Zavion Davenport, better known as drag superstar Chi Chi DeVayne, has reportedly died. She was only 34.
The RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8 and All Stars season 3 contestant became a favorite among fans and fellow queens alike with her magnetic personality and ability to destroy a performance.
DeVayne had been open about her health struggles, including her diagnosis with with scleroderma, a “rare, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the immune system attacking the tissue under the skin, and around internal organs and blood vessels, which can also cause scarring and thickening of tissue.”
In July, DeVayne was hospitalized due to suspected kidney failure. She told fans she began dialysis treatment before being discharged.
A crowdfunding campaign to support her had grown following her most recent hospitalization last week, reportedly to fight pneumonia.
In an Instagram story posted just days ago, DeVayne told her followers: “Hey guys, I’m back in. Keep me in your prayers, I’ll be back soon.”
Many fellow Drag Race contestants and queens who knew her have taken to social media to share their condolances:
This is so heart-breaking ?? RIP Chi Chi DeVayne ? My heart goes out to all of Chi Chi’s family, friends and fans. https://t.co/g6ZXoF2RAO
Chi Chi Devayne was such a light during her season and beyond. She always showed how being humble, honest and your true authentic self will get you far! She was a TRUE STAR and her legacy will live on forever #RIPChiChiDevayne ? pic.twitter.com/Q0VGgyCngr
The Chinese government has slammed the brakes on next year’s Shanghai Pride, the longest-running and best-known pride event in the nation.
The announcement came via Shanghai Pride’s Facebook “>page last week, in which the organizers announced that pride had been canceled for the first time since the celebration began in 2009.
“Shanghai Pride regrets to announce that we are canceling all upcoming activities and taking a break from scheduling any future events,” organizers wrote in the post. “The decision was difficult to make but we have to protect the safety of all involved. It’s been a great 12-year ride, and we are honored and proud to have traveled this journey of raising awareness and promoting diversity for the LGBTQ community.”
CNN now reports that anonymous sources have provided a bit more information surrounding the nixed event. Apparently, the Chinese government had begun pressuring the all-volunteer staff of Shanghai Pride to cancel, going so far as to lobby them in their daily lives.
Related: Major tech company challenges LGBTQ censorship in China with this commercial featuring a gay couple
“The public gets to see the visible and impactful aspects of what we do, but they can’t imagine the difficulties we face behind the scenes — I think Shanghai Pride is no exception,” one source told the network. “With things becoming harder and riskier, laying low may let you survive for now. But the purpose of our job is to raise visibility and educate the public — that’s the dilemma.”
Shanghai Pride actually went off without a problem earlier this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. That the organization would choose now to cancel next year’s celebration seem all the more perplexing.
Homosexuality remains legal in China, though queer Chinese citizens still experience discrimination thanks to cultural biases. Already this year, Queerty has reported on controversy surrounding a popular Singapore drama which featured a gay man as a pedophile, and the weird censorship of a jewelry commercial that featured a same-sex couple exchanging rings. Captions for the advertisement referred to the two men–who appear to be about the same age–as father and son.
British electronic duo Erasure is gearing up to drop their 18th (yes, 18th!) studio album, The Neon, next week. As a taster, they’ve just released a new track and a video featuring some well-known trans and drag superstars.
“Nerves of Steel” is a classic Erasure song, with a thumping 80s-sounding synth background and Bell’s soaring vocals.
The band isn’t featured in the video at all. Instead, it showcases a smorgasbord of drag and trans performers, including Amanda LePore, Raja (RPDR S3), Manila Luzon (RPDR S3), and Morgan McMichaels (RPDR S2).
“This is my favorite track from the album,” Erasure singer Andy Bell said in a statement. “I am truly honored that all our LGBTQIA+ friends were so creative during lockdown and helped us with this joyful video. Thanks for creating such a lovely piece of art!”
One of those included is Nina West (Drag Race S11), who posted her clip to Instagram, saying:
I never thought in a million years that I would ever be in a Erasure video. This is unreal. For all those times i belted out “A Little Respect” on stage or in my shower, or imagined I was a fairy, floating and singing “Oh L’amour”, and even driving to high school in the mornings and jamming out with @meg._it_is_my_name to “Always” – this is a pretty incredible moment. Thank you Andy and Vince.
Related: Travis Scott omits trans icon Amanda Lepore from his album cover
Raja was similarly blown away to be asked, saying on Instagram: “Fourteen-year-old me would never believe I’d be asked to be part of an amazing ensemble of people, in a music video, for #ERASURE !!”
Another, Detox, said, “Erasure has been an integral part of my queer soundtrack from early on and it was a tremendous honor to be included in their new work!”
The full line-up of star-studded cameo appearances runs as follows: 6; Amanda Lepore; Aurora Sexton; Candis Cayne; Cara Melle; Cheddar Gorgeous; CT Hedden; Delta Work; Detox; Honey Davenport; Joey Jay; Kiki Xtravaganza; Manila Luzon; Mayhem Miller; Mercedes Tyler; Morgan McMichaels; Nina West; Pandemonia; Pearl; Raja; Sherry Vine; and Widow Von ‘Du.
The Neon is out August 21.
Related: Manila Luzon schools fragile straight bro at very gay party in ‘Gay Man’
“To put [undecided voters] in perspective, I think of being on an airplane.
The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. ‘Can I interest you in the chicken?’ she asks. ‘Or would you prefer the platter of sh*t with bits of broken glass in it?’
To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.”— Humorist David Sedaris in a 2008 New Yorker column. The comparison has only gotten more relevant.
We may be have more home viewing options than we currently know what to do with, but the original golden age of TV is still pretty mesmerizing. And fewer shows captured audiences quite like I Love Lucy.
In a recirculated video, we get a color glimpse at the iconic program thanks to one fan who snuck in a 8mm color video camera to the October 12, 1951 taping. How very clandestine.
The taping that night on Soundstage #2 of Desilu Studios in Hollywood was for the 6th episode of season one — “The Audition.”
Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.
The Twister: The Good Liar
Oscar-winner Bill Condon helms this mystery/thriller, which stars cinematic lion Sir Ian McKellen. In the film, McKellen plays Roy, an aging Con Juan who seducing older, single women to rob them of their money. His latest target: Betty McLeish (Dame Helen Mirren), a recently widowed professor with a fortune in the bank. Betty falls hard for Roy’s charms right away, though her grandson Steven (Russell Tovey), smells a plot.
More than that we’ll not reveal here, as one of the great charms of The Good Liar is its labyrinth of plot twists, reversals and reveals. Suffice it to say that there’s much more to Roy’s past than he would have Betty know, and that she has a secret or two of her own. McKellen and Mirren–two giants of acting–relish their roles, and play their scenes together with typical intensity. Tovey too gives a mature performance in his role as Steven, a man who wants his grandmother to be happy, as much as to be safe. Well paced, taut with suspense and threaded with some very dark humor, The Good Liar should remind viewers that a good movie doesn’t need sex, explosions or tons of special effects. Rather, it just needs some compelling characters and some irresistible actors.
Almost every country has implemented social distancing measures because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures have thrown many large-scale family gatherings into disarray – especially weddings.
Queerty caught up with four same-sex couples who all wed in the last few weeks to find out how the virus had made them change their plans.
Michael and Josh
Michael McPhee, 32, and Josh Stock, 30, live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They met via a dating app in 2012 and got engaged in 2017.
Their original plan was to hold their wedding over two days, with a ceremony for 30-40 people on July 11, followed by a community hall reception the following day for 100 people. The ceremony would take place on Edmonton’s historic High Level Bridge streetcar, followed by a gathering at a nearby restaurant.
“We started getting nervous about what would happen to the wedding halfway through March,” says Josh. “The province of Alberta started to shut down on March 17, 2020.”
The men paused their wedding planning until May, to review the situation.
“We gave some thought to postponing the date to later in 2020, but I had zero confidence that gathering restrictions would be lifted to the degree we needed them to go ahead with our plans. The streetcar service notified us they were likely to not operate and offered us a refund. We accepted.”
“I was reading local news when I saw a story about physically distanced mini-weddings for up to 15 persons (the largest number of persons allowed to gather at the time under Alberta’s restrictions) at Edmonton’s historic Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. The hotel was offering a space for a ceremony and a reception if needed. I called to reserve immediately,” says Josh.
“Fifteen persons meant 15 persons: this included us, photographers, and wedding officiant. This meant we were allowed just nine guests. We decided to have two sets of friends for our wedding party and immediate family only (e.g. no spouses). This was extremely difficult to do, and it wasn’t possible to eliminate hurt feelings.”
The men purchased CA$500 of customized face masks for the wedding party (“We decided we might as well have fun with this and it would make the event even more memorable”), along with hand sanitizer.
Josh got permission from his work to set up a Zoom call using his workplace account to capture the ceremony for those unable to attend. He also sync-ed the speakers to his Apple Watch so he could control the music (e.g. going down the aisle, etc).
Besides some nerves and ensuring all the Zoom and other tech was working, the ceremony itself went without a hitch. In the end, they were also able to increase the guest list to 20 as restrictions were eased slightly just days before the ceremony.
Afterward, Josh says they, “Went home and went back to work after just a couple of days off. We wanted to go on a honeymoon, but it’s obviously not the right time to travel. We will revisit this in the years to come, perhaps as an anniversary idea in the coming years.”
Jordan and Javontre
Jordan, 26, and Javontre Booker-Medley, 23, like in Winston Salem, North Carolina. They met in High School
“I was working on a musical and needed some extra stagehands and our mutual friend introduced us,” remembers Jordan. “We started working on the show and texting all the time about girl problems, etc, etc. Like most middle/high school boys our age that haven’t yet admitted that they dream about rainbows and unicorns!
“We eventually started going out a lot, with friends and then alone. Those hangouts evolved into dates and eventually into us dating on and off for the last six years. We even went to the same college for dance!
“Everyone knew we were gonna be married one day and I couldn’t be happier to have found my soulmate.”
They got engaged on July 1st, 2019, and planned to marry July 25th, 2020.
“When the pandemic hit we initially canceled the whole event!” says Jordan. “It wasn’t until restrictions on gathering started to ease up in June that we decided to put the event back on! We reduced our guest list from 160 to 31 people. We also had to change our venue which was originally in uptown Charlotte, NC. We ended up doing a small backyard wedding in Winston Salem NC, where we currently live.
“We did everything ourselves instead of hiring a planner. The only vendor we needed was for the cake and the food. We literally designed everything ourselves from the centerpieces, table arrangements, floral arrangements, down to the napkins on the tables.
“We had to significantly change our plans but it turned out amazing and we cried so much on the day! The love that surrounded us was more than anything we could have asked for!”
Jay and Ames
Ames, 36 previously lived in New York City. Jay, 49, lives in Atlanta, GA. They met in June 2019.
“Jay was visiting NYC for World Pride and we met through a mutual friend that thought we would get along well and I could give him a nice tour of the city,” recalls Ames.
“When the pandemic hit, Jay flew to NYC to pick me up and drove me back to Atlanta with my dog and two cats,” he continues. “We have been inseparable since.
“We knew we wanted to get married in the near future, but we had so many hoops to jump through just to live in the same state! We didn’t have a formal engagement. We pulled into a parking lot and I had no idea where we were going, and Jay said, ‘time to look at rings!’ It has been really important to us to support small business during the pandemic, so we purchased our rings at Worthmore Jewelers, which is very LGBTQ-friendly!”
They got married on July 31.
“The date is important to me because it’s exactly five years from the day that I took my first shot of Testosterone to begin my medical transition!” says Ames.
“The ceremony was on our front porch. Our close friend Ben officiated, Luke was the witness, and Jackie photographed. We did not pre-write vows, just spoke from the heart.”
“Before the pandemic, we talked about what we would want our wedding day to be like. We wanted it to be an intimate celebration with our friends and family,” says Ames.
However, the pandemic made them reconsider.
“We were too worried that if we announced our plan to get married in advance that family and friends would travel, and we didn’t want to put anyone at risk or to feel guilty. Maybe we will have a celebration later, but we are very content with everything. The pandemic brought us together under one roof and we can start our life together.”
Keith and Chris
Keith, 34, and Chris, 33, live in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. They met online just over four years ago.
“We got engaged last summer at our favorite camping spot: Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island,” says Chris.
“The pandemic put a fairly large wrench in our plans. We had to cut the guest list down from 105 to 45. We also had to organize our own food and rentals because our caterer couldn’t promise us they could fulfill their contract. We ended up cooking our own food for all the guests.
“We both have fairly large immediate families so even at 45 guests, we weren’t mixing too many groups of people who don’t already see each other.”
The men had always planned to marry outdoors. The location was the backyard of Keith’s parents in Aldergrove, BC. The men’s dog, Gus, acted as ring bearer for their July, 4th, wedding.
Were they disappointed at having to downscale?
“Initially, we thought we may not even be able to have a wedding… then British Columbia went into phase 2 COVID restrictions which meant gatherings of 50 or less were OK as long as you could keep your distance,” says Chris.
“I think the hardest part for both of us was taking an already-small, planned wedding of 105 and trimming it down even more. We had to tell a lot of people we love that they couldn’t come anymore. This is after the invites went out. There were a lot of tough phone calls, but in the end, everyone understood. We had done so much planning and ultimately decided to just move forward with a smaller group. We have a super hands-on family and everyone was a huge help!”
Hey, remember that weird picture of Jerry Falwell Jr. with his pants open that was circulating on social media earlier this week? Well, now there’s a video to go along with it!
A little backstory: For no apparent reason, the Liberty University President tweeted a photo of himself this week on a yacht with his fly unzipped and his pants wide open. Beside him was a woman, not his wife, also with her pants wide open.
Related: Jerry Falwell Jr. tweets and quickly deletes photo with his pants wide open
Politicoreports that the woman’s name is Kathleen Stone and her Facebook page lists Liberty University as her employer. The photo was purportedly taken during a costume party on a yacht last weekend.
The image was shared across Falwell’s social media platforms, but was only up for a few minutes before he deleted it, though not before a screenshot was taken and widely circulated across the internet.
Now, video from the costume party has also surfaced and it offers a truly bizarre glimpse into what the staff at Liberty University does in their free time.
The video is supposed to be a parody intro to the show Trailer Park Boys, highlighting each of the partygoers dressed up as a different character, with Falwell as “Julian.”
It shows inebriated guests getting drunk, dancing, lounging around, and pretending to smoke cigarettes. In the background of one shot are a bunch of empty red Solo cups one might find at a college house party.
All of this is deeply ironic given that Liberty University prohibits alcohol consumption for all students on or off campus.
Related: Exposé on Jerry Falwell Jr. alleges group sexts, racy photos, and more about the ‘personal trainer’
In an interview with a local radio station in Lynchburg, Virginia, Falwell explained the story behind the viral photo, saying the woman he is pictured beside is his “wife’s assistant,” adding, “She’s a sweetheart and I should never have put it up and embarrassed her.”
As for why they were posing together with their pants open, Falwell explained, “She’s pregnant so she couldn’t get her–she couldn’t get her pants up. And I was like, trying to like–my–I had on pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn in a long time so I couldn’t get mine zipped either. And so–and so–I just put my belly–I just put my belly out like hers.”
“We were on vacation. And, anyway, long story short it was just in good fun. That’s it.”
He added, “I’ve apologized to everybody. And I’ve promised my kids I’m going to try to be–I’m gonna try to be a good boy from here on out.”
Watch the truly, truly bizarre video below. We should warn you that it cannot be unseen.