Queer Guide 2024

The Mercury's 2024 Queer Guide: Endless Queer Summer

Rainbow signs in windows are legion, and Portland's queer summer is endless.

All Pride All the Time

There’s something happening every weekend, as we count down to Portland Pride!

Kathleen Hanna Is Making a Documentary About Darcelle XV

Fun fact: The riot grrrl punk singer is Walter Cole's second cousin.

Q Marks the Spot

For two decades, the Q Center has been a safe haven for the LGBTQ2SIA+ community—and they have even bigger dreams for the future.

Find Queer Comedy Tonight!

Our roundup of the best queer (and queer adjacent) comedy shows in Portland.

We Are in Cinema's Golden Age of the Lesbian Dirtbag

Celebrate Pride with lesbian cinema! Without crying, for once!

EverOut's 2024 Pride Event Calendar

Don't miss a minute of fun during this year's Queer Summer!


You don't have to be queer to figure out these puzzles... but it helps!

This Portland Gay Bar Is Opening a Family-Friendly LGBTQIA+ Lounge

Since spring, we've wondered about "Scandals East." Here's the plan.


Target Is Canonically Gay! Did the Founding Fathers Kiss Dudes?

A Portland Drag Clown in Residence at the Venice Biennale

Artist Jeffery Gibson invited Carla Rossi to climb his installation on the US pavilion.

Queer Bars in Portland, a History

Silverado was once Flossie's; Lowensdale Park was once a place to cruise—take a brief dive into a history of our city's queer spaces.

Mona Chrome Is—Ironically Enough—a "Walking Crayon Box"

Gary Barnes sees drag as a way to combine their passions for painting, costume design, and dance—all at once!


Northeast Portland neighborhood wine bar Bonne Chance built a queer clientele on allyship and Malört.

Queer Guide Comic: COVID-Safer Pride Guide

Protect your ability to party—and protest—this Pride!

Queer Eye for the Pedalpalooza Ride

Portland leads the way in welcoming riders of all genders and sexualities.

The Long Road to Justice

As the American legal landscape for LGBTQ+ residents 
grows hostile, Oregon works to enshrine rights for all.

Where to Find a Queer-Owned Bar or Restaurant Near You

Fourteen spots to try during Portland Pride Summer—and beyond!

The Future of HIV Treatment Is Injectable

Promising prugs could expand treatment–if we get out of our own way.

[Find the Mercury's Queer Guide in print—available in more than 500 spots citywide!—eds.]

Historical moments in queerness arrive in many forms. One of them arrived this spring, when movie audiences watched a roided-out lady bodybuilder smash a scumbag’s face into a coffee table before she and her long-suffering girlfriend put his corpse into the trunk of his muscle car, drove to a very symbolic crevasse at the edge of town, pushed it off the edge, and threw a molotov cocktail in after it.

“Finally!” my partner wrote to me after seeing Love Lies Bleeding at a packed, over-the-top jubilant late night screening, “our gays are doing the burying!” 

It did feel good, when I saw it for myself. Not in a “You go girl! Violence is the answer!” way. It was more like a deep, liquid sense of relief. This was not a film about true love, tolerance, or #lovewins. This was just a movie, shamelessly out to entertain, turn on, or (at the very least) gross out. 

For the last few decades, in the post-Celluloid Closet era, it has been easier to see films with openly lesbian protagonists. Progress! But the progress arrived with a rigid formula! Cinematic lesbians existed in a heavily-costumed past or an extremely-straight present, where no one in their world but them had ever had a queer feeling. They stared at each other with inchoate longing while the wind blew their hair into their eyes. Their love was pure, and it stayed that way because they invariably died or were separated by evil straights before they got the chance to have more than two sex scenes. They moved through a calculated mix of wide landscape shots / close-ups of bare boobies designed to lock in art-house distribution. 

Not all these films were bad. But there were a lot of them, and the genre has proved surprisingly durable. Just when you think it’s over, “two farmers’ wives find themselves irrevocably drawn to each other” in The World to Come (2021), and we have yet another corpse in a petticoat. 

But a new era is upon us. There’s a new generation of movies: sleazy, cheesy, and alive with cinematic tricks swiped from genre film. In the last two years we’ve seen Love Lies Bleeding (grindhouse), Bottoms (sex comedy), Eileen (noir), Drive-Away Dolls (sex comedy + mobsters), and Bodies Bodies Bodies (horror). That might not seem like a lot until you remember that most years only one or two w4w films ever break out of the festival circuit. 

Dirtbag is a many-splendored concept, but it is, at its essence, about being big enough to hold mess. A protagonist in a dirtbag film might fall hard, but they do not die for love. The films move too fast to moralize—characters lie, cheat, steal, kill, blow things up, are NOT NICE, jerk off next to a half-eaten TV dinner and the camera just keeps moving. Is it good for the culture? It is the culture. Whatever their outward artistic representation, the kaleidoscope of queer lives have always encompassed mess. 

Long may lesbian dirtbag cinema reign. And, in celebration of Pride, here’s a brief guide to a few of the classics, past and present. 

Love Lies Bleeding (2024)

Rose Glass, the film’s director and co-writer, says that the origin of this film was just the idea of a “strong female character.” How strong could a female character get? What if you added muscles? And more muscles? What if a female character met another female character, and the second offered to shoot steroids directly into the first’s left butt cheek? Two of Glass’s major influences in developing this film were Mulholland Drive and Showgirls, and this film improves greatly on both. 

Suggested Usage: Projected on the wall during your Pride party, to be obsessively mined as inspiration for future drag numbers.

Event Tip: Love Lies Bleeding // Dress Up Night at Tomorrow Theater

Katy O’Brian (left) and Kristen Stewart (right) go full dirtbag in Love Lies Bleeding. A24

Bottoms (2023)

A gift to anyone who saw Better off Dead, Heathers, and/or Fight Club and wished they had more jokes about bell hooks and third-wave feminism. 

Suggested Usage: Best consumed while nursing a hangover, sipping electrolyte drink, trying to come to terms with your actions of the last 48 hours. 

Eileen (2023)

Ever watched Carol and thought, “I wish for another one of these, but more nasty and with less sex?” This tight, mean, perfectly-acted little noir is for you, and probably not for anyone else. 

Suggested Usage: Your media studies paper on the inherent queerness of noir motifs. 

Kajillionaire (2020)

Miranda July was like “I’m going to make a movie about an LHB dirtbag starring Evan Rachel Wood, and no one can stop me.” 

Suggested Usage: Movie night with every lesbian you know who wore XXL clothing throughout their entire adolescence while they figured out what it meant to have a body. 

Angelina Jolie in the first
30 minutes of Gia (1998) 

Angelina Jolie in the
first 30 minutes of Foxfire (1996) 

Angelina Jolie’s late-’90s run as that dirtbag dreamgirl who gays everyone in their vicinity remains unparalleled. First thirty minutes only, since the movies themselves are awful. 

Suggested Usage: Explaining the lingering cultural obsession with a Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to anyone born after 1990.

Bound (1996)

This film is about an hour and thirty minutes of conventional mobster noir and about fifteen minutes of lesbian, but those fifteen minutes are so incredibly queer that nothing could match it for decades. 

Suggested Usage: Fast-forward until you see Corky (Gina Gershon) whenever you need to get amped up for those home repair projects you’ve been putting off.

Desert Fury (1947)

Once described as “the gayest movie ever produced in Hollywood’s golden era” this 1947 potboiler has so much queer innuendo that it doesn’t even bother trying to have a coherent plot. The mother and daughter (who look to be the same age, and who kiss each other right on the mouth) are a triumph of lesbian dirtbaggery sneaking past the Hays Code and out into the culture. 

Suggested Usage: Put on your best approximation of Edith Head drag, and watch with your gayest friends.