Gay Guide To SXSW: Melissa Etheridge, Andy Cohen, Lena Dunham, George Takei And Sharon Needles Hit Austin


South By Southwest can be a little overwhelming, so we’ve come up with a handy-dandy primer for all the queertastic events and activities in Austin starting this week.

Yes, Lady Gaga and Perez Hilton will be there, but do we have the right to say that perhaps their events will be a little, I don’t know, overrated? Instead check out the following SXSW events that certainly deserve your consideration.

Check out all of the SXSW gay events, with the highlights laid out for you below…

Friday March 7

2pm Allyship: Becoming an Ally for Inclusion
After Jason Collins and Michael Sam, this panel will certainly enlighten on the new world of sports in the dawn of openly gay athletes. Learn about LGBT visibility and inclusion from Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor, ESPN commentator LZ Granderson and out and proud professional basketball player Brittney Griner.

5pm Speed Networking LGBT Meet Up
Want to pass out all of your business cards on the first day of SXSW in hopes of trying to score a hot date? Check out this meet-up hosted by the LGBT Technology Partnership. Be professional, boys!

6pm – 10pm #BigGay Kickoff Party
The biggest gay bash at SXSW is so big it has its own hashtag. The Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce invite all queers to Oilcan Harry’s for drinks, dancing and information on how to make the best of your gay SXSW.

Saturday March 8

11am – 2pm aGLIFF27 SXSW Brunch
The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival invite you to the Iron Bear lair for free brunch and mimosas. Plus, your best chance to meet hotshot queer filmmakers and artists.

3pm Veronica Mars
Premiering at the Paramount Theater, the Veronica Mars film is finally here. Everyone’s favorite cheeky teenage detective played by Kristen Bell is all grown up. Thanks to Kickstarter, we get to see her new adventures on the big screen.

3:15pm Facebook Live with the Cast of Neighbors
Zach Efron. Dave Franco. Frat Party to follow at the Lustre Pearl.

9pm – 11pm South by BedPost
Come out for a night of intimate storytelling and anonymous confessions at Butterfly Bar. I will be joining some of the most fearless sex-positive writers and reading from my forthcoming gay novel, Confessions of a Boy Toy.

10pm – 1am StarOut & Grindr SXSW Party
Grindr is sure to be blowing up all throughout Austin this weekend, but what if you prefer to make a first impression in person? Grindr has just the solution: a party at popular gay club Rain on 4th. Co-sponsor StartOut will make sure LGBT entrepreneurs and investors come by to unwind.

Sunday March 9

11am Building a Bridge to Equality with Allies
A panel Piers Morgan and Katie Couric could have used before interviewing Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera. Come get some practical advice on being a respectful ally from Adria Richards of and Kortney Ziegler, founder of Trans*H4CK.

2pm Penny Dreadful
Showtime’s new series, Penny Dreadful, takes some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters – including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula – and gives them a refresher for contemporary audiences.

5pm From Stranger to Lover in One Swipe
Hookup apps are not just for gays. Down co-founder Colin Hodge joins Grindr’s Joel Simkhai to discuss how the social stigma of meeting a lover on a mobile device has slowly changed.

Monday March 10

11am Lena Dunham Keynote
Girls creator and star comes to SXSW to spark yet another lively water cooler discussion about television’s portrayal of gender roles, Beyonce’s contribution to feminism and how Girls is the straight Looking.

5pm Throwing Shade Live Podcast
Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson do what they do best at this Facebook-sponsored Funny or Die clubhouse.

5pm How Social Media Is Creating Marriage Equality
During a monumental time for marriage equality, Queerty, YouTube and the American Foundation for Equal Rights invite you to join the conversation on how social media is being used to change the hearts and minds of a nation.

7pm – 9pm LGBT@SXSW Cocktail Mixer
Meet the movers, shakers and heartbreakers of SXSW at The Madison for Queerty’s swanky cocktail reception. Get there early for free drinks, a sexy atmosphere and an interactive photo booth.

Tuesday March 11

12:30pm Oh Myyy! A Conversation with George Takei
Twitter’s funniest gay grandpa and one of Facebook’s most-influential public figures, George Takei, comes to SXSW to talk tech, culture and the second season of his original web series, Takei’s Take.

Wednesday March 12

2pm Betty Who
Fresh off performing at the wedding of the gay couple who got engaged in a viral flash mob to one of her songs, Betty Who enchants Austin at the Pandora Discovery Den with her dreamy indie pop.

Thursday March 13

2pm Mary Lambert
The “Same Love” singer who stole the show is ready for primetime with her solo performance at the iconic Waterloo Records parking garage.

11pm Melissa Etheridge
The trailblazing music star will bring her latest hit, “Uprising of Love” to SXSW. The song is Etheridge’s personal F.U. to Putin.

12am Blondie
Forty years later, the bona fide ambassadors of New York cool are still relevant. Well, at least their 80’s songs still are. One way or another, try to catch them at Yahoo’s Brazos Hall.

Friday March 14

TBD Cakes Da Killa
Queer rapper brings East Coast flair and swagger to Logo’s OUTlander Festival at Oilcan Harry’s.

6:45pm The Case Against 8 A behind-the-scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage and how two gay couples took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the Supreme Court.

Saturday March 15

TBD Big Dipper
The bearlicious Chicago rap star comes to SXSW for Logo’s OUTlander Festival. Expect some yummy beats, messy stage antics and cute half-naked go-go bears onstage.

12:30am Sharon Needles
Try to stay awake for Ms. Needles’ late spine-tingling performance at Austin’s quirkiest gay joint, Cheer Up Charlie’s.

1:15 am Christeene
If Ms. Needles seemed too passé for you taste in drag, stay at Cheer Up Charlie’s for this shameless, tasteless and brilliant performer which follows.

Sunday March 16

Rinse yourself clean of all the sponsored RedBull and come to the ultimate queer-friendly, anti-corporate, day-drinking bash of SXSW. Rumored lineup includes artists you’ve probably never heard of, like Kumbia Queers and Mom Jeans, but who’ll give a sickening show.

Oscar Raymundo is the creator of Confessions of a Boy Toy.

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