This dusty town, two hours from Los Angeles has done more for queer history than some of its larger neighbors. This is because of its roots as the playground for rich and famous LGBT stars. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, the old movie studios owned the contracts for most entertainers. They were hyper protective of their stars and had dozens of requirements for employment, including morality clauses and requiring them to remain within a two-hour drive of Los Angeles.
Palm Springs was at the outer limit of where they could travel and so became a private oasis for actors looking for a little downtime. Many famous LGBT actors journeyed to Palm Springs to protect themselves from being outed and losing their careers. As a result, the area became the pseudo “what happens in Vegas” destination of the Golden Hollywood era.
It’s home to the world’s largest lesbian event.
Dinah Shore Weekend is a huge lesbian festival event. It’s held in Palm Springs in April every year. The festival’s namesake was a singer and actress who started a women’s golf tournament in 1972. Palm Springs already had a large population of lesbians but even more flocked to the city to take part in the competition. After the golf tournament, private parties would spring up across the area, until eventually, “are you going to Dinah Shore?” became a tongue-in-cheek identifier within the lesbian community.