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5 Queer Things You Can Do Right Now-ish: Celebrate Black History Month By Supporting Black LGBTQ+ Creators and Businesses

The Black community has been pioneering American culture for centuries, from the arts to the civil rights movement. This is especially true for the Black LGBTQ+ community. Look no further than Ball culture to see that it helped forge an identity we still associate with today. So, for Black History Month, appreciate the Black queer community's rich culture with these events, and more:

1. Discuss Toni Morrison’s Impact 

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The pioneer that was Toni Morrison may be gone, but the stories and characters she weaved live on. Even more memorable is Morrison’s unique way of highlighting Black queer relationships. Congress of Black Women of Canada, too, recognizes Morrison’s legendary literary talents. Their Feb. 20 event celebrates Black History Month with a virtual screening of “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” followed by a discussion led by author Rosemary Sadlier. Magdalene Lesmond, president of Congress of Black Women’s Ajax/Pickering chapter, said this event “places value on the Black experience, almost like ignoring the rest of the world.” The virtual film screening is available from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and the discussion begins at 3 p.m. through a separate Zoom link. Register on Eventbrite.

2. Enjoy UMMA’s Queer Night

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From 6 until 10 p.m. on Feb. 18, the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) presents Queer Night, a special event honoring the LGBTQ+ community in collaboration with the museum’s current exhibition “Oh, honey…a queer reading of UMMA’s collection.” Guests will experience a queer personality workshop, love songs from OutLoud Chorus, a tarot reading, a screening of “The Sex Ed Class You Never Had” and a queer reading of UMMA’s collection “Scavenger Hunt.” “This event is the first of its kind” that “is family-friendly and filled with activities for all ages,” said Jessica Allie, UMMA’s public programs coordinator. The celebration continues at Necto’s Pride Friday.

For more information, visit UMMA’s website.

3. Win Big at Boylesque Drag Bingo for a Cause

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Boylesque Drag is sashaying into the room, making you laugh and filling you with life, honey, all while giving back to the Black community. So, why haven’t you bought your tickets yet? Boylesque will offer a night of three games of drag bingo and entertainment from Maxi Chanel, Ani Briated, Hershae Chocolatae, Izaya Cole and Denise Russell. The troupe’s upcoming drag bingo event supports Trans Sistas of Color and a multiple sclerosis stem cell transplant. Donations for the transplant would help April Austin, "a single black mom that raises a nonverbal autistic son while suffering [multiple sclerosis],” according to a Boylesque press release about the event. Over three years, they’ve raised $40,000 to help with her stem cell transplant, but Austin needs a total of $50,000. The event runs 7-10 p.m. on Feb. 18.Buy your tickets on Eventbrite. 

4. Talk Art With Shirley Woodson

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Grab your chosen family and head on over to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) for an evening of art. Join Detroit artist Shirley Woodson and DIA Head Curator of the Center for African American Art Valerie J. Mercer to discuss the current exhibition “Shirley Woodson: Shield of the Nile Reflection.” Woodson will discuss how she prepared for an art career, her decision to exclude facial features on subjects, her color selection and her thoughts on contemporary art. She will also “provide insight into the importance of discipline and training for her artistic development,” said Mercer. The in-person event starts at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23 and will be limited to 300.

To register and for more information, visit The DIA’s website.

5. Support a Black and LGBTQ-Owned Business

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This month is more than about observing. It’s about equitably helping a Black-owned business. Some businesses to support this month and onward include LGBT Detroit, Detroit Vegan Soul, Copper House, Detroit Brows and Good Cakes and Bakes, to name a few. Help any way you can to support Black-owned businesses: share, purchase, or even attend an event.

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