Category Archives: Gay Miami

BEST New Years Eve RoofTops

Conde Nast CN TRAVELLER probably said it best, “It’s easy to sneer at New Year’s Eve: too expensive, too crowded, too much pressure to have the greatest night of your life. OK, you could hunker down at home – or you could make it really memorable by hitting up one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in the world. From fireworks blasting across breathtaking backdrops to raucous street parties in cool capitals and all-night raves on blissed-out beaches, there’s no shortage of amazing ways to ring in 2019.” I live in Chicago and SO MANY people go out NYE its so hard and so expensive to get a Cab or Uber or Lyft! Is it worth it? If you know where to go, it might be! What better place to see all the fireworks, than from a rooftop bar?!
The is an actual site called The RoofTop Guide! “BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH A NICE VIEW! We believe that’s how it is, that everything is better with a nice view. Therefore we have assembled this guide, a guide to the world’s best rooftop bars. To inspire and for you to, wherever you are or wherever you are going, be able to find an oasis where you can feel the breeze against your skin, sip on a drink and gaze into breathtaking views. So of course you can count on them to show us 30 Amazing and Fantastic rooftops for a NYE to remember!
From New York and Los Angels, Chicago to Sandiego, London, Dubai , Madrid – all the best rooftops are listed here with details, pricing and more info! get the complete scoop HERE.  

STK Steakhouse Meets Lounge

Sexy chic lounge meets modern steak house. STK.

(Chicago location  in side  photo)

The ONE Group, based in New York, has positioned STK as “women friendly,” trying to break the conception that steakhouses are only meant for men. A DJ booth brings a curated playlist to diners, creating more of a nightclub vibe, hoping diners opt to party after their meal, or even while they’re digesting their wet-aged beef. No need to bar hop, as STK’s other spots haven’t been as concerned about the menu as they are in developing a trendy, and sexy, scene to draw the clientele who would normally roll their eyes at the notion of dining at a steakhouse.

From Forbes to Zagat to Facebook, dinners are loving this place!


Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Ibiza, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Milan, 3 locations  in NYC, Orlando, South Beach, Toronto, San Diego Puerto Rico, and 2 locations in Dubai!

Recently we had the chance to sample some of their new recipes from their Fall menu in Chicago, being unveiled in October. But first, we started with their Strawberry Cobbler Martini.

Fresh strawberries, Belvedere vodka and a graham cracker rim.

Another classic that I could live on is their signature tuna tartare!

Besides what they are known for we got a sampling of some excellent new dishes!


*NEW Roasted Root Vegetable Salad: Squash, parsnip, celery root, living water greens, brown butter vinaigrette

*NEW Roasted Slagel Chicken: Celery root purée, celery salad, jus

*NEW Roasted Rack of Lamb: Charred broccoli, huckleberry vinaigrette, black garlic jus

*NEW Grilled Branzino: Roasted thumbelina carrots, kale, carrot purée, grilled lemon

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad: Apple, cranberry, aged goat cheese, marcona almonds

Potato Bar: Creamy yukon potatoes and sweet potatoes, bacon, scallion, sour cream, cheese, marshmallows, candied pecans, short rib. TO DIE FOR!


How about finishing your meal with fresh warm doughnuts covered in various toppings?

Or perhaps their signature Chocolate mousse layered cake?

WHAT ABOUT BRUNCH? STK has a monthly brunch – Dare to Brunch – that features STK’s take on the traditional weekend meal. Offered on the last Sunday of each month, Dare to Brunch will be complete with a specialty STK brunch menu, mimosa stations that includes a variety of freshly squeezed juices and all-day DJ performances.

The Dare to Brunch menu favorites include Gold Leaf French Toast, Market Vegetable & Truffle Omelet, STK n’ L’eggs and more. The monthly Sunday event will offer three seatings (2PM, 4PM and 6PM).


Their menu features a nice variety of re-imagined classic American cuisine with signature dishes. STK defines the modern fine dining experience with incredible food, world-class service and the perfect atmosphere.

Aside from steak, signature items also include Parmesan Truffle Fries, Lil BRG’s, and sweet corn pudding. Incredible food and a wonderful hip atmosphere!

This is not your daddy’s steakhouse!

Visit  their site for all locations  and  phone numbers for reservations. 

all photo credit goes to the incomparable Matthew Mitrick of Mitrick Photography!


Andy Cohen and Andy Cooper TOGETHER!

Join Cohen and Cooper for an unscripted,
uncensored and unforgettable night of conversation!


The Fillmore Miami Beach At
The Jackie Gleason Theater
Miami Beach, FL
Get Tickets

Regular seats available
VIP Packages available
MAY 16
The Chicago Theatre
Chicago, IL
Get Tickets

Regular seats available
VIP Packages available
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Atlanta, GA
Get Tickets

Regular seats available
VIP Packages available

MIAMI’S Winter Party 2015!



Chef Art Smith 101 Gay Weddings Miami

Food Network’s Ted Allen To Co-host Chef Art Smith’s
#101GayWeddings at The James Royal Palm

Chef Art Smith just announced Food Network’s Chef Ted Allen will co-host his #101 Gay Weddings event on Saturday, February 21, 2015. For the past two years during The South Beach Wine & Food Festival The James Royal Palm has been home to Chef Art Smith’s and friends famous Big Gay Ice Cream Social. Now with the official beginning of gay marriage in the State of Florida, Chef Art is hosting a celebratory party– 101 Gay Weddings.

Couples are encouraged to tweet to @ChefArtSmith will receive a free wedding on February 21st during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival at The James Royal Palm. The big celebrations and all 101 weddings will be performed together in the beautiful James Breezeway. A celebrity minister will be there to officiate at the wedding ceremony.

Famed Celebrity Chef Duff Goldman, star of Food Network’s reality show Ace of Cakes and one of the first to stand up against hate in food, will be creating a one-of-a-kind wedding cake to mark the special occasion. Also, joining the event will be several celebrated Miami chefs and restaurants including:
• Richard Hales, Black Brick
• Giorgio Rapicavoli, Eating House
• Dena Marino, MC Kitchen
• Jamie DaRosa, Tongue & Cheek
• Paula Dasilva, 3030 Ocean
• Rocco Carulli, R House
• Cesar Zapata, The Federal
• Todd Erickson, Haven Lounge
• Half Moon Empanada
The wedding celebration is free to couples who are tying the knot or want to renew their vows, they can bring two families members to the event. An after dance party is being planned with a Celebrity DJ, with all proceeds benefiting local LBGT charities. For more information please visit

Saturday, February 21, 2015           1 – 4 p.m.

The James Royal Palm
1545 Collins Avenue     Miami Beach, FL 33139        (305) 604-5700


Ru Pauls Drag Race Tour



RuPaul’s Drag Race Battle of The SeasonsCondragulations” Tour in a city near YOU, featuring a night of show-stopping performances by the world’s most talented drag performers, including winners and fan favorites from Logo TV’s hit series “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Over 40 cities in the US, Canada and Europe. The largest drag tour in history!

Adore Delano, Alaska 5000, Ben Dela Crème, Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act, Darienne Lake, Detox, Ivy Winters, Jiggly Caliente, Jinkx Monsoon, Manila Luzon, Pandora Boxx, Phi Phi O’Hara, Raja and Sharon Needles. Plus Special Guest Cary NoKey and host Michelle Visage. (Lineup varies by city and is subject to change.)

February 1-April 13, 2015.  CHECK  CITIES  AND TICKETS!


Winter Party 2015 Miami BOOK NOW

get tickets  and more info NOW


Winter Party Miami 2015

WINTER PARTY   is our Favorite Party of the Year!

Winter Party Festival is an iconic six-day celebration of LGBTQ people – diverse people from all over the globe – who come together to learn, live, love, laugh and forge lifelong relationships. Back in 1994, our founders kicked up their heels and invited the LGBTQ community to party on the sands of South Beach. More than twenty years later, under the leadership of the National LGBTQ Task Force, that one annual party on the beach has become what’s now known as Winter Party Festival.


And it just got  more  awesome!

Time to beam up, Scotty, and transport to the middle of an alien environment unlike anything mere earthlings have experienced before – WE Party: Attacks – during Winter Party Festival 2015. This new extraterrestrial experience will transform Mansion Nightclub into an otherworldly experience of sights and sounds on Sunday, March 8, beginning at 10 p.m. EST (Earth Standard Time).

Known throughout the world for extravagant themes, over-the-top productions, and visual art and live installations that accompany the dance party beats, WE Party events are nothing less than out-of-this-world. And WE Party: Attacks will be no exception. Literally out-of-this-world.

WE Party: Attacks will create a mesmerizing theatrical performance to blend seamlessly with the music of two supernova DJs – Miami’s own Alyson Calagna and Micky Friedmann, who will teleport in from Berlin.

“Winter Party Festival is a living celebration,” says Justin Bell, Winter Party Festival Chair for 2015. “Our guests are passionate about rejoicing and passionate about celebrating who they are. WE Party: Attacks will provide them the perfect solar system for their celebration.”

Winter Party Festival passes are ideal ways to see a galaxy of events and surprises in store for 2015. WE Party: Attacks tickets are part of the Titanium All-Access and Platinum Priority passes currently on sale at discounted prices. To purchase passes, visit

To reserve space at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, host hotel for Winter Party Festival, visit

Winter Party Festival is an annual fund- and consciousness-raising event committed to supporting, inspiring and activating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community and its supporters worldwide through a celebration of identity, equality and unity. Now in its 22nd year, Winter Party Festival takes place annually in one of the world’s hottest destinations – Miami Beach.

Proceeds from the annual Winter Party Festival and its sister event, the Miami Recognition Dinner, support the important work of the National LGBTQ Task Force to advance full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. A significant portion of the proceeds also funds multiple organizations serving the LGBTQ community in South Florida through grants made by the Task Force to the GLBT Community Projects Fund of The Miami Foundation. Since taking over responsibilities for the two events, the Task Force has contributed more than $1.85 million to South Florida grassroots LGBTQ organizations.

Winter Party Festival is produced with the support of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority.


5 Gayest Travel Destinations in the South

Magnolias, creaky porch swings and slow drawls – these are the things we most commonly associate with the South.

But, gay-friendly cities? Not so much.
Many people assume that the entire southern half of the United States is still on the conservative, intolerant end of the cultural spectrum. And while that may be true for some areas, today’s South is much more progressive and open-minded than you probably think.
Here we profile the most gay-friendly cities in the South and show you just how different they are from what you may have thought.

1. Asheville, North Carolina
The Carolinas have some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country, so if you haven’t visited these national treasures, you’d better get moving. And hip cities like Asheville mean that you can get a healthy mix of vibrant city life and natural beauty in one visit. In the same day, you can tour the 250-room, 19th century castle built by George Vanderbilt and hike the stunning Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This historic town that sits on a plateau between 2 mountain ranges has everything you’d want: noteworthy architecture, live music, and amazing dining options. The city also boasts their own yearly Pride celebration and a number of gay bars – Asheville is even home to O. Henry’s, the oldest gay bar in the state.

2. New Orleans, Louisiana
It should come as no surprise that The Big Easy is also a very easy place for LGBT travelers to feel at home. The city has long been known for its extreme tolerance for people from all walks of life. In fact, legend has it that every year New Orleans becomes home to many tourists who discover, while on vacation, that they’ve never felt more comfortable anywhere else in the world.

This Deep South town is a veritable treasure trove for visitors – the music, the food and the breathtakingly beautiful old European architecture make it feel almost like a foreign country. And the city’s large gay population and thriving gay neighborhood make it an ideal travel destination. The lower end of Bourbon Street has about 10 gay bars and clubs and hosts the annual Southern Decadence Fest every Labor Day weekend. This gay Mardi Gras is not to be missed.

3. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Arkansas would certainly not be the first place you think of when you hear “gay friendly,” but this little Southern gem is as open and accepting as they come. It was officially the first city in the state to endorse same-sex marriage and is currently the only city in Arkansas with a Domestic Partnership Registry.

But it’s not just about political claims to fame – Eureka Springs is insanely charming with its windy, hilly roads and stunning Victorian architecture. Basically it takes everything you thought you knew about Arkansas and turns it on its head. And despite the small size of the city, one annual Pride event isn’t nearly enough. They put on 3 different Diversity Weekends every year in the spring, summer and fall, all of which attract thousands of visitors from all over the world.

4. Miami, Florida
If you’ve been putting in overtime at the gym and investing in a fabulous warm-weather wardrobe, it’s probably time that you head to Miami. The Cuban-flavored city seems to be home to a disproportionate amount of beautiful people who know how to dress, eat and party like none other. It’s really an upscale playground for LGBT travelers who are looking to let loose in the sun and in the after-dark scene where that’s all about seeing and being seen.

The city has several cool neighborhoods worth checking out, but if you want to a front row seat for Miami gay culture, make sure to head to South Beach, or SoBe to those in the know. If you tire of the beach, stroll over to nearby Ocean Drive, a super lux open air mall that looks more like a Fashion Week catwalk than the malls you’re familiar with. And keep your eyes peeled for Miami’s own circular pink flamingo symbol that lets visitors know that a business is welcoming of LGBT visitors.

5. Dallas, Texas
As a whole, the state of Texas might not be a haven of open-minded tolerance, but cities like Dallas are essentially oases that go against the normal Texan grain. With the 6th largest LGBT population in the country and The Church of Hope, the biggest gay church in the world, Dallas certainly welcomes travelers of all genders and sexualities. The city also boasts not one, but two gay neighborhoods: Oak Lawn and Bishop Arts District.

Dallas is truly a modern city that has no shortage of great shopping, high-end dining and unique culture. History buffs will want to check out the JFK exhibit at Dealey Plaza; fashion hounds will be in heaven at the Neiman Marcus flagship store; and artsy types will dig the funky Deep Ellum neighborhood full of street art and live music. If this is surprising news to you, it might be time that you checked out Texas for yourself.

It can be easy to dismiss small, Southern cities as stuck-in-time backwaters that shun anyone different, but that’s simply not the reality in many places anymore. But the good news is that as these gay-friendly Southern gems have modernized, they’ve retained the Southern charm and beauty the region is known for.

Politically and culturally progressive cities overflowing with old fashioned charm offer the very best of all possible worlds for gay travelers looking for something new.


Jay Deratany has recently restored a historic Victorian mansion and turned it into The Kirby, a boutique hotel, wine bar and bed and breakfast in Saugatuck Michigan. Not only is he passionate about travel & hospitality, but he’s also is a human rights activist, attorney and movie producer! To learn more, visit The Kirby Hotel and connect with Jay on Google+.


Gay Pride 2014 is Coming ! To a City Near You!

GAY PRIDE IS COMING!  Over the next 6 months, gay prides will be happening  coast to coast!

PHOENIX PRIDE  April  5-6, 2014

MIAMI  PRIDE   April  11-13

TOKYO PRIDE  April 27rh

SAO PAULO PRIDE    May 4th, 2014 – the BIGGEST in the WORLD


NEW JERSEY  PRIDE   June 1st, 2014

LOS ANGELES  PRIDE  June 6th-8th

MILWAUKEE  WI   Pride   June 6th-8th

CAPITAL PRIDE  DC  June 6th-8th

DETROIT  PRIDE  June  7th-8th



BOSTON PRIDE  June 8th-16th

KEY WEST PRIDE  June 11th-15th 2014

NASHVILLE PRIDE  June 12th-14th


PITTSBURGH  PRIDE   June 14th-15th

BERLIN PRIDE   June 14th-15th

OSLO PRIDE June  20th-29th

HOUSTON GAY PRIDE  June 20th-29th

PLUS in 2014, Toronto will actually be  WORLD  PRIDE with even BIGGER  crowds


NEW YORK CITY PRIDE  June 24th-29th

TAMPA  FL   PRIDE  June 27th-29th

PARIS PRIDE   June 28th



CHICAGO PRIDE FEST  June 21st – 22nd

(they are trying to fill in the days in between to make a full week of pride)



MADRID PRIDE July 2nd-6th


SAN DIEGO PRIDE  July 18th-20th

STOCKHOLM PRIDE  July 28th – Aug. 2nd

MONTREAL PRIDE July  July 28th-Aug. 3rd

AMSTERDAM PRIDE August 1st-3rd – with floats on the canal!

ANTWERP PRIDE August 4th-11th

REYKJAVIK PRIDE August 5th-10th

CHICAGO MARKET DAYS – August 9th-10th   (not really pride – but a big party!)

OTTAWA PRIDE  August 15th-24th

PRAGUE PRIDE August 11th-17th

COPENHAGEN PRIDE  August 26th-31st

ATLANTA  PRIDE  August  27th-Sept. 1st

SOUTHERN DECADENCE  –  August 27th-September 1 (not really pride – but a big party)

LAS VEGAS PRIDE  September 2nd-8th

AUSTIN TX  PRIDE   September 20th

DALLAS PRIDE   September 21st

MAUI HAWAII   October 4th-5th

GAY PRIDE is a time of celebration and with that, usually comes some drinking.  MAKE SURE YOU DRINK WATER AS WELL!  Keep yourself hydrated! You don’t want to go to the hospital with your boa and go go shorts on!  (poor guy!)



Miami’s Annual WINTER PARTY March 2014

Over 10,000 guests from around the world attend this annual six-day extravaganza featuring the most spectacular venues, the most unforgettable parites and receptions and the best international DJ talent.

Launched in 1994 as a one-time charity dance event on the sands of beautiful South Beach, Winter Party Festival has evolved into a week-long series of events benefiting the LGBT community nationally and locally.  A portion of the net proceeds of WPF support the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s efforts to take action, build power and create change for LGBT people.  The majority of the proceeds are donated to local service organizations through a grant-making process administered by The Miami Foundation.



Miami Heats up for Winter Party 20!

Six days of scorching hot DJs, dazzling entertainment, breath-taking scenery
(the landscape AND the bodies) will blow you away.

The complete Winter Party Festival dance line-up is
confirmed, and we can’t wait to party the week away:

(March 7, 10 PM – 5 AM)
: WPF takes off to a blazing start with DJs
Chris Cox and Tony Moran at Miami Beach’s
longest running gay nightclub, Score.

URGE: Mercury Rising (March
8, 10 PM – 7 AM)
: The dual DJ talents of ROSABEL (Abel
& Ralphi Rosario) will make the thermometer at the famous Cameo Nightclub
soar with this sexy party with hours extended until 7 AM!

One Sun Pool Party (March 9, Noon – 6 PM)
: One of our most popular
events gives you a taste of Carnaval when Brazil’s DJ Rafael
spins by the spectacular pool of our new host hotel, The
Shelborne South Beach.

Flare: A Winter Party 20th Edition
Celebration (March 9, 10 PM – 6 AM)
: Celebrate the 20th WPF in typical
style: sweaty, dancing and surrounded by the hottest people in the world at
Grand Central in Miami. DJs Phil Romano and Alyson
spin all night long.

Sweat-A Leather Event
(March 9, 10 PM – 3 AM)
: Grab your harness and get ready to sweat with
DJ Herbie James! WPF’s favorite leather event promises hot
sticky fun when it returns to Bill’s Filling Station.

Party Beach Party (March 10, Noon – 7 PM)
: The event that started it
all returns to the sands of South Beach with DJs Brett
and Joe Gauthreaux, plus over 5,000 of the
sexiest men and women from around the globe.

REFRESH Block Party
(March 10, 6 PM – 11 PM)
: Walk on over to 12th St and Ocean Drive
(right next to the Palace) for our annual tea dance after the Beach

WE Party: Formula – Boiling Point (March 10, 10 PM – 5
: WPF shifts into high-gear with the sexiest party of Spain, where
DJs Manuel de Diego and Giangi Cappai take WPF
to a Boiling Point at Miami Beach’s legendary Mansion

Afterglow (March 11, 5 AM – 2 PM): Why go to
sleep when you can continue to bask in the afterglow? Join DJ
at Mekka Nightclub in Miami for a not-to-be-missed event that
will close out a historic 20th edition of WPF.

Buy your tickets and multi-event passes
; this year’s WPF is going to be hotter than ever and our
passes – the key to experiencing more of the Festival for less – are selling out
fast. Our early bird passes sold out earlier than ever before!

Visit our website for complete details
on all our great events.


Miami Beach Gay Pride April 13-15, 2012

LGBTQ rights activist, author, lecturer and transgender issues advocate Chaz Bono
will headline the Fourth Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade as Grand
Marshal, announced Babak Movahedi, president of the Pride board of

Bono will lead the parade by riding in a vintage Rolls Royce
convertible waving to an anticipated 60,000 fans and supporters who are
expected at this year’s parade and festival.  The Miami Beach Gay
Pride Parade kicks of at noon on Sunday, April 15, along Ocean Drive
from 5th to 15th Streets.  The events  run  April 13-15th.

More info at Miami Beach Gay Pride

I will NEVER UNDERSTAND why Miami Beach Gay Pride hosts a cruise over the Bahamas every year?  Why give them our gay $$ ?  FROMMERS says Generally speaking, The Bahamas isn’t a gay-friendly
destination. If you’re gay, think twice before choosing to vacation
here. Although many gay people visit or live here, the country has very
strict anti-homosexual laws. Relations between homosexuals, even when
between consenting adults, are subject to criminal sanctions carrying
prison terms.


MIAMI BEACH GAY PRIDE Saturday April 17th

Come Celebrate An
Extraordinary Day OUT!


Saturday, April 17,
 Ocean Drive, 12-7pm

 Ven y celebra un día extraordinario AFUERA!
Sábado, Abril 17, Ocean Drive, 12-7pm
Miami Beach is fabulous.

And on Saturday, April 17, it will be more extraordinary than ever!

Join Miami Beach City Mayor Matti Bower, your friends, family and allies for the 2nd annual PRIDE parade and festival, a celebration of the extraordinary strength, beauty and contributions of South Florida’s LGBT community. It’s an exciting all-day event featuring a parade along beautiful Ocean Drive with floats and including the inspiring LEGACY couples, a Festival with exciting celebrity presentations and musical performances, and an Expo with LGBT-friendly vendors and businesses, refreshments and food, plus a family-friendly playzone.

Lesbian. Gay. Bi. Trans. Straight. PROUD.
Miami Beach Gay Pride is an extraordinary celebration that brings out the best in us, all.
 Lesbianas. Gay. Bi. Trans. Heterosexuales. ORGULLOSOS. El Orgullo Gay en Miami Beach es una celebración extraordinaria que resalta en todos nosotros lo mejor que tenemos dentro.

All Events Free and Open to the Public
Todos los eventos son gratuitos y estarán abiertos a todo público

Best Gay Cities


Gay South Beach – LGBT Visitor Center in Miami Beach

As the 600-member strong Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) packs up its rainbow flag in preparation for relocating offices to the first floor north of historic Old City Hall in Miami Beach, plans are being finalized to launch one of the country’s first gay Chamber-sponsored LGBT Visitor Centers. 

The new LGBT Visitor Center inside the MDGLCC’s new headquarters will become a place of community, information, resources and business networking for the 1.2 million gay and lesbian travelers who visit Miami-Dade County each year, as well as for the estimated 183,000 LGBT residents who call Miami and Miami Beach home, said Steve Adkins, president of the MDGLCC. 

The Center is on-target to open April 15 with a grand opening dedication celebration for the entire community with many dignitaries, city leaders and community leaders in attendance.  

          “We envision the new Visitor Center becoming the nucleus of LGBT activity for visitors, locals and our business community,” Adkins said.  “Other cities have LGBT community centers or general tourist information places, but we’re aware of no other city in the country that has a permanent, central location run by a gay Chamber that serves the needs of both LGBT and gay-friendly visitors and locals.”

          Located at 1130 Washington Avenue, Old City Hall is literally at the epicenter of LGBT activity in South Beach.  Steps to Ocean Drive and the beach, a few blocks south of famed Lincoln Road and right in the middle of bars, restaurants, shops and hotels, Old City Hall is easily accessible by foot, car, bus or Rollerblade.  The Mediterranean Neo-Classical designed building was originally built in 1927 and reopened last October after a three-year, $7 million renovation by the City.

       There will also be kiosks to display various LGBT-oriented memorabilia as well as branded merchandise for sale as souvenirs.  The Center will also have the ability to play host to art shows, book signings, receptions and fundraisers, many of which could be held in conjunction with the high-profile events that Miami Beach attracts, such as the Winter Party, Art Basel Miami Beach, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and Art Deco Weekend.

          “A Visitor Center of this magnitude makes perfect sense for Miami Beach,” Adkins said.  “We’re arguably among the top LGBT tourist destinations in the country, if not the world, and the local LGBT community is very well-integrated into the general population, making this city one of the most progressive and accepting in the world.”

          That integration makes Miami Beach unusual and provides a bigger opportunity for a Center, Adkins said.  “Unlike other cities, there are no ‘gay ghettos’ here where the LGBT community has congregated, nor are there side streets lined with pride flags to indicate the few places of acceptance.  Here, people freely walk Lincoln Road or Ocean Drive hand-in-hand and are warmly welcomed at shops, hotels and restaurants.”



Gay Bashing Has More Gays Leaving South Beach…Heading North to Fort Lauderdale

SOUTH  BEACH is the neighborhood that encompasses  about 25 blocks in the city of Miami Beach. 

In the 1920’s-1930’s South Beach  brought Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Nautical Moderne architecture to the Beach. During the 1970’s-1980’s the area was used as a retirement community with most of its ocean-front hotels and apartment buildings filled with elderly people living on small, fixed incomes.

This period also saw the introduction of the “cocaine cowboys,” drug dealers who used the area as a base for their illicit drug activities. Scarface and even Miami Vice , typified this activity. The town became very run down and there were vacant and boarded up buildings everywhere.

So what happens? Gays cleaned it up. In the late 1980s, a renaissance began in South Beach, with an influx of  “fashion industry professionals” moving into the area. South Beach started to become  “fabulous” and gay clubs sprouted up everywhere.

It became this extremely popular entertainment mecca, thanks to the media. By the mid 1990’s, the rest of the straight world started to capitalize on this small area. More and more big straight clubs popped up and by the late 2000, many from  Miami proper would come over and drink and cause trouble. We call that the “bridge and tunnel crowd”.  When suburbanites come in and start taking over “our towns”. It’s no longer fun at that point.

Gianni Versace was murdered  in 1997.  I really view that as a turning point.  Within a couple years, South Beach was changing. And not in a good way. I was last there in 2004 for the famous Winter Party, which attracts  several thousand gay people. Even with that many gays in town, my partner and I DID NOT feel safe walking  the streets at night.  Straight kids in cars drove past and yelled  “faggots”  at  us   and one car even hurled a bottle at us. We walked in somewhere for a slice of pizza late night and straight teenagers  mumbled “gay this” and “fag that”  under their breath, but loud enough to hear. We were told by locals at that time, that many gays are starting to relocate to Fort Lauderdale.  I have not been back to South Beach since.

It has just gotten worse in the last 5 years as the area has become a late night drinking straight town. This month in the news, gay bashings are on the rise there. State of Florida records stated that 75% of the anti-homosexual hate crimes in Miami-Dade County in 2009 occurred in South Beach/Miami Beach. It’s still chic and expensive there. Major developers have invested billions there. But the gays are getting out.

“South Beach isn’t the free-spirited haven of gayness it once was.” says writer Natalie  O’Neill from  Miami New Times.

Tony Lopez was celebrating the White Party this past November. Another huge gay event which brings thousands into the town. It was 4am and he wandered into a popular place for some take-out food. As he approached the line for food, an aggressive 20-something staggered up to him.

“Got a cigarette?” he asked. Tony shook a Marlboro Mild from the pack and handed him one.

Right then, a gang — Tony remembers four men — “appeared out of the woodwork.” They shoved him into the alley behind the restaurant, yelled “Fucking faggot!” and began to punch him. He fell to the ground and tried to shield his head as they kicked him in the face.

(Fort Lauderdale)

O’Neill reports, “In a five-year span, the State Attorney’s Office reported 26 incidents, half of which were in Miami Beach. Victims include a lounge singer who was stripped naked and hogtied and a magazine publisher who was viciously beaten.

It’s surprising when you consider South Beach’s heyday as a sparkling gay playground, where oiled-up boys frolicked between wild foam parties and the hub of hedonism that was the Versace mansion. Nobody thought twice about casual sex in Flamingo Park or flamboyant public fashion shoots, and — at its peak — MTV was even there to glamorize it all.” – which really became the downfall of South Beach. It was a  “kept secret” for a while but once it became celebritized by the rich and famous and sensationalized by television and film, it was no longer a  secret!

I am not saying don’t go to South Beach. There are still fun clubs and fun parties there.
But YOU MUST BE CAREFUL. Walk in groups and not alone. Especially at night, when most of the trouble starts

Gay Fort Lauderdale has been a haven for gay and lesbian travelers for decades. But in the last 5 years, it has seen tremendous growth as South Beach shifted.  In addition to being a  very gay friendly city ,  Fort Lauderdale has more than 100 gay-owned establishments including hotels/guesthouses, bars, clubs and restaurants, plus the second largest Metropolitan Community Church congregation in the United States and three gay and lesbian publications. Gay Ft. Lauderdale has three popular gay beach areas on Fort Lauderdale’s 23 miles of wide, sandy beach.

Fort Lauderdale continues to reign supreme as one of the most popular gay destinations in North America.

Read more from Natalie O’Neill.

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