From 20 members in 1978 to today’s 300 plus, the Provincetown Business Guild (PBG) is the first tourism organization in the country whose primary mission is to promote and support tourism for the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender visitors.
In 1979, one of the members of the PBG managed to attract a national entertainment magazine, After Dark. The Provincetown feature showcased male models in our world famous dunes, beaches, private homes and artist studios. The nationwide response to the article resulted in a huge recognition of Provincetown as THE premier LGBT destination – a distinction that has continued to grow with the ongoing travel awards.
How does one describe Provincetown? 1979 PBG Member, James L. McNearney had this to say:
Gertrude Stein put down much of what lies between this extreme tip of Cape Cod and the outermost Aleutian Island because she observed that there was no ‘there’ there. To understand Provincetown you must realize that it was ‘there’ yesterday and it will be ‘there’ tomorrow.
Provincetown the myth and Provincetown the reality – here myth and reality merge as one. All is true and all is false. It will last forever and it exists only for the moment. Believe what you read. Believe what you hear. Believe what you see or feel. Believe what you know or believe none of it. It really makes no difference, because Provincetown is an experience from within. Of course, you can say that about your favorite pastry too, but no matter how much you might rhapsodize it, the pastry cannot lead you to the object of your search.
Provincetown, as an experience both lived and imagined, inevitably brings you to a closer knowledge of your innermost self. The same self we all share as gay women and men in a world that still places us on the wrong side of the sale at that feast of life where we all seek to open our hearts and let the wine flow.
Provincetown is a feast. One’s senses are fully employed here. External stimulations are abundant and often overwhelming for the visitor from the cities ‘off Cape.’ The day before arriving, the city dweller is pinned to his post, held there by telephones, schedules, errands, cars, buses, subways, meetings and other daily routines. Upon arriving, these structured frustrations give way to the open beaches and dunes, spaces which allow you the freedom to be alone, even in the peak of summer season. Fiery skies and crystal starry nights greet you with enclosures of the cities. Smells that take you back to your childhood engulf you. At midday, silver suns bounce off the waves and radiate from your cheeks. Even the rains move you closer to yourself. A stroll down Commercial Street or in the dunes brings you within easy reach of another wanderer. People – the first and last of the senses to be affected by a visit to Provincetown is this sense of a people.
Here the gay person is altered to the refreshing certainty that he or she ‘belongs.’