Qmmunity’s 2020 Guide to Gifting Queerly and Locally
Gifting queer cheer after one helluva year
By Beth Sullivan, James Scott, Lilli Hime, and A. Micah Mills,
12:01AM, Thu. Dec. 3, 2020
It’d be an understatement to call 2020 a $hit$how of a year. If there’s one thing that’s certain despite all of the upheaval these past 11 months is that it’s about time for spreading queer cheer.
We here at Qmmunity have always prided ourselves on our annual gift guides highlighting gifts made by – or offered courtesy of – Austin’s LGBTQIA community for our LGBTQIA community, and this year’s guide, of course, is no different. Between finding new socially distanced hobbies (hello to all the queer plant zaddies out there) and re-creating pastimes at home (DIY wig party anyone?), we’ve curated a list of ideas that we hope makes your holigay gifting here and queer because we know keeping those pink dollars local helps the qmmunity. And remember: For the few in-person, socially distanced options we offer below it’s up to the gifter/giftee to evaluate their own personal risk. – Beth Sullivan
Don We Now Our Queer Apparel
Face Masks & J-Strap Ornaments by BulldogPunk
Our new normal is that cute masks are a practical and thoughtful gift. You can get them all over the web, but why not keep it in the queer fam and keep it local? From nearly 20 individual bold and wild designs, BulldogPunk’s nonmedical masks ($15-20) are reusable, washable, and hug your face comfortably. Equally important (because masks are important – wear one, dammit!), BulldogPunk also sells four unique, jock-strap ornaments ($15) to festoon your tree. What is queerer than that? Get both in time for the holidays, and start shopping today at www.bulldogpunk.com. – A.M.M.
Coco Coquette’s DIY Wig Party
If you’ve never been to one of Coco Coquette’s wig parties, trust us, you’re missing out. This all-inclusive, queer, safe space can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your own couch. Whether it’s living out your mermaid-hair fantasy or wanting to go blond for the night, this is an opportunity to explore a different side of you. They’re offering different price tiers for every budget – “So Fine,” ($38 per person) “So Fierce,” ($56 per person) and “So Fancy” ($70 per person). Coco Coquette will deliver the wigs to your door or you can pick up from the store, along with wig caps, a link to “how to” tutorials, and any cosmetics or camera rentals you can add on for additional pricing. (The wigs and cosmetics are yours to keep forever, but you’ll have to return any rental equipment obvi.) This wig gig will be a gift your quarantine bubble will never forget. To book your party and get all the details, head to www.cococoquette.myshopify.com. – A. Micah Mills
We’d argue it’s always the right time to rock a rainbow or two but in this mess of a year the more sartorial rainbows, the merrier. Local sock purveyors Pride Socks have got your footsies covered with Roy G. Biv for days, from rainbow-striped classic tube socks to thigh highs. The company recently collaborated with Grammy Award-winning musician Brandi Carlile on its limited-edition “Band Together” socks where for each pair purchased Pride Socks will donate $5 to Carlile’s nonprofit the Looking Out Foundation which will leave you looking and feeling good. www.pridesocks.com. – B.S.
On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the tippy-top pyramid thingie doesn’t actually say “self-actualization” but instead reads “cool, well-priced vintage clothes.” Fulfill your and your loved ones’ hierarchy of style needs with a shop around Ephrance Vintage, sold IRL at Revival Vintage (100 N. Loop Ste. A) and online on both Etsy and Depop (oh, to have choices!). Co-owned by Drake Muyinza and Roy John III, Ephrance is a trove of colors, fits, styles, and looks culling those delectable nostalgia vibes while also projecting a fresh, fashion-forward youthfulness. From neon-color-blocked windbreakers and bold Western shirts to flouncy flower rompers, Ephrance will keep you in hot looks that you’ll be proud to serve. www.instagram.com/ephrancevintage. – James Scott
Brighten the Abode
Love Studio Ceramics
Cue Antoni Porowski voice: A ceramic cup is actually something that can be so personal. So can a tealight candle holder, or a porcelain planter, especially when made by Austin’s own Amanda Love. With designs inspired by Eighties and Nineties graphic patterns, these ceramics ($25-65) are “designed for utilitarian purpose and enhanced with aesthetic charm and novelty to complement the user's everyday life.” And if the work looks familiar, you might have caught Love slinging these delightful wares at the Little Gay Shop’s recent Queer Art Fair, but we reckon these lovely dishes might also be reawakening those Nineties-kid memories buried deep in your subconscious. The craftsmanship and thoughtful and bold designs of Love’s work are all about “keeping nostalgia alive in a fast-paced modern world.” www.instagram.com/lovestudioceramics. – J.S.
Art From Tsz Kam
Austin-based artist Tsz Kam believes if you can find the meaning and beauty in your surroundings, then everything can serve to empower you. And at a time when many of us have been in the same surroundings for many months (hellooooo quarantine), their message could never ring more true. Kam’s Etsy shop is alive with electrifying colors and surreal beings picked straight from Kam’s imagination, all imprinted on holographic stickers ($2.50-5), prints ($12-15), and earrings ($20-45 per pair). It’s exactly the sort of vibrant and imaginative art I’d want to be adorning my walls or phone case or ears to remind me of the power not only around us but within us. – Lilli Hime
As people have scrambled for new, socially distanced hobbies this year, houseplants have grown in popularity and it makes sense if you ask the team behind Plant Gay. The duo believes that plants do more than just decorate our houses but help us connect to nature and teach us how to nurture something. Their shop seeks to create a space for the LGBTQIA community to gather over a shared love for plants and, quite literally, “grow together.” Shop succulents ($7-19), the Wednesdays We Plant Pink collection ($12-45) honoring Mean Girls with pink plants and pots, and all kinds of cute planters ($22-63). Plant Gay donates 10% of its profits to the Trevor Project to help support queer and trans youth. www.plantgay.com. – L.H.
Hermanas and Crafts
If you’re the cousin at holiday gatherings who unapologetically calls out problematic elephants in the Zoom room, then a gift from Hermanas and Crafts is for you. This small Austin-based art collective of three, self-described soul sisters Marlen, Cassandra, and Nikki embroider, paint, and use mixed media to disrupt social norms and uplift social issues. Coming from El Paso and Laredo, the trio draw from their Latinx culture to create art that is both powerful and personal and that connects them to their local community, including “Latinx AF” embroidery, rainbow stickers, and custom prints (prices vary). www.instagram.com/hermanasandcrafts. – L.H.
Treat Yourself or Somebody Else
Scruff’s Barbershop Gift Card
And the 2021 category is ... self-care, because 2020 has been one hell of a ride. If we’ve learned anything during this pandemic, it’s that a fresh ‘do can change your day, your month, or maybe even your year. It has been said that queers are their most powerful the week following a haircut, and we’re not here to debunk that rumor. This gay-owned and operated East Austin barbershop celebrates an inclusive, safe space for all. They work to keep their patrons safe with temperature checks at the entrance, limited capacity at six people, sanitizing all equipment and areas, and a mandatory mask policy. Book your or your loved one’s next cut by purchasing a gift certificate at www.scruffsbarbershop.com. – A.M.M.
Shop the colorful, creative creatures of Strange Bedfellas for something mythical to warm you – and perhaps a partner or two – this winter. These fantasy sex toys, which are made locally, are crafted with platinum-cure silicone to be a cast of unique friends to add to your toy box. “Each of our little friends is looking for the perfect mate,” as Bedfellas says on their website. “Monsters and demons need love, too!” Toys range in shape, firmness, and species. Also, they sell out fast, so make sure you drop by their online store before all these magnificent little monsters scurry away to other loving homes ($20-100). www.strangebedfellas.com. – J.S.
Nails by Nail.Phile
If you haven’t nailed down the perfect gift yet, we’re here to show you where all your nail dreams can come true! Austin-based Nail.Phile will create custom press-on sets around your vision. Owned and independently operated by Vestite, a local Austin musician and ex-drag queen, Nail.Phile turns out stunningly detailed designs through stamping and hand painting. Each customer is appropriately sized through photos for a contactless experience. To start your nail journey, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your nail fantasy (prices vary). You can find their work on Instagram (www.instagram.com/nail.phile). – A.M.M.
Photoshoot With Paty Valle
Looking for a new season’s greetings card to send your friends and fam? Or maybe queerantine has just left your IG feed a little lacking. Whatever your photo desires may be, local photog Paty Valle can make them come to life. With a background in visual arts, Valle brings a curated aesthetic eye – as well as a friendly and funny personality – to shoots to make you look cute and feel comfortable in your candids. Photoshoots are also made safer with social distancing and face masks. Right now, you can book a two-hour photoshoot for $180, or if you yourself are an artist, maybe even a collaboration. Valle also offers photo restoration to give old photos new life. www.patriciavalle.format.com.– L.H.
Tell Friends and Fam You Love ‘Em
Dykes You Should Know Postcard Set
For the lez or lez lover you’re missing in these socially distanced times, local queer party promoters-slash-qweeah-arteests Lez B in Touch – aka Beth Schindler and Lex Vaughn – can help you transcend queer connections with their set of four Dykes You Should Know postcards screenprinted by Simone Thornton ($12). Vaughn’s hand-drawn illos are reproductions of photos residing in the lesbian archive collections in L.A. and Brooklyn plus a special appearance by a certain infamous water slide (if ya know, ya know). Tell a queer you love ‘em and support the USPS too, boo. www.lezbintouch.com.– B.S.
For all your extra friends in your life, an ordinary singing telegram just won’t cut it. From drag queens and musicians to circus characters, Extragrams! brings over-the-top, socially distanced performances by local talent to your doorstep, driveway, or front yard. Born straight out of the pandemic, Extragrams! Offers a memorable gift with options to choose from local drag queen performances ($200-300) – including specialty impersonator divas like Dolly Parton or Lizzo ($250) – or music and circus grams like a marionette circus show ($200). Right now Extragrams! is also booking holiday-themed drag “holi-grams” at www.extragramsatx.com. – A.M.M.
Be the Rainbow, Read the Rainbow
’Tis the season to foist your gay literary agenda on all those around you, and who better to help you in that cause than BookWoman. (Because why order your gay goods from Amazon when you can get ‘em straight from the gay source?) This Austin legend kicks ass in their selection of feminist, mainstream, children’s, and cookery literature and much, much more. Order online to have your books delivered to your door, or choose in-store pickup for a little, socially distanced wave hello. My recommendations for queer lit to try: We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan for a look at vintage trans man horniness, or pre-order powerhouse trans author Torrey Peters’ new novel Detransition, Baby. www.ebookwoman.com. – J.S.
Rare Books and Magazines from the Little Gay Shop
In the age of the interwebs, queer rags can feel like something of a lost art, and while we love to see more queer zines popping up today, nothing beats the magic of yesterqueer. Lucky for Austin husbands Justin Galicz and Kirt Reynolds share our passion for queer history with their store the Little Gay Shop selling vintage and out-of-print queer books and magazines. There are the saucier, full-frontal varieties like Physique Pictorial which ran for almost 40 years before ceasing publication in 1990, as well as facsimiles of out-of-print gems like Hal Fischer’s The Gay Seventies photo collection. Shop online or make an in-store appointment at www.thelittlegayshop.com. – B.S.
Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon
This is the perfect gift for anyone, because everyone should read it. In their first book of prose, artist and poet Alok Vaid-Menon creates a pocket-sized handbook as an “accessible primer to gender fluidity.” Don’t let its size fool you though; this little book is powerful in the way it breaks down the gender binary. The book equips trans and GNC youth with rebuttals against transphobia and intelligently educates allies, but Vaid-Menon’s ultimate mission is to be the representation for trans and GNC youth that they didn’t have growing up. You can order a copy through BookWoman or the Little Gay Shop. There’s also an option to purchase a book for donation to LGBTQIA youth on Vaid-Menon’s website. – L.H.
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Gift Guide 2020, Qmmunity Gift Guide 2020, Coco Coquette, BulldogPunk, Ephrance Vintage, Amanda Love, Tsz Kam, Hermanas and Crafts, The Little Gay Shop, Dykes You Should Know, Lez B in Touch, BookWoman, Alok Vaid-Menon, Scruff Barbershop, Pride Socks, Plant Gay, Strange Bedfellas, Nail.Phile, Extragrams!