Holidays in the Aftermath of Harvey

A photo of gay Houstonian Ian L. Haddock after Hurricane Harvey.

Six days into Hurricane Harvey, things hit me. I was living in a motel room provided by FEMA with only a few sets of clothes, the photos I could grab, and my laptop. The space was decent and clean, but my heart was cluttered with the fear of the unknown. Don’t get me wrong, I’m resilient. Like thousands of other queer-identified people, I have been homeless before, couchsurfed many times, and learned to do whatever it takes to survive. It is…

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A Place to Call Home: Finding Peace in My Queer Jewish Identity

A photo of queer Jewish Houstonian Brittany Weinstein

When my family celebrates Hanukkah, I know two things to be true every year: I will eat entirely too much and I will be interrogated like a criminal suspect. I don’t have a single family member or Jewish friend who hasn’t been asked, “So when are you going to marry a nice Jewish boy?” What am I supposed to say to that? “Well bubbe, I actually have a live-in girlfriend. We’ve been together for five years. We sleep in the…

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The Cowboy in Me: Baring My Queer Christian Country Soul

An illustration of a Christian cowboy hat.

Writing this feels like taking a selfie. Normally, focusing too much on myself makes me uncomfortable. But I hope it can help others who relate. Let me begin by saying that I feel more like a soul than a physical body. Like souls tend to be, I’m moved by and connect with art. I feel nestled beneath towering prison walls when I listen to a dark Johnny Cash album. Like I’m lying in a field of bluebonnets when the Dixie…

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Yule Tide Pride: A Queer Guide to Surviving the Holidays

A photo of queer heart lights for the holidays.

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a Blessed Yule to all! With all of the hustle and bustle of these magical winter festivities, it seems impossible to feel alone. Yet, as queer folks, many of us often do. Sometime between Thanksgiving and the New Year, the feelings of loneliness and isolation begin to creep in. If we are single, have strained relationships with our families of origin, or are struggling with our identities, these feelings can be…

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Southern Pride: I Want to Remember The Sins of Our Ancestors

A photo of Ariel Emmerson in Jefferson County, the home of her ancestors.

My connection to my “half” southern heritage has always felt tentative. Growing up, my identity was deeply rooted in my Pacific Northwest upbringing. Despite moving back and forth between Washington state and the D.C. area, my middle school and high school years in Bellingham, WA shaped my sense of place and belonging. During these years, it was easy to romanticize my southern heritage, to see the South as a distant and foreign place, and to laugh and gently tease my…

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World AIDS Day: Restoring Faith in the Community

An illustration of World AIDS Day and faith.

Faith is something that you believe in, but can’t see. It tells you that all in life and love are possible, even when everyone around you says they’re not. But some have forgotten what it’s like to have faith. Some have lost their faith because those who they thought would be there for them have turned their backs. Today, on World AIDS Day, I’m reminded of the faith that I have, that I have had, and how it has brought…

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QFest Hosts ‘BPM’ (Beats Per Minute) Film Screening for World AIDS Day

A photo from the film BPM.

A taste of the Cannes Film Festival will arrive in Houston on December 3 with the QFest screening of BPM (Beats per Minute) at Rice University in observance of World AIDS Day. The film, which is France’s official foreign language submission for the 2018 Academy Awards, follows a group of ACT UP members in Paris—nearly a decade after the AIDS crisis began—as they bring attention to the epidemic. At the Cannes, BPM won four awards including the Grand Prix prize—second…

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Living by Choice: My First HIV Test

A photo of Russell Etherton sharing his story about his first HIV test.

I try and live my life by choice. My first HIV test, however, was in reaction—reaction to a love story and a partner I thought I knew. Once upon a time, in a gay land far away… I vividly remember the day I met my ex-boyfriend. Like so many of my friends, Grindr was how I found “connection.” I opened the app and, in the endless scroll of faces and torsos, I’d find someone who would quench whatever thirst I had that…

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Asking for a Friend: Six Queer-Friendly Dating Apps That’ll Make You Swipe Right

An illustration of dating apps.

Greetings queerios, allies, and friends! In this special edition of Asking For A Friend, I’m going to take you on my personal tour of dating apps. I frequently get asked which dating apps or sites I recommend and, to be honest, I don’t often know which ones are the most “in” at the moment. But, as a relationship expert, sexologist, and a single-and-ready-to-mingle woman, I decided to dive in and share my digital dating experiences. Full disclosure before we begin: these…

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Yes, I Still Eat Chick-fil-A

An illustration of gay Chick-fil-A.

The boycotts we engage in largely serve to elevate our own egos, as people think, “Look at the good I’m doing in the world by rejecting the hate chicken.” Plus, it’s not that hard to choose another fast-food restaurant off a U.S. Interstate where they dot feeder roads like weeds. But it’s almost unthinkable for liberals to picket Apple—especially when they have a magnificent pro-LGBTQ record. To add another dimension, we mostly boycott companies that only negatively affect the domestic…

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