Gay businesses in Key West escaped the wrath of Hurricane Irma virtually unscathed. The city’s four LGBT hotels, as well as the island’s gay bars and nightclubs, suffered only minor damage. As of late last month, tourism officials estimated that 92 percent of the city’s hotels (including neighboring Stock Island) were back in business, while the Keys overall linger around 80 percent. Still, the hardest-hit area of the Keys was a 30-mile stretch that began about 10 miles northeast of Key West up to the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge.
If you have thought about visiting Key West for the first time, or are considering a return visit, now is actually the ideal time. Besides having a great time in the gayest of gaystinations, you will be helping support the jobs and the livelihood of not just those in Key West but those who commute from the northern Keys and depend on Key West tourism to support themselves.
For many residents, the happiest sight was the arrival of the first cruise ship to the island on Sept. 24, two weeks after the hurricane. (Key West officially opened for tourists Oct. 1.)