"all welcome" (for the euphemism file)
hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 19 22:01:57 UTC 2005
On 11/18/05, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
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> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: "all welcome" (for the euphemism file)
> 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
> move on.''
> 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
> a schoolteacher.''
> 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
> Shores did.
> ''I still love Key West,'' she said. ''I love it. I'll be here until
> they drag me out screaming and kicking.''
This reminds me of changing times in St. Louis in the '60's. But, instead of
using a euphemism, places of business/place of businesses simply put up
signs that straightforwardly read, "Interracial."
Euphemism was typical of the old days. Signs that read, "We reserve the
right to refuse service to anyone," meant, "Whites Only/No Coloreds."
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