Key West is a community that has long defined itself by what it’s not.
It’s not like much of the United States, for example. Key West appeals to folks looking to find a life that’s considerably slower and more laid-back—and more tolerant—than what they’ve experienced elsewhere. In 1982, the community adopted the tongue-in-cheek moniker of “The Conch Republic” to proclaim its figurative secession from the mainland, which, locals often remind you, is further away from Key West than Cuba is.
Key West is certainly not like much of Florida, playing home to numerous men and women, many of them LGBT, who have eschewed the right-wing politics of their state. It was Key West residents, for example, who were at the forefront of the Sunshine State’s push for gay marriage, which, as of this writing, is still being litigated.