P1nkstar, who self-describes as “ur fav electr0nic pop superstar and Austin’s Sweetheart,” is a queer/trans music and performance artist, event producer, and community organizer who has lived and worked in Austin for the last five years. Beyond music and performance, p1nkstar’s involvement in the Austin queer community includes developing campaigns that promote sexual wellbeing with local organizations and producing paid showcases that bring queer creators together.
“Austin is one of the safest havens for queer folx in the South and the qmmunity here is very loving and supportive,” she says. “In addition, the Austin’s qmmunity is interested in preserving their health, which makes treatments for sexual health and transitioning extremely accessible and many times free!”
Here, p1nkstar shares all her favorite aspects of queer life in Austin, from businesses to patronize to the absolutely best queer-friendly nightlife.
It might be because Austin is not a big city yet, or that Austin—being the liberal capital of Texas—is one of the safest heavens for queers in the South, but Austin does not really have queer-specific neighborhoods. Rather, queers are integrated across the city. Although there are several neighborhoods with high LGBTQ+ populations like Hyde Park and Cherrywood, they are far from being what some might call a “gayborhood.” Nevertheless, Austin is a very accepting city overall and most neighborhoods could be considered queer-friendly.
Because of Austin’s strong liberal values, most (if not all) hotels in Austin can be considered queer-friendly. Nevertheless the one that has gone above and beyond in terms of catering to the LGBTQ+ population is the Austin Motel. At the heart of the iconic South Congress Avenue, the queer-owned Austin Motel offers fun rooms and many options for things to do at a mere walking distance. During the summer the hotel hosts Raunch Dip, a series of queer-centric pool parties with a queer lineup of DJs and performers. On top of that, during the warmer months of the year, The Austin Motel partners up with trainer and performance artist Erica Nix to teach campy and queer-centric water aerobics classes every week.
Offering only the highest quality products, Q Toys is a women-owned and queer-centric adult shop that works towards making their patrons feel comfortable in their bodies and have fun!
With a moving origin story and a mission to break the taboo of “the culture,” Mary Jae is a high-end smoke accessory and CBD boutique that promises smoke culture lovers the high-quality products they deserve.
Near the South Congress shopping strip, The Glass Coffin is a self-described “Vampire Parlour” with a unique inventory of products ranging from taxidermy and skulls, to spiritual candles and resources for divination, to purses and clothes.
Located on East 6th Street, this upscale Gelateria offers more than just ice cream. Gemelli provides a delightful experience with their small-batch organic gelatos, deliciously Italian cocktails and perfectly brewed coffee.
Owned by a former drag king, Revolutions Bookkeepers was born out of a love of all things local and has a mission to empower small businesses to take charge of their goals and map out a road of success. A local small business committed to helping local small businesses!
Arts & Culture
Off of emblematic Springdale Road, Canopy is Austin’s premiere creative community housing about five galleries, 50 artist studios, a café, and The Museum of Human Achievement (MoHA), a local home for art that is fresh, experimental, non-commercial, and interdisciplinary. The galleries and café at Canopy are open through the week but MoHA only opens their door to the public every few months during Canopy’s massive art openings, presenting new surprises every time.
Being the largest art museum in Austin and one of the largest university Art Museums, the Blanton offers 189,340 square feet devoted to temporary exhibitions, permanent collection rooms, classrooms, a café, a gift shop, an auditorium, and more. In addition, the museum’s frequent programming brings performance artists and musicians into the galleries to present live work responding to the space.
Located a few blocks away from the State Capitol, the Mexic-arte Museum showcases and preserves the work of Latin American and Latinx artists. Although modest in size, this museum packs unique and eclectic exhibits featuring contemporary artists who many times happen to be local. They also have a great educational program that caters to Austin’s youth and the artistic community in general.
CUT UP! at Elysium
Pulling the queerest of the queers, CUT UP! is a weekly party held every Tuesday night at Elysium Austin in the Red River Cultural District (Austin’s entertainment district housing the city’s live music scene). CUT UP! celebrates non-conformity and artistic fashion on the dance floor with fresh DJs and a midnight variety show—always delivering a great time with interesting people.
Hosting all types of events from storytelling nights to drag shows, Middle School dance parties to Rock shows, Cheer Ups is truly a place for everyone. A queer-owned inside/outside venue offering drinks with freshly-squeezed juices and a delicious vegan food truck on-site, Cheer Up Charlie’s is less a hectic gay club and more of a chill queer bar.
Kelly Kline’s Super Sunday Divas Show at Oilcan Harry’s
One of the longest-running weekly drag shows in city, the Super Divas Show is hosted by the legendary Kelly Kline every Sunday at Oilcan Harry’s, Austin’s staple gay bar. With a very loyal crowd, this show is known to bring well-known drag artists from all over the country, often including former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants alongside their cast.