Gay Guide to SXSW

South by Southwest can be a little overwhelming, so I've come up with a handy-dandy primer for all the queertastic events and activities in Austin starting this week.

Yes, Lady Gaga and Perez Hilton will be there, but do we have the right to say that perhaps their events will be a little, I don't know, overrated? Instead, check out the following SXSW events that certainly deserve your consideration.

Friday, March 7

After Jason Collins and Michael Sam, this panel will certainly enlighten on the new world of sports in the dawn of openly gay athletes. Learn about LGBT visibility and inclusion from Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor, ESPN commentator LZ Granderson and out and proud professional basketball player Brittney Griner.

Bravo's Andy Cohen and YouTube star Tyler Oakley talk about how to engage a ton of fans and stay relevant on the Internet. Apparently, there is some research on how this is done, and it's not sex tapes and dick pics (news to us).

Want to pass out all your business cards on the first day of SXSW in hopes of trying to score a hot date? Check out this meetup hosted by the LGBT Technology Partnership. Be professional, boys!

6 p.m. to 10 p.m.: #BigGay Kickoff Party

The biggest gay bash at SXSW is so big that it has its own hashtag. The Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce invites all queers to Oilcan Harry's for drinks, dancing and information on how to make the best of your gay SXSW.

Saturday, March 8

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: aGLIFF27 SXSW Brunch

The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival invites you to the Iron Bear lair for free brunch and mimosas -- plus your best chance to meet hotshot queer filmmakers and artists.

Premiering at the Paramount Theater, the Veronica Mars film is finally here. Everyone's favorite cheeky teenage detective played by Kristen Bell is all grown up. Thanks to Kickstarter, we get to see her new adventures on the big screen.

Zach Efron. Dave Franco. Frat party to follow at the Lustre Pearl.

9 p.m. to 11 p.m.: South by BedPost

Come out for a night of intimate storytelling and anonymous confessions at Butterfly Bar. I will be joining some of the most fearless sex-positive writers and reading from my forthcoming gay novel Confessions of a Boy Toy.

Grindr is sure to be blowing up all throughout Austin this weekend, but what if you prefer to make a first impression in person? Grindr has just the solution: a party at popular gay club Rain on 4th. Co-sponsor StartOut will make sure LGBT entrepreneurs and investors come by to unwind.

Sunday, March 9

A panel Piers Morgan and Katie Couric could have used before interviewing Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera. Come get some practical advice on being a respectful ally from Adria Richards of and Kortney Ziegler, founder of Trans*H4CK.

Showtime's new series Penny Dreadful takes some of literature's most famously terrifying characters -- including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula -- and gives them a refresher for contemporary audiences.

Hookup apps are not just for gays. Down co-founder Colin Hodge joins Grindr's Joel Simkhai to discuss how the social stigma of meeting a lover on a mobile device has slowly changed.

Monday, March 10

The Girls creator and star comes to SXSW to spark yet another lively water-cooler discussion about television's portrayal of gender roles, Beyoncé's contribution to feminism and how Girls is the straight Looking.

Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson do what they do best at this Facebook-sponsored Funny or Die clubhouse.

During a monumental time for marriage equality, Queerty, YouTube and the American Foundation for Equal Rights invite you to join the conversation on how social media is being used to change the hearts and minds of a nation.

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: LGBT@SXSW Cocktail Mixer

Meet the movers, shakers and heartbreakers of SXSW at The Madison for Queerty's swanky cocktail reception. Get there early for free drinks, a sexy atmosphere and an interactive photo booth.

Tuesday, March 11

Twitter's funniest gay grandpa and one of Facebook's most influential public figures, George Takei comes to SXSW to talk tech, culture and the second season of his original Web series Takei's Take.

Wednesday, March 12

2 p.m.: Betty Who

Fresh off performing at the wedding of the gay couple who got engaged in a viral flash mob to one of her songs, Betty Who enchants Austin at the Pandora Discovery Den with her dreamy indie pop.

Thursday, March 13

2 p.m.: Mary Lambert

The "Same Love" singer who stole the show is ready for primetime with her solo performance at the iconic Waterloo Records parking garage.

The trailblazing music star will bring her latest hit, "Uprising of Love," to SXSW. The song is Etheridge's personal F.U. to Putin.

12 a.m.: Blondie

Forty years later, the bona fide ambassadors of New York cool are still relevant. Well, at least their '80s songs still are. One way or another, try to catch them at Yahoo's Brazos Hall.

Friday, March 14

Queer rapper brings East Coast flair and swagger to Logo's OUTlander Festival at Oilcan Harry's.

A behind-the-scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage and how two gay couples took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the Supreme Court.

Saturday, March 15

The bearlicious Chicago rap star comes to SXSW for Logo's OUTlander Festival. Expect some yummy beats, messy stage antics and cute half-naked go-go bears onstage.

12:30 a.m.: Sharon Needles

Try to stay awake for Ms. Needles' late spine-tingling performance at Austin's quirkiest gay joint, Cheer Up Charlie's.

1:15 a.m.: Christeene

If Ms. Needles seems too passé for you taste in drag, stay at Cheer Up Charlie's for this shameless, tasteless and brilliant performer.

Sunday, March 16

Rinse yourself clean of all the sponsored RedBull and come to the ultimate queer-friendly, anti-corporate, day-drinking bash of SXSW. The rumored lineup includes artists you've probably never heard of, like Kumbia Queers and Mom Jeans, but who'll give a sickening show.

This post originally appeared on Confessions of a Boy Toy.