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If I Were Texas Governor…

A photo of Monica Roberts as governor.

It's now been several weeks since that historic election, the one that made me the first Black female governor of the Lone Star State. It also makes me the first Democratic governor since Ann Richards held the office from 1991 to 1995. The shock of election night has since worn off. The election is certified, the interviews are done, and I spend the runup to Inauguration Day learning the nuts and bolts of the position. I must be prepared to…

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My Life as an Online Lesbian Dominatrix

An illustration of a queer dominatrix.

All of this is done over web camera—the physical and legal protection of which I am grateful. On camera, there are no STDs, no vice squad, and a far lower risk of being followed home by fans. Online, my clients and I explore our common kinks and sexual tastes while preserving the delicate balance of our vanilla off-camera lives. For numerous reasons, many of my clients need to keep their desires to be dominated and sexually-controlled private. They have jobs…

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Embracing Joterías: Queer San Antonio Artist Launches Playful Pride-Inspired Merch

A photo of Joterías by Jose Villalobos.

After causing a stir in the Texas art scene with his participation in Mexic-Arte Museum’s annual Young Latino Artist exhibition (Young Latino Artists 22: ¡Ahora!) in Austin, Jose Villalobos is shifting his energies from the world of fine art to the creation of a brand new line of LGBTQ Pride-themed novelty items. For those of us who may not be able to afford museum-quality artworks, this line of merchandise allows the perfect opportunity to support the arts while showing a bit of pride. The…

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Teaching Queer Houston: Houston We Have History

A photo of the Houston We Have History Banner Project.

I first visited the Montrose Center, Houston’s main LGBTQ community center, in 2016 for a playwriting workshop. During one of our breaks, I snooped around, checking out the schedule of events. What caught my eye most, however, was the Houston We Have History Banner Project—a colorful timeline of queer Houston history that stretches down the third floor hallway. As I mentioned in the first installment of this series, during my second year of teaching Intro to LGBT Studies at the University…

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All This and Heaven Too: San Antonio Retrospective Celebrates Gay, HIV-Positive Artist Chuck Ramirez

A photo of gay artist Chuck Ramirez, whose retrospective, All This and Heaven Too, is at the McNay Art Museum.

Sometimes, less is more. That can certainly be said about the life and creations of openly gay artist Chuck Ramirez. His work has been described as a form of photographic minimalism created in the span of a relatively brief but productive period (1995-2010). Ramirez’s death following a cycling accident at age 48 shook the arts community, but seven years later, his artistic stock continues to rise as collectors and museums around the country become privy to his many accomplishments.…

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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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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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