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Go to Church (or Temple), Observe Trans Day of Visibility, Catch a Queer Film, See an Aerial Drag Performance

Sarah Bricker Hunt

Spring has sprung and it’s time for all the cute little cubbies and big, strong bears to emerge from hibernation — sunshine and good times await. On tap in the coming weeks are opportunities to observe International Transgender Day of Visibility, multiple film festivals offering queer films, an exciting Planet Ant performance featuring aerial performers and local drag stars, and Easter services at local LGBTQ-inclusive churches.

1. Observe International Trans Day of Visibility

1 Trans Day of Visibility

Transgender Michigan executive director and co-founder Rachel Crandall Crocker established the annual International Transgender Day of Visibility in 2009 as a day to focus on trans joy. Until then, the only major day of recognition for the trans community was the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, an important day for reflection, but one with an inherently somber overtone. “I wanted a day where we could celebrate the living,” she told Pride Source in 2021. “I kept on waiting for someone to create a special day for the transgender community. Finally, I said, 'OK, enough is enough. I'm going to do it.’” 

Celebrate the 15th International Transgender Day of Visibility at a Transgender Michigan open mic event on March 27 at The Dovetail in Warren. Crandall Crocker told Pride Source the event will feature poetry, storytelling and music focused on the trans community. 

March 27, 7-8:30 p.m., The Dovetail (29200 Hoover Road, Warren). 

2. Catch a Queer Film at a Local Film Fest

If you’re a film buff, your calendar is about to get a lot busier — film fest season is in full swing in Michigan, and that means lots of chances to catch intriguing films focused on queer themes, often produced or directed by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Here are a few picks you won’t want to miss at upcoming local fests:

  • “Summar Qamp” (Greater Farmington Film Festival) — a documentary about Camp fYrefly, a summer camp for LGBTQ+ teens in the woods of Alberta, Canada where campers can get away from the political and cultural battles being waged around them in their daily lives. March 22, 9 p.m., The Riviera Cinema (30170 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills). Visit gffilmfest.com for tickets.
  • Various (Ann Arbor Film Fest) — the fest’s Out Night on March 28 features a series of six short films with queer themes. The fest also includes two full-length queer films, “Playland,” about Boston’s oldest gay bar, and “Esther Newton Made Me Gay,” a documentary about the cultural anthropologist. Out Night - March 28, 7:30 p.m., Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor). Visit aafilmfest.org for tickets.
  • “Chasing Chasing Amy” (Freep Film Fest) — A documentary exploring the legacy of Kevin Smith’s cult classic “Chasing Amy,” which was controversial among queer circles, and the link between the film and filmmaker Sav Rodgers’ own life as a queer kid. April 14, Noon, Michigan Science Center (5020 John R. St., Detroit). Visit freepfilmfestival.com for tickets. 

3. Attend a Queer-Inclusive Shabbat Dinner

3 Shabbat Dinner

Temple Beth Emeth invites members of the local Jewish community to join its second annual Trans Day of Visibility Shabbat service on March 29. “We're offering this Shabbat service to highlight the beauty in being trans, the joy that comes from it, and how there is and always has been enough room in Judaism for us all,” coordinator Ariane Smith told Pride Source. “This is a celebration of trans identity and community.” Visit templebethemeth.org for more information about the queer-affirming congregation and its LGBTQ+ affinity group, Mishpacha, which offers a weekly queer Torah study and a monthly Shabbat dinner. 

March 29, 7:30 p.m., Temple Beth Emeth (2309 Packard Ave., Ann Arbor).

4. Find a Queer-Friendly Easter Service

Celebrate a religious Easter service on March 31 at a local queer-affirming church. Places like the First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor (fccannarbor.org), where out lesbian head minister Rev. Dr. Darcy Crain leads congregants in joyful, fully inclusive services each week and a sign along State Street reads, “God’s doors are open to all,” welcome local LGBTQ+ community members to join them on Easter Sunday. Here are a few other affirming local options — visit their websites for Easter service information:

5. Catch Some Burlesque, Aerial and Drag 

Mimi Southwest. Photo: Instagram/@mimisouthwest
Mimi Southwest. Photo: Instagram/@mimisouthwest

Head to Planet Ant in Hamtramck on April 13 for “Big Bang,” presented by Midnight Garden. Organizers promise an exciting performance showcasing burlesque, aerial and drag performances, with a glittering, galactic theme. Performers include local and Midwest favorites like Honey Love, Lushes LaMoan, Margaux Royale, Medusa Damage and Mimi Southwest.

April 13, 7:30 p.m., Planet Ant (2320 Caniff St., Hamtramck). Visit bit.ly/3VpwtmG for tickets.

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