Location: 525 United Street, Key West, Florida, USA
Opened: Guesthouse for women beginning in 1989, became Pearl’s Rainbow in 2000
Closed: Started admitting men on November 14, 2010
I could piece something together here, but I'm just going to attach Cammy Clark's article from the Miami Herald, dated November 25, 2010.
But two things I want to point out here first. Despite all the social pressure on lesbians to be "all welcoming" (e.g. let men--gay or straight--overrun their spaces on demand), there is no equivalent pressure on gay men. Notice that at the time of this article, there were, at minimum, 9 MALE-ONLY GUESTHOUSES in Key West--none of which had any intention of becoming "all welcoming" or "all inclusive" in return and admitting women. In fact, the reporter could locate ONLY ONE remaining lesbian guesthouse in the entire U.S.--and that was in New Hampshire.
And then notice how we're fed a line of bull on how womyn's space isn't really needed anymore because women couples are so totally accepted these days. What Kool-Aid are these people drinking? Wow, I want to live in that fantasy world. If you have any doubts about this issue, read through a couple of posts here at Lost Womyn's Space regarding violence directed at women in and around lesbian bars--and not just in the distant 1950s either. The interesting thing is that this utopian assumption is DIRECTLY CONTRADICTED by the testimony of Pearl's own guests, specifically the couple from Alabama (no great lesbian-friendly state last I heard). But why let the words and experiences of real living, breathing lesbians interfere with the official mainstream propaganda?
In fact, this has everything to do with money. And expanding this place to include heterosexual couples with either "bi-curious" women and/or "swinging" men will do a lot to help pay the bills. And I have seen no evidence that signing an agreement pledging to be "respectful" does anything to make obnoxious people behave nicely. I am reminded of what happened to Kansas City's former lesbian bar, Tootsie's, when it became overrun with "swingers." The lesbians were lectured on being "tolerant" and "accepting," even while the memo apparently didn't go out to the het male "guests." Verbal harrassment and physical groping aimed at lesbians continued to escalate, with the male hostility/entitlement culminating in a rape in one of the bathrooms in 2008. (Tootsie's is featured here at Lost Womyn's Space.) If "agreements" don't work in bars, then how will they be enforced against a straight couple from Toledo paying top dollar for the King Suite?
Make no mistake. Pearl's Rainbow is a victim of the recession and its effect on women, most of which could have NEVER afforded afford to patronize a place as nice as this--even before the economy took a dive.
Photo: Pearls, January 2010