Chronicling queer sexual history and the intersections of class, gender, race and body positivity, these are the publications documenting the LGBTQ experience
The first of a new zine series, each month we ask an influential member of the zine community for their picks of the best publications on the self publishing scene
I got involved with the zine community five years ago, when I made my first zine Make It Work, a fat positive fashion and craft zine featuring tutorials, and personal writing on class and bodies. Through tabling at many rad zine fairs like Queer Zine Fest London, North West Zine Fest and DIY Cultures, I’ve made friendships and accessed strategies, solidarity, support and methods of resistance from so many radical zinesters. Since then I’ve made personal zines about queer femme identity, self-care, mental health, abuse and class, with my most recent project being organising the newly founded Weirdo Zine Fest in London.
It’s important to say that, no matter how radical or alternative they seem, zine communities aren’t immune to wider hierarchies. Some of the fairs I’ve been at have been spaces dominated by the voices of cis white, straight, middle class men who love to tell me how to use better typefaces. When we decided to run a new zine fest we wanted to explicitly privilege other groups who are otherwise not easily able to access other platforms. The fest celebrates publications made by marginalised and radical communities, with explicit preference for tables going to women, queers, POC, disabled people, trans, non-binary and genderqueer people, and other marginalised individuals and communities. We hope the event also highlights how important zine publishing is as a mechanism to forge spaces for narratives and representations that are otherwise invisible, misrepresented or hidden by more formal publishing, media and art.
The zinesters tabling at Weirdo Zine Fest are all writing about important and powerful intersections of marginalised identities and communities, and here we preview just a few of the zines on sale this weekend.
I’M NO SLUT/I’M A SLUT
I’m No Slut/I’m a Slut is a perzine (a personal zine documenting the creator’s experiences) chronicling the sexual history of it’s queer author. Brutal, explicit and confessional, it made me cry then laugh then smile (and over again). A sexual past is interwoven with important personal commentary about consent, queerness, polyamory, rape culture, slut-shaming and mental health. In many ways, it’s all the stuff I wish I’d been told when I was a young person trying to have sex and relationships for the first time.
POOR LASS ZINE
Poor Lass zine is a collaborative zine series all about the intersections of class identity, gender and feminism. Each issue has a theme (the latest one is about health), which a diverse group of contributors tackle. The resulting narratives complicate dominant representations of working class women and queers, and celebrate the incredible vibrancy of working class cultures, families and relationships. Cathartic, gut wrenching and affirming, I’ve yet to reach the end of any issue with dry eyes.
OPEN CHESTED: A QUEER LOVE LETTER TO BJÖRK
This is an anonymous perzine tracing the author’s autobiography through their love for Björk’s music. Interweaving personal testimonies about love, queerness, class, gender and geographies with reminiscences and recollections about Björk’s live shows, records and art, it’s sad and beautiful. I’ve only seen a few zines which combine music, queerness and autobiography in this way - the other zine of note being Me and Bruce (about Bruce Springsteen and also at the fest.)
FEAR BROWN QUEERS
Fear Brown Queers is a visual art zine made by activist and artist Jacob V Joyce, containing illustrations and quotes from QTIPOC (queer trans people of colour) artists, as well as poetry from Krishna Isha and Travis Alabanza. Each of the portraits visualises the subject’s own critical commentary about and interrogation of the white-centric art world in the UK. It’s beautiful and radical and inspirational, and it actually made me excited about art again.
HARD FEMME ZINE
And because I’m big on self promotion I’ll also mention my zine too. I’ve been writing Hard Femme zine for about 3.5 years now. It’s a perzine about my relationship to queer femme identity, and more broadly being fat, femme, queer, working class and fucked up. Some of the things I write about include bodies, making things, histories, abuse, trauma, sex, dating, and clothes. It tends to make people cry a lot, but mainly in a good way, I think.
Weirdo Zine Fest takes place 31st, January 2016 at DIY Space For London, more info here