Key West – 20 years of One Human Family

Key West releases new LGBTQ video

“One Human Family”, the slogan of Key West, celebrates its 20th birthday this year. The slogan, originally designed by J.T. Thompson as a bumper sticker, was first adopted as the official motto by the Southernmost City and later by the entire chain of Florida Keys islands. (“One Human Family” welcomes everyone).

Key West Pride Parade (c) Florida Keys News Bureau

One Human Family – a human family. This is especially true for the large LGBTQ community of the Florida Keys, but also for all other residents and visitors. Nobody is excluded in the Keys, inclusion is written in capital letters – and “One Human Family” expresses everything the island chain stands for: acceptance, respect and compassion for all people. As J.T. Thompson puts it: “The best thing about Key West is that everyone is truly welcome and different is celebrated.” Thompson is proud that his message from Key West is now heard around the world. In the last 20 years, more than three million of his stickers have been distributed to people in 95 countries. The artist can be seen in a new LGBTQ destination video for Key West and, along with other protagonists, gives an insight into the colorful life of the island chain. The video proves that over 250,000 gay and lesbian travellers a year can’t be wrong. In Key West everyone can be as he or she wants to be, enjoy the warm weather and the beautiful water, celebrate or just relax.

Rainbow-coloured zebra crossing in Key West (c) Rob O’Neal

LGBTQ History in Key West

The southernmost city in the continental USA is not only known for events such as the annual Key West Pride (canceled, 2020) or the Key West Women’s Festival (September 2 – 6, 2020). Key West has long been considered a particularly open and tolerant year-round destination for gay and lesbian tourists. This was also appreciated by the openly gay writer Tennessee Williams, who first visited the city in 1941 and then settled here with his partner Frank Merlo. Other important events in Key West include the founding of the Key West Business Guild in 1978, the oldest LGBTQ destination marketing organization in North America, and the election of Richard Heyman as the first openly gay mayor of the United States in 1983. On New Year’s Eve 1996, the red glitter stiletto with drag queen sushi on board floated from the balcony of New Orleans House for the first time. The following year, the Key West AIDS Memorial was completed – it bears the names of over 1,000 men and women who died of AIDS. To mark its 25th anniversary in 2003, a two-kilometer rainbow flag sewn by Gilbert Baker lined Duval Street from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico at Key West Pride. Well into 2015, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones started on January 6th with the first same-sex yes-word in the Keys, after marriage had been introduced for everyone in the state of Florida shortly before. Since the same year, four zebra crossings in rebow colors have been decorating the heart of the LGBTQ entertainment district in Key West at the intersection of Duval and Petronia Street. In 2018, Key West became the first openly lesbian woman to be elected mayor of a major Florida city, Teri Johnston. And this year, the circle will come full circle when Southernmost City celebrates its successful motto “One Human Family” extensively.

Fort Jefferson Beach (c) Laurence Norah Florida Keys News Bureau


Sunset Cruise (c) Rob O’Neal

About the Florida Keys & Key West:

The Florida Keys & Key West is a chain of islands that stretches south of Miami like a string of pearls about 200 kilometers into the open sea. “The most beautiful dead end in the world” consists of the five regions Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and Key West, which are characterized by dreamlike diving spots, an impressive underwater flora and fauna, white sandy beaches and undulating mangrove forests.

Key West LGBTQ – Promo-Trailer 2020


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