Qmmunity: A Decade of Austin’s Queer History

Plus Iron Bear says farewell to Eighth Street and Joterias returns!

A decade in Austin's queerness (Photo by Jana Birchum)

For the last month, I, along with many a fellow queer journalist, have touched on the many rises and falls faced within the LGBTQmmunity over the last decade – as one is wont to do when facing the end (and beginning) of an era. As the years go faster, it's almost startling to recall all that's come and gone and won and lost in 10 years. With a limited number of hands, words, and time, it would be all but impossible for me to accurately cover the many queer milestones and history markers Austin achieved in the last decade, but I can't help but offer a few defining moments that changed queer life in this city.

This decade gave us QueerBomb. Started in 2010, the "rag-tag" DIY event offered a queerer, radical, and more inclusive alternative to Pride, which was a little too tightly wound at the time. It also brought the official "Gay Place" – Qmmunity's unicorn-led predecessor – landing page on the Chronicle for all things queer at the Chron! (We've been doing this the longest, and we still cover LGBTQ news and culture the best, IMPO.) While we're not the lone celebrators of SCOTUS' June 2015 marriage equality ruling, I'll never forget the way Fourth Street sparkled with queer joy that night. In 2016 we saw the return, and rebranding, of Austin Black Pride, headed by a new crew of movers and shakers who continue to make space, host needed conversations, and celebrate our Black LGBTQ community. But 2016 was a complicated year, nationally marked by Pulse and Trump's election. It was also the year that we lost Monica Loera, and awful conservative politicians near and far began pushing bathroom bills, but the defeat of that same bill in 2017 is surely a victory worth remembering. We saw two out LGBTQ City Council members this decade – Randi Shade wrapped her time on the dais in 2011, and Jimmy Flannigan has spent the past four years helping make the city of Austin just a little more queer. We lost some well-loved events, though the one that stands out to me out is GayBiGayGay, which faded into the queer ether in 2016. But queer magic never dies; it simply transforms – now Lesbian Wedding stands in to queerly fill the end-of-SXSW void. With QueerBomb defining 2010, it seems almost fitting that we'd end the decade with two new Pride-esque events: Austin's first (but certainly not our last) ever Trans Pride and the much-longed-for return of our very own Dyke March – what I'd dub the rebellious, outspoken, and politically radical sister to your average Pride Parade. With that, I'm out of space, but full of awe remembering all that we've accomplished together. I can't wait to see what we'll create in the 2020s.

2 To Do

Gear Night Slip into your sexiest fetish-inspired clothing and revel in the last Gear Night in Iron Bear's OG space, cuz this bear bar is packing up and moving south to Sixth Street after tonight. Not feelin' particularly feisty? Come as you are, but remember, this is a safe, body posi event. Plz check your shade at the door. Saturday, Jan. 4, 10pm. The Iron Bear, 121 W. Eighth.

Noche de Reyes Tati might be taking a break, but you can still ring in 2020 by celebrating our glorious Latinx performers: Papi Churro, Banshee Rose, and Ruby Knight with xtra special guests Andie Flores and San Antonio's Los MENtirosos Drag Kings! p1nkstar DJ's. Thu., Jan. 9, 10pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $6 ($8 for 18+).

Q'd Up

Julie Nolen Our country strummin' queen! Fri., Jan. 3, 9:30pm. Buck's Backyard, 1750 FM 1626 S.

Slow Queer Yoga A queer- and trans-led event. Saturdays through Jan. 25. 11am. Guan Yin Tea House, 4706 N. I-35. $5-15.

Ladies’ Lazy Sundays Wing specials, cheap drinks, and a ball. Can we get a Hail Mary?! Sundays, 4pm. Violet Crown Social Club, 1111 E. Sixth.

QueerBomb Organizing Meeting Settle in for 2020 by starting to plan the 11th QB. Mon., Jan. 6, 7pm. The Q, 1023 Springdale Bldg. 14. www.fb.com/qbatx.

The Warrior Heart A magical evening of 2020 manifestation with vision boards and community. Mon., Jan. 6, 7pm. BookWoman, 5501 N. Lamar Ste. 105-A.

Stonewall Dems Candidate Endorsement Forum Stay tuned for the lineup. Wed., Jan. 8, 6pm. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina. Free, but RSVP. www.stonewallaustin.org.

Honeydip Comedy Angelina Martin and Carlton Wilcoxson's hilarious weekly comedy show! Thursdays, 8pm. Buzz Mill Shady, 5012 E. Seventh. Free.

Nite School It's always dark and moody, but this month they're bringing in Y2K for a neon pop! Thu., Jan. 9, 9pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River.

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 over 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: Queer Texan Pride Rides Again
Qmmunity: Queer Texan Pride Rides Again
Qmmunity rustles up queer events all over Central Texas

James Scott, June 3, 2022

Qmmunity: Cher-ing Is Caring
Qmmunity: Cher-ing Is Caring
The Goddess of Pop’s birthday begets cool queer ATX parties

James Scott, May 20, 2022

More Qmmunity
Qmmunity: Queer Black Womanhood
Qmmunity: Queer Black Womanhood
Local nonprofit Queer Black Women Alliance makes space for their community, plus more queer events

James Scott, Feb. 3, 2023

Qmmunity: Let’s Get Queer-ative!
Qmmunity: Let’s Get Queer-ative!
Queer creativity blooms in a community space, plus more LGBTQ events

James Scott, Jan. 27, 2023


Austin LGBTQ, Iron Bear, Joterias, Monica Loera, GayBiGayGay, Dyke March, Trans Pride, Austin Black Pride, Queerbomb, Marriage Equality, Randi Shade, Jimmy Flannigan, Gay Place, Qmmunity

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

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

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