Just Because the Human Rights Campaign Named Wilton Manors, Florida “Perfect” Doesn’t Mean It Is
The Human Rights Campaign recently released its annual Municipality Equality Index and Wilton Manors (and two other Florida cities, Orlando and St. Petersburg) scored 100 percent on a whole host of categories: “non-discrimination laws, municipal employment policies, inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement including hate crime reporting, and municipal leadership on matters of equality.”
Okay we get it and why Wilton Manors, a shit hole twenty odd years ago (I know – I partied there as a snowbird and where the iconic Alibi stands today was a shooting den for druggies) is probably the fastest growing gay mecca in the United States right now, and why every self-respecting gay man or couple, especially the ready-to-retire and just retired Baby Boomers, are determined to have their own slice of paradise.
But I’ve lived here in the Fort Lauderdale area for thirteen years now, in neighboring Oakland Park (which ranked 86 in the HRC score card), and regularly play in WM, and I’ve got to tell you it ain’t all perfect.
What they don’t tell you is:
WM, again because of gayboy demand, has some of the most overpriced real estate and rentals in Broward County (I bought in Oakland Park because it was saner price-wise, and just 15 minutes away from Party Town.)
The closer your home is to the strip the more likely you’ll hear the noise of the bars and the more likely your quiet street will be invaded by cars on a weekend night. (Never enough parking in Party Town.) And the drunks who will attempt to drive them. Ditto with the piss on your shrubs.
Pedestrians on Wilton Drive, the strip where most of Lauderdale’s night life is located, are an endangered species on a weekend night – yes, guys have been run over – and so far there’s been a lot of talk of what to do about but not much action.
If you do drive, get ready for the bike boys – like in Schwinn – from all directions. These are the gay guys who have too many DUI’s or no money to afford wheels – the four version kind. Go ‘head, label me a spoiled suburban brat but it’s kind of sad to see a fifty something year old man on the bike at two o’clock in the afternoon pedaling home with groceries. (These are the same guys who can’t host because they have four roommates and want you to pick them up, take them to your place, fuck ‘em, and take them back. Sure. You live in suburban sprawl South Florida and you don’t have a car??!)
If you don’t mind being cruised at ten in the morning in the twenty items or less aisle of the local supermarket, you’ll love WM. But if enough is enough, don’t move there.
But hey, don’t let me bust your bubble if you’re contemplating moving to Gay Paradise. I’m sure you have the capability of doing that all by yourself.