Qmmunity: A Bittersweet Goodbye From Q Editor Sarah Marloff

Sending it off with Mahogany Project and QueerBomb fundraiser


And another huge thanks to my Pride crew for always turning out, especially Reese and Seedlings Gardening for 4 years of parade partnership! (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Saying goodbye has never been my strong suit. Ask anyone. I cry at every final episode of TV shows – even the ones I don't watch. It's what shakes me about Stand by Me, Now and Then, and countless other films where the band inevitably breaks up. It's probably why it's taken me so long to write this final column. The truth is, goodbyes get me because there's no escaping change, and change brings goodbyes. Now – after six and a half years in Austin and just as long at the Chronicle – life has called to take me back to D.C.

As a writer, you might think the right words come easily. They don't. Where does one begin when wrapping up the better part of her life for the past six years? Perhaps with thank you. Qmmunity, as we know it today and in its previous iteration as Gay Place, wouldn't exist without so many folks working to keep it breathing, from you, our reader, to the folks behind the scenes: my Editor-in-Chief Kim Jones – thank you for not stopping me in my efforts to queer the Chronicle one issue at a time; Gay Place creator Kate Messer; Nick Barbaro; the News staff for having my back and Qmmunity's and for being down for the cause to cover queer news so well – looking at you Austin, Mary, Mike. To (tall) James for always helping when I need one more set of hands, and Zeke for always making the column look so damn good; to every single one of our proofers – I couldn't have survived this many years without y'all. To Richard for letting me share my opinions on queer film. To the Q interns who've come and gone under my watch, and, of course, the Qmmunity writers Beth, James, Micah, Lilli, and countless others. To all my Chron colleagues past and present: You've been my family.

So where do we go from here? There's no way to contemplate the future without looking back at the past (humor me, please). Less than six weeks after arriving in Austin, Kate took me under her big dyke wing and gave me an internship. My first piece – an awkward, embarrassing introduction to me – went live on Oct. 1, 2013. In it I promised to dive "head first" into Austin's qmmunity. Nearly 850 articles later, I can safely say I did just that. Covering, promoting, and supporting the many kickass queers doing kickass work has been a joy and an honor, but it's more than that. These people have become my friends and confidantes.

Qmmunity was always intended to uplift and celebrate everyone under this big sparkly umbrella, but I can't say it hasn't also been a place for unbridled rage – a lot has happened during my time at the reins: Pulse, Trump, bathroom bills, laws to block queers from fostering kids, Chick-fil-A bills ... and a whole lot of queer resilence and resistance.


Courtesy of Anna Lake-Smith

Both feelings are important – and we deserve a space to say, "Fuck off, I'm celebrating," and, "Fuck you, I'm angry." I hope Qmmunity has created that for you.

I've often worried Qmmunity would fade away when I left, without another insane and insanely devoted queer to keep the section thriving. Today, I know I'm leaving it in great hands. As of Monday, Feb. 10, Beth Sullivan will step into the role as Qmmunity (and Assistant News) Editor. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this one. Beth has been a bright, rainbow-colored light in the Chronicle ever since she walked in as a Q intern. She's been my glittery compatriot, she's kept me sane, and she's been a great friend. And that's to say nothing of her writing skills – trust me, this girl can tell a story. In fact, she's the only writer I've ever enjoyed co-authoring with. I see in her the same passion and love for queer culture, and she's not afraid to call bullshit. I'm not sure what Qmmunity will look like from here on out, but I'm certain it'll be awesome. Beth – I can't wait to see what you do with this torch.

To you, our dear, queer readers: I couldn't have done this without you. This space would never have existed; I never would've been handed the torch in 2016 if it weren't for you. I ask that you keep that love alive. It's been queer, QTs, so keep on glittering for me – and please, keep taking care of one another.

2 To Do

LoveBomb 2020: MasQueerade Ball Get cuddly on the dance floor, dress to impress, or channel your inner mystery queer for a night of luv and money raising for QueerBomb 2020. Performances, merch, maskmaking, and more! Not to mention a kinda kinky-sounding "secret" booth. Oh my. Sat., Feb. 8, 9:30pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $5 suggested donation. www.fb.com/queerbomb.

The Mahogany Project Presents P.S. I Love You A night of music, poetry, and storytelling of a black queer man on his journey to find the many kinds and complications of love. Sat., Feb. 8, 6:30-9pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $15-20. www.themahoganyproject.com.

Q'd Up

Moving Towards Gender Equity in Architecture A conversation on improving gender equity in design. Fri., Feb. 7, 1-5pm. Goldsmith Hall. Free & open to the public.

Sparkle Party A glittery celebration of UT's GSC's 15 years! Fri., Feb. 7, 6pm. UT's GSC, 2201 Speedway.

Paradise Mirage Dance dance with some vinyl DJ babes. Fri., Feb. 7, 9pm. Sahara Lounge, 1413 Webberville Rd. Free.

Die Felicia! Hell Hounds, Evah Destruction (of Dragula), and more. Fri., Feb. 7, 10pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $7.

Live at Coldtowne Holy damn; hot wow! Chicago's queer comic Whitney Chitwood is coming to town. Fri., Feb. 7, 10pm. ColdTowne Theater, 4803-B Airport.

Mean Girls Drag Brunch Nadine Hughes and her grrrls serve a show you won't forget. Sat. & Sun., Feb. 8-9, 11:30am. CRÚ Food & Wine Bar, 238 W. Second. $45.

BFF Aerobics Remember Doublemint gum? Well, this workout class from masterminds Nikki DaVaughn and Erica Nix is gonna double yer fun. Sun., Feb. 9, 11am. Castle Hill Fitness, 1112 N. Lamar. $15-20. www.castlehillfitness.com.

Express Yourself: Drag Brunch Hang with the cool kids at Vylette Ward's table. Sun., Feb. 9, 11:30am. Trace, 200 Lavaca. www.traceaustin.com.

Self Love Soirée Self care, self love, and lots of relaxing queer vibes. Sun., Feb. 9, 2-6pm. Sassy Miss Waxy, 42 Waller. $10. www.sassymisswaxy.com.

Oz Benefit Sweet Spirit, Sir Woman, and more invite you to rock out while raisin' cash for Australia. Sun., Feb. 9, 4pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $20.

Kaki King Six strings, 10 fingers, one ATL marvel. Sun., Feb. 9, 6pm. Empire Control Room & Garage, 606 E. Seventh.

Boiz of Austin: My Bloody Valentine Channel yer inner Kim Petras for a horror Valentine show! Tue., Feb. 11, 9pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $5.

Ain't Love A Drag A 1970s pool party with drag. Wed.-Fri., Feb, 12-14, 8pm. Austin Motel, 1220 S. Congress. $30. www.enrouteproductions.com.

Queer Studies Lecture Series A conversation with Dr. Mecca Jamilah Sullivan. Wed., Feb. 12, noon. 210 W. 24th.

Austin Pride Rainbow Skate Get yer heart eyes on for an old-school skate night with DJ Bigface. Thu., Feb. 13, 7-10pm. Playland Skate Center, 8822 McCann. $9.

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.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin LGBTQ, Sarah Marloff, QueerBomb, QueerBomb 2020, Mahogany Project, Beth Sullivan

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