Qmmunity: Keeping Austin Queer in 2021

Wishing you a brighter new year, QTs


Today, in the new year, and always (Photo by Jana Birchum)

And just like that, 2020 has come and gone. In a year that felt like a decade of news crammed into 12 months, I'm sure I'm not alone in sitting here thinking, "WTF just happened?" when reflecting on the past year, and "WTF will happen?" when faced with 2021. Though I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, I certainly didn't expect to start this new decade with this year's crowning achievement being just staying afloat. But that's okay – and I hope all of us can take a moment to recognize our individual resilience.

And the same goes for the qmmunity's collective resilience, too. Throughout 2020, as we've mourned the permanent loss or temporary postponement of some institutions – both businesses like BT2 and annual happenings like Austin Pride – to pandemic fallout and witnessed much-loved creatives pivot to the virtual realm with digital drag, online markets, and more, one thing was made clear: Austin's LGBTQmmunity wouldn't be the ever-inspiring, ever-supportive community that we are without the vibrant patchwork of queer-owned businesses and bars, performers, activists, advocates, and queer and trans family, including you, dear Q reader, that call the ATX home.

So as we step into 2021, it's vital that we continue to support qmmunity in the best ways each of us can. Maybe that's buying merch from a local artist, subscribing to a maker's Patreon, or donating to a staff GoFundMe for still-closed businesses or those open at reduced operations. Or maybe it's giving a follow to such artists and institutions on the social medias and sharing their work far and wide – as one of my colleagues pointed out the other day, in this age of virtual happenings, local performers and events are now having to compete against a virtual, international lineup, so the more eyes and support behind the local qmmunity scene, the better.

With a new presidential administration and a state legislative session kicking off the new year, 2021 will be a battle to 1) begin to triage the damage of the past four years, and 2) hopefully broaden nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQIA Texans. After a real knockdown of a year, that's, well, no short order. But until then, I hope y'all can find a moment to just be, breathe, and hit restart whenever you're ready. Wishing you a brighter and healthy new year, QTs.

2 to Do

Fat Bottom Cabaret: Brown South Kick off the new year with this thoroughly queer and "curvrageous" evening celebrating BIPOC drag and burlesque performers, hosted by Nikki DaVaughn. Performances by Lady Lola LeStrange and Chola Magnolia, plus special guests Tulla Moore, Jeez Loueez, and more. Thu., Dec. 31, 7-8:30pm. Online. $5-20. www.fb.com/fatbottomcabaretatx.

Reading the Rainbow Queer reads with queer peeps, courtesy of Austin Public Library's monthly queer book club. This month's book is Gabby Rivera's Latinx debut novel, Juliet Takes a Breath, which is available for free in both downloadable e-book and audiobook formats with your APL card. Wed., Jan. 6, 7-8pm. Online. Free (registration required). library.austintexas.gov.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin LGBTQ, Austin LGBTQ, Fat Bottom Cabaret, Austin Public Library, Reading the Rainbow, Lady Lola LeStrange, Chola Magnolia, Nikki DaVaughn

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