Key West, a gay island!
Part of the United States, it is a magnet for the LGBT population for decades. In 1983, Richard A. Heyman was elected mayor of Key West and made him the first openly gay mayor in the U.S. The best description of the Key West atmosphere is the official city motto, “One Human Family.” Key West is located 208 km southwest of Miami and about 153 km north of Cuba, which makes it the southernmost city in the continental United States.
A relatively small island, with a land surface of just 11 km2, Key West is compensating its size with its charisma, the beauty of its landscape, exotic locations and charming residents. It has a population of only 24.000 residents. Still, its port is serving as a regular destination for the growing Cruise Industry. Enormous Cruise ships visiting Key West 365 days a year bringing over a million tourists annually to this island. Tourists don’t stay too long on the streets of Key West as all the ships dock for just a few hours. Nevertheless, this is still one of the main revenues for the local economy.
Part of the Caribbean archipelagos but owned and developed by the U.S. makes Key West a unique destination in that area. It is among the Caribbean Islands that is entirely safe for tourists, providing the commodity of a rich and advanced country. The LGBT community will never feel safer on a tropical island!
What to do at Key West
Being an island makes it already part of the attraction. Its colonial-style constructions will take you back in time as you will walk around the streets encountering over 3000 wooden buildings dating from 1886 to 1912. Key West is a place with many historical monuments, such as a house and a museum of Ernest Hemingway. It used to be Hemingway’s home from 1931 to 1939 in which he wrote some of his most famous novels. Descendants of his pet cat “Snowball” still occupy the house.
One of the most photographed places on the island is the Concrete Boy monument, marking the Southernmost point continental U.S.A. The main street in the old town is Duval Street. It extends for 1.8 km and is the bridge-connection between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Walking down the street, you will find hundreds of bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, or top brands stores. Additionally, the island offers many activities, like snorkeling, dolphin tours, aquariums, sky diving, jet-skiing, many preservation and national parks, and a butterfly museum. All Key West visitors must taste the main attraction of the island, the world-famous Key Lime Pie. There is even an annual festival dedicated to celebrating this delicious pie.
Key West is on every LGBT travel list and for a good reason. The most compact LGBT community found its place under the sun on this piece of land. It is the promised land for gay people with rainbow flags proudly flaunting in the breeze on almost every building, and with LGBT specialized stores for shopping.
It would be wrong to call the island LGBT-friendly; it is more accurate to say it is a straight-friendly place! For gay people, being here feels like a natural environment. It is a sample of what the rest of the world should be like: a place of love, happiness, and acceptance. Bars, saunas, resorts, hotels, are all exploding with colors and love.
Even though it’s a relatively small island, you will still need a transportation mode to reach some spots or reefs that are connected by a road. The best way for short distances is bicycling or using the Key West trolley, which is an experience on its own. There are also taxis for more distant locations. Thanks to its astonishing architecture and landscapes, any chosen transportation will turn into an exciting sightseeing experience.
The best time to visit Key West
Choosing what the best time of the year to visit Key West is very simple: anytime! The climate is consistent throughout the year as well as the touristic period. Key West has a dry season and a wet season. During May to October, the wet season, there are occasionally some heavy showers followed by bright sunny weather. Even if you get a little wet, it will not spoil the enjoyment. Temperature is almost consistent, which varies for only a few degrees all year round.
Every LGBTQIA person should visit this sanctuary at least once in their life. It is a world like no other. Regardless of where you are coming from, what is your culture and believes, once you find yourself in Key West, you will feel as if you belong here!