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Bonnaroo: A Queer Experience

A photo of queer Bonnaroo.

I was working a corporate chair massage gig at a random high-rise in Austin, Texas when my colleague started boasting about her upcoming massage stint at Bonnaroo, the four-day-long music festival in rural Tennessee. Colloquially called “The Farm” by festival-goers (aka Bonaroovians), Bonnaroo celebrated its 17th birthday this year, making it one of the longer-standing music festivals in the South.…

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Feel My Pride Too: Comedian Sampson Joins The T.R.U.T.H. Project for One-Night-Only Pride Experience

A photo of gay comedian Sampson.

Comedy as a catalyst for change. Laughter as a social conversation starter. These are the tools openly gay artist and comedian Sampson uses in his daily work—and he loves every minute of it. “I’ve been doing it for over two decades now,” Sampson shares. “I was one of the first Black, openly gay stand up comedians in the country and I’ve used [my work] to bring awareness to a lot of our issues as LGBTQ people. It’s about visibility, dispelling…

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Fear The Queer: Breaking the Boundaries of Houston Drag

A photo of Fear the Queer performers.

Walking into a Fear the Queer (FTQ) show is like being transported into a world of queer fantasy and fiction. The music is loud, the lights are dimmed, and the boundaries of drag and art are being pushed and pulled in every direction. Self-described as “a perfectly peculiar posse of performers,” “an incubator of talent,” and “a safe haven for the alternative subculture, within a subculture,” FTQ came out swinging when they launched last August.…

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Providing Platforms: Emilio Rodriguez Brings Queer Latino Play ‘Swimming While Drowning’ to UH

A photo of Emilio Rodriguez, playwright of Swimming While Drowning.

“You just don’t have the look.” This was the argument that queer Latino actor and playwright Emilio Rodriguez continuously faced from casting directors. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre studies from the University of California at Irvine, Rodriguez eagerly entered the industry only to have one audition inquiry after another declined. “So, I began writing roles for characters that look like me,” Rodriguez explains. “To represent characters who were experiencing what I went through, no matter what…

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Talk Derby To Me: Meet Houston Roller Derby Production Manager Sweetie Todd

A photo of Houston Roller Derby's Sweetie Todd

“I wish I would’ve found it when I was a little younger,” laughs Belinda Pedraza, AKA Sweetie Todd. At age 55, she’s one of the oldest members of Houston Roller Derby (HRD), but arguably one of the most versatile. Sweetie joined the league over a decade ago and has been happily ingrained in the female-dominated sport ever since, volunteering her time first as a medic, then skater, official, coach, and now production manager.…

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Spoken Word Poet K Garner is A Post-Gender Girl in a Post-Gender World

A photo of queer spoken word artist K Garner.

A beauty mark beard dances along K Garner’s chin; the lengthy shadow, an external reminder of the unique balance of masculinity and femininity that resides within the queer spoken word artist. It’s a balance Garner has been exploring since her early adulthood as she sought answers to questions like: What does it mean to be a woman? To be a man? To balance one or the other while weighing the terms “femme” and “butch”?…

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Living Out Loud: Trans Activist Dee Dee Watters Rediscovers Passion for Poetry

A photo of Dee Dee Watters.

On a warm summer night in 2013, I walk by myself across the parking lot of the Montrose Center. My youth group peers have left me behind, chatting amongst themselves. Dee Dee Watters notices me walking alone, smiles, and waves a hand with long decorated nails. “I don’t know you, but I love you,” she says. “Have a good night. I’ll see you around.”…

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This Ain’t My First Rodeo: The Problem With Your Cowboy Drag

A photo from Rodeo Houston.

It’s March, and in Houston, that means three things: annoyingly ambivalent weather, springing our clocks ahead for the dreaded tradition of daylight saving time, and the most popular of the three by a long shot, Houston’s Livestock Show and Rodeo. Talk about tradition, this three-week-long event (celebrating 86 years this month) brings in over two million attendees every year and has committed more than $430 million to youth since its inception. No wonder it’s known far and wide as the…

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Hear Me: The T.R.U.T.H. Project Puts LGBTQ Youth of Color and Ally Voices Center Stage

A photo of LGBTQ youth from Hear Me of The T.R.U.T.H. Project.

On February 24, LGBTQ and allied youth artists stood side-by-side, center stage at Houston’s MATCH with one declaration: “HEAR ME.” Their voices were shared as part of The T.R.U.T.H. Project’s first-ever installment that incorporated storytelling by LGBTQ youth and allies. Through intimate spoken word, movement, song, and visual art, this next generation of voices addressed and challenged stigma, rose above adversity, and united themselves with the audience for an incredible journey.…

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