New York City-based art-pop musician Prince Johnny is bringing queer history to a whole new generation with their debut EP, Stupid Sex, which addresses the beginning of the AIDS epidemic as well as the freewheeling, Studio 54, sexually liberated era that preceded it. The closing track, “Sex Party,” leaves you with nostalgic interview sound bites from the bittersweet documentary Gay Sex in the ’70s of gay men recounting the terror and joy of their youth. “I believe the trauma the queer community experienced in the AIDS epidemic has impacted each generation since in a profound and pervasive way,” they say.
The highly anticipated second season of Academy Award-winning writer (Moonlight) Tarell Alvin McCraney’s OWN series David Makes Man premiered a few weeks ago and is already creating buzz around the Peabody Award-winning series that follows a teenage prodigy in South Florida. During a virtual panel discussion at the season’s Outfest premiere, creator McCraney noted the series “required characters who are queer and queer-identifying, and some who don’t identify as queer that you learn are queer — because that’s the way the world works, that’s the way the world I grew up in worked.”
Canadian spoken-word performer, writer, and LGBTQ+ advocate Ivan E. Coyote has received much acclaim for their short stories, novels, films, and live performances. During the decades they spent telling stories around the globe, Coyote has kept a file of the most special communications they received from readers and audience members. Now compiled into a book, Care Of: Letters, Connections and Cures is a beautiful and sometimes painful narrative that touches on themes like compassion and empathy, family fragility, nonbinary and trans identity, and the power of human connection.
Queer Indigenous artist Jayli Wolf, based in Toronto, continues to be a role model and inspiration for LGBTQ+ people and trauma survivors (who are often one and the same) by bravely speaking — and singing — her truth. The Anishinaabe-Cree activist, actress, filmmaker, producer, and alt-pop singer-songwriter’s latest single, “Hush,” delves further into her journey as a survivor of a doomsday cult and how that affected her accepting her bisexual identity. “My first true love with another girl [a fellow cult member] was filled with guilt and shame,” Wolf recalls. “Being free now, my deprogramming has also allowed me to question the societal conditioning around relationships and sexual orientation. I hope this song brings people feelings of power and freedom in their own personal explorations.” Wolf’s EP Wild Whisper was released in June and is available on most major streaming platforms
Though many might be feeling a little jaded due to the number of brands that jump on — and promptly off — the Pride bus every June, it’s also refreshing to see that many other businesses are stepping up to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round. Happy Socks, known for its fun and colorful feet coverings, is putting its money where its mouth is this year by donating what it would have spent on a Pride advertising campaign to InterPride, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex Pride around the world. In addition, 10 percent of the proceeds from the company’s new Pride collection will be donated to InterPride all year.
Nearly 40 years after the book’s initial publishing, the Golden Crown Literary Society is paying homage to Black feminist author Audre Lorde’s 1982 masterpiece of intersectionality, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. The ahead-of-its-time “biomythography” (a literary term coined by Lorde combining history, biography, and myth) is the recipient of the 2021 Lee Lynch Classic Award. Lynch described the impact the novel had on her own life, saying it “legitimized for me my queerness in a way I had not experienced…. Reading Lorde’s book is an honor and an entrance to a rarefied vision of our lesbian selves in the world.”
We are super jazzed to learn that the International Women’s Festival is back on for 2022 and even more excited that queer pop-folk artist Mary Lambert is headlining the event. Lambert, who has been outspoken throughout her career about surviving abuse, trauma, and growing up gay in a heavily Christian environment, describes her performances as “safe spaces where crying is encouraged.” Lambert is one of the prominent voices in “Love, Me,” a new campaign from Pride Media (The Advocate’s parent company) that shares stories of how folks are overcoming treatment-resistant depression. “I started songwriting when I was like five years old. It was a form of survival,” Lambert says in her “Love, Me” video. “I remember the first song I ever wrote — just saying, ‘You’re gonna be OK, you’re gonna be OK.’”
Big, queer kudos to the Family Acceptance Project for creating first-of-their-kind posters supporting LGBTQ+ youth and young adults that are available in Chinese (traditional and simplified), Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The project, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is the “world’s first research, intervention, education, and policy initiative that helps diverse families to support their LGBTQ children.”
With only a handful of Indigenous queens ever featured on large-audience platforms like global RuPaul’s Drag Race franchises, the need for representation of this community is great — which is why we’re grateful for the Miss First Nation 2021 pageant, Australia’s only national competition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drag performers. Congrats to this year’s winner, Cerulean!
The Queenly NFT, the first “cryptogallery” for queer creators, launched during Pride Month with a party at a former Andy Warhol Factory site in Manhattan. The rise of the NFT, or nonfungible token, movement (which incorporates the use of digital token currency, like Bitcoin) in the art world is allowing artists of all kinds to substantially monetize their work. The initial roster of participating artists includes photographers Wilsonmodels, Lola Flash, Greg Salvatori, and Maxwell Poth (who shot the Ricky Martin portrait below); Drag Race alums Bob the Drag Queen, Peppermint, and Manila Luzon; and trans singer-songwriter and activist Mila Jam.