The great wave of Pride Month has receded, leaving me languorous (but not limp) on the shore, suffused with the entirety of the experience, with bits of seaweed/glitter in my hair. Here in the weeks of Sloth we recuperate from our exertions, however delicious they may have been. I often feel a little morning-after about everything: bleary and grateful and feeling sweet and hungry. It is into that place I offer the following, here on Queer Culture Catch-up:
I’m not necessarily moved by the breathless press releases about the first this or that, but as a parent of a non-binary kid I really am moved by the opportunity to show my kiddo a fun Disney movie that features a non-binary actor in a gender-nonspecific role. Zombies 3 is the third film in the popular original movie series on the Disney Channel and now Disney+. The film grapples with gender in a super interesting way (and not just to children) when the town of Seabrook is invaded by a colonizing force of aliens who want Earth for themselves. They would prefer to just be handed the keys, but are willing to destroy in order to get what they want (just, uh, let me know if anything sounds familiar, government of Canada). Terry Hu, who plays one of the aliens, A-Spen, is a camp delight—which pretty well describes the movie. Even the child-free might well enjoy this cinematic confection, especially with a magic brownie and a cozy friend who hasn’t yet lost their sense of whimsy either.
Colouring with Pride
For International Day of Pink/Journée Rose, our friends at dayofpink.org release an annual colouring book of queer and trans luminaries. Each downloadable colouring book—there are six of them now—includes historical information and additional learning resources if you’re into that sort of thing. Or you could just get our your zen coloured pencils from that ill-fated fling with mindfulness a couple years ago and put them to use making a bunch of queer people shiny with colour and flavour. Coffee and a colouring page of Ryan G. Hinds? The real question is, why wouldn’t you?
“Pride & Joy” with Joy Ladin
One of the loveliest poets, Joy Ladin, who has been out collecting awards like a farm girl with an egg basket for her last book, The Book of Anna, now has a new book Shekhinah Speaks which is a delight. Ladin, an out trans professor at the notoriously conservative Yeshiva University (like, recently ordered by a state judge to recognize their school’s Pride Alliance after decades of refusal levels of conservative) brings a muscular grace to her poetry. Reading it reminds me of seeing a fellow fat guy dance beautifully—she’s not a precious, lapidary poet with a bag of dollar words, but an observer of humans and then a describer of them, making the same vocabulary we use for our list-making and texts to our mothers gather itself and take wing. Recently she read some selections and talked about her work and the work of justice with our friends over at Keshet in a talk called “Pride & Joy,” which was recorded and is available to watch now on YouTube, and it was one of the nicer “book tour” things I have watched in a while.
If what you need in your life is a dose of #grumpyassbutch real talk, Koja Adeyoha has it for you over on TikTok. Adeyoha, who has presented extensively at community-organized events about butch identity, Indigenous rights and resilience, holds down an uncompromising space to talk about both on TikTok, and in particular how her identities inform and complicate each other. Often from bed, Adeyoha shares her views and responds not just to comments, but also questions. With so few butches and masc-of-centre people of colour taking up space in the public eye, her generous and rigorous videos answering questions, ruminating on ethics and values and occassionally firing back at racist nonsense make her TikTok a pretty great stop for young queers of any flavour grappling with questions of values, community, identity—plus she is quite nice to look at.
“Cycles of LGBTQ Liberation & Oppression” with Rev. Jim Mitulski
This talk is not really leisurely, but it is needed. Movement organizer Jim Mitulski has been hard at work in global pandemic spaces and LGBTQ2S+ liberation spaces since most of us were still being reminded not to eat our crayons, and is now presenting a clear-eyed look at the political moment in which we find ourselves (in despair and self-medicating with pints of ice cream, in my case). Mitulski draws together the threads of the current religious conservative playbooks, how each of them tangles and tugs one another and how we can use past successes in justice work as a guide to get ensnared. Join his talk on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m. by registering for this Zoom link (or, if you’re near Columbia, South Carolina, attend in person) for some of the kind of real talk that I always find, in the end, quite comforting.
And that, my lemons, limes and grapefruits, is the roundup for this time as we lean into summer’s bounty (while somehow still staying six feet apart). I hope you have time for treats and frivolity, for deliciousness and leisure, for sunshine and cool breezes of the soul and that you also have the energy to offer a little of it to others—especially the ones who may need it more than most. As always, let me know if you’re making something new and queer via email or DM—I love to hear your news.