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The Star, No. 11, April 13, 1984
File 009
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The Star, No. 11, April 13, 1984 - File 009. 1984-04-13. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. November 22, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1751/show/1746.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1984-04-13). The Star, No. 11, April 13, 1984 - File 009. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1751/show/1746

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Star, No. 11, April 13, 1984 - File 009, 1984-04-13, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 22, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1751/show/1746.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Star, No. 11, April 13, 1984
Contributor
  • Hyde, Robert
Date April 13, 1984
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 783846406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 009
Transcript 8 The Star/ April 13, 1984 Fort Lauderdale and Key West Create Atmosphere of Almost Sinful Indulgence and Ease Travel By Joe Baker It's been nearly four years since Anita Bryant sold the mansion, picked up the kids, ditched her husband and trotted off to Alabama. The former orange juice queen and gay rights foe didn't affect gay tourism much while she lived in Florida. And since she's been gone, a "Sunshine State" vacation for gay travelers has only gotten better. Florida may be straight America's favorite vacation spot, but it is also fast becoming the winter vacation capital of gay men and women. For gay travelers, the favored spots are the Gold Coast and Key West. The Gold Coast stretches along the southeastern tip of the state, and includes the large cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Key West is the tip-toe ofthe United States, dipping into the clear warm turquoise mix of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Add the beauty and marvels of theGold Coast and Key West together and you get enough cosmopolitan life, sand, sun, surf and suds to appeal to even the most hard- tc-please gay tourist. Of the 40 million Florida visitors each year, an estimated 13 percent to 20 percent of them are gay. That's a lot of gay men and lesbians to share miles and miles of beaches and rays and rays of sunshine with. It had been three years since I moved from Florida to Texas when I returned to the "Sunshine State" in March, so I was especially eager to see how my home for five years had changed and if gay tourism was indeed on the increase. As my Republic Airlines jet started its descent into Miami International Airport, I looked out over the blue and green waters of the Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and realized how land-locked I've felt living the past few years in Dallas. The Trinity River just can't compare. Like most gay travelers to South Florida, I was splitting my vacation between Fort Lauderdale and Key West. Although both are popular gay resorts, the character of the two places is quite different. Fort Launderdale is a playground or merry-go-round. It never stops. Key West is laid-back and mellow. But that doesn't mean it's retirement city. It's a different type of action. It's a variety show of geography, relaxation, freedom, charm and romance. Stop the world, I want to get off in Key West. Fort Lauderdale was intense when I lived there, and I soon found out thai it is even moreso today. Beaches by day and bars by night. The city created the six-day weekend, and the partying—straight or gay—never seems to stop. More than 20 years ago, the movie "Where the Boys Are" started it all and thousands of young and old people have been flocking to the beach resort—fast becoming a large city—ever since. Spring Break, of course, is the big time for the college crowd, and I found myself right smack in the middle of all the madness. I think I'm getting too old for all that craziness, but I sure gave it my best shot. This past year producer Alan Carr was in Fort Launderdale filming an updated version of "Where the Boys Are." When it hits the screens, the city better be ready for the new onslaught of tourists. Yup, Fort Lauderdale is still where the boys are. Thousands of gay ones. (And gay girls, too.) I was surprised to see the number of gay bars had more than doubled to nearly two dozen since I moved three years ago. There's also now nearly a dozen gay hotels and guest houses, and a half dozen or so gay restaurants. There's also a good number of other types of gay-oriented businesses, and hundreds of straight businesses that don't care what the sexual orientation of your money is. The gay beach in front of the Marlin Beach Hotel still boasts of having some of the best looking men and women in the world tanning their bodies. And when the sun sinks behind downtown Fort Lauderdale's emerging skyline every afternoon, the place to be is still the Marlin Beach's popular tea dance. Entertaining the crowd at Key West sunset Other top nightspots are The Copa, Backstreet and the Rooftop. The Copa has remodeled for the 1000th time—and each time it has gotten more lavish and electric. The Rooftop gets a more middle-aged crowd, while Backstreet is attracting a 'Fort Launderdale is a playground or merry-go-round. It never stops. Key West is laid-back and mellow.' considerable number of straights these days. No matter, though, everybody mixes well. A new pool, patio and outside market area of specialized boutiques and shops has turned Backstreet into one of the largest gay entertainment complexes in the Tun t'tpus of the sun setting in Key West country. And while I'm on the subject of bars and dancing, I can't forget my old favorite haunt—Tacky's. What's it like? Think about its name, and let your imagination run wild. Although I enjoyed my stay in Fort Lauderdale, the highlight of my trip was my journey down the Florida Keys to Key West. Key West: "The Island for All Seasons." "The Last Resort." "The Southernmost City." "Margaritaville." It has been known by many names, and has been "owned" by many peoples—a tiny Florida island of coral rock where diversity and a laid-back lifestyle are prized. From its beginning, Key West has been populated by those whose lifestyles demonstrated independence of thought and action. Pirates, exiled tories, sailors, shrimpers, fishermen, 60's hippies, drug smugglers, artists, writers, Cubans, socialites. They all found a permanent or temporary home on this island paradise at one time or another. Now, it's our turn. And what a perfect place for a vacation or a weekend get-away anytime of the year. Gays have been coming to Key West for decades, finding the island's "Live-and- let-live" philosophy ideal. But they have now moved into the mainstream as a dominate force in the social, business and political lives of the city. Last year, an openly-gay man was elected mayor. Gays were the first to contract "restoration fever" and are responsible for moving it into epidemic proportions. Lovely old homes are sporting fresh looks, and gutted buildings are turning into quaint shops and restaurants that rival those anywhere. The Key West Business Guild is one of the largest gay-oriented "chambers of commerce" in the country, and has been tbe drive behind turning the island into a prosperous and romantic place for gay men and lesbians to get away from home or to even call home. It has worked hard to mold a climate attractive to gay travelers and residents. The percentage of Key West's gay population varies depending on who you ask. Mayor Richard Heyman estimates that 15 percent of the island's 25,000 residents are gay. Some female inhabitants, like a salesgirl at a local gift store, put it at 70 percent of the entire male population. But no matter how many gays actually live on the island, it is the gay tourist who is courted by both gay and straight businesses. The Key West Chamber of Commerce estimates gay tourism at about 20 percent of the island's total visitors. Last 'The gay beach in front of the Marlin Beach Hotel still boasts of having some of the best looking men and women in the world...' year one million vacationers visited the 9-squarc-mile island —translating into 200,000 gay tourists. No wonder homosexuals are considered an important segment of the Key West economy. But let's backtrack for a minute and talk about getting to this tropical island. The Florida Keys are a 150-mile long chain of islands, dangling off the southeastern tip of the state. Connected by the spectacular Overseas Highway, the drive to Key West al the very end ofthe Keys will take you over nearly 40 bridges, one aptly named the Seven Mile Bridge.
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