All Posts By

Josh Watkins

Be The Change: Why Queer Folks Need to Join The Resistance

A photo of Josh Watkins and Laura Moser who are part of the resistance.

On November 4, 2017, I sat in the ballroom of the Houston Marriott North, surrounded by some of the city’s most prominent, eclectic, and diverse transgender leaders. Together, we had gathered for the 25th annual Houston Transgender Unity Banquet, to share a safe space and celebrate the Gulf Coast’s ever-growing trans community. The speaker lineup was jam-packed, each one voicing words of empowerment and hope. Then, Phyllis Frye, a trans woman, veteran, advocate, and the first openly transgender judge appointed…

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A Long and Winding Road: Finding The Way As A Queer Christian

A photo of queer Christian Sam Fagan.

Like water and oil, Christianity and LGBTQ identity are often seen as separate and impossible to mix. But for southerner Sam Fagan, her faith and queerness are both equal, essential parts to her holistic identity. While she admits the process is ongoing and has not been easy, Fagan has found a way to reconcile the two and finds peace in the balance.…

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Through A Queer Lens: A Conversation With New Orleans Photographer Chris Berntsen

A photo by photographer Chris Berntsen.

New Orleans has always been an epicenter for all things queer, eccentric, and avant-garde. From Mardi Gras to NOLA Pride to Southern Decadence, queerness thrives on the centuries-old streets of the Big Easy. That magic is what keeps New Orleans transplant and photographer Chris Berntsen rooted in the city. With each snapshot, Berntsen views New Orleans and its residents literally and figuratively through a queer lens, discovering new connections along the way.…

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In The Mix: Bartender Jojo Martinez Serves Cocktails With Flair

A photo of bartender Jojo Martinez.

Mixologist Jojo Martinez is raising the bar—both behind and beyond it. The San Antonio native turned Houston transplant is the founder of J. Martini Services, a full-service bartending company for weddings, parties, and special events (many of which give back to the LGBTQ community). But owning your own business doesn’t come easy—Martinez says copious amounts of hard work and sacrifice are behind her success.…

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The Mahogany Project: Creating Safe QPOC Spaces in the South

A photo of The Mahogany Project founder and board member.

For queer people, safe spaces are important. For queer people of color, safe spaces are vital. The Mahogany Project, a Houston-grown nonprofit focused on bridging the gap between empowerment and education in black and brown LGBTQIA communities, aims to create such spaces. The project was founded in April 2017 by Verniss McFarland III, an intersex Houstonian who saw the need to engage and unite the trans community and its allies in response to the high rate of violence against black and…

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We Are All The Same: Mississippi Artist Uses Paint to Unite Queerness and Faith

A photo of queer Mississippi artist Jonathan Kent Adams.

Mississippi is known for its soul food, singing the blues, and deep southern culture. But Oxford painter Jonathan Kent Adams dreams of putting the Magnolia State on the map for something more—queer art. Adams grew up in a small town outside of Yazoo City, building forts in the woods, wading in the creek, and running through pastures to his grandparents’ house. He dabbled in singing, which taught him passion, and learned self-discipline by playing basketball.…

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Transforming Fashion: Texas Trans Model of Color Breaks Boundaries

A photo of trans model Jessica Zyrie.

Jessica Zyrie, a Texas-raised trans model, aims to change the fashion uniform. Born in New Jersey, Zyrie grew up in San Antonio, where she transitioned her senior year of high school. Although some in her life rejected her for transitioning, Zyrie says she is still grateful. “There have been many highs and lows in my transition, but I have gained so much more than I’ve lost,” she says. “I’ve gained true happiness in knowing that I can be loved and…

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Reclaiming Brujería Through Queerness

A photo of a queer brujería spell on Donald Trump.

Brujería often possesses a negative reputation and is feared as a manifestation of evil. But for many young Latinx millennials—and more specifically queer Latinx millennials—it is an outlet for empowerment and freedom. Spectrum South recently caught up with Alex Aguilar, a self-identified queer bruja from the Rio Grande Valley who is now based in Austin.…

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