I lived in Sydney, one of the major LGBTQ capitals of the world, for many years. The annual highlight was the fabulous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras that turned the city rainbow, and I never missed a pride parade! Now I live in South Africa, which, you might be surprised to know, was among the first nations to allow same-sex marriage. Despite the progressive laws, LGBTQ people here still face discrimination and violence, which is why celebrations of Pride month are so much more than glitter and glam: They’re vital for equality. In today’s edition of the Weekender, we tell you what LGBTQ events to go to, causes to support, the best shows to watch and the latest books to read. So turn up Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” or put on Gaga’s “Born This Way,” don your dancing shoes and get ready to celebrate diversity in all its glorious color.
Last year, the pandemic prevented Pride marches around the world from taking place. But this year, at least in some cities, they’re back! The annual New York City Pride March takes place on June 27, so get the glitter and feather boas ready, and if you’re not actually in the Big Apple for the festivities, you can always dance along while livestreaming at home.
2. Do a Charity Run/Donate
Instead of killing it on the dance floor, pound the tarmac and work up a sweat for gay rights. The Atlanta Pride Run takes place tomorrow in Georgia’s capital. Proceeds from the 5K run this year go to Joining Hearts, an organization that assists Atlanta residents impacted by HIV/AIDS. If you prefer to do good from the comfort of your couch, you can donate to any of these LGBTQ charities.
3. Get Cultured
West Hollywood is holding its annual One City One Pride arts festival until June 30, and there’s a plethora of activities to choose from, including play readings, film screenings and an LGBTQ history tour. In nearby Santa Monica, stop by to check out the Pride art walk. It runs until the end of the month and features more than a dozen art installations by LGBTQ artists you can see by following a rainbow-lit pathway all the way to the Santa Monica Pier. If you’re on the East Coast, the Carlton Fine Arts gallery is holding an exhibition of iconic gay artists highlighting the likes of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.
4. Get a Pride Mani-Pedi
Whenever I ask my best friend’s 5-year-old daughter what color to paint my nails, I know the answer will always be: “Rainbow!” Well, the kid has taste. Celebrate this Pride month by getting the ultimate statement pedicure. Loads of salons are offering variations on rainbow nails, from minimalist clear polish with a pop of art to ’70s-style waves or a “Skittles” manicure, where every nail is painted a different color.
It’s time for #RealTalkRealChange. OZY and Chevrolet are teaming up for a discussion on racial disparities in America’s health care system, taking on one of the most urgent questions we face today. Hosted by OZY co-founder and Emmy Award–winning journalist Carlos Watson, who is joined by key leaders from across the country, we’re having pointed conversations to identify problems and equip you with solutions. Put aside the shouting matches and talking heads and be an ally: Join us now on YouTube for a real conversation you won’t want to miss.
The outfits are reason enough to watch this recent Netflix show set in 1970s New York as they’re absolutely fabulous, dahling! Ewan McGregor shines as the iconic American fashion designer, Roy Halston Frowick, with the five-part series charting his rise to fame, friendship with Liza Minnelli, coke-fueled nights at Studio 54 and troubled relationship with boyfriend Victor Hugo. The series was created by Ryan Murphy of Glee fame, who, like the eponymous hero of his new offering, grew up gay in the Midwest.
2. ‘Hating Peter Tatchell’
Halston is full of catty one-liners and beautiful people, but if you want something less frivolous, try this new documentary. Americans may not have heard of Tatchell, but he’s undoubtedly one of the foremost gay activists of his generation: Think Britain’s Harvey Milk. The Aussie-born, Britain-based provocateur has been risking his life to promote LGBTQ rights around the world since the ’70s, from getting beaten by former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s bodyguards in Brussels to being detained in Moscow. Whether you love him or loathe his methods, you can’t help admiring his courage. The film was produced by Elton John and his husband, David Furnish.
Ironically most Kenyans weren’t able to watch one of the most lauded films of recent years to emerge from their country, after the government banned Wanuri Kahiu’s lesbian love story. Homosexuality is illegal in the East African nation, and the film board said Rafiki “undermined the sensibilities” of Kenyans. But while the ban was being debated in court, the filmmakers managed to hold a few well-attended screenings in Nairobi, with woke Kenyan moviegoers praising the bittersweet tale of romance between a pink-dreadlocked rich girl and a skateboarding tomboy from a broken home.
4. 'The Carlos Watson Show'
Here at OZY, you can watch some of the most interesting movers and shakers in the LGBTQ community on The Carlos Watson Show. Carlos has interviewed Queer Eye’s Tan France about everything from his favorite designers to his thoughts on racism in America; philanthropist Darren Walker about his intersectional experiences being a Black man and gay; the nation’s first trans senator, Sarah McBride, about coming to terms with her identity; and Big Freedia on everything from bounce to Beyoncé. Don’t miss upcoming shows on our YouTube channel.
Check out the brand new podcast Be Antiracist, hosted by Ibram X. Kendi. Be Antiracist imagines what an antiracist society might look like and how we all can play an active role in building it. Kendi is the author of How to Be an Antiracist, the book that spurred a nationwide conversation redefining what it means to be antiracist, and on the show, he guides listeners to identify and reject the racist systems hiding behind racial inequity and injustice. Alongside guests like Julián Castro, Jemele Hill, Don Lemon, Heather McGhee, and Mariame Kaba, Kendi continues his journey towards building a just and equitable world and proposes how we can all help create it.
Long before there were gay rights, there were gay write — ers. While homosexuality is now legal in most Western democracies, it’s worth remembering the change-makers and iconoclasts who helped get us there. Some of my favorite gay writers include Chistopher Isherwood, Alan Hollinghurst, James Baldwin and, of course, Oscar Wilde. For lesbian classics, try The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein or Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde. If you’re looking for stories with trans protagonists, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is a must-read, or try the more recent The Death of Vivek Oji by Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi.
2. ‘The Engagement’
As its subtitle, “America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage,” suggests, this book documents one of the central civil rights fights of our generation, the battle for marriage equality. Written by journalist and author Sasha Issenberg and published earlier this month, the 900-page narrative explores how within a decade, what had once been considered a fringe issue, even by many members of the LGBTQ community, rose to the top of the gay political agenda, reached the U.S. Supreme Court and changed America.
3. ‘Girl, Woman, Other'
I’ve finally started this novel, which all my friends seemed to be reading during lockdown. By Bernardine Evaristo, it shared the 2019 Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. Like Evaristo, the large cast of characters in Girl are mainly Black British women. One is an aging radical lesbian playwright while another is a nonbinary blogger, but all are searching for something regardless of their race or sexuality. Evaristo was the first Black woman to win the Booker, with the judges hailing her writing as “passionate, razor-sharp [and] brimming with energy and humour.”
This short story collection written by Anthony Veasna So is one to preorder ahead of its August publication. Its author, who once described himself as “a grotesque parody of the model minority,” died suddenly last year at 28 before he could see it in print. His collection focuses on a young, gay, Cambodian American man in the Bay Area and the relationships between traumatized refugee parents who escaped the Khmer Rouge and their first-generation American children.
I’ve always loved Jean Paul Gaultier’s perfumes, admittedly because they’re packaged in such beautiful bottles shaped like the human form, but they smell nice too! This one for men comes in a special pride-colored torso bottle, with key notes of mint and lavender — perfect for balmy summer evenings.
How better to show off your new pride pedicure than by wearing a pair of these matching rainbow Havaianas? They’re definitely the comfiest flips around, whether you’re headed to the beach or a pride parade after-party. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is so yesterday — now you can wear your pride on your feet!
If you dance to the beat of your own drum, bump it up a notch with these rainbow wireless earbuds. They’ll go wherever you do — from marching in a Pride parade this weekend to strolling your neighborhood or walking the pooch. Plus, they come with a built-in microphone for hands-free calls and the cutest-ever portable charging case.