Keeping Life Queer in 2020
A Guide to Gifting Queerly for the coming decade
By Sarah Marloff, Beth Sullivan, James Scott, A. Micah Mills, Lilli Hime, ena ganguly, and Kayla Meier,
12:01AM, Thu. Dec. 5, 2019
Like clockwork, the season of gifting is once again upon us, and once again we at Qmmunity find ourselves puzzling over the past 11 months. The good, the bad, the weird.
We do all this mulling, of course, to uncover what would make a gift guide special, perhaps even powerful, for queers, because we’re not much interested in lining the pockets of big corporations sniffing out those pink dollars. Our goal is to keep it in the family.
Our 2019 gift guide, like its predecessors, features present ideas made for queers by queers. What’s not made locally – this year dropped some truly stellar books, y’all – can be purchased here (check out our feminist and queer-owned bookstore BookWoman already! Have you heard about Corazón Sagrado Collective?). But as we stand on the precipice of not only a new year, but a new decade, we also wanted to find gifts that would carry our collective queerness forward into 2020, be that with beautiful leather goods, affirming art, or even a little self-gifting self-care. We hope this list inspires you to keep it queer, keep it klassy, and keep it in the qmmunity. – Sarah Marloff
Sir Rat Leather Custom Harness
Leather is a queer’s best friend (and more affordable than diamonds!), so this holiday season give your favorite queer a custom leather harness from Austin-based leather and gear startup, Sir Rat Leather (prices vary). They have a range of simple, quality harnesses that’ll sex up any look. You can discreetly order online or email them about any custom ideas floating around in your dirty mind. If you are a more of a face-to-facer, find them in East Austin at 2511 E. Sixth Street, Suite A (Tuesday-Sunday) or at Sellers Underground (Thursday-Saturday). – A. Micah Mills
A piece of slam-tastic merch from Party World Rasslin
I am just going to say right here, right now, that Party World Rasslin’ rules. I’ve met friends through this incredible local smackdown, grown a true appreciation for wrestling, and just drank a buttload of beer while cheering on a magic queer tag team to beat literal personified garbage straights. PWR has a lot of incredible people working on a cool-as-hell, totally free show that speaks to all the weird and exciting energy Austin has at its best. So this year, get those you love the gift supporting wonderful wrestling weirdness by buying some of PWR’s sickass merch ($7-133), either at their December 7 show or on their indiegogo! – James Scott
Showtime Subscription to Binge the New L Word
Lez be serious, at least 50% of the qmmunity is going to be gabbin’ about The L Word’s return on December 8, whether or not we want to, whether or not we’re proud of it. So make sure your friends don’t miss out on the gossip and gift them a limited-time-only Showtime subscription. (Prices vary, but I consider this “we-gifting” cuz then you can invite yourself over to watch too!) Or, take the crew to Cheer Up Charlies for the premiere, hosted by Ladies Eat Free. –S.M.
Local Queer Performers’ Music
The best way to spread holiday cheer is supporting local music that’s qweeah, and with 2019 bearing a bevy of new releases, there’s something for every nice – or naughty – audiophile on your shopping list. For fans of Jenny Hoyston’s work in influential punkster trio Erase Errata, Hallways of Always, or local duo Hey Jellie, there’s Hoyston’s newly released full-length, Hold On, Loosely ($6). Caleb de Casper’s EP De Casper ($8) is perfect for the glamour ghoul in your life on the prowl for “high octane, danceable rock music for you and your daddy.” From Q to Q, have a homo Christmas, this year. –Beth Sullivan
Want to give (or receive!) the gift of healing? Invest in a gift certificate from Ayuma Healing Arts ($125-350) where there is something for everyone, from bodywork to intuitive counseling. All services are offered by La’Arni, a queer Filipina healer and holistic practitioner, who listens to the needs of her clients and makes sure to keep their goals in mind when offering up counseling or a soothing touch. Even if it’s for yourself – we all know how important it is to decompress before or after the holidays – reserve your time with her now, before she’s all booked up! – ena ganguly
A Painting from Drew Riley’s Gender Portraits Collection
For the art connoisseurs in your life, give the gift of trans empowerment this year, available on canvas and as mini prints. What started as artist Drew Riley’s journey to document her own transition through portraits evolved into a series of portraits of trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming people now known as Gender Portraits ($5-340). Paired with the personal story of the painting’s subject, these portraits paint a vivid, genuine, and validating look at trans beauty and strength. All proceeds go back to Gender Portraits, which hosts Austin’s annual Gender Unbound Festival, so you can tell the lucky recipient of this gift (even if it’s you!) that this buy supports Austin’s trans community all year round! – Lilli Hime
Art by Matthew Conway
Get drawn like one of Leo’s French gals because the queers are freeing more than the nipple in 2020. Matthew Conway – @matteattack on Insta – is a local, queer artist working in custom drawing, painting, and photography. His sexy polaroids make affordable stocking stuffers or if you’re looking for a special gift, drop your drawers and get a custom commission from him. Matthew is an inclusive artist and works with all gender-identities. Purchase his work on his NSFW website. – A.M.M.
Doodle Me Alive Prints & Greeting CardsIt’s that time of the year to be jolly and gay! But wait, Doodle Me Alive is queer all year. Check out their uplifting set of potted affirmations prints ($24.99) and, just in time for the season, their holigays greetings cards ($4.99)! Not only do you get to support Jae Lin, the trans artist of your dreams, but you get to light up the lives of those you love with sweet handmade gifts. Shop at Doodle Me Alive for all your hand lettering and handcrafted goodness! – e.g.
Tix to That Time Of The MonthDoes your dream late-night talk show feature feminism and a primarily queer crew and lineup? If so, your dream came true and it’s called That Time Of The Month happening monthly at Fallout Theatre. There’s never a bad show to gift the comedy lover in your life, but their holiday showcase happens on December 7 with giveaways from tons of womxn-owned businesses and the first fifteen guests get an ornament from Ma Petite Fleur. Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door. Visit @ttotmshow on Instagram for more information! – Kayla Meier
Let’s face it queerios – no one makes a good joke like the LGBTQ. Queer comedy shows like Queertowne lead the way by digging into the deep niche humor of the LGBTQ community with their stunning little showcase of Austin’s queer comedic talent. I went to the Halloween show where Xena, Warrior Princess was interviewed and ... ‘twas magical! So if you and your personal qmmunity are feeling unfulfilled by the constant miasma of skits, jokes, and variety shows not catering to the varied queer life we all lead, snap up some tix to Queertowne’s December (or January) show ($8) as a little winter giftie. – J.S.
Experiences can be the best gifts, so why not give a kween the gift of kweens this year? The lineup for touring queer shows coming to Austin are ah-plenty, so get your holiday shopping done with a click-and-print. Consider: A Drag Queen Christmas – The Naughty Tour with performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race hosted by season 11’s Miss Congeniality Nina West (Austin City Limits Live, Dec. 19); Big Freedia – New Orleans-based Queen of Bounce (Emo’s, Jan. 18); Trixie Mattel’s Grown Up – your skinny-legend Barbie, is all grown up! (Paramount Theatre, March 10). (Writer’s note: If you these are out of your price range, then just stuff some dollar bills in their stocking and go support local drag and queer artists.) – A.M.M.
This isn’t just another workout class intended to burn off the cookies and hot chocolate from the holiday season. This class is all about loving the body you’re in, cookies and all. With pumped up old school music, neon leggings and leg warmers, and saliently body positive vibes, Erica Nix’s workouts are a jolly good time to celebrate your body – and who doesn’t want some self-love in the new year? Snatch a one-on-one session or jump in with the group, either way you’ll be gifting the gift of sweat, smiles, and reveling in the strength of your bod. (Prices vary.) – L.H.
Dance Party at Dance Austin Studio
Still need to go shopping for your all your friends? Get the whole gang a memorable experience at Dance Austin Studio ($225-300)! This LGBTQ-based dance studio will throw your crew a party complete with lessons from a private instructor, your choice of dance style, and music artists. Want to show off your skills when you have too much eggnog at holiday parties? They also offer classes on how to twerk, on ballet, hip-hop, jazz, barre, belly dance, and more! To book, visit danceaustinstudio.com – K.M.
Queer X Design by Andy Campbell
In the year 2019, we’re inundated with pictures all the time! Every day, I see images. But to really grasp and sink into the qmmunity history of graphic design – to SEE those IMAGES – is an absolute gift to behold in the Chron’s own Andy Campbell’s book Queer X Design ($24.99). Hand off this well-researched and beautiful tomb as a gift for your most aesthetic minded queer comrades or even for an ally whose been asking you too many questions about why the Grindr logo is Like That. Truly, these pictures are the best pictures you can see in 2019, and beyond! – J.S.
A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir by Edie Windsor, with Joshua Lyon
Edie Windsor’s memoir A Wild and Precious Life ($27.99), completed by co-writer Joshua Lyon after Windsor’s death in 2017, is true to its namesake: A civil rights icon whose lawsuit against the U.S. government – seeking federal recognition for her marriage to longtime partner Thea Spyer – paved the way for marriage equality when the Supreme Court ruled in her favor. But the trailblazer’s memoir isn’t captivating solely for Windsor’s reflections on the historic ruling nor her influential work developing software at IBM, it’s Windsor’s, along with friends’ and former flames’, recollections of lesbian nightlife and community in pre-Stonewall Riots New York City – a moment in LGBTQ history both sometimes glossed over in a rush to the queer rights movement’s later, more formative years post-Stonewall and rarely published from a first-person perspective as fiery as Windsor’s – that kept this reader flipping page after page well into the night. – B.S.
Yes, you read the title right. The first major anthology of its kind, this book is 100% THAT book. With powerhouses like Audre Lorde, Ocean Vuong, Joy Harjo, and over 100 others equally as magnanimous in name and work, you can feel this book bursting at the seems when you hold it. Page by page and poem by poem this anthology explores the humanity of queer POC in America with their grippingly honest stories, rendered in poems. Nepantla ($16.99) holds a wealth of diversity within the queer and POC experience, documenting different ethnicities, gender identities, and sexualities, to make sure everyone at one point or another, finds themselves between the pages. – L.H.
My Drunk Kitchen Holidays! by Hannah Hart
Although this YouTube foodstar’s holiday cookbook ($28) does contain some recipes, the magic is in the witty and poignant essays written in Hannah Hart’s iconic chipper voice. She gives her own wisdoms on mental-health, family, race, love, global issues, and acceptance, while guiding readers through the trials and tribulations of the holidays. So whether it’s New Year’s Day or Left-Hander’s Day, Hart well help the queer food lover on your list make sense of the situation through validation and cooking. – K.M.
Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
Be sure to include a box of tissues for when you give this gift of deep validation! Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy ($12-36) is a poetic and deeply moving semi-autobiography about Arjie, a boy witnessing the genocide of his people while, internally, exploring what it means to be himself, coming face to face with his sexuality. Written with so much love and tenderness, you don’t want those you love to miss out on this read! – e.g.
We Are Everywhere by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown
The perfect combination of coffee table meets history book. We Are Everywhere ($20-40), by former Austinite Matthew Riemer and his partner Leighton Brown, has been rocking my world since it arrived in the mail just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The photos are captivating, but the prose does not disappoint. While I, personally, believe this should be required reading for every queer, I’m certain it’ll make the qhistory lover in your life beam. – S.M.
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Gift Guide 2019, Queer X Design, Andy Campbel, Hannah Hart, Edie Windsor, Dance Austin Studio, Erica Nix, Gender Portraits, Jae Lin, Queertowne, Nina West, Big Freedia, Trixie Mattel, That Time Of The Month, Matthew Conaway, Ayuma Healing Arts, Party World Rasslin, Jenny Hoyston