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Queer Things to Do: Get Ready for Your Found Family Thanksgiving, Volunteer with an LGBTQ+ Org

Sarah Bricker Hunt

It’s getting colder, but on the plus side, that means more excuses for cuddling (or not leaving the house). On the plus plus side, the election is over, for better or worse. As we move into post-election recovery mode, this list will help you get reengaged with the community at large. Get in some shopping therapy at a Black-owned retail event, volunteer to help someone have a better holiday season or go to a glamorous evening of drag performance.

1. Plan a Friendsgiving for Your Chosen Family

A recent study by ValuePenguin revealed that 76% of LGBTQ+ community members said they experience holiday loneliness, with many survey respondents pointing to poor relationships with family as the primary reason for their loneliness. It’s no wonder that many queer folks adopt chosen families. If you’re in that camp, begin thinking ahead to how you’ll create special memories this holiday season, starting with the carbiest day of them all, Thanksgiving.

Consider sourcing some of your feast and decorations from queer-owned bakeries, restaurants and stores — cycling funds back into the community is a fantastic way to express your gratitude.

2. Attend a Book Launch Event Celebrating Queer Writers

27th Letter Books

Head to queer/BIPOC/disabled/neurodivergent-owned 27th Letter Books in Detroit Nov. 11 to celebrate the launch of two books written by queer authors H. Felix Chau Bradley and Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch. Guest readers include George Abraham, a Palestinian-American poet, and Pwaangulongii Dauod, a Nigerian writer.

Chau Bradley’s new book, “Personal Attention Roleplay,” focuses on short stories about topics like a young gymnast with a crush on an older teammate, a queer metal band’s summer tour, and a codependent listicle writer obsessed with a Japanese ASMR channel.

Bechelany-Lynch’s “The Good Arabs” is a poetry collection exploring the author’s ordinary and extraordinary life experiences. “The collection is an interlocking and rich offering of the speaker’s communities, geographical surroundings both expansive and precise, and family both biological and chosen,” reads 27th Letter Book’s announcement about the launch.

The event takes place 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 at 27th Letter Books, 3546 Michigan Ave. Detroit. 

3. Shop, Eat, Dance, Support Black-Owned Local Businesses

What if you could support Black-owned businesses, get in some early holiday shopping, eat amazing food and dance the night away at an exclusive after party? Do it all at the Afro Soca Love: Marketplace + Night Carnival event Nov. 19 at Bert’s Theatre in Detroit.

From 11 a.m.-6 p.m., enjoy Black-owned business booths, food vendors, DJs, giveaways and other entertainment. Then, stick around for the adults-only Night Carnival, featuring music from across the globe, including soca, Afrobeat, reggae, dancehall, salsa, reggaeton, merengue, hip-hop and more.

Marketplace is 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, followed by Night Carnival from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., Bert’s Theatre, 2727 Russell St., Detroit. 

4. Get into the Holiday Spirit, Drag Style

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Look. It’s Christmas now. Just lean into it, or at least sashay over to Sound Board in Detroit Nov. 16 for the kick-off show for the 8th national tour of “A Drag Queen Christmas” featuring Trinity the Tuck and Nina West of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fame. Part variety show/part pageant, the event encourages lots of audience participation, dazzling performances and plenty of raunchy good humor.

See the queens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Sound Board, 2901 Grand River Ave. in Detroit. Tickets at ticketmaster.com.

5. Share the Love by Helping an LGBTQ+ Organization

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The season of gratitude and giving is the perfect time to show up for community members who need a helping hand or a friendly shoulder to lean on. You’ll feel better; they’ll feel supported. Isn’t that what it's all about? Here are three ideas to consider:

  • When you join the Affirmations Volunteer Family, you can pitch in to help Ferndale’s LGBTQ+ community center with tasks like managing the front desk, facilitating group meetings, advocating for youth or working events like the Affirmations Big Bash. Sign up at goaffirmations.org/volunteer/.
  • SAGE Metro Detroit, which serves Southeast Michigan’s older LGBTQ+ population, needs volunteers to help with roles like staffing their new Friendly Caller Program, marketing help and event planning. Check out sagemetrodetroit.org/volunteer/ to get started.
  • You can even help from home by becoming a trained crisis support counselor for The Trevor Project, helping LGBTQ+ youth by phone, text or chat. Learn more at thetrevorproject.org/volunteer/.
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