Qu.ee/r Magazine Brings A Fresh Voice To Queer Lit
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by Katie Sharrow-Reabe
On January 15th, qu.ee/r Magazine launched its inaugural issue, “The Call to Adventure.” The magazine showcases queer artists and writers without requiring queerness of content, publishing fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and visual art. Included in the issue are the writers Laura Krughoff, Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez, Sarah Maria Medina, Jonathan Mack, and many more.
Cofounders Ali Osworth and Sarah Hansen take the accessibility of literature and the queer community to heart. By choosing to create an electronic journal, the magazine remains open to readers of all sexualities and socioeconomic backgrounds. “I know there are other journals out there that do similar or even the same things we’re doing, but I couldn’t put my hands on a single copy,” wrote Osworth, who serves as the magazine’s fiction editor. “And I figured if I couldn’t, and I was actively seeking these journals, then others definitely couldn’t casually stumble across them.”
One publication that did serve as inspiration is Alice Blue Review. “I wanted that kind of openness for qu.ee/r so that people who don’t read highbrow literary journals normally could still find pieces they connect with in our magazine,” wrote Hansen, who is qu.ee/r’s poetry editor. “Another huge inspiration to our publishing style is Emily Books and their rule of only publishing DRM-free content. When I finish a book, I usually give it away after I read it. Why make sharing our content more difficult? That’d kill our entire mission of accessibility.”
Although qu.ee/r’s contributors are from the LGBTQ community, they hope the magazine will find straight and cis readership. “When we were choosing our pieces, I had a wide range in mind in terms of age, sexuality, economic status. I wanted something that my mom, my best friend, my partner, and my boss could read,” wrote Hansen. “I do think there’s a place for coming out stories because they’re important to our community, but that’s not all that queer writers and poets are producing.
Queer writing is actually more mainstream than you might think.
Osworth added: “I feel like there’s one acceptable narrative for mainstream queer lit, or what people would consider queer lit. The problem is where it’s put — queer lit is often relegated to its own section of the store — I see Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home in the LGBT section almost everywhere. It’s a story about so much more than that and it’s not only of interest to queer readers. I think it’s a problem of where it’s put and how it’s positioned — that the straight perspective is somehow universal but the gay one is niche. That, to put it super bluntly, is bullshit. James Baldwin! Alice Walker! Those authors have written classics that people often don’t immediately associate with the queer lit family.
“I’d also recommend something I just picked up: Nevada, by Imogen Binnie. Now I’m about 12% in, so I couldn’t definitely say yay or nay on this, but think of a trans woman hipster 20-something in Brooklyn with an almost Catcher in the Rye quality to the narrator. And it does New York City very well — there’s a bit about standing on the Williamsburg Bridge that is just exactly right.”