Queer Voices – a magazine by, for & about queer people
Queer Voices is a space for sharing personal stories among the local queer community in the Northern Netherlands. Many of those stories are easily lost, emerging only briefly in private conversations, group chats or speeches. Often enough, they go untold altogether, as we don’t deem them important or special enough to share. But our stories deserve to be heard. Our art deserves to be seen. We all have our own unique way of making sense of the world and our place within it, and sharing that with each other can empower all of us.
The idea for Queer Voices emerged after the first Queer Pride Groningen (QPG) 2019. During a week of social events and a powerful protest, locals exchanged stories, experiences and political insights with each other – but Pride is only once a year, and many queers cannot attend for various reasons. So, how could we expand the space for such exchanges?
In 2020, Motte created a pilot version of Queer Voices: A magazine on the theme of “space” was supposed to not only highlight, but also document and preserve local queer stories beyond a singular event. In deeply personal interviews and beautiful artworks, community members reflected on their relationships to queer and safe spaces. However, the pandemic thwarted the original plan of turning this material into a magazine, and the results ended up being published online, on the QPG website.
Later that year, Marieke and Motte had their first conversation about another attempt at a Queer Voices magazine. Taking into account the richness of the interviews in the first round, we decided to focus on facilitating some kind of dialogue and engagement with people’s stories and art. Based on how much time and work had gone into the previous attempt, we also realised we needed to secure some funding if we wanted to avoid burn-out and exploitation for ourselves and our contributors.
As it turned out, however, this project is located at an inconvenient intersection of queerness, culture, politics and print media. We spent a lot of time in 2021 researching and applying for financial support options, only to realise that Queer Voices was too applied, too local, too political, too cultural, too social or generally just too much and too little for most funds. We adjusted our scope and plans over and over, and in the spring of 2022, finally, we figured out a way to make things work with the help of QPG and the Rose Jo(n)ker. As a result, we not only have a beautiful magazine on queer experiences with the ongoing pandemic, but we could also compensate everyone involved, including ourselves, and thus take a big step towards making this project socially sustainable.
During the summer of 2022, we are developing and delivering various workshops based on “Queer Voices in times of COVID-19”, with the help of the Bob Angelofonds. The purpose of those workshops is be to stimulate further discussion and reflection within the local queer and feminist community on our experiences with the pandemic, our communities and sustainable activism in times of accumulating global crises. We are also looking ahead and thinking about future editions of Queer Voices. To stay updated about our events, possible themes for a second magazine, and any potential open calls, follow us on instagram.
Whether and how exactly we can continue Queer Voices depends on Motte & Marieke’s resources, mostly in terms of finances, time and (mental) health. If you want to support this project, you can find more information here.
Do you have feedback or questions about how we set-up Queer Voices and what we can improve on in the future? We’re always open to a conversation – contact us via e-mail (you can use our handy contact form) or instagram (for short exchanges).