Gift Guide: Queer-Owned Businesses

The Aphrodisiac Kitchen: Volume 01, Departure of Youth

$40

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Andreas Carver’s The Aphrodisiac Kitchen is more than a cookbook—it is a journey about self-growth, queer acceptance and, above all, a love story told through and about food. Between sensuous shots of latex-gloved hands smashing fruit and essays on Carver’s upbringing as a queer, mixed-race kid in the American South, the first volume of this cookbook captures food romantically, politically and in all its other multiplicities. …

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Woody Mini Candle Bundle

$92

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From the gender-defying brand Boy Smells comes a six-piece mini candle bundle full of smoky, spicy and woody scents. This curated collection contains favorites like Ash, Redhead, Cedar Stack, St. Al, Cinderose and Hinoki Fantôme, and each three-ounce candle is crafted from a blend of beeswax and coconut, topped with a braided cotton wick. Rich with layered and warm fragrances (such as fireplace, jasmine and …

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Like Shaquanda herself—a drag queen and founder of the eponymous company—the Spicier Smoke hot sauce is a fiery showstopper. Measuring at 25,000 Scoville heat units, this condiment is hot without compromising flavor. By using whole ingredients like onion, roasted red pepper, mustard turmeric and habanero, and eliminating fillers and starches, Spicier Smoke delivers well-rounded seasoning that brings some undeniable flair to the table.

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Written by Carmen Maria Machado, In The Dream House begins with a dedication, epigraphs, an overture, a prologue, and after reading just a few pages, the reader understands that the format of this memoir is like no other. Machado writes of toxic relationships, domestic abuse, memory and queerness through the lens of pop culture, history, her own story and even her story written in the …

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“& the future is now” Tote Bag

$8

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From queer-owned Femme Forte, this tote bag displays the accurate slogan “the future of feminism is trans-inclusive,” both forward and as a mirror image. Printed on 100% organic cotton, it’s made ethically in a process that’s wind- and solar-powered. Plus, 10% of the proceeds from each sale is donated to Mermaids, an organization focused on supporting trans and gender-diverse kids. Price is in Pounds.

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Silence=Death Poster Print

$1000

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In an edition of 200, this unframed print of Silence=Death Collective’s powerful poster—which was wheat-pasted across NYC starting in 1986, as part of the crusade for support in the fight against the HIV/AIDS crisis—continues to represent queer perseverance, unity and protest. All proceeds from the sales of each print benefit the charitable arts organization Visual AIDS. This is the first-ever fine art production print of …

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Pretty Boys: Legendary Icons Who Redefined Beauty (and How to Glow Up, Too)

$22

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Penned by Very Good Light founder and editor David Yi, with charming illustrations by Paul Tuller, Pretty Boys: Legendary Icons Who Redefined Beauty (and How to Glow Up, Too) guides readers through an inclusive, global history of beauty and skincare. Thoughtful, educational and, at times, surprising, the book weaves eye-opening elements of gender expression from international beauty icons both celebrated (like Frank Ocean and his …

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Enveloped by the grieving process, the speaker of award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus’ new collection The Perseverance probes identity, understanding, connection and other meditative concepts, all through the d/Deaf experience. Published by Tin House, this insightful examination invites readers to experience the profound through Antrobus’ expressive language and magnetic storytelling.

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A portrait through poetry of a trans person’s experience, Kayleb Rae Candrilli’s Water I Won’t Touch runs powerful, emotion-laden language through moments of trauma, tenderness and joy. Candrilli’s accolades—as a 2019 Whiting Award Winner in poetry, a 2017 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender poetry, and many more—are deserved, and this latest 96-page book further reveals their distinct, necessary voice.

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Franny Choi explores queerness, femininity, identity and autonomy as an Asian American woman in Soft Science, a book of poems that often center on futurism and technology in a remarkably human manner. While cyborgs feature as a vehicle for otherness, Choi also uses them in many other nuanced ways. Rhythmic and melodic, her poems enthrall readers.

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Color Studies Notebook Set

$15

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Published by Artisan and based on antique prints from designer and decoupage artist John Derian’s archives, this Color Studies Notebook Set includes three booklets, each with uniquely enchanted front and back covers. Measuring 8.5 by 6 inches, the notebooks stow easily and contain 64 blank pages to stash recipes, ideas or scribbles. In addition to the Color Studies set, Derian also offers one entitled Kitchen Delights …

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Black Jack Pre-Rolls

$33

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Nevada City-based, queer-owned Stone Road (whose sun-grown flowers grow on a 57-acre off-grid farm) makes high-quality cannabis products that are beautifully packaged. The brand’s pre-rolls, available in several different strains, are a standout. Five 0.7g joints come in each box, and our favorite so far is Black Jack—which contains 16.72% THC and 1.88% CBD. It’s a hybrid that’s ideal for reducing pain and increasing relaxation, …

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