15 LGBTQ+ People Tell Us What Is Bringing Them Queer Joy Right Now


Watching Heartstopper was a reminder of what it is to be alive: to be open to the joy of finding yourself, even despite all of life’s complications. It’s a complicated time to be LGBTQ, to say the least. Last week a leaked draft opinion signaled that the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade — a decision that would threaten reproductive health care access for countless queer, trans, and non-binary people and potentially undermine key LGBTQ rights victories. More than 230 bills have been introduced this year targeting rights and protections for LGBTQ+ Americans, primarily trans youth. And yet seeing Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) fall in love in spite of the challenges facing our community was a reminder that we have the capacity to find love and acceptance through it all. We can still thrive in a world that is too often unkind to us.

As we struggle to persist during difficult times, BuzzFeed asked 15 LGBTQ people what is bringing them joy right now — whether it’s a hit Netflix YA series, a queer group chat, or literally finding light in the darkness.

R.K. Russell, NFL free agent

As LGBTQ people, we declare our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness against constant opposition. Although we fight restlessly, we still harness the power of love and laughter. For me, that comes in queer literature. In the last months, I have been locked in Giovanni's Room, reworked my life’s color scheme with All Boys are Blue, and learned that I'm not the only Greedy Bisexual Who Wants Too Much. To my LGBTQ fam who feel alone, I urge you to pick up a book by a queer author. Laugh, cry, heal, and smile with us. Our literature keeps us together.

Annise Parker, President and CEO, Victory Fund

The day before my mother passed away a few weeks ago, my wife and I took in a stray kitten. My mother loved cats. They are never self-conscious or inhibited. They don’t view themselves as less than perfect or agonize over their imperfections. They don’t get depressed over a new gray hair. They never get too busy to enjoy the world around them. Life should be approached with joy. We named our kitten Blessing, as I know my mom had a hand in her coming into our lives.

Jeffrey Marsh, Author, How to Be You

People think I’m a Rose, but I’m a Dorothy. Again and again, I come back to The Golden Girls. These women helped me feel less alone when I was a kid growing up on an isolated Pennsylvania farm, and the pandemic has deepened my joy over the Henny Penny episode. I’ve only recently realized that I’m a Dorothy because she doesn’t fulfill her gender role “correctly,” and people make assumptions about her value and attractiveness because of it. (Also she has a contentious relationship with her mother!) The Henny Penny play-within-a-play is an étude on inevitability and friendship, and I love it.

Alexander Cheves, Author, My Love Is a Beast: Confessions

I discovered magic mushrooms during the pandemic. Now they’re my therapy. Psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin (aka magic mushrooms) are non-addictive and safe and are being researched by scientists as treatments for addiction and depression. For me, they help with both. Years ago, meth took me to a dark place. Mushrooms helped me out of it. I’m not a very spiritual person, but when I trip, I think about my mother and feel connected to all life. These experiences have made me kinder to others and to myself, and I’m so grateful for them.

Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

I love building things, putting things together. It’s not that I’m particularly good at it, but that’s not the point. I just love having a vision in my head and making it true in front of me. I love the creative process of choosing the project — mostly that is why I just want to do it. It also reminds me how our hearts and our heads work together. When we want something done and devote our time and creative vision to it, we can do anything. I love to remember that.

LaSaia Wade, Founder and CEO, Brave Space Alliance

Miss Peppermint, Actor, Singer, Artist

Gavin Grimm, Civil rights activist

I have found joy in reading YA novels with queer characters. The stories are fun, of course, but more importantly, they give a generation of kids the opportunity to get lost in stories that sound like theirs and explore a magical literary world inclusive of people like them. These are stories where transphobia and discrimination aren’t the only fact of the characters' lives, ones that represent the diversity of the world we live in. Seeing yourself represented in media is so important, especially so for queer youth. To relax with a book that I know is making lives better brings me profound bliss.

George Johnson, Author, All Boys Aren’t Blue

The thing that brings me joy is rest and resets. Once a month, I get my tarot done, which gives me guidance and reset to ensure I'm my best self spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. In addition to that, my daily reset is prayer at my altar to my ancestors. Lastly, I now have a bedtime. This world tells us that we can “sleep when we are dead.” I'd much rather sleep while I'm alive and allow my body the time to reset, recharge, and simply hear the beauty and joy that is breathing before I close my eyes every night.

LZ Granderson, Host of ABC Audio’s Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson podcast

What’s been giving me life? Reruns of Abbott Elementary. Quinta Brunson created a very funny mockumentary that doesn’t distance itself from the real world. The lack of funding for public schools, aging, work relationships… that’s just a small sampling of the heavier topics the show addresses. TV is meant to be an escape — comedies in particular — and Abbott Elementary understands that. But for those of us who gravitate toward shows that take on — as opposed to hide from — life’s difficulties, Abbott is the perfect escape. That’s because it's a show about finding joy despite it all. It’s a beautiful watch. 

Charlotte Clymer, Activist, Writer

Neil Rafferty, District 54 representative, Alabama Legislature

My life is a bit hectic right now with the elections around the corner, but I am just so overcome with joy that my husband and I celebrated 18 years of partnership last week. We’ve been through so much. We’ve grown so much closer. And I just couldn’t be any happier in this busy time to know I got him by my side.

Ryan Cassata, Singer-songwriter, Activist

When I met my fiancé in August, I never imagined he would pop the question that would change my life forever. He kept the engagement a secret for a month. Just before Valentine’s Day, we drove down to San Diego to get tattoos. He went first and said he didn’t want me to see his tattoo yet because it would be a “surprise.” When he walked out from the back, I saw “Marry Me” inked across his arm. Before he could even verbalize his question, I said yes. Lots of queer people ask: “Why marriage?” For me, it feels like the purest expression of queer joy. I’m excited for our special day and for our forever.

Stephanie Byers, District 86 Representative, Kansas State Legislature

The blinds on my bedroom window have 32 slats. Each is three feet long and two inches deep. Three cords are used to raise or lower the blinds. One hole in one blind, where the cord rides through, aligns just right with the trees outside and the houses down the block to allow a pinprick of sunlight to land on my face. This tiny little beam of sunlight hits at sunrise, reminding me that every day is a new beginning. That sunbeam says I have another chance to make the most of the new day. This is my joy. 

Jen Richards, Actress, writer

My wife pings our Signal group: “Lil Nas X tickets! Who's in?” The responses come fast and enthusiastically. It's all queer women in the group, which we named “I Got You,” the result of a night we earnestly compressed our undying support for each other into those three words. One couple lives in Texas, so we explore how to resist their state’s rabid anti-LGBTQ efforts. The high achiever of the group sends us gossip from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. One of the writers asks if anyone can read the latest draft of her pitch. Good news is celebrated and the horrors of the world are softened by communal grief. There are puns, bad ones. The news from the Supreme Court leaves us all gutted, but everyone is in for Lil Nas X. We fight for a better world, and we dance, and in between, we never stop talking.