Keep Key West gay!
Despite the governor’s floundering presidential campaign and messy back-and-forth with Disney, he remains determined to deliver legislative attacks against the community, prompting several LGBTQ+ groups to call for a boycott of Florida tourism.
But as Dolly Parton once said, “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” And the queer community in Key West is asking folks to do just that and “come stay with us!”
A new promotional ad, entitled “Keep Key West Gay,” was released by popular (and clothing-optional) resort Island House, calling on the community to visit Key West as a means of celebrating the city’s rich queer history and supporting gay businesses.
“There’s been a recent amped up fear of travel to Florida in our community, and boy, do we get it,” the ad’s narrator says. “But in reality, boycotting Florida doubles as a boycott of the gay spaces that have served our community for decades.”
The video, which puts a gay twist on the traditional political ad, likens the fight against Florida’s politics to past obstacles for the gay community, like Stonewall, the AIDS crisis, and Prop 8. In addition to testimonials from Island House’s staff, the owners of queer businesses like Bobby’s Monkey Bar, Leather Master, Alexander’s Guesthouse, and Bourbon St. Pub are also well represented.
The resounding message is a call for LGBTQ+ resilience, especially in the face of hate. “Our community has been visibly united for almost 60 years, well before the rainbow flag was even created,” the narrator says. “So why would we back down now?”
And the ad is certainly a reminder of how vibrant and diverse Key West’s gay scene is: “Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers,” a drag queen retorts at one point.
That being said, it’s hard to tell how much DeSantis’ blubbering (but toxic) politics have impacted tourism.
In Orlando, Disney World’s GayDays seemingly went off without a hitch this past June. And many LGBTQ+ people continue to find Florida’s sunny weather unparalleled, though they may be visiting with their guard up.
Still, it’s an empowering reminder that the fight against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation isn’t about boycotting or hate-tweeting as much as it’s about supporting members of the queer community.
We say, “Keep Key West Gay”… and we need to call our travel agent.