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The past few months have been super tough for most, but especially-so when it comes to the queer community; many of us have historically relied on physical spaces to be able to tap into a sense of family, home and identity, but with new safety restrictions, many are feeling isolated. Queerantine Check-Ins are designed to find out how LGBTQIA2-S+ people are staying connected during these challenging times, what sorts of things they’re doing to maintain self-care etc.

Today we’re getting caught up with Gaby Dunn, who’s an actor, podcaster, LGBTQ activist and New York Times bestselling author, and whose super queer Audible Original Apocalypse Untreated comes out exclusively on Audible today (September 24th); starring Chanel Ali (Girl Code), Jes Tom (Soojung Dreams of Fiji), Adam Faison (Everything’s Going To Be Ok) and a full cast, the premise is as follows: “five mentally ill teenagers in an inpatient wilderness program during the apocalypse face not only the end of the world, but also the end of their prescriptions. Now, they have to figure out what’s real and what’s just a side effect, and keep their wits about them as they fight for their lives and their minds.” Be sure to check it out!

In the meantime, find out what Gaby’s been up to during these unusual past few months:

What do you miss most about pre-pandemic life? Any spaces/places/things in particular?

I find myself missing Gay Asstrology which is a queer dance night that was in Silverlake that I believe because of Covid is gone forever. I also miss West Hollywood, where many bars are also closing — including my beloved Flaming Saddles. I’m worried when this is over most of the gay bars I frequented will no longer be there. Even the queer coffee shop I loved, Cuties, is closing. I really don’t know if these places will be able to come back and it’s thoroughly depressing.

How have you been maintaining your sense of queer community during the shutdowns and new safety guidelines?

I’ve been doing these queer live reads of classic movies starring queer and trans actors and friends of mine. It’s been great because not only can me and my queer friends have fun, but the queer community can come to together to watch and to chat with each other in the chat room.

Are you riding this out with others or mostly by yourself? And regardless, how are you navigating the tipped balance in social interaction vs. personal time?

I’m with my partner, and my pod, which is my friend Drew and my sister Chey. We have a group chat called “The Only 4 People In The World” because that’s what it sometimes feels like. My partner and I went from long distance to suddenly living together and unable to go anywhere but so far, it’s been lovely. If I need alone time, I go into my office which I am very lucky to have. 

How have you been practicing self-care lately?

Watching Drag Race and Star Trek. Listening to conspiracy theory podcasts (innocent ones, not like QAnon). I got nice new sheets. I drink a ton of coffee. I dyed my hair blue and pink. Dying my hair crazy colors helps me feel more in control.

Have you discovered anything new about yourself during the last few months?

I’ve pared down my friends and so I really love the people I’ve kept in my life. You really have to make an effort to talk or see each other so that’s made me appreciate the people close to me way more. I think I want to slow down in general. Take my time writing things I really enjoy rather than trying to sell everything so fast.

Obviously streaming has sky-rocketed since March; what’s your favorite queer movie or series of all time, and/or what have you watched lately that you love?

I’ve been watching The Bold Type and I love Kat. Of all time? Oh god, I was obsessed with Queer As Folk when I was in HS and college. I had pictures of Brian and Justin on my notebooks, which is highly inappropriate because Brian starts dating Justin when he is like, 16. 

What about music? Any queer artists you’ve had on heavy rotation these days (or always)?

I love Shamir. Shamir is amazing. I just want to promote Shamir. Have you guys heard of Shamir? Also my partner Mal Blum, who I no joke, listen to as a fan. For real. Their album was #4 on my most listened in 2019 and they were like, awww so supportive and I was like, no I genuinely love it.

How about queer books or podcasts? Any you’d recommend?

I love Sibling Rivalry with Bob and Monet. I also listen to Race Chaser. Wow, I only like Drag Race podcasts I guess. As for books, I loved Angela Chen’s Ace, which I read recently. 

Are there any queer people (or businesses, or institutions) you follow on social media or support in other ways that you really like and want to shout out?

LA LGBT Center has been great and provides so much for the community. The Okra Project. GLITS. The Trevor Project! A classic!

And how can people support you and/or a cause close to your heart during this time?

I have been very involved in Reimagine LA and Justice LA. In terms of larger outside of LA things you can do, please look up the candidates down ballot in your city or town and vote for the most progressive candidate. Please volunteer for that person. And look up the measures being voted on in your town and help promote them. Please get the word out before Nov 3. 

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Featured image by Robyn Van Swank

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