helpful to hire an attorney to assist you in preparing these documents
as often there are specific requirements of what the documents must contain and
how they should be phrased. It is a good idea to seek out an attorney who
is familiar with the special planning needs of lesbians and gay men.
About the Authors
Beth Allen is a Partner and Kerry Lear is a Law Clerk at
Allen² Law, LLC in Portland, Oregon. Allen² Law provides legal counsel in the
family law and estate planning fields in Oregon and Washington.
Fun in the Sun
The Healthy Way
A Caribbean Cruise. Lounging by the pool, sunbathing on the beach, swimming
and snorkeling in the turquoise water. Sounds like heaven. And yet, as we all
know by now, many of those sun-related activities are actually bad for us if
we don't do them right. (Isn't it a drag how everything fun is always bad
Why? Because of the
ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight. Here's a blurb from
SunProtection.net, a website dedicated to education about sun protection
"The harm caused by UV includes premature aging (such as wrinkling and age
spots), skin cancer, and permanent, sometimes blinding, damage to eyes.
Other medical conditions, such as lupus, can be made much worse by UV
exposure. In addition, many people take drugs, such as antibiotics,
antidepressants, diuretics and retinoids, that make them extremely sun
sensitive." (Note to tanning divas: this includes UV exposure in tanning
So what to do? The folks at SunProtection.net say "Be
AWARE". Or, more specifically:
- Avoid unprotected exposure during the peak
UV hours between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Wear sun protective clothing including a shirt,
a hat with a 3-inch brim and sunglasses. If possible, stay out
of direct sunlight.
- Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or
higher to all unprotected skin 20 minutes before going outdoors
and reapply every 2 hours while in the sun.
- Routinely check for and report suspicious changes
to a physician.
- Express the need for sun protection to your
family and community.
You can also find the
UV Index for your area and plan accordingly. The UV Index is a
standard measurement of how strong the UV radiation is for a particular
location at a particular time, and can help you determine what
measures you need to take to
protect yourself. This
chart shows that you might want to take different measures in April in
Panama than in April in Paris.
We learned some of these lessons the hard way on our first Caribbean
cruise. We went snorkeling, and applied waterproof sunscreen before
we went out. But, we forgot to reapply sunscreen and we didn't make any
real effort to stay out of the sun when we weren't actually in the water -
presto, sunburns for both of us, with a fairly severe one for Lis.
And no more snorkeling for the rest of the cruise.
The next time, we wised up. We reapplied sunscreen, we sat in the
shade as much as possible, and Lis invested in a
cover shirt with sunscreen so that when we were in the water her
sunburn-prone parts were still covered. We didn't get burned
and got to play in the water the whole trip - as it should be.
Why Post a Cruise on LezCruise?
What's the point?
Posting a cruise on LezCruise, or reviewing the posted cruises before you
book a cruise, can help you increase the chances that you won't be the only
lesbians on board.
Here's how it works. If you haven't booked a cruise yet, you can go to
LezCruise and view the posted cruises. These are cruises posted by other women who are going to
be on this particular sailing (or, in some cases, are interested in booking
this particular sailing).
If you see a cruise that sounds good to you, then
you can book it through LezCruise or your regular travel agent, safe in the
knowledge that there are other lesbians booked on that sailing, too.
Or, if you've already booked a cruise, you can post it on LezCruise, so that
women looking to book a cruise can see that you are already booked on that sailing.
This increases the chances that other women might choose to book your cruise, too.
What's posted at LezCruise
There are currently several cruises posted at LezCruise.
Most of the posted cruises are Caribbean cruises. There are currently 8 Caribbean
cruises posted, on Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Princess, Celebrity, and Norwegian
There are 2 Hawaii criuses posted (both on Princess) and 2 Panama Canal cruises
(both on Crystal).
And one cruise each for Alaska (Celebrity), Europe (Carnival), and Mexico
And finally, one Transatlantic cruise on Holland America.