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A lesbian landmark goes `all-welcome'
Miami Herald ^ | 11/25/2010 | Cammy Clark

Posted on 11/26/2010 6:30:03 AM PST by markomalley

Guests lounge around the pool at Pearl's Rainbow, soaking up the sunshine and tropical vibes typical of a Southernmost guesthouse. Not a man is in sight -- and that's the way these vacationers like it.

But over this Thanksgiving weekend, Key West's only lesbian-exclusive resort is going ``all welcome.''

The decision was made public about the same time Pearl's Rainbow was honored in October by Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine, as the guesthouse that had the greatest impact on lesbian culture over the past 20 years.

Pearl's Rainbow's lesbian owner, Heather Carruthers, said it was a business decision based on tough economic realities, the request of some lesbian guests who would like to bring male family members or friends -- and on some good news. Lesbians are being more accepted and feel more comfortable in the mainstream these days.

``They can hold hands wherever they want to,'' Carruthers said. ``It's really the world we want to have. We don't necessarily want to be segregated.''

But that does not seem to be the case for gay men, even in super-gay-friendly Key West, a city of about 25,000 with a gay police chief, gay president of the Rotary Club, more than 400 members of its gay chamber of commerce and several elected gay officials -- including Carruthers, a Monroe County commissioner.

Key West has at least nine male-only guesthouses, and the general manager and vice president of three of them said there are no plans to convert them to all-welcome.

``Absolutely not,'' said Tinlin, who oversees a secure, clothing-optional complex that includes the Oasis Resort, Coconut Grove Resort and Coral Tree Inn. ``Our business is down because of the economy and BP oil spill, but it's very important for this destination to maintain its all-gay reputation.''

In fact, it was the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender market that put Key West on the tourism radar, said Stephen Smith, sales manager for the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

``In the '70s, before there was a Tourist Development Council, the only quantity of tourists were gay men and women,'' he said.

But today, gay travelers have far more options than they did a decade ago, said Smith, a past president and current board member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travelers Association. ``More and more hotel chains, car-rental companies and destinations are reaching out to the gay and lesbian market,'' Smith said. ``And why wouldn't they? It's a $1 billion-a-year market.''

While Key West's gay market has remained strong, some visitors' habits have shifted.

About 35 percent of the 210,000 annual overnight gay visitors to Key West now choose to stay with a mainstream resort chain like the Westin, Marriott or Hyatt, according to Tourist Development Council surveys.

Some want to use their chain loyalty points; others are looking for big resorts with more amenities than they might find at a guesthouse. Others want to stay on the beach.

All-female guesthouses have never been common in the United States -- partly because women often have less economic power than men, some suggest, and perhaps because lesbians long have been more accepted in American society than gay men.

Though the 2009 Damron Women's Traveller, which touts itself as the best lesbian guide, lists many lesbian-friendly lodgings worldwide, Carruthers said she knows of only one other exclusive all-women's resort in the United States: the 19-room Highlands Inn, located on a farm in Bethlehem, N.H. The phone number: 1-877-LES-B-INN.

Carruthers and her late partner, Leslie Leonelli, bought their 38-room Key West resort At 525 United St., a few blocks off the tourist drag of Duval Street in 2000. They visited to Key West from the rat race of New York City.

When they learned the all-women's resort, then named Rainbow House, was for sale, they sold their Manhattan loft and moved.

Even then, they had mixed feelings about keeping the inn all-female, Carruthers said. Male and straight friends from New York would not be able to stay at their place.

Still, they tried to make a go of it. They changed the name to Pearl's Rainbow to convey more warmth. Next, they renovated the five-building complex with two pools and two hot tubs, which began as the Marrero Cigar Factory.

For a few years, the resort's business grew as women flocked to stay in the Love Shack, a cozy room near a hot tub, and the other 37 unique rooms that range in price from $79 to $369 a night, including a full breakfast. Guests loved the Pearl's Patio pool bar, the only all-female bar in Key West.

But in 2006, Carruthers said, business leveled off. In 2007, it began to drop.

They were not alone. During the past decade, at least three gay accommodations in Key West have either closed or gone all-welcome. Even business at Tinlin's all-male guesthouses was down 12 percent from last year -- much like other local lodgings.

But Carruthers said her guesthouse is not performing as well as the all-welcome lodgings in Key West. Thus the change.

The resort will remain safe and welcoming to lesbians, said Carruthers. All guests will have to sign a sheet at check-in that states they will be respectful. ``We won't tolerate intolerance,'' she said.

Pearl's also will feature a few women-only weeks, during Pridefest, Womenfest, Fantasy Fest and the Kelly McGillis Classic, an annual female flag football championship.

The decision to go all-welcome was not welcome at all among some recent Pearl's guests.

``I like it the way it is,'' said Elizabeth Villanueva of Vancouver, British Columbia. ``I have nothing against men, but we feel comfortable here.''

Mesha and Paula, elementary schoolteachers from Alabama who did not want to give their last names, have been coming to Pearl's for six years.

It is one of the few places where they can be themselves, they said.

``In Alabama, it's not one human family. It's don't ask, don't tell,'' Mesha said.

``The culture here in Key West is so different from back home. People don't realize what a treat it is for us. Pearl's is our little bit of heaven.''


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: chat; homoagendaalert; homosexualagenda
But why would a normal person want to visit?
1 posted on 11/26/2010 6:30:07 AM PST by markomalley
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To: markomalley
super-gay-friendly Key West,

Well, THAT's good to know.......

2 posted on 11/26/2010 6:34:11 AM PST by Hot Tabasco (There's only one cure for Obamarrhea......)
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To: markomalley

3 posted on 11/26/2010 6:34:28 AM PST by Artemis Webb (I support Alvin Greene as the Democrats next nominee for President of the United States!)
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To: markomalley

From the Florida Commission on Human Rights website:

“It is against the law for an individual to be denied access or to receive poor service or lesser quality accommodations because of his or her race, color, national origin, sex, disability, familial status or religion.

Floridians and visitors to the state may file a complaint when:

* Not given full and equal access to the goods and services of restaurants, hotels and motels, gasoline stations, theaters and certain other public places or accommodations without discrimination or segregation.
* Certain private clubs discriminate in how they accept or deny members (under limited circumstances).
* When the alleged discriminatory act occurred in the last 365 days.”

Obvious illegal discrimination if male guests are excluded.


4 posted on 11/26/2010 6:37:02 AM PST by Aldebert
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To: markomalley
``We won't tolerate intolerance,''

Good one! LOL

5 posted on 11/26/2010 6:39:02 AM PST by laker_dad
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To: markomalley

“But why would a normal person want to visit?”

Probably to watch chicks make out.


6 posted on 11/26/2010 6:45:29 AM PST by BiggieLittle
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To: BiggieLittle
“But why would a normal person want to visit?” Probably to watch chicks make out.

Real life lesbians seldom resemble the one you see in porn flicks and magazine layouts. It would be less nauseating to watch two pigs in a sty get it on than to watch some of these lesbos play tonsil hockey with each other.
7 posted on 11/26/2010 6:50:16 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (Scratch a “progressive” and a fascist bleeds)
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To: markomalley

Weekend sponsored by Snap-On Tools and Lands End flannel shirts.
Hell’s a gaggin’.


8 posted on 11/26/2010 6:53:30 AM PST by Doulos1 (Bitter Clinger Forever!)
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To: markomalley
We're spending T-giving weekend with relatives at an RV Park in Apache Junction, Arizona....the place adjacent is 100% lesbian - The Pueblo. We have no plans to walk thru....or try the all-you-can-eat buffet:


9 posted on 11/26/2010 6:56:15 AM PST by ErnBatavia (It's not the Obama Administration....it's the "Obama Regime".)
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To: reagan_fanatic
“But why would a normal person want to visit?” Probably to watch chicks make out.

Maybe some charitable Christian men might want to try and cure them?

10 posted on 11/26/2010 6:56:15 AM PST by MalPearce
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To: Aldebert

My first thought, too.

Apparently the laws you cite don’t apply when straight white males are the victims.

Some people just won’t tolerate male members.


11 posted on 11/26/2010 6:58:27 AM PST by Notwithstanding
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To: markomalley

So guests can be excluded BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION?

I thought that was illegal.


12 posted on 11/26/2010 6:58:44 AM PST by Chickensoup (In the Leftist protected species hierarchy, Islamics trump Homosexuals trump Women trump Blacks)
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To: BiggieLittle
Probably to watch chicks make out.

Heather Carruthers

Wanting to watch fat dykes making out ain't normal.

13 posted on 11/26/2010 7:01:27 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: reagan_fanatic
Real life lesbians seldom resemble the one you see in porn flicks and magazine layouts. It would be less nauseating to watch two pigs in a sty get it on than to watch some of these lesbos play tonsil hockey with each other.

This^^^^^^^. However, I was at the "Book Loft" which is located in a "bohemian(sic)" section of Columbus Ohio couple months back and saw two 20-something women hugging and kissing etc while walking through the store and they were 8.5/9/10 and no inflated e standard's here. They were hot.

14 posted on 11/26/2010 7:02:56 AM PST by hoyt-clagwell (5:00 AM Gym Crew)
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To: BiggieLittle

Much cheaper and more interesting too just to watch cows graze in the fields. Plus the cows contribute real benefits to society-—Lesbo’s well not so much.


15 posted on 11/26/2010 7:20:44 AM PST by tflabo
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To: markomalley
Northampton Airport, MA (formerly LaFleur's) became "the only Lesbian Flight School in the U.S." It lasted a few years, then folded and passed to new owners. If it couldn't make it in Northampton, it couldn't make it anywhere.
16 posted on 11/26/2010 8:03:21 AM PST by pabianice
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To: ErnBatavia

DO they have a “Licker permit”{sorry}


17 posted on 11/26/2010 8:03:51 AM PST by Yorlik803 (better to die on your feet than live on your knees.)
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To: BiggieLittle
“But why would a normal person want to visit?” Probably to watch chicks make out.

It ain't like in the movies.

18 posted on 11/26/2010 8:06:44 AM PST by dfwgator (Congratulations to Josh Hamilton - AL MVP)
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To: Yorlik803
DO they have a “Licker permit”{sorry}

You are such a cunning linguist!!

19 posted on 11/26/2010 8:20:54 AM PST by hoyt-clagwell (5:00 AM Gym Crew)
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To: Notwithstanding
Some people just won’t tolerate male members.

Clever double entendre comment about lesbian intolerance.

20 posted on 11/26/2010 8:21:14 AM PST by Hardastarboard (Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire')
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Wanting to watch fat dykes making out ain't normal.

What is Heather holding in her hand??

21 posted on 11/26/2010 8:40:54 AM PST by ExtremeUnction
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To: markomalley

Unfortunately, they don’t all look like Portia DeRossi, or Jodie Foster (allegedly), or even Ellen DeGeneres.


22 posted on 11/26/2010 8:44:32 AM PST by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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To: RichInOC

C’mon. It’s only the world they want to have.


23 posted on 11/26/2010 8:58:14 AM PST by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL (*********************End automatic pay raises for congresscritters**)
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To: markomalley

Ugh.As a woman,I cannot comprehend how other women do not want to be with a man....blech.


24 posted on 11/26/2010 9:35:50 AM PST by POWERSBOOTHEFAN (Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.)
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To: laker_dad

At least Alabama has it right!


25 posted on 11/26/2010 9:36:39 AM PST by POWERSBOOTHEFAN (Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.)
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To: markomalley

Why is it I want to suddenly puke my guts up?


26 posted on 11/26/2010 10:15:24 AM PST by fwdude (Anita Bryant was right.)
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To: POWERSBOOTHEFAN
Ugh.As a woman,I cannot comprehend how other women do not want to be with a man....blech.

As a man I cannot understand how women want to be with men..hairy in all the wrong parts, rough skin, etc. I'm serious. It just does not make sense.

Women are so soft, less hair, smell purty, dainty features..

I guess that is why I am a male lesbian.

27 posted on 11/26/2010 10:29:53 AM PST by hoyt-clagwell (5:00 AM Gym Crew)
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To: hoyt-clagwell

But what I don’t get is why women want to be with a woman who looks like a truck mechanic, I mean what’s the point? I get a woman being attracted to an attractive woman, but I don’t get what the attraction is to butch dykes?


28 posted on 11/26/2010 10:33:03 AM PST by dfwgator (Congratulations to Josh Hamilton - AL MVP)
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To: dfwgator
I get a woman being attracted to an attractive woman, but I don’t get what the attraction is to butch dykes?

I truly believe some gays had a chemical imbalance in the womb. Maybe they recieved too much estrogen if male or too much testosterine if female. A neighbor girl I grew up with is gay. Starting in middle school and going into HS you could not tell if she was female or male. If I showed you her HS graduation picture you could not tell what sex she was.

Even as early as kindergarten and 1st grade we all knew she was "different"

Not saying all gays are this way but some are IMO. A "defect" at birth not unlike birth defects or down's syndrome.

29 posted on 11/26/2010 10:42:34 AM PST by hoyt-clagwell (5:00 AM Gym Crew)
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To: hoyt-clagwell

I do believe in some cases it is biological and in others it is a learned choice, like a fetish.


30 posted on 11/26/2010 10:48:31 AM PST by dfwgator (Congratulations to Josh Hamilton - AL MVP)
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To: dfwgator
I do believe in some cases it is biological and in others it is a learned choice, like a fetish.

Yes, there are the Anne Heche's types are just plain nymphos who want to try something different out of boredom or have some mental issues.

The neighborhood girl I mentioned in the above post was very masculine-she could toss up 300-400 bales of hay in the barn without blinking an eye, her body was like a line backer. Her sister though was very feminine.

31 posted on 11/26/2010 10:57:13 AM PST by hoyt-clagwell (5:00 AM Gym Crew)
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To: hoyt-clagwell

It doesn’t make sense that I would want to be with men? I don’t want anything to do with women,at least not sexually.Extra hair does need to go,as that turns me off.Some hair is OK as long as there’s not an over-abundance. Call me crazy,but I like how men feel,as long as their skin isn’t too rough.Why on earth would I want to be with other women? I like the male form! That’s the way it’s supposed to be!


32 posted on 11/29/2010 12:16:03 PM PST by POWERSBOOTHEFAN (Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.)
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To: POWERSBOOTHEFAN

PBF, I was being some what sarcastic.:)


33 posted on 11/29/2010 12:18:16 PM PST by hoyt-clagwell (5:00 AM Gym Crew)
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