And aren’t most hotels on South Beach pretty gay, anyway? Sure, the town has become less of a gay mecca than it was in the early 1990s, when packs of drag queens strutted the streets and everywhere you looked you were blinded by gym-sculpted boys flashing beautiful pecs.
There are only a couple of gay nightclubs left . And Middle America pretty much has the run of the place now. But anyone with any amount of gaydar can tell you the Beach is still way gay. Hang out at the Delano or the Raleigh or the W — really, just about any South Beach hotel — and you’ll see how easily gay people and straight people mix here.
Does South Beach, of all places, really need a gay hotel?
“All of that is true,’’ Gorman says. “But sometimes it’s more internalized. Am I really going to get romantic with my boyfriend in the Delano’s pool? I’m sure no one at the Delano is going to say anything. But I’m still going to feel a little uncomfortable. Here, you don’t have to worry about that at all. You can sit in the lobby with your arm around your boyfriend and know that no one is going to give you looks. And that really makes it a more special vacation.’’
Gorman won’t entertain the idea that sticking to your own kind can be narrow, or that preferring gay establishments means you’d rather hide in a ghetto of your own making than fight for a place at society’s biggest table.
But then, Gorman doesn’t get too stuck on the politics of being gay. He’s not running one more gay rights organization, after all.
“We’re not about taking ourselves so seriously here,’’ he says with a shrug. “We’re about a fun beach vacation. What a gay hotel can be is a place that brings another level of connection to its guests. When you’re at a gay hotel, you know you all have this one thing in common and it just makes it easier to meet people, start up a conversation.’’
Gorman is getting ready to implement “founder’s dinners” on Thursday nights, when he’ll invite guests down to the restaurant to eat together.
So he’ll be like Captain Stubing from the Love Boat?
“I prefer to be Julie,” Gorman says.
But he can be serious:
“It would be great to live in a world where everyone just mixed together and nobody cared if you’re gay or straight. But until that really happens, all of us who are gay — I don’t care who you are or where you came from — have a coming-out story. And part of that story is always painful. That struggle we all go through is part of what connects us as a community.’’
And Gorman is not a fan of the community going generic.
“There are people who say we shouldn’t need Gay Pride parades anymore. But I still love Gay Pride. And I love being part of a community. I love the camaraderie that goes with it. I don’t want that to go away. I have a very strong bond to my community. We party together, we work for charities together. It’s an amazing, positive thing. I don’t want to wash away all of those layers and lose our culture.’’
Which brings Gorman back to just having fun.
“Recently I had a group of friends who came down here to stay at the hotel and they were having a grand old time. One of them put on a pair of somebody’s high heels and he was prancing around the lobby, just being silly. Maybe its OK to be gay at other South Beach hotels. But here you know that no one is going to watch you and say anything but ‘Werk!’”