Queer

Room Magazine - - EDITOR’S LETTER - LEAH GOLOB

When Room [ of One’s Own] launched into the Van­cou­ver lit­er­ary scene in 1975, les­bian mem­bers of the col­lec­tive steered the mag­a­zine to cre­ate greater vis­i­bil­ity of les­bian art, writ­ing, and crit­i­cism. Gayla Reid, one of Room’s co-founders, said mem­bers chal­lenged them­selves to take stock of how their own ho­mo­pho­bia, in­ter­nal­ized or oth­er­wise, was in­ad­ver­tently in­flu­enc­ing de­ci­sion-mak­ing about the pub­li­ca­tion. As a re­sult of th­ese ef­forts, the col­lec­tive ad­vo­cated for pub­li­ca­tion of queer writ­ers who pushed lit­er­ary bound­aries, in­clud­ing con­trib­u­tors such as Betsy War­land, Ni­cole Brossard, and Daphne Mar­latt.

In the mag­a­zine’s first decade, col­lec­tive mem­bers were fem­i­nists from the left, les­bian sep­a­ratists, and main­stream fem­i­nists—mostly white and mid­dle class. It should come as no sur­prise that the mag­a­zine’s con­tent re­flected its mem­bers. In later years, as fem­i­nism—and the col­lec­tive—has evolved, the mag­a­zine has taken greater care to feature a more nu­anced, in­clu­sive, and in­ter­sec­tional ap­proach to gen­der and sex­u­al­ity.

This is­sue is an op­por­tu­nity for Room to am­plify the queer voices that con­tinue to pro­pel the mag­a­zine for­ward, while also rep­re­sent­ing the joys and chal­lenges of con­tem­po­rary queer lives. The writ­ers and artists herein add a queer lens to fairy tales and his­tory; re­flect on the no­tion of fam­ily and com­mu­nity; and ex­plore love, re­gret, trauma, and ill­ness—each con­trol­ling the ways in which their own sto­ries are told.

As our com­mis­sioned writer, Leah Lak­shmi Piepzna-Sa­ma­ras­inha, says in the fi­nal lines of the poem “The Sto­ries You Tell to Save Your Life”: “Maybe the gift of queer­ness is noth­ing is as it has to be // Maybe the gift of be­ing a sto­ry­teller is I can keep rewrit­ing my story.”

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