GA Voice - - Travel -

Fur­ther down the Florida Gulf Coast lies an ar­chi­pel­ago of small is­lands that ter­mi­nates in Stock Is­land, home to a friendly lit­tle town with a his­tory of in­clu­sive­ness that goes back to be­fore gay rights were cool. In the ’80s, Key West launched a flip­pant se­ces­sion protest once au­thor­i­ties started search­ing in­bound cars for drugs and il­le­gal im­mi­grants. Matt Hon, event co­or­di­na­tor for the Key West Busi­ness Guild, says the is­land’s ded­i­ca­tion to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion re­mains.

“That’s an­other rea­son to come to Key West—naked boys. Key West has not changed one bit on ac­cep­tance of the LGBT com­mu­nity, and pub­lic nu­dity,” Hon says. “On my way to work to­day I saw a boy rid­ing a skate­board in his box­ers. Key West is a place where if you want to be with some­one of the same gen­der, that’s fine, if you don’t want to wear a lot of clothes, that’s fine.”

Key West boasts three cloth­ing-op­tional re­sorts: New Or­leans House, Equa­tor and Is- land House; and one of the more unique Pride cel­e­bra­tions in the coun­try, held June 11-15.

“Typ­i­cally Key West Pride fills up the ho­tel rooms, and we ex­pect 7,500 to 10,000 vis­i­tors,” Han says. That num­ber might not sound like a lot, but there are only about 23,000 full-time res­i­dents on the is­land. “There are ba­si­cally people hang­ing from the rafters on Key West, which is kind of awe­some. What’s cool about Key West is we’re ba­si­cally small town, and our Pride has a small-town feel­ing. Duval Street will line up with not only a lot of tourists, but a lot of lo­cals, who will come out with their en­tire fam­i­lies, and ev­ery­one is sup­port­ive, and ev­ery­one has a good time.”

Key West also has sep­a­rate week­ends tar­geted at les­bians and gays, with Women­fest Sept. 4 — 7 and Tropic Heat set for Aug. 14 — 17

“Women­fest is geared to­wards women, not nec­es­sar­ily all les­bian women, or bi­o­log­i­cal women, it con­sists of pool par­ties, home par­ties, home tours … this year we will also have Hunter Valen­tine down to for a con­cert,” Hon says.

(Photo via Face­book)

Need an­other rea­son to come to Key West? There are plenty of naked boys, says Matt Hon, event co­or­di­na­tor for the Key West Busi­ness Guild.

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