Miami Beach aims to be new Mecca for gays

Move over, San Francisco. Miami Beach has its sights set on the title of Gay Capital of the US, if not the world. The City of Miami Beach, a Greater Miami municipality, is wining, dining and nightclubbing writers from gay publications in Britain and the rest of Europe in the hope of wooing their readers to the new gay Mecca.

After last year's drastic decline in European tourism, following a series of tourist murders in 1993, the idea of a gay press freebie is one of a series of efforts to bring Eurotourists back.

"This is a place where gay people can come and feel at ease," said Michael Aller, Miami Beach tourism co-ordinator. "We're gay-friendly. The gay community has an important presence here. We're very happy with them. South Beach (the bar and club-dotted Art Deco district) has become a premium destination for gay and lesbian people from around the world."

Taking part in a "gay pub- crawl" last night, after cocktails with the Miami Beach mayor, were writers from Pink Paper, Boyz, Attitudes and The Gay Times.

Filming them were a television crew from the Planet 24 production company, which plans to broadcast a gay-oriented series on the BBC from next month.

The Miami move reflects a general targeting of the growing and lucrative gay and lesbian market throughout the US, with such companies as American Express and Chevrolet focusing some of their advertising on the gay "niche''.

Not all residents, who include elderly "snowbirds" from the north who winter in the city, are enamoured of the influx, however. "You can't visit South Beach at night without seeing men cuddling and women kissing," said one octogenarian Canadian woman.

The gay-oriented Out magazine recently ran a controversial article entitled "To live and die in South Beach", saying the city had become a major destination for a new type of retiree - HIV-positive men bent on living it up while waiting to die.

"The sense of abandon [in South Beach] has never been greater, nor the tendency toward unprotected sex," the article said.

Local gays argued that was a gross exaggeration, while acknowledging that some of the gay community appear to live for the day. Free condoms are routinely distributed outside many gay-frequented clubs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'