On Sunday Nov 14th, Heather Carruthers, owner of Pearl’s Rainbow resort in Key West announced in an email -"The times, they are a-changin'."
Citing LGBT community progress, changing times and more men and women traveling together, Key West’s Lesbian resort icon Pearl's Rainbow changed its mission and now embraces ALL travelers. Their web site shows photos of each possible couple configuration. The economics of today are causing shifts in our LGBT community. It is happening locally and nationally. No longer is it financially wise, and to some extent, politically correct, to cater to only one segment of our family.
Like many places in Key West, there’s a legend that “Hemingway slept here” when Pearl’s was a boarding house. It was a guesthouse for women beginning in 1989, and became Pearl’s Rainbow in 2000. For 25 years Pearl’s solidified its reputation as one of the mere handful of US resorts catering to lesbian travelers. It was where you went if you wanted to be around all lesbians.
Pearl’s Rainbow Resort, Key West goes coed on Thanksgiving weekend
As of Nov 14th their website changed to read: Pearl’s Rainbow is an all-welcoming, clothing-optional (tops only), mostly adult, gay-friendly, straight-friendly (and, in some rooms, pet-friendly) resort. We offer special weeks just for women travelers – and some for families as well. We’re pleased that Pearl’s today embodies the true One Human Family spirit that makes Key West Key West.”
Response on Pearl’s Facebook page is one of shocked support by long time friends and customers-
“I want to wish Heather and all staff at Pearl’s Rainbow happy days and good luck in the new direction you are going in, at first the news was a shock, but we must all embrace change, as change is a good thing, and in reflection if we don’t change direction once in a while we cannot grow. So let’s all support Pearl’s decision.” Princess Pam Watson. (They are offering a 20% discount for 2011 bookings – use code PGSR).
Key West has changed too. Heather states “Openly LGBT people serve throughout our community as elected officials, members of non-profit boards, business leaders and presidents of the local Rotary. We have made great strides in the Southernmost City in creating a community where sexual orientation takes a back seat to character, where our colorful and diverse population is woven into the fabric of everyday life rather than confined to a single “neighborhood” or industry. We believe this is the way the world should be.”
“So it is time for Pearl’s Rainbow to change, to embrace the new vision of a world where everyone can be comfortable being themselves. Beginning this Thanksgiving, Pearl’s will open our doors to all women and men who share our vision of a safe, fun and respectful space where labels create color, not conflict.”