Starwood brand W Hotels fights for LGBT equality in all 50 US states

W Hotel New York in Union Square hosted the launch of Turn It Up For Change

W Hotel New York in Union Square hosted the launch of Turn It Up For Change

W Hotels Worldwide, one of the brands of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, has joined forces with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Jennifer Hudson to fight for full LGBT equality across all 50 states of the USA.

HRC is the largest civil rights organisation working to achieve nationwide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in marriage and employment protection, and together with W Hotels they have launched “TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE” a fundraising and awareness-raising initiative. The campaign is supported by Grammy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson.

The campaign combines the W brand’s longstanding support of the LGBT community with its on-going passion for music, with properties hosting monthly Turn It Up For Change music events around the country with a portion of proceeds going to benefit HRC. Some events may also include surprise performances by Hudson, and guests can benefit from a special room package.

In a bid to bring real and lasting change for LGBT Americans in all 50 states, there will be a wide scale social media campaign (#whrc and #lovehasnolimit) led by W Hotels, HRC and Hudson.

Anthony Ingham, Vice President, North America Brand Management, W Hotels Worldwide said, “W Hotels has always been ‘out’ about our support of the LGBT community, and we believe that equality, love and marriage are crucially important issues to many Americans, including our W Talent, our guests and our local communities.

“As someone who benefited from New York’s Marriage Equality Act, I personally believe that everyone in this country should be able to marry whomever he or she loves. We’ve recently seen incredible momentum around this issue, and we at W are proud to stand up alongside all of our guests in the fight for equality across the nation.”

The Turn It Up For Change launch event

The Turn It Up For Change launch event


Kicking off the partnership, Hudson performed at a Turn It Up For Change launch event at W New York in Union Square. She has committed a portion of the proceeds from downloads of her forthcoming “I Still Love You” remix single to the HRC.

“I owe a large part of my success to the LGBT community, who has embraced and supported me from early on in my career,” said Hudson. “That is why I am thrilled to join forces with W Hotels and HRC to use the power of music to promote LGBT equality. We have come a long way in such a short time, but now it’s time for the final push, perhaps the hardest one of all, to legalise same sex marriage and broader equality across the entire country. It’s time to ‘turn up’ the volume on this crucial human rights issue.”

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson


Events will be held at all W destinations in the US during the first week of every month. Open to both guests and locals, these events will serve as fundraisers with a portion of proceeds being donated to HRC. The percentage of funds will be determined by the number of states that allow same-sex marriage, and the percentage will increase each time marriage equality comes to a new state. Currently 31 states have legalised same-sex marriage, so 31% of all bar revenue from Turn It Up For Change events will be donated to HRC in 2014.

HRC President Chad Griffin said, “Jennifer Hudson’s extraordinary talents on and off the stage inspire us in our work for full LGBT equality. We’re incredibly grateful to have her support as we work together to fight discrimination and engage all Americans in the conversation about the need for nationwide equality.”

The events will feature representatives from HRC who will help attendees understand ways to get more involved in the battle for full LGBT equality. Travellers who want to show their support can take advantage of the special room package from which W Hotels will donate $10 to HRC for every package booked and include a One-Year Membership to HRC.

Additionally, based on overwhelming internal passion for the cause, W Hotels will launch a campaign for its Talent so that those who are part of the LGBT community or who simply wish to further rally behind the cause can become involved on a grassroots level.

Inclusiveness is part of the W ethos and this call to action is a further example of the chain’s award-winning commitment to the LGBT community. As a long-time supporter of HRC as well as many other LGBT advocacy groups, W Hotels have found recognition as an innovative LGBT friendly lifestyle brand, making it a top destination for same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies around the country and the world.

In 2011, W Hotels in New York City were the first to offer same-sex wedding packages when New York State passed marriage equality. The chain was also the first hotel brand to have a presence in New York’s Gay Pride Parade, and has continuously offered unique LGBT package experiences since its debut in 1998.

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