As one of the first cities to support an openly gay population, Key West Florida is the place to do celebrate Gay Pride this June.
Most major cities around the country celebrate Gay Pride in June to commemorate the demonstrations that took place at The Stonewall Tavern in New York City in June of 1969. One city didn't need to have such demonstrations because it already had a large openly gay population, nor does it need to celebrate because it continues to be such an inclusive community it sometimes seems like every day is Pride Day. Still, Key West Florida never misses a chance to throw a party to make all the other cities jealous. That is why this year, the Gay pride celebration looks to be even bigger and better than in years past.
"No pun intended, but we take pride in the fact that we are one most gay-friendly cities in the world," said Carl Stevens, president of the Key West Business Guild, the organization that runs several events during the year including the Gay Pride event. "Even though our identity is such, as exemplified by the city's motto of 'One Human Family', that the gay community is such an open and strong element of daily life here, we feel the need to thank the people responsible for that. That is why we work hard to make sure their island vacations are the ones people talk about the rest of the year."
One of the more serious issues that will be under discussion during this year's festivities, he added, would be the subject of same-sex marriage and what needs to be done to make them legal in Florida. Island weddings are so popular that they have made Key West Florida the number two choice nationwide when it comes to destination weddings, something that Mr. Stevens and the business guild is actively interested in being able to expand upon.
"If same sex marriages were legal, Key West Florida would easily pass Las Vegas and claim that number one spot. As it is we get so many gay couples on their honeymoons that love our Key West restaurants like the Roof Top Cafe and nightlife they all say the same thing: we would have gotten married here if we could, so we did the next best thing."
Until that happens, Key West Florida is content with throwing the Gay Pride festival of the year and is looking forward to showing the rest of the world just how it is done, island style.
For more information on the Key West Gay Pride Festival 2014, visit: www.keywestpride.org
To learn more about the Roof Top Cafe, visit: www.rooftopcafekeywest.com
Jack Terry is a travel and lifestyle writer who lived in Key West for several years.