‘Sex Is as Sex Does,’ Kelechi, Green Room 42 and more Pride Month happenings

Plus more of what’s up and on starting June 10

Friends, it is Pride Month! The whole consumer world is so very busy being gay and very proud of themselves about it that I am drowning—suffused, awash, fairly brimming—in rainbow-revised logos and the release of every imaginable kind of Big! Gay! Doings! (despite taking every opportunity to remind people that they can, actually, do gay things all year …). Meanwhile, we are apparently going to be having the no-being-sexy-at-Pride discourse again this year, marking my 32nd Pride season as an out queer and the … 32nd year in a row where some people in polo shirts have managed to delude themselves into thinking that if we are sufficiently “respectable” that the attacks on our queer characters will stop. (For those of you just joining the conversation: no, they won’t.) In any event, with Pride feeling less parade and more protest than it has for a while, let’s see what we have to fuel ourselves with, shall we?

“Just Another Song,” Kelechi ft. VINCINT

There I was, innocently scrolling TikTok to watch people show off their cute dogs and clean other people’s filthy carpets (I find it soothing, okay?), when this fun, poppy, boppy song came on. Then I tuned in to the lyrics and realized, oh, this is actually a breakup song—but the drag-iest, most Liza-with-a-Z kind. Are the gays still taking their pain and suffering, applying some glitter and making it very cute? Yes, apparently. Kelechi has also curated this 53-song “The Rainbow Connection” playlist, which does double duty: meet the artist’s pantheon of inspirations, and get your energy up, up, up for whatever you have planned.

Sex Is as Sex Does, by Paisley Currah

Pride is also, evidently, the month for heavy hitters in queer knowledge to bring out persuasive arguments and investigations in hardcover, and I am not mad about it at all. Hot after Julia Serano’s Sexed Up comes Paisley Currah’s Sex Is as Sex Does, which, for me, was a mind-bending trip into the legal, political and medical-industry shenanigans that have underpinned my many experiences trying to change my documentation as a trans person (or helping someone else). Sex Is as Sex Does answers basic questions (“Why does the library want to know my sex? What do they think I’m doing with my books?”) and is lively and interesting to read—so much so that a reader could almost lose sight of the complexity of the issues Currah is with. I know that not all readers of this column take the long path into nerdiness with me when I arrive with these more academic books, but Sex Is as Sex Does actually made me feel smarter.

 

Green Room 42 has RANGE

A relatively new venue to NYC, Green Room 42 has always had a bit of a rep as a place for seasoned people to try things out—new bits, new shows, new vibes. You get a heady combo of tested talent and fresh work, damp and maybe a little wobbly on its legs still, but unmistakably walking before it runs. Their Pride Month programming is full of exactly these kind of delights, ranging from the youngsters who starred in The Prom on Broadway as star-crossed lesbian lovers with a cabaret night; teacher/composer/author of the literal actual book on performing in contemporary musicals, David Sisco, with his first cabaret in twenty years (I met him at the last one; relatedly, we are old, but getting rather accomplished) called Sing Happy and TOSOS—one of the oldest and wildest queer theatres companies of which I am aware—presenting its new work, Grindr: The Opera (if you remember Missed Connections: A Craigslist Musical, I think this will feel like a fun, wholly homosexual version). The shows all have livestream options, tickets at about $15 and dates through June, so go enjoy something musical for Pride, as is your birthright (if you wish to claim it).

everyman by M Shelly Conner

This spring I was invited to be part of a queer literary festival, Glitterary, in Oxford, Mississippi, and there I met a whole slew of great writers and lovely people (some of whom were even the same humans!) and bought, uh, just a few books (in case my husband is reading this week’s column). I’ve been reading my way through them, and I have got to tell you that I have favourites that feel like treasures. One is everyman by M Shelly Conner, which is a generational story and a queer story and a complicated love story that digs and pokes at what it means to love someone, and how we sometimes—with hearts overflowing with love—take actions that cause unimagined and unimaginable sequelae. Conner is also one of my favourite kinds of prose stylists—crisp, crunchy and not afraid of a real turn of phrase, like “the lingering odor of things once pleasantly classified as aromas at the start of the journey.” 

Other things I feel enthusiastic about: “Pride Overload” edition

Storybundle has a Pride bundle of queer science fiction and fantasy stories, which is downloadable by donation, AND if you give $20 or more—for 15 e-books!—you can direct part of your donation to our friends at Rainbow Railroad. Also, with two anthologies among the 15 books, the chances of anyone failing to find something to please them feels happily low. Also, the whole collection is curated by Catherine Lundhoff, whom I just plain like for being not only a great writer, but a super kind and encouraging one as well. 

These two absolutely adorable guys, AJ Gibson and Emile Ennis Jr., made an entire hour-long YouTube episode about their engagement, and now they are having a June wedding (BECAUSE PRIDE), and this revelation led me to learn that they also cohost a truly delightful, classically dishy, gay gay super gay podcast called Confess Your Mess, based on people sharing their secrets to be chewed over and, holy hopping tadpoles, people are confessing. 

Every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, there’s trans book discussion at TransPonder, where they, in the great and grand tradition of book clubs, actually discuss the book once a month, but meet every week to hang out and talk about books generally, life, trans biz and so on. It’s free AND if you can’t access the month’s book for financial reasons, they have copies (electronic or paper) to give away, which is pretty great. 

Hoping to see yourself on this page someday? How about an LGBTQ2S+ songwriting workshop? Noon ET on Fridays, once a month, and based in the United Kingdom, so you know what that means … accents. Have you ever been complimented in a brogue? Shivery business, I’ll tell you, and not just because my first queer kiss AND my eventual husband were/are both Scots. 
There are so many more things, my loves, and here I am already well past the 1,000-word mark. Time really flies when we’re together, I find, even with the best of intentions to be brief and businesslike (okay, well, I don’t really ever have that intention, but perhaps I will someday). Thank you for flinging yourself—wholeheartedly—into Pride Month with me, tune in next time for the exciting conclusion (aka, good grief where did all these thongs come from!?) and in the meantime, please hydrate in preparation, and be very, very kind to yourself (including your liver and your brain stem and your queer and beautiful feelings, okay? They’re needed). As always, if you’re making something new and queer, drop me an email or a DM—I love to hear 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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