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Queering the Redneck RivieraSexuality and the Rise of Florida Tourism$
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Jerry T. Watkins III

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056913

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056913.001.0001

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From Redneck to Gay Riviera

From Redneck to Gay Riviera

(p.130) 6 From Redneck to Gay Riviera
Queering the Redneck Riviera

Jerry T. Watkins III

University Press of Florida

Though LGBTQ people had lived and vacationed in the area for decades, it was not until the mid 1970s that they began to conceive of the region as an LGBTQ vacation destination. Marketing had created “The Sunshine State” and the proliferation of print media coupled with a growing recognition of pink capital begin to craft the “Gay Gulf Coast.” The Fiesta Room Lounge in Panama City became definitively gay, the South’s first chapter of the Gay Liberation Front was established in Tallahassee, and Pensacola again played host to LGBT beach events during Memorial Day. In 1993, as the culture wars raged nationally, gay and lesbian tourists in Pensacola found themselves in the crosshairs of moral entrepreneurs attempting to capitalize on the growing conservative evangelical movement with a return to straight, white, wholesome, family-friendly tourism promotion. The response of local businesses evidences a profound attitudinal shift from earlier decades, a direct result of increasing LGBTQ visibility and their growing status as citizen consumers.

Keywords:   Pink capital, Culture Wars, LGBT Tourism, Gay Riviera, Gay Gulf Coast

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