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50 States, 50 Pieces of Art: Artists Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin Excavate Queer American History

A photo of the Texas installation of 50 States by Jake Margolin and Nick Vaughan.

A few years ago, visual artists and married couple Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin stumbled upon some little-known 19th century queer history in William Benemann’s Men in Eden. This uncovered book charts the journey of William Drummond Stewart, a Scottish lord turned fur trader, and his male lover Antoine Clement as they led an expedition of around a hundred men from St. Louis to what is now Wyoming. Inspired by this caravan of same-sex loving men, Vaughan and Margolin crafted…

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‘Welcome to the Jungle’: A Mother and Son Trip to Vietnam and Cambodia

A photo of author Josh Inocéncio at Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Our last mother and son venture—to New York City in 2014—was shattered of all joy when I came out to her as gay at the airport before we departed Houston. But hey, she coaxed me. That, and since my dad and I had hiked Mt. Fuji in Japan, my mom hungered for a trip with me. And I wanted her to go, especially amid the busyness of her new position at work. She longs to see the world, and we…

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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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Think Globally, Act Hillbilly: A Road Trip through Kentucky on Grindr, Tinder

An illustration of a road trip through Kentucky.

A huge part of me grew up closeted in Kentucky, and I know that—in a state of roughly four million folks—lots of other boys did, too. And while the cities of Louisville and Lexington brim with gay bars and rainbow crosswalks, there are plenty of guys living out and proud in smaller towns, too. I wanted to meet and connect with fellow gay men across Kentucky, so I rebooted Tinder and Grindr.…

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Sacred Steps: A Pilgrimage to Mexico City

Spectrum South writer Josh Inocencio overlooking the Teotihuacan pyramids in Mexico City, Mexico.

The history of my family (and an outrageously cheap Expedia deal) is why I ventured to Mexico City in May, to finally look upon the sites that compose a whole third of my ancestors. And though Montezuma’s Revenge confined me to an entire day of gulping peach Pedialite and binging 'Master of None,' I still paid pilgrimage to everything I wanted to see. From the Catholic cathedrals to the Teotihuacan pyramids to Frida Kahlo’s studio, my three friends and I…

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What is the South?

An illustration of the south.

Inspired by a friendly yet fiery conversation with my friend about which states constitute “the South,” I decided to curate a more formal dialogue between Dr. Rachel Afi Quinn, Dr. Trevor Boffone, and myself—all queer people based in Houston with roots spread throughout the region—where we could hash out our ideas on what the South truly is. The following is an edited version of our conversation……

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