White Party

In June of 2021, LGBTQ music festival impresario Jeffery Sanker passed away leaving behind over three decades worth of work in the music entertainment industry. His name is synonymous with the gay mega-circuit destination parties popular among the gay community.

It was announced in November 2021 that his legacy will live on as White Party Global (WPG) presents White Party Palm Springs* which will take place from April 29 – May 1, 2022.

“It is an honor to continue White Party Palm Springs for my dear friend Jeffrey,” says White Party Global Executive Producer Chris Diamond. “As we move forward with his vision of inclusion, diversity, and decadence, we are truly excited to once again showcase new dance music trends, global DJs, recording artists, state-of-the-art sound & visuals – and most importantly our returning guests… beautiful men from all over the world!”

Palm Springs has seen a major renaissance over the past few years. What was once a golden-era Hollywood staycation spot in the 1930s turned into a west coast gay port of call thanks mostly to the flamboyant pianist Liberace in the 80s.

From there, Palm Springs underwent some changes. Clothing optional resorts, gay nightclubs, Pride events and renovated midcentury hotels became watering holes for the LGBTQ community. It saw a mild decline in tourism and infrastructure through the 90s, but in the past few years, Palm Springs has risen from the ashes to reclaim its gay heyday.

In 1990 Jeffery Sanker brought his brand of entertainment to the city with the White Party (everyone dresses in white) making it one of the most popular circuit extravaganzas in the world.

Next year, the White Party returns to Palm Springs after taking a hiatus in part because of the pandemic and also in recognition of Sanker's death. Ticket holders who purchased passes pre-pandemic will be able to exchange those for the upcoming Palm Springs event.

In celebration of its return, there will be three pool parties at the host hotel: Hilton Palm Springs.

Here is some information* about White Party Palm Springs. Keep in mind some details and times may change as special celebrity guests have yet to be announced.

SOAKED! will feature poolside dancing, state-of-the-art sound and video, hot go-go guys, and a sensational line-up of Global DJs including Orel Sabag (Israel), Isis (Mexico) and Bruno Knauer (Brazil), and Arno Diem (France).

Friday night, cruise into Rio’s Jungles and Rainforests with DJs Liza Rodriguez (Brazil) and Dani Brasil (Brazil) for an epic throw-down to kick off WPG weekend. Non-stop Jungle themed entertainment will keep partygoers captivated throughout the night and into the wee hours for a cruise-fest-filled night!

Saturday brings the weekend’s most anticipated night as White Party Global celebrates 30+ years and moves forward into eternity with an “Eternal” themed White Party spectacle.

This 6-hour superhero-themed party will feature jaw-dropping state-of-the-art staging, sound, lighting, and FX’s that will leave you marveling over. And as always, YOU are the dance floor “STARS;” so come dressed as always in traditional white or even better, as your favorite inter-dimensional superhero character! Your superpowers this night knows no limits! DJ’s driving White Party’s main event are DJs Rick Braile (Brazil), Chris Turina (Chile), and Phil Romano (Italy).

On Sunday, it’s time to converge under the beautiful desert sky for the world-famous T-Dance. “Big Top Circus” starts in the afternoon and continues into the night as the sun sets behind the spectacular mountains of Palm Spring. State-of-the-art sound, lighting, video, and all new surprises are in store for our guests at this year’s Big Top Circus. Warm breezes and hot dancing bodies fill the outdoor dance floor with music by International DJs Ben Bakson (Germany) and Dan Slater (Australia). The night culminates with a climactic firework and video display in a tribute to the White Party Palm Spring’s gay party impresario Jeffrey Sanker.

The weekend culminates in a high-energy closing party with “Afterlife” Sunday night. DJs Joe Gauthreaux (New Orleans) and Mauro Mozart (Brazil) will provide the night’s beats that will leave you dancing into a new dimension.

Additional special guests will be unveiled within the coming months. To be kept up to date on the latest announcements and new musical guests, please click HERE and follow us on social via Instagram and Facebook.

This year, White Party Palm Springs is powered by Kettle One Vodka, Andrew Christian, and Wet Platinum.

*Back in August 2021, the City of Palm Springs issued mask and vaccine mandates for hotels, indoor services, and large outdoor events. According to the City's website, as of this writing, those protocols are still in place.

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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.