When queer love comes a-calling, here’s why you need to answer

Our recommendations for what’s happening for the first half of Pride month, beginning June 3

Hello and happy Pride Month, beauties all! And yes, I definitely mean you, you gorgeous queer thing. I, your handy internet queer culture nerd, am back with a great slate of LGBTQ2S+ programming. Of course, because it’s June, we are awash in amazing books, music, films, theatre and more. Everyone’s very interested in us this month, so let’s make the most of it, I say! Read on for a set of recommendations pairing old favourites with new crushes. What could be more of a Pride-vibe than that?

Care Of and Queer Love in Color

What I like to call “Queer Love: The Non-Fiction Edition” brings us two new books that read far beyond the author, showcasing the many and myriad ways that queer and trans people show our love for one another. Canadian storyteller and national treasure Ivan Coyote has dropped a 13th book, Care Of, a collection of letters they’ve received on the road and from home, each of which Coyote answers with stories, reflections and their usual lyrical vigour. And if you’re looking for photos, each one accompanied by an intimate interview, journalist Jamal Jordan’s just-released first book shows and tells a story of Queer Love in Color, contributing beautifully to the range of possibility models available of LGBTQ2S+ couples and families. Both books, in their rather different ways, point to love, care and connection as a balm for the queer soul.

Mouth to Mouth: Open Mic and Showcase

Kay Ulanday Barrett by artist Gabriel Garcia Roman
Poet Kay Ulanday Barrett.

Credit: Gabriel Garcia Roman

Asian American Writers’ Workshop presents Mouth To Mouth: Open Mic and Showcase on Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m. EDT, curated and hosted by award-winning writer (and one of my longtime faves) Kay Ulanday Barrett along with poet and mental health activist Jaden Fields, who I’ve been so excited to learn about since I started writing this column. The two artistic powerhouses are joined by featured artists Kemi Alabi and Bani Amor, and, if you’re interested, you! This showcase welcomes queer and trans BIPOC artists to share their work. Whether you want to listen and love or let some of your own words shine, RSVP here for a Zoom link to join the event, which will be captioned and ASL-interpreted.


No Country for They/Thems and On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us

Transfemme non-binary sweetheart Avery Jean Brennan brings a staged online reading of their keenly observed and dryly funny new piece, No Country For They/Thems, to the Stages Theatre Festival, hosted by Halifax’s Eastern Front Theatre. The new work, set on Halloween and centred on the ways trans and non-binary people navigate the heteronormative gaze, explores concealing or revealing, participating or refusing, gender. For those looking for a classic non-binary transfemme experience, catch Kate Bornstein performing her solo exploration of gender On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us, which is still evolving (and still delighting people) after two decades. 

Queerfolk Fest

Melissa Ferrick photo by Shervin lainez
Artist-educator Melissa Ferrick.

Credit: Shervin lainez

This new festival looks like extremely my biz, and may be yours, too, if you love queer folk music but object to the gender-essentialism that has sullied some of the older “women’s music” offerings. Queerfolk Fest, which is organized in part by one of the most beloved stops on any folk musician’s tour, Club Passim, will feature a lineup that ranges from promising newcomers like Singaporean folk-pop babe lewloh to perennial favourites like Melissa Ferrick, who has set the soundtrack for many, many queer trysts (and if that’s not Pride, what in the world is?). Catch it all for a sliding-scale ticket price ($20 suggested) on Saturday, June 12.

Phoenix the Fire and Broadway Bares

Broadway Bares poster by Roberto Araujo
This year’s Broadway Bares is called “Twerk from Home.”

Credit: Roberto Araujo

Toronto-based Deaf queer BIPOC theatre collective Phoenix the Fire is the inagural Emerging Company in Residence this year at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. The collective is presenting the play The Two Natashas, along with an upcoming discussion about the experiences and needs of Deaf queer women on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 22 and 23. Founding members Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon and Natasha “Courage” Bacchus have been making Deaf interventions in Toronto’s performance scene for years, and it’s very exciting to see them together again making more work. For an established theatrical event that’s always juuust on the sunny side of tasteful (even if there’s always a chance of mooning), check out the 26th year of Broadway Bares, called Twerk from Home, on Sunday, June 20, at 9 p.m. EDT. The annual fundraiser supports Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an early leader in raising millions every year to support programs for people with HIV/AIDS, as well as actors with other medical issues. 


Tommy featured in documentary Man Made
Body builder Tommy, featured in the documentary “Man Made.”

Credit: Roberto Araujo

With all the talk about trans kids playing sports these days, especially in the United States, I thought perhaps a reminder that we’ve been competing (and sweating gorgeously) this whole time might be just the ticket: T Cooper’s amazing 2018 documentary Man Made, about the annual trans men’s body-building competition. Pair that with this cover story in Sports Illustrated by Britni de la Cretaz about non-binary WNBA standout Layshia Clarendon. And maybe add a quick trip through the Outsports website to read more about LGBTQ2S+ athletes to root for (including UFC fighters who, for Pride month, have the league-sanctioned option to have rainbow lettering on their jerseys). 

That’s all for this time, my tender pool noodles and unicorn floaties and water wings. I’ll be back next time with a mega-column of hand-picked Pride events from across the continent (and beyond!). Come back for the best—not only in silver lamé thongs and heavy bass beats, but also for the delicate, the delicious, the disempowered, the beloved dead and everything else I can find to remind you that Pride exists because queer and trans folks banded together and fought back against violence, oppression, bigotry and hatred. Until then, nurture the tiny riots of your secret heart and keep me posted on what you’re making: email info@xtramagazine.com or DM me on Twitter with your news.

S Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman is a writer, educator and advice columnist. His ninth book, Special Topics In Being A Human, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in the fall of 2021.

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