"all welcome" (for the euphemism file)
laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Nov 19 03:19:32 UTC 2005
in the Escapes section of today's NYT, we read of the fear that Key
West may be Going Straight...
The New York Times
November 18, 2005 Friday
SECTION: Section F; Column 1; Escapes; Pg. 1
HEADLINE: Is Key West Going Straight?
By ROBERT ANDREW POWELL
FOR decades, the remote Florida town of Key West has been a refuge
for gay tourists, a kind of Southern bookend to Provincetown, Mass.
-- a place where drag shows, all-male guest houses (complete with
communal hot tubs) and a spirit of unbridled hedonism attracted
everyone from closeted Midwest accountants to Tennessee Williams.
But recently, soaring real estate prices and the popularity of
events like Fantasy Fest -- an annual bacchanal of of parades,
masquerade balls and celebrity look-alike contests that began as an
AIDS fundraiser in 1979 and has since evolved into a drunken open-air
party that would be right at home on fraternity row -- have begun to
attract a more heterogenous crowd, one that can at times make Key
West look like any other tourist town getting ready for Spring Break.
You can feel the change at the Lighthouse Court, a popular -- some
would say notorious -- gay-only Whitehead Street guesthouse that
recently went ''all welcome,'' the local euphemism for accepting
heterosexual guests as well as gays. And it's obvious clear across
Old Town at the Heron House Court, formerly known as the Fleur de Key
and long one of the premier gay-only guesthouses on the island. It
started welcoming straight visitors to its 16 rooms in August.
At the end of the article, there's also an interesting variation in
pronoun selection with reference to a cross-dressing but apparently
(somewhat) straight construction-worker-cum-drag-queen, Gina
Another drag queen, Gina Maseratti, lamented the closing of the
Atlantic Shores. ''I've been coming here for many years,'' she said.
She wore stiletto heels, a platinum wig and a full face of
makeup. ''Eventually the condos will be bought up by people who
don't live here year-round. The real heart of Key West will sell and
But, in many ways, Gina Maseratti's situation is as complicated and
nuanced as Key West's future. Miss Maseratti's given name is Kerry
Torr Cressman. He works in construction. He's
involved in a committed relationship with a woman, whose shoulder he
caressed while he spoke to a reporter. ''I don't think people come to
Key West for the typical stuff you get in Miami or
Fort Lauderdale,'' he said. ''They come to see people like me, a
drag queen in a beautiful relationship with a beautiful woman who is
Miss Maseratti was about to step into the spotlight to lip sync a
disco version of ''Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy'' during which she would
strip off her khaki skirt to reveal a blue maillot
spangled with white stars. As she headed over to the stage, she
insisted she was not about to leave the island, even if the Atlantic
''I still love Key West,'' she said. ''I love it. I'll be here until
they drag me out screaming and kicking.''
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