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PGHCITYPAPER PGHCITYPAPER PITTSBURGHCITYPAPER

JUNE 9-16, 2021

Captains of Stonewall Sports bowling leagues Megan Entwistle, Michael Gosha, and Lindsey Williams in Steel City’s Pride T-shirts benefitting Stonewall Alliance

E ID E PRISSU

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FIRSTSHOT BY KAYCEE ORWIG

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PGHCITYPAPER PITTSBURGHCITYPAPER

JUNE 9-16, 2021 VOLUME 30 + ISSUE 23 Editor-In-Chief LISA CUNNINGHAM Director of Advertising JASMINE HUGHES Director of Operations KEVIN SHEPHERD News Editor RYAN DETO Senior Writer AMANDA WALTZ Staff Writers DANI JANAE, KIMBERLY ROONEY 냖㵸蔻 Photographer/Videographer JARED WICKERHAM Art Director ABBIE ADAMS Graphic Designer JEFF SCHRECKENGOST Digital Marketing Coordinator DARYA KHARABI Sales Representatives ZACK DURKIN, OWEN GABBEY, HANNAH MORAN-FUNWELA Circulation Manager JEFF ENGBARTH Featured Contributors REGE BEHE, MIKE CANTON, LYNN CULLEN, TERENEH IDIA, CHARLES ROSENBLUM Interns LAURYN NANIA, KAYCEE ORWIG National Advertising Representative VMG ADVERTISING 1.888.278.9866 OR 1.212.475.2529 Publisher EAGLE MEDIA CORP.

GENERAL POLICIES: Contents copyrighted 2021 by Eagle Media Corp. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Pittsburgh City Paper are those of the author and not necessarily of Eagle Media Corp. LETTER POLICY: Letters, or e-mails must be signed and include town and daytime phone number for confirmation. We may edit for length and clarity. DISTRIBUTION: Pittsburgh City Paper is published weekly by Eagle Media Corp. and is available free of charge at select distribution locations. One copy per reader; copies of past issues may be purchased for $3.00 each, payable in advance to Pittsburgh City Paper. FIRST CLASS MAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS: Available for $250 per year (52 issues), $150 per half year (26 issues), or $32 per six weeks. For more information, visit pghcitypaper.com and click on the Subscribe tab.

COVER PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM SEE STORY ON PAGE 4

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SisTers PGH, a nonprofit founded and operated by Black, Pittsburgh-grown transwomxn and femmes, has been organizing the People’s Pride PGH March and Music Festival every year since 2017. It was created to uplift Black, trans and nonbinary folks who have for too long been segregated and abused by the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh. Each year, we march to include local nonprofits, unions, and community members. We march to oppose white-, cis-, gay-centered Pride parades and extravagant parties, which are too expensive for many nonprofits and communities to participate in. We march to offer another opportunity to feel what being at a true Pittsburgh Pride can feel like.

Reclaiming Pittsburgh Pride June 18-20 ATTENDEE REGISTRATION: RATTION: http://bitly.ws/e2Er e2Er ARTIST/PERFORMER REGISTRATION: GISTTRATION: http://bitly.ws/e2Ep e2Ep SPONSOR REGISTRATION: ATIION: http://bitly.ws/e2Et e2Et

This year, in 2021, People’s Pride PGH will be celebrated June 18-20 and will be centered around the theme “Reclaiming Pittsburgh Pride.” Now more than ever, TLGBQIA+ and other marginalized communities must stand together, firmly rooted in equity and radical honesty, and take back the celebration of our lives. We are proud to be partnering with the Pittsburgh Equality Center to bring other leaders, organizations, and allies to the table, to not only work together on supporting this year’s events but future Pittsburgh Pride celebrations as well. This is the time to tell our own stories. This is the time to rebuild, refocus, and organize as a collective force while ensuring our TLGBQIA+ community is supported in the Pride movement. We hope to see you in attendance! PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JUNE 9-16, 2021

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CP PHOTOS: JARED WICKERHAM

Michael Gosha (captain of Balls Of Steel), Megan Entwistle (captain of Lickity Splits), and Lindsey Williams (captain of The Karen’s)

THE BIG STORY

RECREATION FOR ALL BY RYAN DETO // RYANDETO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

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A

T STONEWALL SPORTS, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about finding a place where you belong. The recreational sports group, based out of Washington, D.C., and brought to Pittsburgh in the fall of 2014, aims to create a safe space for LGBTQ people and allies. The several Pittsburgh sports recreational leagues and a flag-football league are focused on providing LGBTQ individuals with an opportunity to play in a friendly environment. They are all run through the nonprofit Stonewall Alliance. Stonewall Alliance executive director Rob Anderson says the recreational leagues are meant to provide socializing for LGBTQ people that extends out of the bar scene, which can be intimidating and exclusive to many in the LGBTQ community.


Players bowl during the Stonewall Sports bowling league at the AMF Noble Manor Lanes.

“It was not that common to have a recreational aspect outside of a bar environment,” says Anderson. Local Stonewall sports and events include dodgeball, kickball, bowling, sand volleyball, bocce, and yoga, and are played in locations throughout the city including Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville, the YMCA in the Hill District, Noble Manor lanes in the West End, and Highland Park. Stonewall Alliance, which is run by volunteers, also organizes the Bridge City Flag Football league. The leagues, even without the intense competition, have grown in popularity over the years, and Stonewall has gathered about 3,000 people on its roster list, according to Anderson. Stonewall’s most attended Pittsburgh season included 500 participants, and even this year with limited numbers to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, Anderson says Stonewall’s leagues filled up within seven minutes of opening registration. Participation is typically limited to people over 21 years old, but Anderson says Stonewall is looking to work with college and high school groups

for possible inclusion. “Our goal is to offer a recreational and non-competitive league. Like with bowling, many leagues usually have a cash prize package. We are just about bragging rights, maybe a small trophy,” says Anderson. “We try our best to offer sports on one day, and one location, so that people can co-mingle. By keeping them together, it builds the community.” Kerry Long is the deputy executive director of the Stonewall Alliance. She met Anderson playing in Stonewall’s leagues and agrees with him that their purpose is about building community among LGBTQ people and allies. “The basis of our organization is less about sports, and more about community, even though we are playing sports,” says Long. “We have quite a diverse group of transplants and native-born players, and there are leaders from both cohorts that are involved and engaged.” Long says Stonewall’s most popular sport is kickball, which has a spring and a fall league. Dodgeball is also popular, and Anderson is partial to bocce because it offers the most time to socialize.

Stonewall Alliance is hoping to expand that community as much as it can in Pittsburgh. Long says that Stonewall sports leagues are open to allies, and they encourage allies joining and playing. Currently, the leagues are composed of about 20% allies. Anderson adds that creating the Stonewall Alliance nonprofit has allowed them to organize and focus on inclusion efforts to attract a more diverse group of players. The nonprofit created a Diversity Equity & Inclusion committee last year, and Long says it has grown into one of Stonewall’s most important assets.

STONEWALL SPORTS PITTSBURGH stonewallsportspgh.org

“We are making sure we reach all individuals, and to target and prepare to get more minority groups to join, whether that is trans or nonbinary or racial minorities,” says Anderson.

Both Anderson and Long know it’s not as simple as asking for more inclusion to achieve diversity. Long says the Diversity Equity & Inclusion committee has been leading the way in informing Stonewall about best practices and location choices to ensure more people feel comfortable joining the recreation leagues. Anderson hopes his own experience and success at Stonewall will inspire people hesitant of joining to give it a try. “When I was a kid, I hated dodgeball and I hated kickball,” says Anderson, who now regularly plays in both Stonewall leagues. “I don’t want people to feel like they are the last kid picked.” And in an effort to bring in more people to play, Stonewall runs a Play It Forward fund that offsets registration fees for those who want to play, but can’t afford it. This year, Stonewall is working with local company Steel City Clothing to sell “Pittsburgh is so Gay” shirts, and proceeds contribute to the Play It Forward fund. “We are looking at beefing up that Play It Forward fund and to grow that scholarship,” says Long.

Follow news editor Ryan Deto on Twitter @RyanDeto PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JUNE 9-16, 2021

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.DATING.

A TOP OFF

BY DANI JANAE // DANIJANAE@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

O

NE DAY WHILE I was on a particu-

lar dating app, I found a profile of a woman who had described herself as “The Last Top in Pittsburgh.” As a top and a lesbian myself, I found the moniker pretty funny and it piqued my interest. After an initial exchange that was friendly, but went nowhere, I asked her if she would be down to talk to me about her dating experience in

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Pittsburgh. Below is my interview with Laura, the Last Top in Pittsburgh. CP: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE CLOSET? Laura: So, you know, you come out a million times, but I came out to my immediate family and close friends kind of sporadically throughout my teen years. But kind of in general at 18 when I moved

out of the home. So about 10 years now. CP: SO HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY AND HAVE YOU ALWAYS IDENTIFIED IN THAT WAY? Laura: I identify as a gay woman and yes, I have always identified that way. I knew since I was 10, so I was a real early bloomer in that department. No doubt in my mind.

CP: WHAT WAS DATING IN PITTSBURGH LIKE WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED DATING HERE, AND HAS IT CHANGED SINCE THEN? Laura: So, you know, other than, like, having a serious girlfriend in college, I did not start dating pretty much at all until about four years ago. When I did first start looking, I had no idea where to go and I wasn’t finding many resources.


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I did struggle to find women. Gay men are everywhere, but finding women was really challenging. And, to be honest, not really finding any kind of events or meetups, things like that that are really geared more towards women. I’m kind of sad to say that that’s still kind of my experience today. It’s very limited in Pittsburgh. So I kind of quickly realized the main ways that I was going to find dates and friends was going to the handful of gay bars in the city and hoping for the best. And then, of course, the main thing, which is the dating apps. CP: SO HOW DID YOU GET THE MONIKER “LAST TOP IN PITTSBURGH” AND HOW SERIOUSLY DO YOU TAKE THE TITLE? Laura: That came about from a conversation with an ex-girlfriend. She was explaining kind of her struggles within the Pittsburgh scene and kink scene that she was kind of tapping into. And she was stating that there was a top shortage basically, and that she wasn’t finding compatible partners. Then kind of ending the conversation very casually by just saying, “Yeah, you’re, like, you’re the last top in Pittsburgh.” And I found it really, really funny. Like, we had a good laugh about it, and it just kind of stuck with me. CP: HOW DID YOU COME TO THE REALIZATION THAT YOU ARE A TOP? Laura: Oh, interesting. Um, it was always a very instinctual thing for me. I was always just hyper-focused on the person I was with and, like, making them feel good and making sure they’re taken

care of. And, like, I was finding that I was getting more enjoyment or as much enjoyment being in that position versus otherwise. That’s kind of the best way I can explain it; it is very instinctual. I kind of liked the dynamic of having someone trust you in that way, that just kind of feels amazing and empowering. CP: SO ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN, HOW WOULD YOU RATE PITTSBURGH’S LESBIAN, GAY WOMAN DATING SCENE — ONE BEING REALLY ABYSMAL AND TEN BEING EXCELLENT? Laura: I would say a six. The lack of social events, lack of social groups, just the general low numbers of us. Like there’s, there’s only so much you can do. CP: SO MY FINAL QUESTION IS, IF YOU AND I WERE TO FIGHT, ONE-ON-ONE, NO WEAPONS … WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD WIN? Laura: As the last top in Pittsburgh? Yes. Ah, gosh. How do we, I mean, how do we discuss this? Like, without getting kind of explicit, like, comparing notes, calling up exes, I got a couple of statistics I could bust out for you! I don’t know. Listen, one of your questions, “How seriously do you take that title? The Last Top in Pittsburgh?” Not at all. Like, it’s, it’s definitely, like, I don’t go around referring to myself as that. I simply put it in the dating profiles just because it’s a witty oneliner. It’s kind of funny and gives people an idea of what to expect from me. But going back to your question, I mean, gosh, I don’t know, maybe arm wrestling?

Follow staff writer Dani Janae on Twitter @figwidow

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SHOP PROUD BY LISA CUNNINGHAM LCUNNING@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

Etna Print Circus

When you purchase an item from one of these Pittsburgh shops, you’re directly supporting a locally owned LGBTQ business.

Eon’s Fashion Antique 5850 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. Search “Eons Fashion Antique” on Facebook “The” place to go for vintage clothing in Pittsburgh. Sought out by visiting celebrities, and owned by local LGBTQ icon Richard Parsakian.

Maude’s Paperwing Gallery 210 Grant Ave., Millvale. maudespaperwinggallery.com A self-proclaimed “witchy wares & queer community” shop that features decor, books, accessories, spell supplies (like incense, pendulums, and altar cloths), and a LGBTQ gift selection.

Small Mall 5300 Butler St., Lawrenceville. smallmallpgh.com Artist and queer-owned shop selling work by regional aritsts, designers, and makers.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF SWEET ALCHEMY BAKE SHOP

Pride pastries by Sweet Alchemy Bake Shop

.RETAIL.

Etna Print Circus etnaprintcircus.com Queer and trans-owned printing shop, best known for their popular “Yinz is a gender neutral pronoun” T-shirt design.

Kards Unlimited 5522 Walnut St., Shadyside. kardsunlimited.com A Shadyside hallmark for over 50 years, this gift shop has something for everyone, including puzzles, books, games, cards, pins, and novelty socks.

412 Apothecary 424 Suismon St., North Side. 412apothecary.com A gay-owned salon and shop selling bath and body products, including hair products, body lotion, hand cream, and more.

The Black Cat Market 5135 Penn Ave., Garfield. blackcatmarket.com Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ-owned cat cafe doesn’t just offer cuddle time with adorable felines, they also have a shop selling cat-themed face masks, mugs, and greeting cards. Own an LGBTQ retail store we should add to our list? Email info@pghcitypaper.com. •

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PRIDE WITH A PURPOSE BY AMANDA WALTZ // AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

S

O-CALLED “RAINBOW-WASHING”

has raised concerns over how corporations that usually have little or nothing to say about LGBTQ rights try to cash in on Pride celebrations. If you want to make sure any Pride spending goes back into the LGBTQ community, Pittsburgh City Paper has compiled a list of cool shirts, eats, drinks, and more that support local LGBTQ businesses, artists, and causes. Curated Flame 505 Grant Ave., Millvale. curatedflamepgh.com The Millvale smoke shop is selling Pride tees designed by Anthony “Mo” Rabinovitz, Lydia Wyldrick, and Jeremy Durman. Featuring a play on the Milwaukee Tool logo, the unisex shirts come in

sizes S-3XL, and retail for $39.99 at curatedflamepgh.com/shop. A quarter of shirt sales will go to the “various queer artists” that Curated Flame plans to host at the first-ever Millvale Pride on Sat., June 26. Another 25% of shirt sales will go to local charities chosen by the participating artists, which so far includes SisTers PGH, Trans YOUniting, and Sex Workers Outreach Project. Leona’s Ice Cream leonaspgh.com Local LGBTQ-owned ice cream company Leona’s is selling its first-ever Pride wear, produced in partnership with Bootstrap Design Co. and Commonwealth Press. The specially designed t-shirts and tank tops are available for purchase at compressmerch.com/collections/leonas-

ice-cream-sandwiches. In June, 5% of total sales will go to the Pittsburgh LGBTQ health nonprofit Persad Center. Maude’s Paperwing Gallery 210 Grant Ave., Millvale. maudespaperwinggallery.com Maude’s Paperwing Gallery, a selfdescribed Pittsburgh-based, queer/womanowned, metaphysical and LGBTQIA+ gift shop, has a number of Pride merchandise for sale, including Pride flags and curated Pride Boxes, the sales of which will go towards supporting Suburban Action, a group of North Pittsburgh residents working to launch the first LGBTQ+ community-wide Pride event bridging Shaler and Reserve Township, and the boroughs of Etna and Millvale. The shop also announced that, each


LEFT TO RIGHT: PHOTO: COURTESY OF WIGLE WHISKEY

Castro St. Rum by Wigle Whiskey PHOTO: COURTESY OF CURATED FLAME

Curated Flame Pride tee PHOTO: COURTESY OF LEONA’S

Leona’s Ice Cream Pride shirt

Monday in June, they will encourage customers to donate to a different organization or cause with a “queer focus.” Those who donate $10 or more can stop in the shop and show their donation receipt to receive a prize.

wall Alliance Play-It-Forward Fund, a project supporting the LGBTQIA+ nonprofit Stonewall Sports - Pittsburgh. The fund will offset registration costs for Stonewall Sports activities like kickball, bocce, volleyball, bowling, dodgeball, yoga, and more.

Steel City 625 Smithfield St., Downtown. shopsteelcity.com Proceeds from sales of Steel City’s 2021 Pride shirts will go in part to the Stone-

Sweet Alchemy Bake Shop 932 Fifth Ave., Suite D, New Kensington. linktr.ee/sweetalchemyllc For the month of June, Sweet Alchemy

Bake Shop has a special Pride menu with pop-tarts, doughnuts, cupcakes, and assorted baked goods. Proceeds benefit local LGBTQIA agencies, including the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation and Community Human Service Corp’s Project Silk. Wigle Whiskey wiglewhiskey.com Wigle produced 700 bottles of Castro St. Rum ($30), named for late gay-rights activist Harvey Milk’s camera shop and

campaign headquarters in San Francisco. The crafted spirit includes label art by Meredith Stafford-Chapman. A portion of Castro St. Rum sales go to Gay for Good, an “LGBTQIA+ aligned nonprofit” dedicated to social welfare and environmental service projects in Pittsburgh. Bottles can be picked up at the Wigle Whiskey Distillery (2401 Smallman St., Strip District) or the Bottle Shop at Ross Park Mall, or shipped to Pa. and Washington, D.C. addresses.

Follow senior writer Amanda Waltz on Twitter @AWaltzCP

SUMMER READING #pghreadsfive This summer, we’re asking the community to band together to ensure that all Pittsburgh youth read five. Summer Reading officially kicks off on June 13, 2021! Sign up today at carnegielibrary.org/summer or scan presented by

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PHOTO: NJAIMEH NJIE

Bekezela Mguni

.BLACK-LED COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.

FINDING UNICORNS BY DANI JANAE // DANIJANAE@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

P

ITTSBURGH IS A PLACE with a rich

Black history that isn’t always known to its residents. There are, of course, very big and recognizable names like playwright August Wilson and photographer Teenie Harris, but local artist and activist Bekezela Mguni wants to bring awareness to smaller players

that one might find surprising, mainly including stories about Black queer, transgender, and gender nonconforming Pittsburghers through The Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project. Mguni, a self-described “random, one woman, multi-team show,” founded The Black Unicorn Library and Archives

BLACK UNICORN: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES PROJECT facebook.com/BlackUnicornProject

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Project in 2014. It is described as a “a beacon of inspiration fueled by the genius of Black women’s stories, queer and transgender herstories, a love of libraries, reading, and Audre Lorde,” a Black lesbian civil rights activist and writer. “I think life in Pittsburgh for a Black woman is hard,” says Mguni. “I think that we try to, and we do our best to create beauty and create a life worth living even despite that.” One of the programs Black Unicorn

sponsors, Flowers for Black Girls, started in 2014 as a way to honor Black women, but specifically Black trans women and girls, following the suspicious death of Teaira Whitehead, a teenager from Homewood. Flowers for Black Girls has continued the program in recent years, delivering free flowers adorned with inspirational messages like “Your love matters” to Black women and girls around the Pittsburgh area and beyond.


As an archival project, Black Unicorn has been a part of discovering and revealing Pittsburgh’s Black LGBTQ history through collaborations with institutions like Garfield community art hub BOOM Concepts. The two formed a book club where member and music historian, Miah Benton, shared a bit of Black queer history that many in the group didn’t know. This includes the story of Jordana LeSesne (now performing under the name Jordana), one of the most important figures in the dance music scene. A Black trans woman, her work has been a part of inspiring many popular electronic music artists. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is cool that we have the Black trans woman who is an artist and she’s contributed so much, you know, internationally and all from Pittsburgh,’” says Mguni. Black Unicorn has taken on a lot of different shapes and forms over the years, but in the beginning, Mguni says it was just a place for her to express “gratitude and excitement” for Black LGBTQ people, and to create space for herself and others to share their love of reading and books. “Black Unicorn is an expression of my desire to continue in my practice

“BLACK UNICORN IS AN EXPRESSION OF MY DESIRE TO CONTINUE IN MY PRACTICE AS A LIBRARIAN, IN MY PRACTICE AS AN ARTIST, AS AN ORGANIZER, AS SOMEBODY WHO IS CREATIVE AND WANTS TO SHARE SPACES WITH OTHERS.” as a librarian, in my practice as an artist, as an organizer, as somebody who is creative and wants to share spaces with others,” Mguni says. “What drove me to start it was several different things over the course of my life. But I would say my time at Freedom School — there was a program called Freedom School here in Pittsburgh — that Tamanika Howze led for many years.” Howze was the director of the

Kingsley-Lincoln Freedom School, providing literacy enrichment to students in the East End and financed with a grant from The Heinz Endowments. Mguni adds that reading Black women’s stories saved and transformed her life in a profound way, allowing her to see there was a history of Black queer women that existed long before and beside her. “I have a legacy, I have a place, I am

not alone in this,” she says. Books are very important to Mguni, and some of the titles that had a transformative effect on her include Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name; chapbooks of Black and Chinese writer Stacey Ann Chin; and works by writers like Sadiya Hartman, Octavia Butler, Deesha Philyaw, and Yona Harvey. Mguni also praises poet Nikki Finney’s 2011 speech for winning the National Book Award for her book Head Off and Split. “One of the things she talked about was one of her teachers saying that Black people were the only group of people forbidden to become literate in this country. And that’s extremely significant,” says Mguni. “That was something that stayed with me.” Mguni adds there were many ways Black people engaged with literacy that didn’t include reading and writing text, and many ways that they were intelligent, but that the legacy of Black literature in America is still very important and crucial. When asked how she and Black Unicorn intend to celebrate Pride this year, Mguni responded: “I’m trying to be present in this life, I am here and that’s something to be deeply grateful for.”

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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JUNE 9-16, 2021

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.EVENTS.

HAPPY PRIDE, PITTSBURGH! A guide to events celebrating the region’s LGBTQ community throughout the month of June

Pride returns to the Pittsburgh area with parties, tributes, first-ever celebrations, and more, both online and in person.

FRI., JUNE 11

BY AMANDA WALTZ // AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

• Make a new memory with a special photoshoot at the Simply Social PGH Picture Perfect PRIDE event at the Waterfront. 7-10 p.m. 218 W. Bridge St., Homestead. Reservations required. $25. facebook.com/simplysocialpgh

FRI., JUNE 11-SAT., JUNE 12 • Nemacolin resort invites members of the LGBTQ community to Summer Camp: Pride, a two-night, 21 and over event complete with fine food, luxury accomodations, special guests from RuPaul’s Drag Race, and more. A portion of Summer Camp: Pride proceeds will be donated to the Persad Center. 1001 Lafayette Drive, Farmington. Rates vary. Reservations required. nemacolin.com/ experiences/summer-camp-pride-2021

SAT., JUNE 12 • The Pennsylvania Equality Project SE and Powered by Rainbows will hold a virtual vigil honoring the 49 victims of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, considered the deadliest attack against LGBTQ people in U.S. history. Vigil for the 49: Pulse Night of Remembrance will include testimonies from survivors, a special tribute song, and more. 2:05-2:54 a.m. Takes place on the Powered by Rainbows YouTube channel. youtube.com/c/PoweredByRainbows • Support local LGBTQ artists and artisans when Sanctuary presents the Out and Proud Market. 10 a.m.-6 pm. 3533 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. sanctuarypittsburgh.com • Get more than just mimosas when the queens of Goddess Drag Brunch hit Over Eden. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 177 40th St., Lawrenceville. More details to come. overeden.com

PHOTO: RENEE ROSENSTEEL

Phat Man Dee

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• Carnegie Stage and local jazz performer Phat Man Dee honor a Pittsburgh legend with Lush Life — A Pride Month Tribute to Billy Strayhorn. Phat Man Dee is joined by several local musicians and vocalists for an evening


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Matty Malloy, host and co-producer of the Not So Straight Comedy Show

of songs by Strayhorn, a composer and musician who also lived openly as a gay Black man. 7 p.m. 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $15 livestream concert/ $30 in person. Seating is limited. carnegiestage.com

TUE., JUNE 15WED., JUNE 16 • The PPG Public Parking lot will become a drive-in concert venue when Drive ’N Drag Saves 2021 hits Pittsburgh. The touring show features RuPaul’s Drag Race finalists GottMik and Rosé, as well as several other contestants. Showtimes vary. 1301 Western Ave., North Side. Tickets start at $75 per car for two people. vossevents.com/drive-n-drag

the Pittsburgh Equality Center. A press release says SisTers PGH aims to “provide a one-of-a-kind, interactive virtual experience that those near and far can join to see how incredible and diverse our TLGBQIA community of Pittsburgh is, with hopes to finally be together in person again in 2022.” For more details visit sisterspgh.org/2021-reclaimingpittsburgh-pride

SAT., JUNE 19 • The burlesque and variety troupe Three Rivers Revue Cabaret will present a special Pride performance at Carnegie Stage. Shows at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $20. carnegiestage.com

FRI., JUNE 18

SUN., JUNE 20

• Join Dena Stanley of Trans YOUniting and Dalen Hooks of Central Outreach Wellness Center for the online episode of The Brogan Show: Pittsburgh Pride. 9-11 p.m. Free. Search “The Brogan Show - Pride 2021” on Facebook

• Arcade Comedy celebrates Pride by highlighting “amazing comedic artists in the LGBTQIA+ community — both outside and online.” At 7 p.m., Arcade presents its first improv jam since March 2020, followed at 9 p.m. with the Not So Straight Comedy Show featuring several stand-up acts. Both events will take place in the outdoor Trust Oasis space. 133 Seventh St., Downtown. $10-15. arcadecomedytheater.com/ events/pride2021

FRI., JUNE 18SUN., JUNE 20 • People’s Pride returns with Reclaiming Pittsburgh Pride, a virtual event presented by SisTers PGH in partnership with

CONTINUES ON PG. 14

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JUNE 9-16, 2021

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HAPPY PRIDE, PITTSBURGH, CONTINUED FROM PG. 13

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PHOTO: MARCO OVANDO

Aquaria performs at Drive ‘N Drag Saves 2021

TUE., JUNE 22 • The Carnegie Museum of Art Book Club explores Stone Butch Blues, the 1993 book by Leslie Feinberg summarized in the event description as a “seminal queer text.” 6:30-7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Pay what you wish. Registration required. cmoa.org/event/ cmoa-book-club-stone-butch-blues

SAT., JUNE 26 • Follow the rainbow flags throughout the Millvale business district when the borough hosts its first community Pride event. During PRIDE Millvale, various establishments will hang Progress Pride or original Rainbow Flags to welcome guests inside, where they will find live music, food, drink specials, giveaways, and performances from queer artists. There will also be an art fair, painting, games, and more. 12 p.m. 518 Grant Ave., Millvale. Free. Search “PRIDE Millvale” on Facebook • Another Southwestern Pennsylvania city will celebrate its LGBTQ residents when Johnstown hosts its first-ever Pride event. Taking place in Roxbury Park, Johnstown Pride includes music and a contest for participants wearing the

most rainbow attire. Donations from the event will go to a group home for LGBTQ youth. 12-5 p.m. 1430 Franklin St., Johnstown. Free. Search “Johnstown’s pride event 2021” on Facebook. • The Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation invites the community to its LGBTQ+ Family Pride Picnic, a day family-style cookout with outdoor games, arts and crafts, and more for LGBTQ+ youth and their families and caregivers. 2-5 p.m. 925 Brighton Road, North Side. Free. facebook. com/HughLaneWellness • The Westmoreland Museum of American Art presents an LGBTQIA+ Pride celebration in partnership with PFLAG Greensburg and The

CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

2019 People’s Pride


Westmoreland LGBTQ Interfaith Network. The event includes a socially distanced dance party and drag queen art critiques by performers Alora Chateaux and Tootsie Snyder. 5-9 p.m. 221 N. Main St., Greensburg. Free. Registration required. thewestmoreland.org/ event/greensburg-pride-celebration

PHOTO: PECCADILLO PICTURES

The Way He Looks

• Arcade Comedy Pride celebrations continue with the improv and drag variety show Mother Oak’s Comedy Queen Extravaganza at the Trust Oasis. 9 p.m. 133 Seventh St., Downtown. $15-60. arcadecomedytheater.com/ events/pride2021

TUE., JUNE 28

• Head to Howard’s Pub for a night of Pride-themed BINGO and other fun with drag queen Dixie Surewood and friends. 6-9 p.m. 142 Grant Ave., Millvale. Free. facebook.com/howardspub142

• The PGH Equality Center will present a virtual reading of Would You Rather?: A Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out as part of its Teen Book Club. 6-8 p.m. Free. pghequalitycenter.org/events

SUN., JUNE 27

WED., JUNE 29

• Grab your bike and head to Millvale Riverfront Park for a community Pride Ride hosted by Trek Bicycle. 9 a.m. 70 River Front Drive, Millvale. Free. facebook.com/TrekBicyclePittsburghShadyside

• ReelQ presents a virtual screening of the Brazilian film The Way He Looks as part of its Reel Stories program. A Q&A with the director will follow. 7 p.m. Free. Reservation required. reelq.org/reel-stories

• Have a sweet time during Studio Raw Pride, where guests are invited to a themed walkthrough of the hair salon with candy, a Twinkie eating contest, and a bar with rainbow punch and margaritas. There will also be drag performances, live entertainment, and more. Each guest will also receive a rainbow-colored brick

THU., JUNE 30 to help construct a permanent art fixture on the property. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Persad Center and Central Outreach Center. 12-4 p.m. 3185 Babcock Blvd., North Hills. $40. facebook.com/MyStudioRAW

• Enjoy a few laughs with your meal when Dixie Surewood and friends show up for the Over the Rainbow Drag Dinner at Federal Galley. 5:30-8:30 p.m. 200 Children’s Way, North Side. $70-210. federalgalley.org/events

• Proud Haven celebrates eight years in operation with a virtual Trivia Fundraiser over Zoom. Proceeds from the event will go to Haven House, an apartment to provide short-term housing support for LGBTQ youth and young adults in need. 7-9 p.m. Free to watch. facebook.com/proudhaven

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JUNE 9-16, 2021

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CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

David Cui㽑弍射

.NEWS.

FINDING A COMMUNITY 16

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LGBTQ Asians in Pittsburgh make connections from the intersections of their identity BY KIMBERLY ROONEY냖㵸蔻 // KIMROONEY@PGHCITYPAPER.COM


I

N A CITY THAT’S PREDOMINANTLY white,

finding community with other Asian folks can be difficult. For many LGBTQ Asian people in Pittsburgh, however, there is an additional othering and discomfort in spaces that were not designed with intersectionality in mind, whether in predominantly white LGBTQ or predominantly cisgender and straight Asian spaces. Navigating the intersections of these identities is often complicated, leading to a range of experiences for LGBTQ Asian folks that vary according to other intersections, such as age and class. Many are affected by the false choice between identifying as only Asian or only LGBTQ, which can lead to LGBTQ Asian people suppressing part of themselves. Finding other LGBTQ Asian residents, however, whether through communities they forge themselves or individual connections, helps many people create a sense of comfort, and fosters further exploration of their identities. “When I was able to find my community of other queer Asian people, then I really was able to grow and have a support system that truly understood the multiple aspects of my life,” says Beatrice Fadrigon, a cisgender lesbian who recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. Fadrigon, 22, is Filipino and one of the co-founders of Pitt Aquarius (@aquarius.pitt), an organization of queer Asian students that focuses on intersectionality. She says they wanted

to create this space in part because other LGBTQ organizations were predominantly white, and they felt people in those spaces often lacked an understanding of how Asian identity affects one’s LGBTQ experiences. Microaggressions, like being unable or unwilling to pronounce one’s name correctly, often build up, leaving many Asian LGBTQ folks feeling unwelcome or not understood in those spaces. At times, local Asian people share that white LGBTQ people also contribute to their fetishization and tokenization, particularly while dating. “I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been overlooked because of my weight and my race and even my gender identity, the fact that I’m a kind of cross between like masc and femme, like, I don’t necessarily fit into either. I definitely feel like there’s a lot of gay men that are looking for someone that looks like them,” says Jake Barney, who is nonbinary and pansexual, a person who can be sexually or romantically attracted to someone, regardless of their sex or gender identity. Stereotypes portray Asian men often as effeminate and unattractive, while women are often hypersexualized and assumed to be submissive and feminine. Both add additional discomfort for nonbinary Asian folks, such as Barney, 30, who is half-Filipino and half-white, and Alicia [not their real name], a 19-yearold half-Indian, half-white Pitt student who’s nonbinary and queer.

LGBTQ aesthetics can create hurdles for many LGBTQ Asian people because those prevailing ideals are predominantly white. To Alicia, these aesthetics rarely take into account different cultural norms and histories of gender and gender presentation. Meeting or seeing other LGBTQ Asian folks can help people feel more comfortable with exploring those aspects of their identities. “I have two friends that are also Desi [a descencent of India, Pakisan, or Bangaledesh] and queer. And one of them is nonbinary, and talking to them and seeing them in their identity and how they were able to embrace their identity while also embracing being Desi was this sort of revelation for me,” Alicia says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, other people can do that,’ like, I can be Asian, Brown, and queer and nonbinary because there’s other people doing it.” Navigating predominantly straight Asian spaces while being LGBTQ can create additional feelings of isolation, whether in peer groups where people don’t respect others’ pronouns or make homophobic jokes, or with parents and family who hold traditional and gendered expectations. For some, language barriers with family also add to the difficulty of embracing multiple identities at once. “At this point, like, my 90-year-old grandparents, I want to be out with them, but I know that they won’t understand. Like, they went through so much, it’s a foreign concept to them,” says CONTINUES ON PG. 18

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JUNE 9-16, 2021

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FINDING A COMMUNITY, CONTINUED FROM PG. 17

David Cui 㽑弍射, a cisgender gay man. Cui, 28, is out with his immediate family but hasn’t told his extended family in China, in part because, “I don’t have the vocabulary to explain it.” But being mixed-race, especially halfwhite, also impacts people’s relationships to their Asian and LGBTQ identities, from dismissal from Asian people over not being Asian enough to white LGBTQ people erasing their Asian identity in favor of viewing them as white. Age also shapes LGBTQ experiences, and for Cui, who has lived in Pittsburgh since 2010, shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Glee indicate a huge shift in how LGBTQ people get to see themselves relative to the hypersexualized depictions of the ’90s and 2000s. He also notes a divergence in the bars that younger versus older LGBTQ folks tend to frequent, with younger patrons often avoiding establishments that have reputations for being predominantly white. “A lot of the more established aspect of the community, like organizations and associations and things like that, are built for white queer people,” says Alicia, who has connected with other Asian queer people through social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Alicia and Cui also note that art galleries can be a place to connect with other queer people of color. Existing queer Asian organizations, such as Pitt Aquarius and Rangoli Pittsburgh (@rangolipgh), are relatively new and serve specific portions of the community — students and South Asian people, respectively — leaving many to

and LGBTQ identities. For some, such as Angela Le, a nonbinary and pansexual Pitt student, reconnecting with their Asian identity is important especially as they grow older. Le, 20, is Vietnamese American and grew up in a predominantly white area. Their parents are also working class and had little time to pass down traditions and culture when Le was younger, making it even more difficult for them to connect with their Asian identity. “I’m sorting through trying to be more Vietnamese now so that I can have that culture when I’m older. A lot of the people who grew up around a community, they had that growing up because they had other people — like I only had myself,” says Le. The explorations of the intersections of these identities unfold in a variety of ways. For Barney, they include changing the kinds of food they make and focusing on cooking and sharing Asian foods as a way of showing care. While people’s relationships to their identities continue to shift and change, having support from others who understand their experiences — whether through community organizations or individual connections — helps many Asian LGBTQ folks feel more comfortable with expressing the intersections of those identities. “These two things aren’t incompatible,” Alicia says. “I’ve been able to much more just, like, openly talk with family members about like being queer, and in queer circles be more vocal about what it’s like to be a queer person of color.”

CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

Beatrice Fadrigon

rely on individual connections as they explore the intersections of their identities. Cui and Barney say they struggle with incorporating their Asian identity into

their LGBTQ identity due to pressure to assimilate into white queer aesthetics and narratives rather than explore what it means to have both Asian

Follow staff writer Kimberly Rooney 냖㵸蔻on Twitter @kimlypso

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SEVEN DAYS IN PITTSBURGH

PHOTO: COURTESY OF DETRE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES AT THE HEINZ HISTORY CENTER

^ Women Welders at Dravo pose for a group photo, 1943-1944, part of the We Can Do It! WWII exhibit at Heinz History Center

THU., JUNE 10 ART • IRL Irma Freeman Center for Imagination presents Phantasmagoricals, a solo show celebrating the work and life of Pittsburgh native Kevin Osterhout, who died in August 2020 of accidental heroin/fentanyl poisoning. Described as “spontaneous” and “explosive,” while still utilizing intricate line work, Osterhout’s work depicts “intertwining, curious relationships, with colorful figures flowing into and out of each other, transforming each other in the process.” The drawings are colorful and odd, and are sure to capture the viewer’s eye as they move along the exhibit. Continues through July 2. 5006 Penn Ave., Garfield. Free. irmafreeman.org

TALK • VIRTUAL Homestead has been home to multiple tragedies over its history, including deaths involved in the Battle of Homestead labor strike. Another less discussed misfortune is being highlighted by the Battle of Homestead Foundation with its virtual presentation of Destruction of

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“The Ward” — 80 Years Later. The online program from history buff Tammy Hepps details how the government “embarked upon a massive propaganda campaign to convince the 8,000 residents” of The Ward, an immigrant neighborhood in Homestead, to move to make way for expansion of the Homestead Works steel mill. 7:30-9 p.m. Free. battleofhomestead.org

FRI., JUNE 11 THEATER • VIRTUAL New Hazlett Theater will transport audiences to 1969 New York City with a virtual production of The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. Based on a novel of the same name, the final show of New Hazlett’s CSA series follows the titular character, a Puerto Rican teen who becomes frustrated with her family and living in Spanish Harlem. Things change, however, when she’s drawn to a Puerto Rican activist group protesting the city’s failure to provide basic services to their neighborhood. The performance will take place over Crowdcast. 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Pay what you like. newhazletttheater.org/ events/revolution-evelyn-serrano

SAT., JUNE 12 PARTY • IRL Schenley Plaza will become an outdoor dance party when Pittsburgh electronic producer Ron Mist presents A Celebration of Being Alive silent disco. The event invites party people to put on some wireless headphones and enjoy two nights of dance music sets by Mist, as well as Royal Haunts, Pink Camo, and Paula from TASTE. All ages are welcome, and masks are required on the dance floor. 7:30-11 p.m. Continues on Sun., June 13. 4100 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15. linktr.ee/Ronmist

EVENT • IRL In 2019, Pittsburgh officially designated Juneteenth as a holiday. Before then, despite the lack of designation, the city’s Black community found ways to celebrate the historic event, which commemorates the nationwide emancipation of slavery. Now, city residents can enjoy many festivities from local organizations. Pittsburgh Parks and

Pittsburgh’s District 2 are teaming up to bring the Western Pa. Juneteenth Kickoff Fest to Chartiers Playground. This event promises a kids fun zone and performances by BHB, House of Soul Band, and jazz violinist Rodney McCoy. Masks are required to attend. 10 a.m.9:00 p.m. 3799 Chartiers Ave., Chartiers. Free. pittsburghparks.org/juneteenth

SUN., JUNE 13 ART • IRL It’s unlikely Pittsburghers will spot two cowboys and a horse hanging out on the linoleum floors of some yinzer kitchen, but with Zynka Gallery’s new exhibition, that’s exactly what you can expect. Cowboys in the Kitchen displays surreal oil works from painter Scott Hunter, described on Zynka’s website as “an assembly of gatherings, a constructed pastiche of style conflicts, pop transcendence, and a sense of humor in the living room.” Continues through July 18. 12-4 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 904 Main St., Sharpsburg. Free. zynkagallery.com


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^ Cowboys in the Kitchen at ZYNKA Gallery

MON., JUNE 14 EXHIBIT • IRL If you missed the We Can Do It! WWII traveling exhibit the first time it came to the Heinz History Center, don’t worry — it’s back. A press release describes the show as exploring Western Pennsylvania’s “incredible impact on the home, industrial, and battle fronts during World War II.” Learn about local Tuskegee Airmen, and the area connections to the jeep, the iconic Rosie the Riveter, and more. There will also be items from the museum’s collection on display, including the U.S. Army Air Corps jacket worn by Western Pa. native, WWII veteran, and Hollywood star Jimmy Stewart. Continues through Dec. 31. 1212 Smallman St., Strip District. Included with museum admission. heinzhistorycenter.org/exhibits

TUE., JUNE 15 SCREEN • IRL COVID-19 cases are down and many indoor venues are reopening … time to head to a giant dark room and watch some freaking lasers. And no better tunes go along with those lights than that of The Beatles. The Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center is hosting the Laser Beatles show, which promises an epic, family-friendly

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journey following John, Paul, George, and Ringo all across their music catalogue. Seating capacity is limited to 25 members per show. 1:30-2 p.m. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Side. $2 for members, $8 for non-members. carnegiesciencecenter.org

WED., JUNE 16 LIT • VIRTUAL WVU Press has consistently published stories with an emphasis on Appalachian studies and history. To celebrate their new and recent releases, the press is hosting an online party with Bloomfield’s White Whale Bookstore. The evening will focus on four new books: Geoffrey Hilsabeck’s American Vaudeville, Renee K. Nicholson’s Fierce and Delicate: Essays on Dance and Illness, Shaun Slifer’s So Much to Be Angry About: Appalachian Movement Press and Radical DIY Publishing, 1969-1979, and last but not least, Deesha Philyaw’s acclaimed The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. All books are available for purchase on White Whale’s bookshop.org list for recent and upcoming events. 7-8:30 p.m. Free. Registration required. whitewhalebookstore.com • IRL = IN REAL LIFE EVENT VIRTUAL = STREAMING OR ONLINE-ONLY EVENT HYBRID = MIX OF IN REAL LIFE AND ONLINE EVENT

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ACROSS 1. Poking gadget 4. Most-followed rapper on Instagram 9. Resolved to do 14. French royal 15. BP subsidiary 16. Audience participation moment 17. Host of the BBC’s World’s Craziest Fools 18. Weight around the middle 19. Hwy. through Fargo 20. “Sorry for hurting your feelings” 23. Lady’s name that means “wisdom” 24. English city where Olivia Colman was born 28. With 7-Down, musical intermission 29. Freedom of speech protector 32. New beginning 33. Maker of J’Adore cologne 34. Put out 35. Struck it rich 38. “Gee whillikers” 41. Grab the mic, say 42. Mic attachments, for short 45. Spam, e.g., to a Brit 48. It’s just a suggestion 49. Rat, to the heat 50. See 4-Down 51. Repeatedly, or if read a different way,

a cryptic way of signaling a letter bank for the other theme answers 55. Action star Statham 58. Run-DMC and Migos, e.g. 59. World’s wealthiest sports org. in terms of revenue 60. Protection in the sky 61. Cry for help 62. Interior designer’s selection 63. Dice 64. Big can 65. “Where ___ my glasses?”

DOWN 1. Fred who is the music director on Late Night with Seth Meyers 2. The absolute beginning 3. Attacked 4. With 50-Across, inspiration for the U.S. Constitution 5. “This guy, right here” 6. Standard amount? 7. See 28-Across 8. Composer Strauss 9. Visibly uncomfortable 10. How latitudes run 11. Claws channel 12. “___: Intimations of Immortality”

(Wordsworth poem) 13. Gramma 21. Chloé Zhao, e.g.: Abbr. 22. “I hear you,” in a gesture 25. Election winners 26. Fictional fed. agency on “24” 27. Take off in a flash 29. Financial ___ 30. Springfield recipient of prank calls 31. Wipe the whiteboard 33. News story identifiers 35. talkinglikethisforalongtimesay 36. Paper Planes rapper 37. Safety’s takeaway: Abbr. 38. LA and MA: Abbr. 39. Search

engine result 40. “He got ___ sideboard” (“Come Together” lyrics) 42. Omnivorous swimmer 43. Siding against some coats 44. Comic book writer who had cameos in many Marvel movies 46. Kinda stupid 47. Tryst 48. Witchy woman 50. Romance novelist McQuiston 52. The Ponte Amerigo Vespucci crosses it 53. Shaving mishap 54. Pineapple name 55. Puzzle maker, for yours truly 56. ___ dye 57. Mama’s boy LAST WEEK’S ANSWERS


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Proud to support Pittsburgh’s communities. All of them. We stand with the LGBTQ+ community, here and everywhere.

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June 9, 2021 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Pittsburgh's best arts and entertainment newsweekly, featuring our Pride Issue, full of stories highlighting Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community, i...

June 9, 2021 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Pittsburgh's best arts and entertainment newsweekly, featuring our Pride Issue, full of stories highlighting Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community, i...

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