Every year in June the City of Los Angeles celebrates Pride Month. 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of L.A. Pride. This year, in the spirit of celebrating Pride month through queer zines, I asked Maira McDermott of Bay Area Queer Zine Fest some questions.
How did the zine fest start?
BAQZF started because I had just helped organize my first East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest (EBABZ) and thought it was so much fun BUT didn’t see as much queer representation as I knew there could be. There’s so much queer history in the Bay Area and I thought it was interesting that one didn’t already exist, so I started one in 2017.
What do you look forward to at the zine fest?
I look forward to seeing familiar faces as well as new zines and zinesters! Zine fests are great places to catch up with friends and see what they’ve been up to/creating.
What do you want the public to know about LGBTQIA zines?
I want people to know that there are so many different stories being told in LGBTQIA zines and that everyone’s stories are different. It’s a big umbrella that encompasses a multitude of experiences and it’s a good way for marginalized folks to have their voices heard. Zines are a gateway into other people's lives and lived experiences. LGBTQIA zines encompass so many different identities and stories that it's hard to pinpoint one specific reason that they're important, but I think that they're an excellent way for folks to have their voices heard. When I first started making zines, I was going through a tumultuous time figuring out my gender identity and sexual orientation. Zines offered me a way to express myself and connect with others who were dealing with similar issues. There was an immediate sense of community when I got into making zines because of all the incredible queer zinesters sharing themselves with the world. I immediately felt welcomed, even as a fledgling zinester/still-trying-to-figure-myself-out queer person. I want the public to know how rich and diverse the category of LGBTQIA zines is—it truly contains multitudes and it allows people to tell their own individual stories and struggles underneath the vast LGBTQIA umbrella.