25 ideas for our queer future

Pub date June 22, 2010

What does the future hold in store for us? In an age of mainstream assimilation and aspiration, is there even such a thing as the queer future? We asked 25 queer leaders, artists, and activists to offer visions in their areas of expertise. The results — philosophical, poetic, practical, and priceless — are inspiring. One thing’s for sure, we’ll never lose our creative spark. Nor will we lose our motivational zeal. Fate is for the lazy: take action now. (Marke B.)

>>Click here for ideas from our amazing 2010 Hot Pink List

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THE FUTURE OF QUEER ACTIVISM We need to take back the power and stop being led by what the other side is doing. We need to empower ourselves enough so that we are no longer reacting but acting. We must use online social networks the way we used the streets and bullhorns to show our strength, speak out against wrongdoing, change minds, and win back our rights. We also must unite with our allies in other communities that are underrepresented and maligned in much of the same ways we are. When we stand with one another, we have that much stronger a voice.

Kelly Rivera Hart is the founder of Poz Activists Network (pansf.blogspot.com).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER COMMUNITY The difference between straight and gay cultures seems to be breaking down more and more, which is one of our goals, but we still need to support our own businesses, nonprofits, and leaders. We need to continue interacting with each other in the real world and not lose sight of who we are and what we share. Despite how the rest of the world sees us, there is still a lot of loneliness and isolation in the queer community. I think many of us have forgotten even simple things, like how to make actual friends, not just online. And it’s so easy! Renewing that spirit of interaction, freeing ourselves from fear of judgment, and moving outside our “safe zone” can lead to the greatest rewards.

Mark Rhoades is a charitable event planner and fundraiser who throws the annual Cupid’s Back and City Hall Pride parties.

THE FUTURE OF QUEER FASHION The past decade has witnessed an obsession with bulky, voluminous silhouettes disguised as “futuristic avant-garde” and inspired by GaGa and the ’80s. Let’s move on. Through clean lines, elegance, and wearable pieces, the future of queer fashion will shine light on socially relevant issues like bottom shame, positive-negative status reinforcement, and elite subcultures by using gay textiles and forgotten, non-era-specific imagery.

Allán Herrera is the design head of fashion house Homo Atelier (www.homoatelier.com) and a founder of HomoChic (www.homochic.com).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER FILM Future queer film will depend on the gays being at the forefront of distribution technology in the same way we pioneered social networking 15 years ago, spreading provocative and sexually honest/explicit films beyond the film festival circuit and toward a global audience. Special attention must be paid to the creeping homophobia of cultural and technological juggernauts like Apple. Our stories will need to bust through the pigeonhole, weaving our traditional themes (AIDS, coming-of-age) into larger storylines that are relevant to multicultural and transcontinental viewers.

Leo Herrera is a video artist, filmmaker, and a founder of HomoChic (www.homochic.com).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER YOUTH To be a true leader, one must envision the future. The future is a diverse society where LGBTQQ youth are embraced for who they are and encouraged to be who they want to be. In my pursuit for LGBTQQ youth rights, leadership has been about fostering the awareness in LGBTQQ young people about their own power as individuals and as a group, supporting them to access, develop, and master the skills and knowledge they need to transform their power into action, and building bridges to opportunities where their action can create just communities.

Jodi Schwartz is the executive director of LYRIC Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (www.lyric.org).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER LABOR Storm of protest drives Congress to pass trans-inclusive ENDA! Support by labor unions critical to passage of this landmark legislation. Screaming, “We’re too queer for this bullshit!” workers hold drag-runway picket lines at transphobic companies across the country. Activists redefine the crisis of trans poverty and unemployment as the most critical queer civil rights issue of our time.

Bad hotel boycott forces Hyatt to sign a fair contract and treat their employees with respect. LGBTQ organizations rally with labor unions for immigration reform, hold signs reading “No borders on my cunt, no border on our countries!

Jane Martin is a queer labor activist and community organizer with SF Pride at Work (www.sfprideatwork.org).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER DRAG (PART ONE) My vision for the future of queer drag requires you to take a moment, stop, look, and listen to our past. We have such a rich history of fierce and amazing queens to learn from. The key is to get involved with a queer family that supports and loves you and what you do. Next, figure out your niche — whether it’s high drag or low camp, just be sure to always do it like you don’t need the money! Then pull it together and serve it up with lots of love and generosity. And, of course, top it all off with a fabulous wig!

Juanita More! (www.juanitamore.com) is the queen. Attend her boisterous Pride party on Sun/27 (see Pride listings), benefiting Bay Area Young Positives (www.baypositives.org).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER DRAG (PART TWO) Meg Whitman will become president of the United States and hire Lady Bunny as one of her speech writers. Oprah and Gayle will finally come out, and gender illusionist shows will dominate the OWN Network — every other channel will follow. In 2050, Heklina will clone herself, twice, and perform the hospital-convalescent home circuit as the Del Rubio Triplets. Apple will come out with a product called the iDrag, that transforms anyone into anything.

Fudgie Frottage is the king. He puts on the annual, wonderful SF Drag King Contest (www.sfdragkingcontest.com).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER DANCE FLOORS Lets start with a nice, clean piece of paper. Black paper. A clean slate. Say, for example, a deliriously rich and tasteful daddy were to buy the Stud. Step one: a deep, five-stage gay cleaning. Step two: gut the interior, maybe keep the bar and choo-choo train intact, they are cute. Otherwise keep it simple. Step three: install an exact copy of the sound system used by Dave Mancuso at the Loft parties in New York City. The tasteful daddy would have a matte gray private jet at our disposal to bring guests of our choosing. For the launch party we would have an all Kenny line-up: Kenny Dixon Jr., Kenny Hawkes, Kenny Carpenter, and Ken Collier (back from the dead) would DJ. Live PA by Kenny Bobien. Oh, and Kenny Kenny on the door. At the end, everyone would get together and cry like they do on those exploitative renovation reality shows. Daddy would miss the ribbon-cutting, but that’s OK — he sent flowers and bought an $80 Diptyque candle for the new bathroom. That would be a good start.

Honey Soundsystem is a future-past DJ collective. Catch the old-school house Honey Pride party on Sun/27 (see Pride listings).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER COMEDY The future is here. And now that gay marriage is mandatory for everyone, queer and straight, the same goes for comedy. All comedians, regardless of sexual orientation, are now required to do at least 75 percent queer comedy in their acts unless they obtain Permit No. 758219B through the Comedy Board, allowing for the special provision to do only 50 percent queer material. That’s right: comedy is now regulated by law. No jokes are allowed to have homophobic content, especially if you’re performing for tourists. Remember, you are ambassadors now. If you’re straight and have no queer material, just ask your aunt or your second cousin or your bachelor uncle whose best friend of 40 years, Bruce, comes to all the family functions.

Lisa Geduldig (www.koshercomedy.com) is a comic and MC who puts on such shows as Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, Funny Girlz, and Comedy Returns to El Rio!

THE FUTURE OF QUEER HOUSING It is beyond time for us queers to focus our fabulous and substantial God-given talents toward a vision of the future of queer housing. We are the trailblazers, the social entrepreneurs, the avant-garde. Imagining and creating the future is what we do best. Let’s put those substantial talents to work to realize our very own “No Place Like Home” dream of a home for our LGBT elders, our homeless LGBT youth, our people with HIV/AIDS, our artists, our activists, and everything in between. I’ll show you mine: the largest affordable housing for people with HIV/AIDS in the nation next to the Castro Theater and an LGBT homeless shelter at Geary and Polk. Now you show me yours.

Brian Basinger is the director of AIDS Housing Alliance/SF (www.ahasf.org).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER COMICS The future of LGBT comics will be about creators moving out of the traditional queer media ghetto and into new digital undergrounds, indie markets, and even the publishing mainstream. Web comics, graphic novels, minicomics, and zines … Queer comics will have to continue to diversify their formats to survive. At the core, though, remains the need to tell good stories! Look for more poignant narratives about the intersection of queer identities and the human condition. Also, robo-dykes, super-powered trannies, bisexual Lotharios, and zombie fags!

Justin Hall, a queer and erotic comics artist, runs All Thumbs Press (www.allthumbspress.com).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER LAW We would like to see the law catch up with the reality of transgender lives. Your gender identity is an innate and deeply felt sense of who you are. Whether you feel male, female, both, or neither, we envision a future where your legal gender will be exclusively determined by you and not by doctors or lawyers. By respecting your autonomy and your ability to know yourselves better than anyone else, the law will finally reflect society at large. The law is not far from fully recognizing that fact of life, but there is still work to be done. So break out your queer legal briefs and join in the fight for transgender civil rights!

Executive Director Masen Davis and the staff of the Transgender Law Center (www.transgenderlawcenter.org)

THE FUTURE OF QUEER SPIRIT As I look toward the future, I want to see the consciousness shift that Harry Hay and other gay pioneers were pushing for manifest itself more fully in both the gay culture and the larger hetero culture. As queer liberationists, we’ve already taught the world that we are a people. I want to see us recognized as always having been a people. I want to see us given the opportunity to cocreate a new, more beautiful world. To paraphrase: what if there were no “faggots,” only master healers, teachers, shamans? I hope to see the end of shame.

Zac Benfield is the president of the radical faerie Church of Nomenus. Attend his “Woo 101 for Hipster Faggots” workshop, part of the Faetopia Festival (See “Ongoing” in our Pride listings)


The alien scientist pipettes liquid
Into a flask to be shaken vigorously.
The origins of gay life.

On Earth, planets align, exposing
Realities once thought to be utterly impossible:
Gays are outta this world!

Queer scientists make the future
Always brighter, cleaner, sexier, and more fabulous
Stopping only for a cocktail.

Quietly, the gay scientist works,
Inching closer to the final answer that
Will change the world forever.

In the future of science
We see the world with different eyes,
All judged by ability alone.

Chris Waddling is a PhD scientist at UCSF.

THE FUTURE OF THE QUEER PAST The future of the queer past has always been fragile — and despite some positive developments in the past 25 years, it remains fragile today. The legacy of LGBT people is still largely invisible in the settings where our society formalizes its history. Our stories are rarely told in high school classrooms, in the galleries of museums, on the plaques of public monuments. Supporting the efforts and the growth of such organizations as the GLBT Historical Society and other pioneering queer history institutions will be key to ensuring that the memory of LGBT lives, struggles, setbacks, and triumphs can inform and inspire future generations.

Writer, editor, and antiquarian book dealer Gerard Koskovich is a founding member of the GLBT Historical Society and a member of the board of directors of the Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle, a French national group that commemorates the homosexual victims of the Nazis.

THE FUTURE OF THE QUEER FUTURE My future selves are always popping back from the year 2023 or 2034 for the weekend, mostly because they know I’ll be their sex slave. They remember what 2010-me was like. (And apparently in the mid-2020s, time-traveling self-flagellation becomes a big fetish.) They’re not supposed to tell me anything about The Future, but they let slip wee details here and there — the 20-teens are a troubling time, but then we discover queer telepathy, and everybody starts secreting empathy endorphins and building communal gardens in the upper atmosphere. Hang in there until we get the first queer president, they always say. Once she comes out during her second term, that’s when the government really starts building something.

Charlie Anders is the managing editor of science fiction-forward site io9.com