Photo courtesy of The Dinah

The Dinah returns to Palm Springs


The Dinah is returning to Palm Springs this Fall 2022 to celebrate its 31st Anniversary as the largest and biggest annual festival for queer women from September 21st through the 25th.

Pulling all the stops, the legendary event has moved to one of Palm Springs’ most iconic Hotels, The Margaritaville (formerly The Riviera), famous in the ’60s for its role as celebrity central, drawing the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sonny and Cher.

The Dinah is continuing the legend with a show-stopping all-female entertainment line-up. Headlining acts include Fletcher, Haviah Mighty, Cassidy King, IV4, Zolita, IV Jay, Siena Liggins, and 80s music iconic superstar, Taylor Dayne, offering a palette of incredibly talented female pop singers, rising artists as well as new queer talent all poised to make a major impact in 2022 and beyond.

Taking center stage Saturday night is one of the most electrifying queer artists to burst onto the scene, FLETCHER. Her critically acclaimed debut EP you ruined new york city for me, featured her breakthrough hit “Undrunk,” a track that scored the #1 spot on Spotify’s Viral Chart and emerged as the fastest-rising song at pop radio from a new artist in the past five years. Released in September 2020, FLETCHER’s EP THE S(EX) TAPES hit No. 1 on iTunes across all genres drew praise from outlets like Teen Vogue, SPIN, PAPER, GQ, and more, with the EP’s gold-certified lead single “Bitter” fast approaching 200 million global streams. FLETCHER continued her triumphant run with recent singles “girls girls girls” — a bold reimagining of Katy Perry’s iconic “I Kissed a Girl” (released with Perry’s early stamp of approval) — and “Cherry” featuring trailblazing pop star Hayley Kiyoko. Her new single “Her Body Is Bible” is out now and FLETCHER will release her debut album Girl Of My Dreams on September 16th on Capitol Records. She was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist and landed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for 2022. FLETCHER’s music has amassed over one billion streams worldwide.

Headlining Friday night is 80s pop icon Taylor Dayne who is exclusively bringing her full band to put on a rare and unique show for Dinah goers. The groundbreaking debut single "Tell It to My Heart" turned her into an overnight star in 1987. She followed the smash hit with 17 Top 20 singles including Number Ones “Love Will Lead You Back” “Prove Your Love” and “I’ll Always Love You.” Taylor has sold over 75 million albums and singles worldwide, earned three GRAMMY nominations, an American Music Award, multiple New York Music Awards, received New York Music Hall of Fame honors, and ranked as the Number 18 Female Dance artist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Poised to follow the footsteps of Lady Gaga, Bebe Rexha, Iggy Azalea, and Lizzo (to name a few) is Haviah Mighty who co-headlines Friday night’s Black and White Ball. The burgeoning artist earned break-out success with her album, 13th Floor, making her the first hip-hop artist and the first Black woman to win the Polaris Music Prize, celebrating the “Best Canadian Album of the Year”. She just grabbed a 2022 Juno award and is now on her way to take the US by storm.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Dinah without the always next-level epic Pool Parties. The weekend pool parties will be highlighted with exclusive live performances by four exciting emerging queer artists Zolita, IV4, Cassidy King, and Siena Liggins who are making themselves visible members of the LGBTQ community that younger people can look up to.

Queer pop sensation Zolita is known for pairing her multi-dimensional songwriting with beautiful, self-directed music videos, earning her multiple viral successes that include singles “Explosion,” “Holy” and last September’s hit “Somebody I F*cked Once.” The first in a trilogy of songs, “Somebody I F*cked Once” was followed by the 2022 pop bangers “Single in September” and “I F*cking Love You.” Now, with more than 90 million views across her videos and a recent performance on the main stage of LA Pride, Zolita has become a powerful voice in the LGBTQ+ community, sharing stories that showcase joyful queer love with themes that span generations.

​IV4 was discovered in 2018 after posting her first song, "Because of Me," produced by Smash David and SkipOnDaBeat, on social media and earning tens of thousands of views. Get Rich & Cry Trying is IV4's latest project since signing to Warner Records. The St. Louis-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter previously released the hit singles "Work 2 Hard," and "Swimming" featuring Trippie Redd. We certainly do not see her star fading anytime soon.

Singer-songwriter Cassidy King has successfully built up her reputation as a solo artist with her singles “professional Smiler” and “Wasted”. In her latest EP, Concrete Walls, the Chardon, Ohio native continues to shape her passionately charged resonance delivering a moment of reckoning that only comes with deep self-reflection. ​

Siena Liggins went from a behind-the-scenes songwriter to one of Billboard’s Top Ten new LGBTQ artists of the year. Ms. Out Tonight, the singer’s debut album serves as a seminar on representing queer sexuality in music. On sexed-up anthems like “Dirty Girl” feat. Yung Baby Tate, “No Valet,” “Girlfriend” and more, Liggins leaves no room for interpretation; she’s going to write songs about her authentic experience as a queer woman.“These are the galvanizing queer voices to watch long after The Dinah is a wrap. They are part of a new generation of queer young artists who are determined to change the long-held stereotypes of this industry” says Mariah Hanson.

​IV Jay makes her Dinah debut on Friday, September 23 at the Girl Spot Pool Party. At just 18 years old, R&B singer/songwriter, IV Jay just released her EP IV solidifying her place as an artist to watch. ​“I’m proud to have put together such an incredible lineup of marquee talent and community icons,” comments Hanson. “We can't get enough of these exhilarating female artists, and neither will you!”​

For more information and/or to purchase tickets go to: www.thedinah.com

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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.