25 ideas for our queer future

THE QUEER ISSUE: Gaze into the future of the gays -- LGBTQ leaders, artists, and activists offer their visions for what lies ahead. Plus our 2010 Hot Pink List!

Fierce soothsayer Artist Malcolm Drake of the Faetopia Festival (see Pride listings) guides us through visions of queer realness

What does the future hold in store for us? In an age of mainstream assimilation and aspiration, is there even such a thing as the queer future? We asked 25 queer leaders, artists, and activists to offer visions in their areas of expertise. The results — philosophical, poetic, practical, and priceless — are inspiring. One thing's for sure, we'll never lose our creative spark. Nor will we lose our motivational zeal. Fate is for the lazy: take action now. (Marke B.)

>>Click here for ideas from our amazing 2010 Hot Pink List

>>Click here for our Pride listings, and get out there!

THE FUTURE OF QUEER ACTIVISM We need to take back the power and stop being led by what the other side is doing. We need to empower ourselves enough so that we are no longer reacting but acting. We must use online social networks the way we used the streets and bullhorns to show our strength, speak out against wrongdoing, change minds, and win back our rights. We also must unite with our allies in other communities that are underrepresented and maligned in much of the same ways we are. When we stand with one another, we have that much stronger a voice.

Kelly Rivera Hart is the founder of Poz Activists Network (pansf.blogspot.com).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER COMMUNITY The difference between straight and gay cultures seems to be breaking down more and more, which is one of our goals, but we still need to support our own businesses, nonprofits, and leaders. We need to continue interacting with each other in the real world and not lose sight of who we are and what we share. Despite how the rest of the world sees us, there is still a lot of loneliness and isolation in the queer community. I think many of us have forgotten even simple things, like how to make actual friends, not just online. And it's so easy! Renewing that spirit of interaction, freeing ourselves from fear of judgment, and moving outside our "safe zone" can lead to the greatest rewards.

Mark Rhoades is a charitable event planner and fundraiser who throws the annual Cupid's Back and City Hall Pride parties.

THE FUTURE OF QUEER FASHION The past decade has witnessed an obsession with bulky, voluminous silhouettes disguised as "futuristic avant-garde" and inspired by GaGa and the '80s. Let's move on. Through clean lines, elegance, and wearable pieces, the future of queer fashion will shine light on socially relevant issues like bottom shame, positive-negative status reinforcement, and elite subcultures by using gay textiles and forgotten, non-era-specific imagery.

Allán Herrera is the design head of fashion house Homo Atelier (www.homoatelier.com) and a founder of HomoChic (www.homochic.com).

THE FUTURE OF QUEER FILM Future queer film will depend on the gays being at the forefront of distribution technology in the same way we pioneered social networking 15 years ago, spreading provocative and sexually honest/explicit films beyond the film festival circuit and toward a global audience. Special attention must be paid to the creeping homophobia of cultural and technological juggernauts like Apple. Our stories will need to bust through the pigeonhole, weaving our traditional themes (AIDS, coming-of-age) into larger storylines that are relevant to multicultural and transcontinental viewers.

Leo Herrera is a video artist, filmmaker, and a founder of HomoChic (www.homochic.com).