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Queerer by the Dozen

Queerer by the Dozen

12 recent LGBTQ+ films to watch during Pride month

Words by Trey Burnette

Last year was record-breaking for queer representation on the big and small screens. Below are 12 movies that were vying for Oscars in 2023, which you can stream and/or rent now.

Aftersun is a quiet and searingly emotional drama from writer/director Charlotte Wells. Through old family vacation videos, adult Sophie revisits her last childhood holiday spent with her father. While she treasures the rare and last time she saw him, she reconciles losing him to his depression and the weight of his world outside their relationship.

Star Attraction: The breathtaking Paul Mescal (the upcoming Gladiator, Stanley Kowalski in London’s recent Streetcar revival) as the young dad.

Bros is a romantic comedy about two gay men with commitment issues. Bobby is a neurotic and caustic podcaster who first spots shirtless Aaron, a well-muscled and emotionally shallow lawyer, on a dance floor. The two seem equally attracted and repulsed by each other, but Bobby stumbles away from his bitterness and into love with a somewhat maturing Aaron.

Star Attraction: Writer-lead Billy Eichner and dreamy holiday movie staple Luke Macfarlane

Everything Everywhere All at Once won the most recent Best Picture Oscar. This surrealist comedy-adventure centers on a Chinese-American immigrant navigating a tax audit for her laundromat. At the same time — in an unraveling multidimensional reality — she rectifies her relationships with her husband, queer daughter, and life choices.

Star Attraction: Six other Oscars, including Best Actress Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Best Supporting Actor Ke Huy Quan, and writing-directing duo The Daniels.

Fire Island revolves around a group of gay best friends who gather on Fire Island for their annual week of drinks and twinks. The gaggle gathering turns serious when Noah has a sudden meet-cute. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this romantic comedy humorously explores the boundaries of chosen family when one friend finds love with an outsider.

Star Attraction: Writer Joel Kim Booster and his queer cronies Bowen Yang and Margaret Cho.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a whodunnit comedy that follows world-famous gay detective Benoit Blanc to a billionaire’s estate on a Greek island. There, he must peel back the layers surrounding the tech billionaire and his eclectic and questionable crew of friends. Everyone is a suspect when more than one dead body surfaces.

Star Attraction: The sparkling cast, led by Bond (Daniel Craig) playing Blanc.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is a music-heavy bio-drama about Whitney Houston that, refreshingly, doesn’t shy away from her relationship with girlfriend Robyn Crawford. The story tracks her from New Jersey choir girl to international superstar while exploring the complex ramifications of unrequited love, homophobia, racism, and unhealthy relationships.

Star Attraction: Those golden top ten Whitney hits!

My Policeman begins with present-day Tom, Marion, and Patrick still filled with anger and regret about their complicated triangle and the compromises made to survive the dangerous society of their young adulthood. This poignant English drama about forbidden love and betrayal explores not only this trio’s past, but their last chance to free themselves by finding forgiveness for themselves and one another.

Star Attraction: Doubly cast roles, led by undeniably talented pop music god Harry Styles.

Spoiler Alert, based on Michael Ausiello’s memoir “Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies,” is a heartbreaking yet hilarious love story about his and photographer Kit Cowan's 14-year relationship, which ended after Cowan’s battle with cancer. You’ll laugh through your tears.

Star Attraction: Sally Field as Kit’s Mom, Jim Parsons as Ausiello, and hunky Ben Aldridge as Kit.

Tár is a psychological drama about Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors — the very first female director of a major German orchestra — and accusations of her sexual misconduct. Lesbian Lydia unravels as the film questions if she’s a monster, victim, or both, becoming a surrealist ghost story about power and cancel culture in the process.

Star Attraction: The inimitable double Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.

The Inspection was inspired by writer/director Elegance Bratton’s real life. The coming-of-age drama focuses on a young Black gay man who struggles with the intersectionality of racism, masculinity, and homophobia. By enlisting in the Marine Corps, he hopes to gain the approval of his misguided mom, but instead experiences further abuse via targeted military hazing. In the end, he finds community and belonging that reshape his identity.

Star Attraction: Rising queer actor Jeremy Pope.

The Whale is an affecting drama about a reclusive English teacher battling an eating disorder as he grieves the death of his boyfriend. His physical health quickly deteriorating, he tries to restore his relationship with his teenage daughter while seeking redemption and peace with the past.

Star Attraction: Best Actor Oscar winner Brendan Fraser.

Women Talking is based on Miriam Toews’s novel by the same name. Both are inspired by actual events, in which the women of an isolated religious commune suffer rape and other atrocities by the men in their community. Convening in a barn while their abusers are away, they debate how to move forward together to build a better world for themselves and their children. Shall they do nothing, stay and fight, or leave?

Star Attraction: Oscar-winning writer-director Sarah Polley, alongside her unforgettable cast.

Summertime, and the Protestin’ Is Easy

Summertime, and the Protestin’ Is Easy

Words by Trey Burnette

June is Pride month. Here are 10 fun, effective ways to incorporate activism into your summer activities.

1) Vacation Vacancy

Don’t just cancel your vacation reservations in places (Florida, Texas, Tennessee, etc.) that are passing discriminatory laws. Send the businesses, tourist board, and local city government an email or handwritten letter explaining why you will be unable to visit and spend your money with them this summer.

2) Postcard Picnic

Grab a picnic basket and some postcards with messages for political leaders, and head to the park with some friends. While lunching outdoors, stamp and address the postcards. Use Pride month to remind lawmakers what issues you care about and how legislation affects your life.

3) Banned Beach Reads

Book banning is nothing new in America, but unfortunately, extremists have recently stepped up their efforts. The best way to counter these actions is to head down to your favorite bookseller — like The Best Bookstore in Palm Springs, to support small local business owners — and buy banned books (and/or tomes by marginalized authors) for your summertime reads.

4) Pride Parade Protest

Many in the LQBTQ+ community wonder if we still needed Pride festivals and parades. The last several years have shown us we do. Plan a trip to experience Pride in a new city. Show the world our community is vibrant and proud, while connecting with new people and seeing how different cities celebrate their Pride.

5) Tea-Time Testimonies 

Find your voice with those you love. Invite friends over for some iced tea and share your stories. Let them know what you are going through, how you’re feeling, and give them space to share their own stories. The current social and political climate is overwhelming, and finding friends with whom to weather the storm is healthy for everyone. People need to be reminded they’re not alone and that solutions for a better tomorrow can be realized together.

6) Planned Parenthood Pool Plunge 

Remember, it’s not just LGBTQ+ people under attack in the current political atmosphere. Women and other marginalized people (some of whom are LGBTQ+) are also fighting to keep their civil rights. Find the organizations that support those groups — like Planned Parenthood or the NAACP — and host a pool party fundraiser for them. Show them they’re not alone and the LGBTQ+ community has their backs. No pool? Get out the Slip-N-Slide!

7) Lemonade Letters 

Unfortunately, many people aren’t always aware of what’s happening outside of their daily lives. If you have friends or family who live in a state where extreme and discriminatory laws are being considered — or passed! — take a minute to turn a sour situation into something sweet. Pour yourself a glass of lemonade, and craft a handwritten letter informing loved ones how these laws affect you and your community. A personal story brings advocacy home.

8) Mitzvah Margaritas

Going out for drinks, search for venues that provide stage time for queer and ally performers. The LGBTQ+ community has a long history of political activism throughout the arts. It’s essential to support not only those artists, but the venues that support them.

9) Camp Colorful 

The LGBTQ+ community pitches a big tent, and it’s important to remember the community’s diversity. Summer is a time for many art, music, film, and community festivals, and many of these have political undertones. Find some events off your beaten path. There may be an LGBTQ+ person who has an intersection with another marginalized group, and who can use your support at one of those affairs — or maybe you just have fun while proudly supporting another community.

10) Summertime Self-care

You have to advocate for yourself before you can advocate for anyone else. Start by checking if you are in tip-top shape. Look into DAP Health’s many services, like yearly medical exams, STI screenings, and behavioral health services. Or discover the benefits of their wellness programs and social services.

Speed Friending, Sexual Health, Recovery …

Speed Friending, Sexual Health, Recovery and More: DAP Health is Bringing it to Palm Springs Pride 

Words by Charles Sanchez 

Palm Springs Pride has a long, fabulous tradition of celebrating diversity and community, and this year, DAP Health’s Pride Pavilion will be right in the heart of it. The pavilion will be located at 205 S. Palm Canyon Drive at the intersection of Palm Canyon and Arenas Drive, and will be open Friday, November 4 at 11:00 am through Sunday, November 6 at 5:00 pm. 

To foster connection and camaraderie this year, DAP Health has engaged the talents of Palm Springs’ own, the glamorous Ms. Patty Cakes to host a little get together game at Pride she likes to call “Speed Friending.” The game will commence at 5pm on Friday, November 4th, just in time to get you ready for a fabulous and friendly weekend. 

“Like speed dating,” Patty said, “it’s about meeting someone briefly for a minute, maybe two minutes, and then moving on to the next person.” It’s Patty’s hope that people from different cliques in the community will break down barriers and form new connections. “There’s all these little subsets within our community,” she said. “That’s what I love about pride; we get to be with each other together.” 

But why speed friending? “Dating is a charged word that comes with a lot of bias and baggage,” Patty explained. “But after all, in one way or another we are ‘dating’ everyone in our lives: our barista, the checkout girl, hell I’m even dating my new puppy!” She went on to say when the word dating is unweaponized, it simply means being in a relationship with those around us. “And by that definition,” she said, “during pride weekend, we are all dating each other!” 

Speed Friending is only one little nugget of deliciousness that DAP Health will be providing. The Pride Pavilion will offer a little something for everyone: yoga, recovery meetings, Raw sex talk, country line dancing, sound bath meditation and more. 

Steven Henke, Director of Brand Marketing for DAP Health said, “The Health Pavilion is going to offer the gift of wellness, free, exactly where our community is that weekend.” People will be able to walk into the pavilion and see exactly who DAP Health is and what is offered. They’ll experience the community health team’s approach to sexual wellness and harm reduction for every section of the LGBTQ+ family.  

“They’ll also be able to see the other non-profits that we partner with that we are inviting into the space,” Henke said, “like Planned Parenthood, Brothers of the Desert, the L Fund, and the LGBTQ Center of the Desert.” Riverside County will also be there, providing Monkeypox vaccinations on site.  

“I would like to invite everyone to stop by the Pavilion,” Patty Cakes said, “because Pride has a party aspect and a social aspect, but there’s also the opportunity to learn safe sex, health, mental health.” She concluded, “I want to interject that energy--learning and living--into my best gay life!” 

Brothers of the Desert: Our Rhythm, Our …

Our Rhythm, Our Power: Wellness Meeting Focuses on Black Gay Men’s Health  

Words by Lorenzo Taylor

The Brothers of the Desert know that “wellness” is much more than just taking care of physical health.  For the past four years this local Black gay men’s group has organized a one-day meeting with expert presentations on physical, spiritual, and mental health issues of importance to Black gay men.  The theme of this year’s Wellness Summit is “Our Rhythm, Our Power: Living Our Best Black Gay Lives” and it will be held on Saturday, November 12 at the Margaritaville Resort. The day-long event features innovative workshops and panel discussions on a diverse range of topics, such as spirituality, relationships, mental health, aging, trauma of racism, prevention, physical health, Black LGBTQ history, healthy sex, creative expression, financial planning, and more.   

The event has grown over the years and attracts participants locally and from around the country. Brothers of the Desert board president Tim Vincent says “We are so proud to bring these dynamic speakers together to share their expertise with our community. There will be opportunities to learn, connect and meet new people while attending the workshops.” Participants will get an opportunity to engage with the twenty featured speakers informally at a pre-Summit reception on Friday evening. 

Actor Alton Fitzgerald White, who starred in the Lion King on Broadway, will be the keynote speaker and will set an upbeat tone based on his best-selling book My Pride: Mastering Life’s Daily Performance.  Medical topics will be covered by four practicing physicians, Dr. Leo Moore, Dr. Alex del Rosario, Dr. Curly L. Bonds, and Dr. Cliff Wynne and there will be blood pressure checks and an onsite pop-up Monkeypox (MPX) vaccination clinic.  But the Summit will go far beyond these physical concerns.  A favorite Summit speaker, Bishop Yvette Flunder, will return to electrify attendees with her spirit-filled affirmation of LGBTQ+ lives within the Christian faith. There will also be opportunities to choose workshops that explore how touch, music, and writing can heal the wounded spirit. Black gay novelist Larry Duplechan and other published authors will discuss how expressing life experiences through writing has been transformative and healing.  Financial health topics will be covered by Chauncey Thompson of Barton CPA, in response to past participants’ desire to reduce stress around having adequate resources for living and retirement.  

DAP Health is once again an official sponsor of the Summit.  It will have staff at an information table at the meeting and has partnered with Brothers of the Desert to provide a little taste of the Summit in their Palm Springs Pride pavilion on November 6th.  Motivational speaker Dr. Stephan Scoggins and spiritual leader Tony Bradford will do mini-presentations to discuss boosting one’s self-esteem and developing one’s own spiritual practice. Tim Vincent says “We appreciate this opportunity to showcase some of the talented speakers who bring a different life experience to their work and to strengthen our enduring collaboration with DAP Health.” 

Attendance at the Summit is free and open to all who have an interest in Black gay men’s health.  In addition, some of the Summit speakers are offering special live performances to the community during the weekend.  On Friday, November 11 comedic actor Ralph Cole Jr. and soul/folk/reggae singer Nhojj will perform at the Palm Springs Cultural Center and on Sunday, November 13 Alton Fitzgerald White will sing Broadway and Disney songs in a concert at the Palm Springs United Methodist Church.  Full details, as well as registration for the Summit and for the community events can be found on their website www.brothersofthedesert.org. 

DAP Health Connects with Community for N …

DAP Health Connects with Community for National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day 

Words by Charles Sanchez 

Saturday, October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), a day to raise HIV awareness for the Latinx community and encourage testing, prevention, and care. DAP Health continues our mission to advocate for the health needs of all our citizens, and we are passionate about addressing the specific challenges facing our Latinx community. 

Latinxs are among the most vulnerable when it comes to HIV. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control)) estimates that among the 34,800 new cases reported in 2019, 29% were to Latinxs. In Riverside County, in 2020, 50% of those living with HIV are Hispanic, and 22% of new cases are in Latino men.  

C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health, and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health, spoke to the ways DAP Health is making strides to bring information and services to Latinxs in our area. “In July, we opened a new sexual wellness clinic in Indio that’s completely free, including HIV appointments and PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-exposure Prophylaxis) services.” The new clinic was opened when it was realized that many clients were having to drive 30-40 minutes each way to DAP Health’s main Palm Springs campus, and a majority were Latinxs.  

“We just opened July 11, so it's very new,” Tobe says. New, but the community response has been remarkable. In the first few weeks between the clinic opening and the end of August, DAP Health was able to get 20 patients started on PrEP and serve 200 patient visits in August alone. “It is already booming; we have also had OB-GYN doctors referring their female patients who are pregnant to get treated for STIs. It was the right move for the community, opening that clinic.” DAP Health has made services in the sexual wellness clinics completely free, eliminating that cost barrier.  

“DAP Health opened the clinic in the middle of Latino community. Eighty percent of our staff is bilingual. All our informational brochures are in Spanish and English,” To make things easier to navigate for Spanish-speaking patients, all signage at the Indio location is in both English and Spanish, and all forms are as well. 

Moreover, DAP Health tackles the needs of undocumented people who may not speak English and may be distrustful or baffled by the healthcare system. “We have staff that have gone through the process themselves. When a new patient comes to us with these challenges, we immediately connect them with those life-experienced staff to establish trust and help that patient.” 

To mark National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, DAP Health is sending out mobile units to the San Jacinto college resource fair. Tobe explains, “we’ll be providing HIV testing, STI testing and a whole lot of outreach at the college.” DAP Health will also be on the other side of the Coachella Valley. “We’re also going to be giving out free HIV self-test kits at the Revivals store in Indio, so those are two big events that we’re doing on the 15th.” The tests include a phone number to help with questions and support, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

This is the 19th National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day,” Tobe looks at this as a way for DAP Health to let the community know that “we are here, and we want to listen to you.”  DAP Health asks what the organization can we do to make things easier for the community. Whether it is language translation or transportation to the clinic. DAP Health wants to know what it can do to help you live your healthiest life. 

Tobe believes that one of the most important things DAP Health has done is hire a community health team, which includes a trans-identified community worker, and Latino and Latina members of the team. “We've expanded access for anybody and everybody, but specifically Latinos, to be able to access sexual wellness services, HIV prevention methods, whether it's testing or whether it's PrEP, free of cost and also free of judgment.”