The Queer Agenda

Online calendar rva.rip connects the local queer community to DIY events.

Growing up trans in Gloucester, a county at the southeastern tip of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, Natalie Hoskins couldn’t wait to move to Richmond.

It was Gloucester’s school board, after all, that was sued by student Gavin Grimm for not allowing him to use the boys’ restroom because he is transgender. The Fourth Circuit ruled in Grimm’s favor in 2016, but Hoskins said it didn’t matter much, calling Gloucester “a very transphobic area.”

Attending the same high school that Grimm did, Hoskins was forced to use either the lone gender neutral restroom in the center of her school or a restroom of the sex that she was assigned at birth.

After moving to Richmond in 2021, Hoskins initially had trouble finding community. The world was still emerging from the pandemic, and Hoskins didn’t know where to meet people.

The desire to foster community eventually inspired rva.rip, an online calendar of DIY events for local queer people. Launched last September, the calendar aggregates group biking meetups, movie screenings, music events and other happenings.

“This is a project built up by a lot of trans people over a couple of different areas,” Hoskins explains. “My hope is that it can help people like us make friends, meet like-minded people, meet other people who care, other people who have had these same experiences, who have had to deal with these issues.”

Screenshot of rva.rip.

Hoskins got the idea for rva.rip from attending MAGFest in Maryland in early 2023. At the video game art, music and culture festival, Hoskins met the creator of anarchism.nyc, a similar online calendar geared towards New York anarchists and queer people.

“It was a tool up in New York specifically to help people find friends and community,” Hoskins says. “I felt like we really needed something like that here.”

The Richmond-focused calendar reflects Hoskins’ interests.

“Because rva.rip is still in a pretty young stage, it largely features these events that I’m most familiar with, a lot of organizing and a lot of biking events,” she explains.

Hoskins says the calendar aggregates what other people put into it: events for queer-focused thrift store and event space Diversity Thrift, nonprofit arts center Studio Two Three, and Southside vegetarian restaurant Gold Lion Community Café are automatically imported into the calendar.

Southside vegetarian restaurant Gold Lion Community Café at 1012 Hull St. Photo: Scott Elmquist

Not every happening geared towards the queer community makes the cut. Hoskins shies away from promoting events that seem overtly focused on turning a profit for someone.

Scuffletown Park, a pocket park in the Fan, is frequently featured on the calendar.

“Lots of us trans people, we all hang out at Scuffletown,” Hoskins says. “Scuffletown is one of those great places that you can find people, make friends, start a conversation. It’s nice. I wish there were more parks like it.”

Using the same source code as bay.lgbt — an online calendar for queer people in San Francisco — rva.rip is similar in appearance, with a look inspired by Classic Mac OS.

“I really love this design. It’s beautiful, and I just kept it,” says Hoskins, noting that the site’s code is free and open source. “It’s not about using a lot of resources. It’s not about being flashy. It’s about having the information there in a good and readable format.”

Hoskins is thrilled by how her calendar has been embraced; many attendees of the calendar’s events sport rva.rip stickers on their bikes.

“I’ve been humbled and very appreciative of the response of others, actually being able to use it and find friends and make connections with this as the starting tool,” she says.

In the future, Hoskins would love for the calendar to be overseen by a small group of local queer people to expand the events and interests it features.

Asked about rva.rip’s tagline that includes “queer, radical, and STINKY!!!” Hoskins says “stinky” is a reference to something a friend says about their contingent of the local queer community.

“We’re stinky bike punks,” Hoskins explains. “We like being stinky and kissing.”

TRENDING

The story behind a local photographer's widely sought-after photo of the total eclipse.
READ ARTICLE >
The tormented vamp of “The Vourdalak,” the majesty of “Faye,” and the windy flirting of “Twisters.”
READ ARTICLE >
From Mary Timony, Deau Eyes (pictured) and Faye Webster to Plunky Day in the RVA, Loud Night, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto …
READ ARTICLE >
Americana outfit Holy Roller headlines the second annual Road to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion showcase at the Broadberry.
READ ARTICLE >

WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW — straight to your inbox

* indicates required
Our mailing lists: