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This Austin Party Made Space for Local Queer Voices

The LGBTQ community of Austin is “family-like,” says performer and makeup artist Belladonna, who’s become a local fixture in a small scene of queers making space for themselves outside the cis gay heteronormativity of Texas’ capital. In collaboration with Red Bull Music, this weekend’s Equal Axis party aimed to support that mission, inviting go-go dancers like Belladonna to whip their wigs alongside a lineup of DJs and collectives that reflected the city’s intimate outsider attitude.

The event’s title was a clever play on the term “Equal Access,” which rolled out Saturday night with no VIP’s or special treatment for any guests. Austin’s own underground DJ collective Thank You For Sweating (TYFS) organized the party with Unbounded Agency, and worked diligently to prioritize POC, queer, gender non-conforming and non-binary talent, as well as allies on their bill.

Dancing to the sounds of Puerto Rican DJ Jeva, who recently moved to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Josue Allen Hart, Tatiana Cholula, Purple Matter, and Ruby Knight all shimmied gracefully onstage, occasionally huffing poppers before briefly slipping into a trance of unruly choreo. Aerial performers Caty Mae and Sarah Sparkles added theatrics to the space, while DJ Wet Male kept the party moving.

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And let’s be honest, that’s pretty darn gay.