Newly-crowned Miss Gay Utah and Mr. Gay Utah aim to serve our community

And three kick-ass LGBTQ+ festivals. Also, portraits with Jesus.

PAGEANTRY The Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire is Utah’s oldest LGBTQ+ nonprofit. The volunteer service organization can boast of donating more than $1 million to the city’s LGBTQ+ community since its 1976 founding.

Eva Chanel Stephens and Johnny
Hebda. Photo by Luke Nielson

The annual fundraising events include the Closet Ball, Golden Spike Universe, and King and Queen of Hearts. The Royal Court recently announced the coronation of its Miss Gay Utah, Eva Chanel Stephens; and Mr. Gay Utah, Johnny Hebda.

“My goal as Miss Gay Utah is to help one of our most underrepresented parts of our community: our kids,” Stephens explains. “We need to show our queer youth in this day and age that it’s OK to be gay, queer, or trans. Statics have shown the suicide rate among our queer youth/teens goes down about 40 percent when they have at least one supportive parent, guardian, etc. Every child should feel they have a right to exist, love, and be loved.”

“During my reign, I will continue to advocate for the trans community — specifically, rallying the gay community to do more to support our trans siblings who need our help right now,” says Hebda. “As the gay community become greater allies, it is my hope that hearts and minds will shift, and the trans community will receive the same rights and protections the rest of us enjoy.”

FESTIVAL With its theme, “More Than Music: A Festival for Everyone,” Get Lucky 2024 promises to be the ultimate electronic music experience as a celebration of melodic bass, house music, DNB, and bass music.

This year, I’m personally most excited for Chase & Status and the rest of the Drum & Bass artists on the lineup,” says V2 Presents’ Ian Hiscock. “Chase & Status exploded in popularity in the U.S. over the past couple of years, and it’s their first time back in SLC since 2011. Also a first time in Salt Lake City for UK-based artists KOVEN + Culture Shock. As always, we love to see the community come together for one of the most cherished events of the year.”

For over two decades, V2 has been producing one of the largest dance music events in the state, showcasing prestigious DJs.
► March 8-9, the Great Saltair; tickets at

ANOTHER FESTIVAL Pop superstar Ava Max will be the headline performer at White Party Palm Springs.

Ava Max
Photo by Adam Kargenian

“I have wanted her to perform for the past two years, and the stars finally aligned,” says Chris Diamond, White Party Global executive producer. “Her energy and performance are going to be the highlight of the festival.”

Renowned for her smash hits “Sweet but Psycho,” “Kings & Queens,” and “My Head & My Heart,” Ava Max says: “This is such an iconic event, and I can’t wait to dance and celebrate with everyone in the desert.”
► March 29-31, Palm Springs’ The Saguaro Hotel; tickets

YET ANOTHER FESTIVAL There are five must-see LGBTQ performers at Coachella 2024: Reneé Rapp, Kevin Abstract, Ice Spice, Brittany Howard, and Tinashe. With its rich inclusion of queer artists, the event is a significant moment in the LGBTQ+ community.
► April 12-19, 13-20, and 14-21, in Indio, California; passes at

SAY CHEESE Each holiday, we’ve taken our children to the local mall for photos with Santa and the Easter Bunny. And now … with Jesus. A photo op with a bearded, shaggy-haired actor in Biblical robes portraying the Son of God, rather. Herriman, Utah-based VanderRose photo studio now offers “an Easter experience like none other” portrait sessions. “These one-of-a-kind pieces will add a meaningful and spiritual touch to any home. Don’t miss this opportunity to join VanderRose and create art that will truly resonate with your heart and soul. “
►March 23,, $600 for a 20-minute sitting

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