Queer Things to Do: Meet Mercury Stardust, See Tove Lo, Plan for Mackinac Island Pride, Volunteer for Local LGBTQ+ Youth

Sarah Bricker Hunt

As another summer draws to a close, it can feel tempting to lean into all that Big Pumpkin Spice energy emanating from your social media feeds. But before you break out your figure-flattering cardigan stash, enjoy the sunshine and warmth on your bare skin while you still can. Head out for a fun library event where you can meet trans TikTok star Mercury Stardust, see a Tove Lo show, plan a road trip to Mackinac Island Pride, get in one last summer dance party or share some love with local queer youth through a life-saving local organization. 

1. Meet Mercury Stardust, TikTok’s Trans Handy Ma’am

Mercury Stardust, aka The Trans Handy Ma’am, uses her social media platform to advocate on behalf of the trans community to her 2.4 million followers while sharing home improvement tips and tricks anyone can use — especially renters. “You deserve a safe, comfortable home,” she reminds viewers as she demonstrates how to patch a hole in drywall or fix clogged garbage disposal while sharing poignant personal stories about growing up trans and advice for weathering the current transphobic political storm. Meet Mercury Friday, Sept. 1 when she visits the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library to read from her new book, “Safe and Sound: A Renter-Friendly Guide to Home Repair.” 

Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m. Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor). Learn more at

2. See Swedish Singer Tove Lo

2 Facebook Tove Lo
Tove Lo. Photo: Facebook

Rolling Stone once described Tove Lo (pronounced “Tuvulu”) as Sweden’s “darkest pop export” in reference to the singer songwriter’s focus on her sometimes self-destructive tendencies in matters of love and life. The outspoken bisexual artist has hit her stride in the past few years as a performer, earning Grammy nominations for songs like “Glad He’s Gone” and “Love Me Like You Do” and putting her songwriting mark on hits for artists like Lorde and Ellie Goulding. Lo will bring her ethereal, sex-positive vibe to the Royal Oak Music Theatre Sept. 8.

Sept. 8, 7 p.m., Royal Oak Music Theatre (318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak). Reserve tickets at

3. Plan to Attend Mackinac Island Pride

Last year, the Straits Pride organization threw the first ever Mackinac Island Pride, a multi-day event that attracted attendees statewide, from above and below Michigan’s iconic suspension bridge and beyond. The 2023 event, set for Sept. 14-17, promises to draw another big crowd with a mix of events that add unique Mackinac Island flavor to typical Pride fest events, including an island Pride ride by bicycle, horse-drawn carriages that ferry Pridegoers between events and island accommodations and plenty of handmade fudge for all. Learn more at and reserve a room soon on the island or accessible by ferry on the mainland. 

Sept. 14-17, Mackinac Island. Visit for schedule and more information.

4. Donate or Volunteer to Help Local Queer Youth

Back to school time can trigger a whole lot of anxiety for queer kids, especially when legislators all over the country are attacking educational and parenting rights. Local organizations like Stand with Trans and Ozone House are a lifeline for hundreds of local queer students and their families, and they always need your help. Consider making a donation or volunteering some time to a local organization doing the difficult, often thankless work of affirming and advocating for local students:

5. Enjoy One Last Queer Summer Dance Party (215 W , Sept 9)

Dance Party Stock

The unofficial end to summer might be upon us, but there’s at least one more chance to get tropical among scantily clad partygoers, fruity beverages and the thumping bass of the best beach party you’re likely to find this far from the Atlantic or Pacific. 215 W’s Tropical Beach Party happens Sept. 9 in conjunction with SOHO and promises a chance to shake your coconuts with go-go dancers and special bathing beauty drag hosts. 

Sept. 9, 9 p.m., 215 W (215 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale). Reserve advance tickets at


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