Self-Care for Queers, by Queers
A queer's guide to gifting and weathering the next three years
By Beth Sullivan and Sarah Marloff,
12:01AM, Thu. Dec. 7, 2017
Oh what a year to be queer. As the holiday season moves full-steam ahead and we make our punch-drunk way toward 2018, one thing is certain: the LGBTQ community deserves one helluva applause for making it through the last 365-ish days.
Our resilience and ability to shine despite an onslaught of bullshit from state and federal leaders is crystal clear rn.Which brings us to the good news: the Gay Place 2017 Gift Guide was made by us with you (and this) in mind. Forget the usual, often-hetero made, calendars and socks. This year we’re opting for presents that inspire self-care made by members of our very own community to keep the good karma (and cash) flowing where it’s most needed.
Laugh the Pain Away
Sometimes, especially after a real trash 🔥 of a year, clichés do ring true, such as: laughter is the best medicine. So, why not give the gift of one of Austin’s funniest people and Chronicle contributor, Carina Magyar? Booked and hosted by Sam Harter and Magyar, their weekly standup show, which features touring and local comics, will leave your receiver’s sides in stitches and hearts fuller by the end of the night.
*Also, look forward to more date-night laughs in the new year with Martini Ranch ATX’s sketch series Queer and Now.
Been swappin’ tunes to the like of Hunx & His Punx’s “Good Kisser” and Pansy Division’s “Luv Luv Luv” with your crush lately? Take your fling to the next level by gifting your sweetie a copy of Curran Nault’s book Queercore – an expansive and insightful history of the radical multimedia movement of queer and punk artists spanning the Eighties and Nineties. Nault’s book is the perfect gift for the “Rebel Girl” in your life.
For your fave queer chronic reader give 'em a journey down the literary path of herstory at this Austin institution (and one of the few surviving feminist bookstores in the country). They’ve got the hookup on queer lit, best-sellers, feminist publications, and weekly bookclubs.
If you’re in search of a place where your carnivorous, vegan, and I’m-not-vegetarian-but-I-don’t-eat-red-meat friends can share a holiday meal, look no further than South Lamar’s Sundaze. Helmed by Raine Hopper, the food truck slings out some of the tastiest fried chicken and chick’n in town with items like their “no fricken chicken” sandwiches, seitan nuggets with a side of curry sauce, and habanero buffalo bites. At Sundaze, you’ll never have to ask, “Where’s the beef?”
*If you’re looking for a fancier feast for your holiday giving, Gay Place recommends a Southern flair splurge at Jacoby’s.
For that feminist friend, family member, or bae with a sweet tooth, stop by this Riot Grrrl-inspired bakeshop on North Loop for delish vegan and gluten free sweet treats. Zucchini Kill offers options for those looking for soy free and naturally sweetened goods – the only issue we foresee is eating the desserts before you gift ‘em. Maybe grab a gift card too.
*Giving sweet, queer-made gifts is never hard in Austin. While Lick Honest Ice Creams and Gelateria Gemelli’s creamy delights might melt before it can be unwrapped, we suggest topping a bow on it and leaving it in the freezer for your gifter to find.
Draw It Out
If you’re looking for an IOU present, consider contacting Drew Riley, the Chronicle’s 2017 “Best Artivist” and mastermind behind Gender Portraits, for art classes. For now, tentatively scheduled classes include Community Art, a class offered exclusively for trans and intersex folks, and Beginner Art Technique (check her website for the final lineup and schedule). Help someone you love hop onto the Prismacolor rainbow and get a jump start on their New Year’s resolution to “be more creative.”
Good for the Soul, Mind, and Erogenous Zones
For the #fitfam member in your life who’d prefer to workout in a queer-friendly environment (wouldn’t we all?) we suggest a class-pack to Erica Nix’s Transform. This gym, yoga studio, community space, and art gallery all rolled into one offers a wide range of classes: from Richard Simmons-inspired aerobics to Class Transitions where “transgender and non binary individuals use strength training and aerobics to shape their bodies as they become their most authentic selves.”
Have a friend (or, let’s be real, yourself) who’s taken this year particularly hard? Give the gift of relaxation through a long-overdue massage. At Spectrum, Marshall offers trauma-informed bodywork, yoga therapy and classes, and more to the LGBTQIA+ community. Why a massage? Marshall says it can “begin the healing process by providing a safe and enjoyable space to connect with your body, to feel empowered by the skin you’re in, and to start – or recommit to – a journey of self-acceptance and self-love that is so needed in our community.”
Rechargeable, battery powered, flyin’ solo, dual stimulation, lefties, righties, hands free: Q Toys covers all the bases when it comes to sexy times. With a curated selection that is “women-friendly, LGBTQ-friendly, everyone-friendly, and 100% body safe,” the Burnet boutique is Austin’s one-stop shop for all those NSFW needs this holiday season. A gift card or a personalized prezzie from here might just be the gift that truly keeps on giving. *Gay Place recommends the We-Vibe Touch for a some good vibrations, or keep it local with a Fleshjack Endurance Jack Ass.
Give yourself, or someone you luv, the gift of oxytocin release (it’s backed by science) and the gift of love and attention to a pup at Austin Animal Center. Roll up to AAC any day of the week between 11am and 7pm and make a doggo’s day with a romp in a playpen or a walk around the grounds. Have a friend who loves furbabies, but is feelin’ more lowkey? Bring them along and they can help pass out treats and toys or play with Fido’s adoptable feline friends. Also, it's free with no strings attached.
Certainly not for every queer, but for a gift that lasts a lifetime (and has zero chance of being regifted) we suggest a tattoo appointment with True Blue artist Batty. From elaborate geometric pieces to ornate florals, an ink to skin session with Batty is the perf gift for the body-mod, ink lover in your life who’s looking for a cathartic way to cope with 2017.
Looking for more queer goods to gift? See our Quick and Dirty Gift Guide!