How Rainbow Flags Turned Palm Springs Blue

Into 
by Orion Rummler
September 15, 2018

 

Palm Springs is a resort town, a private desert oasis, and a solidly Democratic city in an otherwise purple county. That stubborn blue streak is thanks to the 1980s gay community, which adopted Palm Springs as a new home during the AIDS crisis.

“When people looked for a healthy place to recover, we were perfect,” said Renee Brown, associate curator and director of education at the Palm Springs Historical Society. The weather and privacy of the town were primary draws for those in recovery, she said.

In 1984, when the Pines West Resort began to welcome gay men recovering from AIDS, the city council and the mayor “went berserk,” according to Brown. Then-mayor Frank Bogert claimed that the world would think Palm Springs was “the place to come get AIDS.”

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