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Gay Man Paradise

Key West is Ideal for weddings and romantic getaways, and part of its charm is its easygoing way of life. There's a sense of c'est la vie, where friendship, loyalty, and community are top priority. Most locals work multiple jobs in various realms (the man who checked my luggage was also running for mayor!) to be able to afford to live in paradise. United by their love for the island, they support each other's ventures, and -- especially those in the hospitality industry -- are willing to do nearly anything to make your visit an experience you'll never forget.

gay man paradise

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First, head down to Pensacola, Florida, for a huge Memorial Day weekend blowout presented by Johnny Chisholm. From May 28 to 30, party day and night in paradise with DJs Joe Gauthreaux, Dan Slater, Roland Belmares, Will Lowe, and Joe Ross.

For a grand finale, before I get back on the boat, there is an epic sighting of a giant shoal of barracudas. These are major dagger toothed predators of the sea. Thin and sharp-faced, thousands race by in a dark blur below me. Alone in that moment, in the silent lapping waters with the sun on my back, it is hard to imagine a place closer to paradise.

Eastman's comment from the dawn of Reagan's counter-revolution resonates in our own reactionary political moment, when the mainstream victories of the LGBT movement have left us polarized between, on the one hand, a cynical conformism that accepts liberal tolerance as the best and only paradise, and, on the other hand, a radical, emancipatory striving for something else.

Put another way, the manner in which Segade treats the gender melancholy of queer paradise is anti-metaphorical and anti-explanatory. Rather than working through the theory (as I briefly attempt here), he literally acts it out. But this acting out is anticipated in the theory itself: Butler writes that "incorporation literalizes the loss on or in the body and so appears as the facticity of the body, the means by which the body comes to bear 'sex' as its literal truth." A literalization of a literalization, the queer paradisiacal appears to leave no room for exit from, or refusal of, this factual body, just indefinite malleability and intermittent explosion: like the steadily ratcheting intensity of a Julius Eastman composition, ever modulating towards peak chromatic saturation.

But many are claiming this historical gay paradise is no longer the hot hangout for homos it used to be. In 2005 the New York Times accused Key West of "going straight," and in 2012 The Advocate dropped Key West from its list of America's top 25 gayest cities. So I went down to the island's Tropical Heat festival, a weekend of nude pool parties and fetish balls engineered to draw a big gay crowd, to see for myself just how hetero Key West has gotten. 041b061a72


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