I love Pride month. As a queer woman in a relationship with another queer woman, I get squishy. My first kiss was with an AFAB when I was seven years old. Some of the sweetest love I have ever witnessed has been queer love and queer friendships. My favorite ritual ever was a “Queer Love” ritual I co-facilitated at a witchcamp with a trans witch. Pride resides in the soft walls of my beating heart, salt of my fluid tears and untamed energy of my fiery core.
I love watching my fellow LGBTQIA+ community shine. Frankly any opportunity to celebrate the stunning diversity that exists gives me hope: because there is a hell of a lot of hate and ignorance alive in the world right now.
The stereotypes of parades, glitter and public displays of affection are just one small pocket of what is magnificent about queerness. There is so much talent, inspiration, beauty, power, vitality, and fierce pride flooding my media feeds all of the time! Because of this, I have decided to share ten sources of LGBTQIA+ folx living their truth, shining so bright and GIVING ME LIFE this year. While this list contains numbers, when one of us wins we all win (so these are in no particular order, except for #1 which I have chosen as a representation of my personal priorities.)
#10 – Season 2 of Pose
I know this season has been out for a while, but it was just added to Netflix (which means that my lady and I were finally able to watch it at home.) I have no clue how the creators and cast were able to make this season even better than the first, but it was more glorious than I ever could have imagined!
If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s a feel-good drama that showcases black and latinex ballroom culture in the 80’s. It also reveals the trauma of living in the AIDS era, discrimination, poverty, violence and dreams being crushed because of the intolerance of mainstream society. It’s far from trauma-porn though: dreams DO come true, lonely souls find love, confidence is cultivated and family is chosen among misfits that show up for each other in ways that make my heart burst wide open. The creators also cast nearly all trans actors, which makes this show even more real (and fabulous) to watch.
The fashion is wild, the banter is hilarious and the soul is unforgettable. I cried during almost every episode watching the relentless love that Blanca gave to her “children” of House Evangelista. Check it out on Netflix and/or read this article from belatina to be blown away by these gorgeous, heart-warming divas!
#9 – Rollaleems: Queer rollerskater and activist
Being a laid off during COVID this spring left me feeling anxious and motivated to figure out a way to stay active that would light me up instead of feeling like more hard work. I remembered how much I loved rollerskating as a kid growing up in rural Illinois (holding up bed sheets while wearing roller blades on windy days with my sisters that would blow us halfway down the block) but it’s been a long time since I’ve been on wheels. I decided to invest in my first pair of Moxi skates and fell in love with them straight away! But how to learn when distancing from others is priority? Social media had my back: and I discovered my roller-muse Rollaleems!
This lady’s skate diary is one reason I practice most afternoons during the week. She grooves and moves in ways that I hope to learn as my skills accumulate over time. She wears her skates to #blacklivesmatter protests, records dance-videos on wheels, wears the most adorable gear, models different techniques with style and shares her journey of learning to skate. I am grateful for her queer glow and confidence this season.
#8 – Garlic Witch Zines
Witchcraft, astrology, crystal-healing and all things metaphysical have become really popular among Millennials and Generation Z. Which means that there is a ton magical merchandise for witches being sold on the internet. It’s quality however, is hit or miss in my experience. Some people seem to just like the look of witchy things, without putting much thought or care into the intention and magic it takes to create the soul of these products. As someone who has devoted her life to this practice, I often find myself bored or wasting money on merchandise that lacks the potency that I need in my sacred tools and adornments.
THIS gaggle of queers is the real deal when it comes to magical merch. Screenprinting, Zine creation, sticker making and more are just a few of the things that this collective offers to the world. I have also circled with many of them and know their magic to be deep, real, transformative and forever crusading for social justice. One member, Pidge Fletching, designed our Starsdance Mystery School logo and I am proud to call two others: Cabra Woodwell and Juniper Caldera, my online mystery school team members.
You can find their work at Queer Craft Markets and shows hosted by Assemble here in Pittsburgh!
#7 – Sex Education
Looking for a LGBTQIA+ teen drama that’s real AND funny as all hell? Look no further than Sex Education.
Coming-of-age when you’re gay is really tough just to live through on one’s own. So many writers have attempted to depict being young, horny and curious while also trying to develop self confidence, figure out sexual preferences and learning the ways of the adult-world in countless works. Since I’m 34 (and been through it), I can’t say that watching young bucks navigate this embarrassing era is something that I choose to focus my recreational attention on anymore. However, this show totally hooked me.
This Netflix original is raw, yet tender. A high schooler who has an outspoken sex therapist for a mother decides to start a business with another outcast: charging money to provide sex advice to their gay and straight peers. It’s surprising and vulnerable, doing right by all teens and young adults by revealing the realities of sexual dysfunction, kink, assault, anal douching, bullying, violence, peer pressure, suicide and oppression in ways that make us love the characters more and more as they forge their integrity through their experiences together. This is one I could watch over and over again!
#6 – Memento Atelier
My biological lineage is Scandinavian, which means that Norse culture is a part of my bloodline. I love learning the myths, reading the runes, performing seiðr, galdr incantations and wearing the gear that energetically reconnects me to my ancestors. White Supremacists still co opt this tradition to initiate violence against queers and POC, but REAL heathens condone these groups and are working hard to reclaim our religion. One of the biggest advocates that I know? Lux Helsdottir: owner and founder of Memento Atelier.
This queer witch co-taught the first witchcamp path I ever took back in 2016. She also helped me to connect with Loki, Thor, Hel, Freyja, Sigyn, Odin and so many more of my Norse deity beloveds. Lux also has a bangin’ sence of style, the quick-paced chatter that I love in a conversationalist and really knows how to whip up devotional jewelry that tells the tale that the wearer wants the world to know. She creates crystal necklaces, points, rune catchers and more from resin, metals and found wonders of nature. Check out their shop to support a small queer business!
#5 – Zebra Katz
There are only a few things that I miss from my wild child days of being in my 20s (bless you, grounded security and self-love that only 30+ adults can understand.) One of those things is sweating and shaking my ass in clubs at 2am. Because of those thrilling and fun days, I have an affection for thumping baselines, programmed vocals, rhythmic lyrics and the magic of Abelton compositions. I listen to countless electronic genres while I’m skating, but the artists are not always queer. THIS guy, however IS QUEER (and my latest obsession that I discovered only recently.)
Zebra Katz is a bizarre, avant-garde producer who makes tracks with THE most catchy lyrics that I find myself singing all the time. His fashion reminds me of Ruby Rhod, and his songs remind me of Spank Rock. I love how glam and raunchy he is! If your weekend (or workout) is in need of an upbeat, understated, turbo-gay soundtrack: give this bub a listen.
#4 – Vanessa Adams Prints
My queer astrology heart can’t get enough wall art that depicts the majesty of our Universe. Calendars are one of my favorites (I have an average of five on the walls of my home every year) but the image quality seems to be going downhill as more and more scheduling is happening on devices. What’s a witch to do? It’s a good thing that Vanessa Adams‘ artistic gift satisfy my needs of tracking time and being surrounded by gorgeous, often occult prints.
Originally from New Orleans, I am lucky to call this creative soul a neighbor here in Pittsburgh. They have contributed their skills to the Slow Holler tarot deck, helped curate the Queer Ecology Hankie Exhibition, lunar calendar prints that can be left on the walls way after the cycle has passed and more. I absolutely recommend their work and events!
#3 – Mae Martin
Nothing is sexier to me than humor and manic-spunk. Lucky for me, I have a gal of my own that pushes all of these buttons, but if I didn’t I would be swooning allll over Mae Martin.
This queer comedian caught my eye and won my heart after I watched the series they wrote and acted in on Netflix called Feel Good. Based on their youth and navigation through bad relationships and drug addiction, this show spotlights toxic relationships that really hit some soft spots of my own checkered past. But if we can’t laugh about it, what’s the point of living?
Their comedy is funny and forever on-point: sharing perspective on gender, sexuality, recovery and being different in a world that demands that we conform. As a follower of Mae’s Instagram account, all of the fan art that floods their feed really makes me melt: it’s obvious that their story has meant a lot to a ton of people. Check her out!
#2 – LGBTQIA+ non-discrimination policy upheld In United States
As a queer woman, every single one of the recent Supreme Court Judge appointments have made me feel completely ignored and hopeless. At least one is a sexual predator, which seems trendy in US government and the rest do not have a great track record with regard to women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ folx and caring for those in need.
BUT on Monday, the courts offered a surprise “treat” to our community: a 6 – 3 ruling to uphold the anti-discrimination laws in place to protect us from cruel and unjust employers. Few of us saw this vote coming, and for me: I needed this win.
Justice: May you continue to serve all those who are in need of Your scales and compassion.
#1 – sisTERs PGH
Though we might have won one battle with lawmakers, our work as a society is far from done. Protests that support #blacklivesmatter and gay rights have erupted all over the world this month due to the constant violence of police on unarmed, black citizens. People of color, trans folx and so many others are still being oppressed and killed: things that cis and straight people need to remember as they apply their sequined midriffs and tell their queer friends that they are loved.
This is the month that I like to sing the song of my people and remind everyone that the first Pride was a riot. I am grateful to call Ciora Thomas: founder of sisTER’s PGH, my neighbor. This glorious creature has helped organize protests, deliver much-needed speeches, support displaced trans folx without places to live, provided groceries/support for our community and served as a beautiful face of the trans community right here in Pittsburgh! She completes my PRIDE month experience every year and I do my best to support her organization in every way that I am able.
If you would like to donate to sisTER’s PGH, click here to give what you can. Even a few dollars can buy a meal for someone who needs it.
That’s the list! But don’t be mistaken: there are SO many more amazing LGBTQIA+ people out there doing amazing work that I can’t wait to discover. To do our part to help cultivate this energy: we, the Starsdance Mystery School team, decided to offer a special subscription offer to those who would like to join our queer astrology community, but currently find themselves on a more modest budget.
Oh yeah, that’s right. $5 – $10 per month until PRIDE next year! Check out our tuition page for further details about what’s included and be sure to register before the month is over. What lights your PRIDE fire this year? Comment below, I would love to expand my collection and spread that good, gay lovin’ ❤️