All Posts By

Josh Watkins

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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Speaking Out: Intersex Texan Promotes Protective Policy

A photo of intersex advocates Koomah and Mo Cortez.

When Mo Cortez was five years old, he woke up in a hospital bed, peeled back the sheets, and discovered a large red “X” on his groin. Cortez was born intersex—with ambiguous genitalia—and surgery was an attempt to “normalize” him. Instead, it made it him feel dehumanized, he says, “like a Frankenstein.” But despite his many challenges since then, Cortez says he has found truth in his identity, and has used his own experiences as motivation to tirelessly advocate for…

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Queer Colombia: Uncovering Gay Culture in Centuries of Tradition

A photo of Plaza San Pedro Claver in Cartagena in queer Colombia.

Traveling as a queer individual is always stressful, but when you and your partner decide to travel to one of the most traditionally Catholic countries in the world, nerves are on edge—especially when you don’t speak the native language! But with South America calling our name, my partner and I traveled to Colombia earlier this month to experience culture in every sense of the word.…

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Queer Online Activism: Pansexual YouTuber Talks Identity in the Digital Age

A photo of pansexual writer and YouTuber Sydney Turner promotes queer online activism.

In the digital age, a great deal of queer identity and community is built on the Internet. From memes on Tumblr to watching the HRT journeys of trans YouTubers, the online world presents a whole new way to express queerness. Spectrum South recently caught up with Sydney Turner—writer, comedian, and YouTuber—to discuss the possibilities and repercussions of being queer online.…

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