Qmmunity: The Gay Gene

Plus events, cyber babes, and local queerlebrity book release!

What matters is we're here. (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

A new study confirms: Genetics can't predict sexuality. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study, released Aug. 29, looked at roughly half a million people to determine there's no one "gay gene." They did find, however, that many genes "each with a tiny effect" can help determine gayness. According to The New York Times, genetics is "responsible for perhaps a third of the influence" on queerness. The rest comes from social and environmental factors. As someone who doesn't feel seen by the "born this way" argument, I appreciate the confirmation of other factors, but that's because I believe queerness – in all its forms, wherever, and however it takes root – is valid. In 2012, sparking contention in the LGBTQmmunity, Sex and the City actress and 2018 New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon said something that stuck with me: "I say it doesn't matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here." I understand and respect anyone who says they were born gay, but to insist that's the only way we can be queer is to imply no one would choose to be "this way." I think that's untrue and unfair. Queer life isn't always viewed as valid; many of us have been disowned, had slurs flung at us, some have been victims of violence – but the hatred of outsiders doesn't make me value, love, or want my queerness and my qmmunity any less. I would not choose to be straight. Yet I'm not unaware, of course, of the concern that people who'd erase us might try to use this information to strengthen their arguments for conversion therapy or other methods to eradicate queerness – as if that's possible. As one (gay) MIT geneticist who worked on the study told the Times, queerness is "written into our genes and it's part of our environment. This is part of our species and it's part of who we are." We're complicated beings; there's no one answer or neat conclusion for queerness – but here we are.

2 To Do

Trans+ Worldwide Book Release & Signing OMGeee! The always awesome Kathryn Gonzales co-wrote Trans+: Love, Sex, Relationships, and Being You with Karen Rayne, and they're celebrating its worldwide release, so join the party and snag a copy of this uncensored guide for the trans, ENBY, gender-nonconforming, and gender-fluid teens in your life. Sun., Sept. 8, 2pm. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar. www.thetransbook.com.

Cyberbabes: A Femme and Queer Showcase Y2K Technologies, p1nkstar, Inc., and BossBabes are bringing on a night of queer and femme creations to close out Babes Fest 2019 (see online). Expect musicians, DJs, performance and visual artists including p1nkstar and Y2K (duh), local drag legends, TK Tunchez of Las Ofrendas, L.A.-based pop artist Jarina de Marco, and a whole lot more. Sun., Sept. 8, 6pm-1:30am. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $5. www.bossbabes.org.

Q'd Up

Trans, Enby, Intersex Queer Swim All are welcome; look for the trans flag. Thu., Sept. 5, 9-10pm. Barton Springs Pool, 2201 Barton Springs Rd. Free.

Southwest of Salem The doc on the Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of sexual assault. Fri., Sept. 6, 6:30pm. Wildflower Church, 1314 E. Oltorf. Free.

Freddie for a Day! Homage to Freddie Mercury and fundraiser for ASA. Sat., Sept. 7, 7:30pm. ABGB, 1305 W. Oltorf. $15. www.asaustin.org.

Beyoncé v. Rihanna Can y'all believe this DJ GirlFriend party is turning 6?! Sat., Sept. 7, 9pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. Free.

Travesuras Ruby Knight hosts rabble-rousing drag. Sat., Sept. 7, 9:30pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $5.

Gear Night Remember, leave any shade at the door. First Saturdays, 10pm. The Iron Bear, 121 W. Eighth.

Queering the Sequel Queer improv of str8 movies. Sundays through Sept. 15, 7pm. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress. $12. www.hideouttheatre.com.

Lambdas Open House Check out the gay square dance club! Mon., Sept. 9, 6:30pm. Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 200 W. Anderson. Free.

Boiz Throughout History! An ode to icons. Tue., Sept. 10, 9pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $5.

Drag Workshops Jack Rabid teaches the ins and outs of drag (queen) makeup. Wed., Sept. 11, 7pm. Coco Coquette, 2109 E. Cesar Chavez. $100. www.coco-coquette.com.

The Vixens of Volstead Veronica Valentine and May Magdalene are back. Wed., Sept. 11, 10pm-12mid. Volstead Lounge, 1500 E. Sixth. Free.

Rhea Butcher With Ava Smartt Holy comic queermos! Thu., Sept. 12, 8-11pm. The North Door, 502 Brushy. $20-25.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Austin LGBTQ
Qmmunity: UT’s Gender Affirmation Project Is Back With Virtual Clinics
Qmmunity: UT’s Gender Affirmation Project Is Back With Virtual Clinics
Plus, rainbow reading, queerlesque, and more to-do's

Beth Sullivan, Oct. 2, 2020

Qmmunity: SBOE Debates the Good, the Bad, and the Bass-ackwards
Qmmunity: SBOE Debates the Good, the Bad, and the Bass-ackwards
Plus, join AIDS Walk Austin Saturday to step to zero new HIV infections by 2030

Beth Sullivan, Sept. 18, 2020

More Qmmunity
Qmmunity: We're Here, We're Queer, We're So Gonna Vote
Qmmunity: We're Here, We're Queer, We're So Gonna Vote
GOTV with Pride at the Polls

Beth Sullivan, Oct. 16, 2020

Qmmunity: A Proud History
Qmmunity: A Proud History

Beth Sullivan, Oct. 9, 2020


Austin LGBTQ, Gay Gene, LGBTQ, Cynthia Nixon, p1nkstar, Y2K, Bossbabes, Babes Fest, TK Tunchez, Kathryn Gonzales, Karen Rayne, Trans+: Love, Sex, Relationships, and Being You, Las Ofrendas

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle