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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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If Only We Could Remember: Being Queer and Indigenous in the South

A photo of queer indigenous activist Eydka Chilomé.

I am an unapologetic queer indigenous femme woman, activist, artist, and educator with hair on my legs and under my armpits. I currently live in a place called Texas where I bear witness to police killings, klan/neo-nazi rallies, confederate flags, and trump propaganda—essentially white supremacy wrapped in the violently-appropriated indigenous Mexican aesthetic of the “cowboy.” Today, the u.s. South yells the same war cry that my ancestors have heard over and over again—a proud declaration of settler colonialism. …

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Houston Premieres ‘Major!’ Film on Transgender Day of Remembrance

A photo of Miss Major for Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20 was created to honor the memories of those who have lost their lives due to violence based on gender identity. This year, Houston community members will come together to not only honor this significant day, but to show pride and respect for the trans women of color who started the LGBTQ rights movement. To mark the TDOR, Transform Houston—a grassroots campaign dedicated to improving the lives and legal protections for transgender,…

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I’m Not Angry, I’m Aware: Transphobia and The Gay Community

A photo of how to be an ally and fight transphobia.

I’m not an angry person, but I am angry about injustice. I’ve come to terms with that anger though, because if we’re not angry about injustice, we’re not properly doing our jobs as activists. I’m also aware that not everyone is an activist, nor do they have to be. But when members of the LGBTQIA+ community begin to inhibit the progress of equality and equity for others within our community, it’s infuriating.…

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Teaching Queer Houston: Mind Mapping Montrose

An illustration of a mind map of Montrose, Houston.

When I moved to Houston in 2012, there was no question about where I would be living. As far as I was concerned, Montrose was everything. Conversation over. During my childhood visits to Houston, my dad would drive the scenic route from our Galleria-area hotel to downtown. As we rode down Westheimer Road, I’d stare out the window as we passed Dunlavy Street, Waugh Drive, Montrose Boulevard, and Taft Street, romanticizing what it would be like if dad just stopped…

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Meet Fran Watson: Queer Black Houston Lawyer and Activist Seeks Texas Senate Seat

A photo of Texas Senate District 17 candidate Fran Watson.

As an assistant professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Comparative Cultural Studies at University of Houston, I’m particularly thrilled to see candidates who make the Texas political landscape reflective of the diversity of Houston. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Fran Watson through the city’s LGBTQ activist networks, and have seen her consistently show up to serve and engage with many different Texas communities. Fran and I traveled to Austin together this spring—as part of a…

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Love is Love is Love: Producing Queer Theatre in the Deep South

A photo from Glow Lyric Theatre's production of Love is Love is Love

I booked a venue for the evening of Valentine’s Day, and asked 10 LGBTQ singers, actors, dancers, poets, and artists from the community to help me jump-start the project. We all gathered together. Unsure of how to start, I asked everyone what message they wanted the piece to convey. At this question, the room bubbled over with stories of young love, first times, heartbreak, and the loss of love. Their vulnerability reminded me that the feelings and situations surrounding love…

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