In the current political moment that we are living in, it is not a rare occurrence for me to return to my room at the end of the day— angry, upset, scared, or wading knee-deep in a bottle of cheap Chardonnay. I think the following: Donald Trump is the president; our country is plagued with systemic issues for people of color, queer folks, immigrants, women and other minority groups (and these issues are not new); and our college campuses continue to struggle with sexual assault, institutionalized racism and often intensive ignorance of their students’ experiences.
With these national dilemmas in mind, and the encouragement of several amazing friends, I decided to establish the Queer Reader in hopes that it would foster dissent, feminist radicalism, and queerness on our campus.
First, I feel that our queer community at Northwestern is often excessively fragmented, and that the queer experiences of some often overshadow the queer experiences of others. Too often I hear from my LGBTQ+ friends that they aren’t happy and feel isolated in their queerness at school. Second, I am disturbed by the lazy activism I see around me. It appears that many students feel that sharing a New York Times article on Facebook or posting a picture of themselves at the (problematic) Women’s March on Instagram are real pathways towards change. Rarely in my first year did I see students actively pursuing effective activist techniques, and when they did, they rarely reached beyond our Evanston bubble. Third, I feel that Northwestern students are often hesitant in critiquing the institutions that we inhabit; we wear purple incessantly, champion our Greek organizations and often elevate the personal highly above the political. Without active personal evaluations of our own complicity, I don’t think we can make Northwestern the progressive campus that it believes it is. Finally, though we pride ourselves on our journalism at Northwestern, it is shocking to me that we still did not have a queer publication for our students.
I hope that moving forward, this magazine expands the definition of queer, challenges the ways that we are discussing sexual violence in the era of #MeToo, and encourages justice and healthy relationships at Northwestern and beyond. I hope that each reader rethinks their own positionality on this campus, and in this country, and the privilege that exists in being a student here.
I hope this magazine also expands representation for minority folks on campus and shares the demands and wishes they have for our institution, the institutions that exist within our university, and for their peers.
Finally, looking at the seeming bleakness of this moment, I hope that the Queer Reader will be some glimpse of hope or humor for those of you who are also in your dorm rooms holding a cheap bottle of wine and wondering why things are the way that they are.
Thank you for reading the Queer Reader, and please never hesitate to reach out to join our team. Our queer feminist politics seeks to include everyone, and we know that it is only through effective coalition-building that we will be able to encourage substantial change.
Finally, we would like to thank the Associated Student Government at Northwestern, the ASG Wild Ideas Committee and Nyle Arora for our beautiful website!
Brock Colyar, Editor-in-Chief
Mission: The Queer Reader promises that its primary priority at Northwestern will be to make space for queer and feminist voices to gain visibility and representation on campus. The “queer” in the “Queer Reader” will remain an ambiguous and broad term, capable of making a home for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and those who do not. The magazine will also allow for the necessary critique of the institutions we operate within and near, including the university itself and the Greek system. Our work will be queer and radical, and devote itself to never giving a stable definition to either of those terms.
(Photo by Colin Boyle / The Daily Northwestern)