A Conversation with the Editors
ZG: There are so many outlets that reinforce hetero-normative culture and we need more works and publications that cater to us as queers. My more immature answer to “Why another queer magazine?” is, because I want to, and I really don’t feel the need to defend my answer to create another inclusive space so that someone else can find voices that speak to them. I don’t feel the need to defend that.
ML: Most people can name at least one gay magazine or one queer author who has been published in a major magazine. But if you go to the Duotrope publishing database, it has 161 gay magazines… out of 5,000. That’s 3% of the entire market that is catered to us, and that’s not even magazines like ours where they are just queer magazines. This is anyone who tags that they’re interested in LGBT submissions. But when you go onto the websites for gay magazines, like Plenitude, which is a queer magazine based in Canada, they only have ten other journals listed under their “resource page.” Same with a lot of the other queer magazines. They’ll list ten or twelve fellow queer magazines, and a lot of them repeat. You see the same ones over and over. So there’s actually very little out there just for us. There is no need to justify having one more inclusive space because the ones that do exist are so few and far between that it’s really hard for us to find “queer only” spaces. It shouldn’t be a rite of passage for me as a queer person to find works that represent me.
ZG: And there are so many things that cater to straight people on a daily basis, from magazines to TV. Look at how many magazines there are implied to be just for straight people. One more little magazine for queer writers isn’t going to tip the scale. Space is what we are all looking for. Space to fit in. Space to exist and space to create. There are gaps where queer people don’t quite fit into mainstream expectations and some queers who still don’t fit at all. As queers, we look and look and look for these cracks where we might find some room. And then realize that we have to carve our way into being. We have to fight and justify claiming space just to exist.
ML: So, it’s not that what’s already out there isn’t good enough, it’s that there isn’t enough period. Part of what we’re doing is creating this inclusive space that might have a hard time getting out otherwise. Another part, that I see us playing is, we’re working as curators, to create a space that gives resources to other queer people to find and read other works that they can enjoy that are about them and their lives. Not only are we publishing good work, but I also want to point the way to other people doing good work, other works, and other examples of representation.
ZG: I agree with a lot of that and I like the idea of being a spot where people can read the stories, and they can also find other things that relate to them because if you go to a commercial bookstore with a “gay/lesbian” section, at least when I was growing up, it was just that little tiny bookshelf and most of it was erotica. And most of it was for gay white men. We get that “little, tiny” three or four shelf section. We get that 3%. And it’s mostly about young gay white men. And gay white men are fine, but there are so many other stories that I want to get out there and share. I’m so tired of reading about white dudes as if women weren’t half of the world’s population. We need more ladies. We need more people of color. There are literally so many other stories out there.
ML: There are so many other stories and only a small bit of them get out.
ZG: And what does get out there tends to be the same kind of story. I like the idea of being a place where we share these other stories.
ML: And we’re going into it with the idea that we want to find and curate these other stories. We want variety. We want difference. And we want competing ideas and portraits. We don’t always have to be in agreement. We’re a huge community.
ZG: In most media, there’s the standard token depiction of a gay person.
ML: And we’re so used to that. We’re so conditioned to expect that’s all we’re gonna get, that’s all we deserve, that a lot of people in our community are just used to it, and even we can be surprised by the diversity within our own community. And we want to more accurately depict what our community actually looks like.
ZG: I’m looking for queer stories—that’s a given—they have to involve queer characters in some way. I really don’t want to read more about straight characters, ideally it would also be by a queer person—though I guess if they wanted to write about straight people, I dunno why they would want to, but—they can. Ultimately though, I’m looking for queer stories by queer people that are about queer characters.
ML: Part of the idea of what we’re doing is to question all the rules and conventions. We’re trying to throw in the face of the mainstream magazines that have a more “we’ll take it if it’s queer. We don’t mind” attitude as opposed to us who are more like “this is what we want.” It’s active versus passive. We are actively seeking these stories out. So I’m looking for stories that sort of do the same thing—question the idea of the “sassy gay best friend,” or the “scary butch lesbian.” I want to see stories about queers going to the grocery store, stories about stories about queers getting old, I don’t see old queer people. The stories I want are the ones that have yet to be told and the stories that go untold– stories that are told to “be quiet,” “sit down,” or to “calm down”; stories that some people might want to nudge back into line with their familiar narratives of what they think we should be. Ya know, the wild ones.