How Fuzz Box emerged from the Sex Garage

Zine of the Gay

A zine cover printed in black ink on neon yellow paper. The title reads Fuzz Box, mirrored underneath. There is a photo of someone in a cowboy outfit. Additional text reads: "Fall 1991 - Faggots galore - Justine and her pussy - Juicy Fruit & co interviewed - Sex Garage - Whirling lesbian dervishes - out come the freaks"
Cover of Fuzz Box Issue 2 No 5

Around 4am on July 16, 1990, around 400 Montrealers were enjoying a party in a second-story downtown loft, featuring go-go dancers, contortionists, house and garage DJs, and projections of queer porn, until a spotter stationed outside warned that police were on their way in.

The party, Sex Garage, was organized by Nicolas Jenkins, an experienced event promoter who was used to his events getting shut down. But what followed was much more violent than he was used to, with dozens of cops waiting outside to beat attendees as they tried to leave the party.

Photographer Linda Dawn Hammond was attending the party, and risked her safety to photograph the violent arrests. The next day, she brought her photos to both The Gazette and La Presse, Montreal’s main French and English newspapers. The violence of the raid, and the existence of photos capturing it, sparked a wave of community organizing.

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Image of a raised fist, with text reading, "FREEDOM CAN SEEM LIKE A REVOLUTIONARY IDEA. Freedom to know your own history. Freedom to walk the streets safely. Freedom to have sex without fear. Freedom to keep or adopt children. Freedom to be proud. Freedom to be honest. FREEDOM TO BE OUT. Are these such revolutionary ideas? ISN'T YOUR FREEDOM WORTH FIGHTING FOR?"
From Fuzz Box Issue 2 No 5

Soon thereafter, Jenkins started publishing the zine Fuzz Box. QZAP holds two issues of Fuzz Box, the first undated, and the second from 1991, following closely on the Sex Garage raids and documenting some of the fallout from them.

Unsurprisingly, the zine is political but irreverent. It includes a lot of fun items, like horoscopes, a gossip column, “Titi Galore – Dishin’ Dirty” (there was a party that was supposedly raising money for a hospice for people with AIDS, but the hospice had no idea their name was being used!), club playlists, lots of porn collages, and even recipes (“Chop one small firm and well shaped eggplant into large cubes and spread out comfortably in a baking dish. Sprinkle liberally with 1/2 a wine glass of olive oil (virgin is always a special treat)”).

Amidst the fun stuff, there’s also an article about La Ligue Antifasciste Mondiale, which began in 1989 as a beating-up-Nazis gang, and later evolved into a community organization:

“Presently, LAM is working on a list of bars in Montreal that are either frequented by nazi punks/skins or are barring access to them. Of course, as is well known to lesbians and gays, the practice of refusing entry to nazi skins all too often becomes a scapegoat for denying access to anyone the bouncers decide they don’t like the look of… prejudice in the guise of politics.”

Ads for parties are a fascinating graveyard of defunct Montreal queer venues, including The Candy Bar, an Act Up meeting in the Village, k.a.t. club, Cafe Tutti Fruity (links go to Google Maps, if you’re curious like I was what’s replaced them).

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For me, the highlight of the first issue was an interview with two “F2Ms who sleep with men”. It is a true joy to me to witness the continuity of transfag history, with the interview even beginning with that time-honoured question of (paraphrased) exactly why taking T turns everyone gay. It’s a really rich and thoughtful conversation, including the nuances of passing in different communities, cruising while trans, tensions and possibilities for solidarity between trans and cis queers, and drawing connections between trans and disability communities in opposition to body normativity.

My favourite item in the second issue was an interview with Boyd McDonald, or as Wikipedia calls him, Boyd McDonald (pornographer), creator of the legendary gay smut zine Straight to Hell. Founded in the 1970s, STH, which still exists under new management, mostly collected letters sent in by readers, documenting (or potentially imagining) stories of mostly anonymous and transient gay sex, sort of like “Dear Penthouse”, but with way more scat.

McDonald, who died in 1993, two years after the publication of this interview, shared some of his philosophy of sex:

“FUZZ: Your stories present a lot of potentially degrading situations. Initially you are shocked, until you realize that there is consent involved. It really makes you realize a lot about sexuality.

STH: Those are men who can afford to be humiliated. You see, I wouldn’t recommend that type of humiliating experience for someone who has nothing else going for him. But these men sometimes have satisfactory careers and they have enough money. They live well, and they are doing well in their professions. They might be a priest or what have you, and can afford to be humiliated. They want to be, and they enjoy it. But for someone who is unsuccessful and unhappy in all other ways, I wouldn’t recommend that he have this humiliating and degrading sex unless he wants it.”

He also describes why he handed STH off to his successor, Victor Weaver, in a response that is deeply relatable to me as a long-time zine maker:

“I just gave it to him. It got to be too much trouble. I was doing it as a one-man operation, including peddling it to bookstores, sending out copies to subscribers, and I just got tired of it. I did it for ten years. A lot of people don’t do anything for more that one year or three years, or at the most five years. But I stuck with it for ten years. Now it’s much easier. The publisher has a distributor, so that’s how the stuff gets into circulation.”

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Clipart of a man and woman leaning over a baby, with text reading "It is a simple reality... To be born gay is an honor and a privilege"
From Fuzz Box Issue 2 No 5

The site of the Sex Garage party and raid is unsurprisingly now a condo. So is the nearby site of Le 456 Sauna, which was open for 33 years, and before that, was the Neptune Sauna, site of another notorious police raid in 1976. It’s hard to imagine it being a fun part of the city. But I can assure you with complete confidence that there will always be queer people in Montreal throwing weird gay parties, staying up too late, and hating cops. 💜

Additional sources:

 


Lee P is interning at QZAP in spring 2024. Ze is a long-time zine maker, and hir current project is Sheer Spite Press, a small press and zine distro. Originally from unceded Algonquin land, Lee calls Tiohtià:ke // Mooniyang // Montreal home. Ze’s also a member of the organizing collective for Dick’s Lending Library, a community-run, local library of books by trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit authors.

Gender Trash from Hell

Zine of the Gay

A collage of black and white images of faces and bodies against a pinkish background, with collaged text reading "gendertrash FROM HELL"
Front cover of gendertrash #1

Walking into the physical QZAP archive as an intern and a long-time zine dork is overwhelming. There’s so much stuff. There are a lot of things I have read, or that are made by people I know, and seeing those items in the folders feels like running into a friend. There is also a lot of work in the archives by people I don’t know firsthand, but who are some of the people I look up to most, and regard as vital elders and ancestors. The first thing I saw in the archives that made me feel completely teary and overwhelmed was gendertrash (also known as Gender Trash or gendertrash from hell).

As someone who spends a lot of time in both Montreal and Toronto, I regard gendertrash and its authors as a vital part of the trans cultures of both of those cities. Published under the label of genderpress, which also sold some truly excellent buttons, gendertrash was produced primarily by Xanthra Phillippa, who was a fixture of Toronto’s trans communities until her death in 2014, and “Jeanne B,” aka the filmmaker and activist Mirha-Soleil Ross, who was originally from Montreal.

(A note on names: I don’t usually use my full or legal name in my zines, and I deeply respect people’s right to remain anonymous or pseudonymous in their zines. Since Ross is widely acknowledged online as one of the zine’s authors, I’m erring here on the side of giving her credit for her work, rather than sticking with her pseudonym.)

There were four issues of gendertrash. The first issue, which is the one held in QZAP’s archives, was published in Toronto in the spring of 1993, 31 years ago. The other issues are also available online through the Arquives, which also, delightfully, holds many of the original paste-ups for the zines.

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Collaged text reading "We're just as queer as dykes and fags maybe even more so!"
Back cover of gendertrash #1

Like many zines, especially of its era, gendertrash contains a wide range of content and tone. (As someone who makes zines that tend to be more like a cohesive essay or book, I think it’s doing me a lot of good to look at this style of zine, and it makes me want to make something that’s a mishmash of personal anecdotes, opinions, resources, recipes, creative writing, etc. — that part of the messiness and imperfection of zines got away from me at some point.)

gendertrash places sex work and sex workers squarely at the centre of its focus, where it belongs. To talk about transness without talking about sex work would be to leave out a huge swath of the community, and many of its strongest pillars, including Ross, whose sex work and creative work have been closely intertwined.

Some parts of the zine are squarely pragmatic. It reproduces a brochure of safety guidelines for electrolysis practitioners, so that electrolysis clients can know what standards to hold their practitioners to. It has a section at the end of local resources for sex workers, people seeking healthcare, and for those experiencing sexual violence, noting which organizations “have no problems with TS’s” or are “aware of the problems of TS youth (esp with shelters & housing)”. It also notes local events like the queer zine gathering Spew 3 at the queer theatre Buddies In Bad Times, which is blessedly still with us.

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The zine also contains installments of TSe TSe TerroriSm, a serialized novel about “some members of Toronto’s gender described community,” by Phillips. When its protagonist is street-harassed by some men in a Jeep, she sets off,

“Two huge Catherine Wheels, one pink, one blue, as big as suns, rise up out of the fireball, lighting the street, buildings, stores & all the people rushing out onto balconies & pouring out of the restaurants & nearby shops to stare, laugh, applaud, cheer & give deliberately misleading or useless information to the cops, now beginning to arrive in a parade of sirens & lights, to investigate the blackened & smoking carcass that once was a Jeep.”

After escaping, she’s comforted by a friend or lover, sharing her rage and sorrow that passers-by were,

“celebrating like it’s something wonderful & exciting & like i-did-it-all-for-them, instead of the nightmare it really was. it’s not a game or a party. i mean, where the fuck were they, when i was being attacked? hiding inside their safe closets, shaking & shivering, but as soon as they see & hear the fireworks, out they come with fucking bells on. those creeps nearly killed, would have killed me for certain – it was that dangerous & here they are, out celebrating. i kill four creeps by setting them on fire because it was necessary. i’d do it again if necessary, but it’s nothing to cheer about”

In its combination of magic realism with a clear-eyed look at the emotional and physical toll of transmisogny, it reminded me of the work of another Toronto-based writer: Kai Cheng Thom’s beautiful book Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars.

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TS Words and Phrases
“TS Words and Phrases”, from gendertrash #1

The first issue of gendertrash also includes a fascinating glossary of “TS Words & Phrases.” As my piece last week on the QZAP blog shows, I am deeply fascinated with the numerous ways that gender and sexual minority folks have described ourselves over the years, and our consistent vehemence that the current terms are the only correct ones.

gendertrash’s glossary, also reflected throughout the zine, uses the term “members of the gender communities,” instead of what they call “the clumsy-sounding transpersons.” The people I would refer to as cis, it defines as “genetics, genetically/chromosonally described/determined”. This distinction is also delightfully made in the zine’s usage instructions, which state that,

“material in gendertrash may be copied for personal use by any gender described person or for publication within any non-profit journal for gender described, as long as the proper credit is given. Material may be copied & used by genetics only upon prior written consent from genderpress.”

One of the most interesting glossary entries to me is their use of the term “gender oriented”, which is used to refer to “wimmin, men or people who attracted to TS’s”, whether those people are genetics or in the gender communities, or what I’d call trans or cis. Extending the umbrella out over people who date and/or fuck trans people isn’t usually part of the conversation in the circles I’ve travelled in, and I find it interesting to think about! This concept also comes out in the zine’s piece about the 1992 movie The Crying Game, which trans people in my life have felt a lot of ways about:

“This man is spontaneously and strongly attracted to Dil for her female or non-male attributes. not her cock and balls. In fact, the main character thinks she is a genetic womyn & is surprised & upset to find out that she is not. Gay men will have to realize & accept the fact that genetic men who are attracted to us (TV, TG or TS) are not gay, but gender-oriented & that their numbers are constantly growing. In other words. we’re having a party & genetic gay men are not invited.”

(The glossary also includes the delightfully punk “in the pit” as a replacement for “in the closet”, and the poignant entry “that’s the way it is is the phrase we use to describe how we survive in this society.”)

There is so much for a contemporary trans reader to enjoy and learn from in gendertrash. It’s a joy and a blessing to me that it’s been archived so that I can enjoy it 30+ years after it was published.


Lee P is interning at QZAP in spring 2024. Ze is a long-time zine maker, and hir current project is Sheer Spite Press, a small press and zine distro. Originally from unceded Algonquin land, Lee calls Tiohtià:ke // Mooniyang // Montreal home. Ze’s also a member of the organizing collective for Dick’s Lending Library, a community-run, local library of books by trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit authors.

Queers Read About Reading This

Zine of the Gay

I Hate Straights
I Hate Straights
P.4 of the original 1990 version of Queer Read This, which can be found at Against Equality

Queers Read This is a hugely influential zine: it’s traveled far beyond its original circulation at the 1990 New York Pride. Published anonymously by members of Queer Nation, the direct-action group that spun off of ACT UP to protest homophobia beyond the specificity of AIDS, it’s continued to circulate and to speak to sentiments and tensions within queer movements and spaces.

As someone born in the mid-80s, I have an endless fascination with the politics of the 80s and early 90s, and how they shaped the world I came of age in. So much of the landscape of contemporary queer politics still relitigates the tug of war between revolution and assimilation that this zine captures.

Queers Read This was written in a time of mass death from AIDS, an uptick in anti-queer violence, and a cultural consensus that queer people deserved these things. It is angry, horny, uncompromising, and immensely quoteable (“every time we fuck, we win”). It refuses to hedge its bets or pull its punches or add wishy-washy caveats or to let any straight people off the hook by separating straightness and heterosexism from straight people. It’s unabashedly, invigoratingly polemical.

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The version of Queers Read This held in QZAP’s archive is a reprint published in 2009 as an implicit argument that the zine remained relevant as more than just a historical artifact 20 years after its publication, that queers should still be reading this. The 2009 reprint contains footnotes contextualizing some of the references in the original, for an audience who might blessedly not know who Jesse Helms was. It also includes the update that that “AIDS policy today is still institutionalized violence, though it has become targeted less by sexuality and more by race and incarceration.”

It’s accompanied in the archive by Queers Read This Too, a zine written in 2010, and distributed at Pride in Madison, Wisconsin. Inspired by the 2009 reprint of Queers Read This, a group of eight writers (credited by name, unlike the anonymous authors of Queers Read This), share their own rage at the ostracization, fear, and sexual violence they have been subjected to as queer people. One author remembers a murdered trans friend, and the callous indifference towards her death among cis gay peers.

Both Queers Read This and Queers Read This Too focus most of their rage at the broader heterosexist world, while also calling out queers for our own complacency, for the ways we silence ourselves, choose our own comfort, fail to act as a movement.

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Promote Queerness - Queer NationOne of the main ways I’ve seen Queers Read This discussed is for its role specifically in positioning the term “queer” as an identity that’s fundamentally politically radical, anti-assimilationist, and in opposition to heterosexism. Queers Read This argues for this usage because “queer” is a gender-neutral term that can express solidarity among queers of different genders, and because its authors see “gay” as too happy and unthreatening a word to hold the rage they feel.

This makes the zine interesting to read now, because in many– though certainly not all– areas of life, the term “queer” has been very thoroughly reclaimed, defanged, and depoliticized.

There are queer cops and queer Lockheed Martin employees, and “queer” is comfortably used by organizations like the Human Rights Campaign whose assimilationist politics Queer Nation defined itself against.

Queers Read This deserves better than to be remembered for a minor point of semantics. Words are important up to a point, but when bickering about terminology keeps us from having each other’s backs in meaningful, material ways, it’s time to move on. Any word’s meaning will eventually shift and mutate and slip and slide out of your hands. The term you choose to display your anti-assimilationist convictions will slither away and go work at an arms manufacturer. You can let the word go, and let the rage and urgency remain. They’ll always be relevant.


Lee P is interning at QZAP in spring 2024. Ze is a long-time zine maker, and hir current project is Sheer Spite Press, a small press and zine distro. Originally from unceded Algonquin land, Lee calls Tiohtià:ke // Mooniyang // Montreal home. Ze’s also a member of the organizing collective for Dick’s Lending Library, a community-run, local library of books by trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit authors.

Zine Friends Zine

Emoji of people huggingHave you made friends through zines?

As someone who’s made many friendships through zines, from close friends to far-flung penpals to passing but delightful acquaintances, Lee is putting together a zine about zines and zine community as a way that people build and maintain friendships, and they’d like to hear about other people’s answers to any of the questions below (no need to answer all of them), or any other thoughts & memories you have about meeting people via zines:
  1. Who is the closest friend you’ve made through zines?

  2. What is your first memory of making friends through zines?

  3. How are the friendships you’ve made through zines different from the friendships you’ve made in other ways?

  4. What other memorable personal connections have you made through zines? Dates? Jobs? Roommates?Enemies??

  5. When you read a zine you like, do you get in touch with the person who wrote it? 

  6. If you’ve been in zine worlds for a while (like a decade or more), how have the ways you make and sustain zine friendships changed over the years?

Reply to lee@sheerspite.ca! They will happily send print or PDF contributor copies to anyone who replies, and if they’re going to refer to something you’ve said, they’ll check in with you about it before it goes to print.
~please share!~

In Visible Archives – A QZAP x Lion’s Tooth event

Photo of Margaret Galvan On Saturday, May 18th, 2024, we are beyond thrilled to be collaborating with our friends at Lion’s Tooth here in Milwaukee to bring Margaret Galvan, a 2017 QZAP scholar-in-resident, back to Milwaukee to talk about her new book In Visible Archives: Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s.

In Visible Archives book coverMargaret’s book focuses on eight visual artists who created grassroots visual artwork in the 1980s that thought deeply about sexuality and communities of social justice, featuring discussion of comics, proto-zines, grassroots newspapers, drawings, photographs, etc. She will be sharing excerpts and discussing the impact of these artists within the context of the Feminist Sex Wars, the queering of the underground comics scene, the dissemination of Dykes to Watch Out For, and of bearing witness to the first decade of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The talk will be free and open to the public at Lion’s Tooth, and signed copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Lion's Tooth logoDeets:
Saturday, May 18th, 2024
5:30 pm
Lion’s Tooth
2421 S Kinnickinnic Ave,
Milwaukee WI 53207

World AIDS Day with PATS

Photo of a mural that says “ACT UP! Bi Queer!” over an anarchist circle-A with a pink triangle. Floating around the image are Keith Haring-esque characters and pink triangles with lightning bolts indicating that this probably came from a squatted space.

We’ve crossposted our annual World AIDS Day post to Instagram. This year is a look at some pages from the queer anarchist zine PATS. PATS ran for 28 issues from the summer of 1992 through December of 1999. Published by Frankie, Christine and Oscar in Utrecht, The Netherlands, the majority of the zine is in Dutch with some English and French smatterings.

ID1: From PATS No.3 (Summer 1993), an illustration of a priest nailing Christ to the cross, the word Queer over his head, and the text “AIDS, Unlike Homophobia, Cannot Be Spread Through Casual Contact”

ID2: From PATS No.7 (August 1994), a flyer from ACT UP New York in Spanish for a demonstration during the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Text in English reads “STONEWALL DESPERATE TIMES. DESPERATE ACTIONS. AIDS ON THE STREET! SUN JUNE 26 ’94 10AM: SHERIDAN SQ—>CENTRAL PK”

ID3: A review of Pansy Division’s album Deflowered and the printed lyrics to their song Denny, about a man who’s sick with opportunistic infections as a result of having AIDS.

ID4: From PATS No.9 (March 1995) – A fundraising appeal for ACT UP – Amsterdam – Image depicts a person screaming and the translated text reads “STILL AIDS! SEE, HEAR and SCREAM! ACT UP!”

ID5: From PATS No.12 (December 1995) – An blurb about ACT UP/SF storming the San Francisco offices of the Republican Party and burning Senator Jesse Helms in effigy next to a sticker that says The AIDS Crisis is Not Over. On the lower half is a piece about the 8th annual World AIDS day event happening in Utrecht.

ID6: A photo postcard of a colorful banner that says ACT UP – Utrecht

ID7: From PATS No.8 (December 1994) – An article about an action that ACT UP – Utrecht members participated in at the Forbidden Fruits of Civil Society Festival from Sept. 8-18, 1994 in Slovenia teaching safer sex practices.

ID8: From PATS No.8 (December 1994) – A continuation of the previous page and some graphic propaganda including images of unrolled condoms.

ID9: From PATS No.20 (December 1997) – Making Dams for Beavers – illustrated instructions on how to make barriers for performing safer oral sex on orifices using latex gloves.

ID10: Photo of a mural that says “ACT UP! Bi Queer!” over an anarchist circle-A with a pink triangle. Floating around the image are Keith Haring-esque characters and pink triangles with lightning bolts indicating that this probably came from a squatted space.

Farm News by First Root Farm

Zine of the Gay

Farm News Volume 1 Issue 7 cover. Image is an illustration of an open hand pressing into the ground, fingers first. There's also a quote that says "Love is an action, never simply a feeling" - bell hooksWhen it comes to queerness and farming in the U.S., they are frequently seen as not only opposites but oppositional to each other. This zine shows that farming doesn’t have to be the work of the strong, solo, man’s man homesteader, and can instead be incredibly communal, fun, creative, and most importantly, queer. 

Farm News from First Root Farm (also called the First Root zine, First Root Farm Zine, CSA Zine and other variations) began with the farm back in 2010 and ended with it in  2017. The farm itself was a 4.5 acre vegetable and flower farm located in Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts. The mini-zines were produced weekly to be given out with food shares to farm community members. Currently we have eight issues from the first year in our digital archive. They were created by the two farmers Ariel Berman (he/him) and Laura Sackton (she/her), who approached prolific zine creator Alana Kumbier (they/she) (of Because the Boss Belongs to Us and Making History) to help them with the parts of zinemaking they were unsure about. We were lucky enough to be able to get into contact with all of them and interview them about the zine, the community around First Root Farm in the early years, and farming and queerness!

“I had a lot of knowledge of zines and felt not cool enough to do a zine,” Ariel told us. “Alana… has this incredible knowledge around zines and I think almost definitely was the person who showed us how to, like , put the zine together, literally, and how to photocopy it and all those things.”

“In a lot of ways, the First Root Farm zine was such like, an amazing and ideal, for me at least, circumstance for making a zine” Alana told us. This was mostly in part to the short, consistent structure of the zine and its audience of community members.

Page 5 from Farm News Vol.1 No. 5 How-to: Make A Radish Mouse 1) Start with a radish. Cut off the greens 2) Cut a slice off one side, about 1/4 the thickness of the radish. Save the slice. 3) Set radish on flat side. The nub where the greens were will be the nose. Cut a notch at the "top of head," closer tro the end wehre the greens were. 4) Cut your radish slice in half to make two half-circles. Thes are the ears. Wedge them into the notch, and your radish mouse is complete! Can you think of any other creatures to make with vegetables? If you tell us about them we'll share your great idea with other CSA Members!

The contents of the zine partially consist of interactive elements, like word searches, coloring pages, crossword puzzles, but also little art guides (like How to Make a Radish Mouse in #1.5) and other fun, lighthearted activities. The other important portion of the zine were the recipes based on what was in the foodshare that week, and other, as the title would suggest, Farm News.

“There were very few changes in structure. It was… repetitive every week. It was the same size, the same number of pages, usually very predictable kinds of things like farm news, recipes, games, cover. And it was something that because we had that sort of repetition over each week all of us could make pages and contribute, you know, there wasn’t like a difficulty in thinking about how about “what am I,” you know, “how am I gonna fit this in?”” Alana said.

This structure and content was decided based on the zine’s audience, which was the community that grew around the farm. First Root used a community supported agriculture (or CSA) model, and the focus on community in their practice was based on the backgrounds of Laura and Ariel in queer and Jewish communities respectively. Laura describes her experience farming as “exceedingly queer”, farming within a “community of friends and or mentors, mostly queer women who were running farms or working on farms in Eastern Mass[achusetts].” Ariel told us about his understanding of Jewish kibbutz culture, and as he described to us,  “kibbutzim in Israel are basically farm communes that are like, supposed to be very egalitarian, supposed to be like everyone raises their kids together. Basically, like the ideal of your– what I would consider my like queer farm utopian commune community situation”. They also described to us how they would stay awake at night in farm school together, where they became friends, discussing how to make their farm as community-centric and accessible as they could in their wildest farm dreams.

Front cover of Farm News Volume 1, Issue 4As you’re reading the zine you can feel how it has been steeped in community, especially considering that the cover of #1.4 is just a thank you note to all of First Root’s community members. They would come to the farm for their food shares or on volunteer days, and, as Ariel told us, “There are still people and it’s been what, thirteen years since we started or since our first season who like will be like, “oh my gosh, I loved coming out. It was my favorite thing. It was my favorite place to be with other people. I still hang out with people who I hung out with there and met for the first time there.” People who will say like “I’m so sad that First Root is gone because it was my favorite CSA.””

This community did not just consist of adults, as there would frequently be children (or as Ariel called them, queer spawn) interacting with the zine or coming for volunteer days. It is  this range of ages that led to the earnestness and fun of the zine’s content.

“It’s also so unusual to have a zine project where there’s a community that you’re writing to and writing with, and also to have an all ages community.” Alana said. “But I have… to be thinking about writing for kids as well as adults. And that helped me be more creative and think about… what goes in a zine and who’s in a zine audience.” The puzzles and coloring pages were made to capture the minds of the children within the community, and the recipes were to help those in the community who may have never cooked with or seen a certain vegetable before find uses for the food in the share.

“We wanted to make it accessible and interesting and fun, but also…  the people who are coming to be part of that community… and  paid ahead of time for all these vegetables was like, “what do I do with a hakurei turnip? Like what even is this?” Ariel said. “And we’re like, “we’ll tell you. But you also won’t have to remember what we’re saying when you come and pick up. Here is the zine that has the recipe in it also.””

Overall the beauty of the First Root Farm zine lies in the hearts of its creators and readers. While speaking with Ariel, Laura, and Alana, we were transported to the farm in its first couple of seasons as they reminisced, feeling the warmth of the sun and the people through the happy memories they shared. This earnestness is clear in reading the zine as you get to feel the joy of life at First Root Farms. Though it changed over time as the farm grew and Ariel and Alana got too busy for life there, the zine stayed.

“The farm changed so, so much from the first year or two to last year…” Laura told us. “It was me and Ariel and then it was me with two co-farmers and a crew of four people and I think what’s really, really cool is that the zine was non-negotiable, like the zine was just like the heart of so much…”

There’s like cultural shifts that happened in the farm, but the zine… kept that heart of like we’re kind of weird, we’re very queer we’re doing this fun thing that like has nothing to do with money, takes time out of our day… it’s just this thing we were doing out of love.

And in this zine you can really feel the love.


Kit Gorton is a current intern at QZAP and graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in library science and English, with focuses in archives and media studies. A rather queer Hobbit, Kit is most often seen collecting things (such as leaves, rocks, books and the like) or doting on their cat, Good Omens Written in Collaboration by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett.

International Zine Month 2023!

Poster for International Zine Month 2023. Text of the poster is in the post.Happy International Zine Month! Every year our friend Alex Wrekk, who started IZM, puts out a list of daily activities for the month of July that are zine related. This year’s poster was designed in collaboration with their pal Zineville and their mascot Mr Chompy.

Below is the text of the poster, which can be downloaded from here. Have a very happy and safe IZM! Make cool zines and share them! Send us LGBTQ+ zines to include in the archive!

  1. What is a zine? Make a definition in your own words and share it.
  2. Zine Rewind! Re-read your favorite zines, and share why you love them so!
  3. Cook 1 recipe or complete 1 DIY project found in a zine!
  4. AmeriZine Day! Explore marginalized voices in the Americas. Buy, share, and read zines that celebrate racial justice and zines written by BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) from the Americas.
  5. Try a new way if folding a 1 page zine or, create your own.
  6. Zine Pride Day! Explore LGBTOIA+ zines! Вuy, share, & read zines by people of marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities. Check out the Queer Zine Archive Project (HEY, That’s US 😀 )
  7. What’s a zine distro? Educate ourself of what zine distros are, how they operate, and how they pick zines to carry. Support a distro near you!
  8. Look into upcoming zines in events in real life or virtual events that you can attend! When else are you going to be able to attend a zine event in a different city or even country for free?
  9. Buy direct! Do you sell zines online? Update your shop and post a link to it online. Or Buy directly from someone who posts a link to their shop.
  10. RPG zines are a blast!! Find or make your own role play adventure zine!

    Image of an Ouiji Board, but the traditional text has been replaced to say "Sending unbound zines to zine librarians results in seven years of bad metadata" Underneath that there's a silhouette of a stapler and the words "Good Bye"
    Lucky #13: This was the zine superstition that WE made up in 2021!
  11. International Zine Day! Read a zine from a country different from your own.
  12. ZineWiki Day! It’s a wiki just for zines! Add to or update listings to the new and improved zinewiki.com
  13. Make up a zine superstition and share it (skip the 13th issue? Spin 3 times to prevent copier jams? Your best friend reads your zine first?)
  14. ValenZines Day! Give yourself some zine love! • read zines in a bubble bath? Buy some new scissors? Let your zine friends know you care about them.
  15. Free Zine Day! Offer your zine for free online or –if it’s safe to do so where you are – leave zines in public places for strangers to find and enjoy.
  16. Make a list of reasons you love zines and share your list with others!
  17. Make a flyer for yourzine to trade, send out with zine orders & trades.
  18. Zine Trade Day! Ask someone to trade or swap zines with you.
  19. Zine Distro Appreciation Day! Tell people about/order from a zine distro.
  20. Talk about a thing you learned in a zine.”I once read in a zine that…”
  21. Check out YouTube channels & TikTok creators about zines.
  22. Zine Library Day! Search for a zine library in your area and make plans to go someday or contact them about how to include your zine in their collection.
  23. Tell 5 people about zines… The more the merrier!
  24. Teach yourself a new zine skill. Extra points for using a tool you never have before!
  25. Make a zine for a non-profit cause!
  26. Organize your zine collection. Post a SHELFIE online.
  27. Ask a zine friend if they would like to do a split zine or collaboration.
  28. Read or create a mini-comic zine
  29. Write out a list of zine ideas and use a random way of selecting one to make! (D20 dice work great, but get creative!)
  30. Write a letter or online post about your #IZM2023 experience!
  31. HallowZine! Remember zines and zinesters that are no longer with us.

Throughout the month bonuses:
– Read a zine a day
– Do the 24 Hour Zine Thing (make a zine to your skill level in 24 hours)

Hearts of Dankness

Zine of the GayHello everyone! As Pride month has come to a close, we are happy to announce that despite the amount of posts slowing down scheduling-wise, we are continuing with our Zine of the Gay for the rest of the summer! We look forward to sharing even more of our zines with you!

This one’s for all of you Star Wars queers. Today’s Zine of the Gay is Hearts of DanknessHearts of Dankness cover, volume one of a series called My Side-Project by a college student from Canada who goes simply by Blair. It’s a relatively short zine, consisting of some dialogues and drawings by the creator. Though we don’t have any other zines from the series, Blair says that she wants to include themes for every zine, and this one is Star Wars. She writes,

this time out i’ve written about star wars. particularly, conversations about star wars. i like to write dialogue. so did hemingway. but then he never wrote about star wars.

The first dialogue of the zine is called “The Boba Fett Debate” and is between two brothers, Tom and Mike. Starting with the question of “What do you think Boba Fett looks like under that helmet of his, anyway?” we get a fun example of what a night could be spent doing as a young boy, getting into little arguments with your siblings about the facial features of a fantasy man who never shows his face. After insulting each other, actually getting somewhere when it comes to describing Boba Fett’s features, and a visit from their mom (who has no idea which one Boba Fett is), they continue debating and then go to bed. The story really is the essence of boyhood in the late nineties, exemplified in its last couple of sentences: “They decided to go to bed that night after three hours of continuous debate, interrupted only to insult each other. They needed their rest. They had a big day tomorrow, as they were scheduled to re-cast the forthcoming X-Men movie for a fifth time with their friend Johnny at the arcade at two o’ clock, followed by the greatest damn G.I.Joe action-figure battle this world has e’er seen.” The creator includes a drawing of Tom later in the zine as well, with him labeled as “the handsome one”, and considering he’s both “the handsome one” and “the philosophical one” we’d say he’s got a bright future ahead. 

The next dialogue, “Of Pricks and Wookies” follows a new boy Tim and an interaction of his with two school bullies, Steve Ridgley and Larry Jones. This dialogue takes on a more comical turn, with Larry being the typical partially stupid bully and Steve being for some reason incredibly eloquent. Our favorite Steve line in this is when Larry brings up C3PO and R2D2 and calls them lovers, and Steve agrees, saying, “Indeed, most certainly. They were involved in a relationship that was most intimate.” Larry builds upon this and says, “Ya, and I bet they did it with each other too!” When Tim starts to “get smart” with Larry and Steve, which includes explaining Chewbacca is that way because that’s what Wookies look like, Steve says “His manner doth perturb me. Perhaps we should inf1ict pain upon him.” before giving Tim the beating of his life. 

Overall this artist has a really fun and playful style in both their writing, and the visual art they include, which mixes drawings and collages. The zine seems to bask in its young fanboy energy and reflect true to life experiences of boys obsessed with Star Wars. 


Kit Gorton is a current intern at QZAP and graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in library science and English, with focuses on archives and media studies. A rather queer Hobbit, Kit is most often seen collecting things (such as leaves, rocks, books and the like) or doting on their cat, Good Omens Written in Collaboration by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett.

Black Lesbians in the 70s and Before

Zine of the Gay

Happy Juneteenth everyone! For those who don’t know, Juneteenth is a new federal holiday here in the United States, but has been celebrated by African-Americans since 1866. It commemoratesBlack Lesbians in the 70s and Before – An At Home Tour of the Lesbian Herstory Archives cover the enforced end of slavery in Texas after the Civil War, as Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (issued in 1863, during the height of the war) was limited to states under Union control. Texas, being so far from the rest of the Union and the war, did not have access to the Emancipation and white people in power actively kept the Emancipation Proclamation from enslaved people and African-Americans in general. The holiday takes place on the anniversary of the Union troops arriving in Galveston, Texas and informing everyone that the enslaved people were now free. Since then, this day has been celebrated by African-Americans across the country and became a federal holiday in 2021. If you would like to learn more about Juneteenth from the perspective of African-American scholarship, we recommend looking to the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s online Juneteenth exhibit. To celebrate over here at QZAP, today’s Zine of the Gay is Black Lesbians in the 70s and Before – An At Home Tour At The Lesbian Herstory Archives

Originally made for the Lesbians in the 70s conference held by the CUNY Graduate Center in 2010, this zine is a curated look at the black-focused records in the Lesbian Herstory Archives by prominent archivist, librarian, zinester, and lesbian Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz. It’s filled to the brim with newspaper clippings, scans of books and magazines, the records of activist groups, pieces of archival finding aids, academic papers, conference proceedings, calls for writing to academic and creative publications, event flyers, quotes, and notes from Shawn(ta). The zine being made up of collages and notes from Shawn(ta) makes reading it feel like you’re the one in the archive doing research, creating piles of papers and notes around you while you work. 

Echo of SapphoThe records include stories of protests against the arrest of black lesbians defending themselves from assault, statements made in the creation of alternative spaces for black lesbians, definitions of Butches, and most importantly the experiences of black lesbians, many focused on the difficulty of having multiple minority identities. A particularly powerful quote from the zine reads:

We will continue to demand our right to exist as productive, free, equal, black, gay beautiful women… There is a place for us in this society, and we will proudly take it at all costs. Even if it means breaking off from our so-called liberal white sisters and brothers, so-called liberal gay sisters and brothers, so-called liberal black sisters and brothers. Get-it-together, because we are.

-Elandria V. Henderson, 1971

After the records from the archive, the zine gives us records of the archive, including collecting policies, directions on how to create your own special collection, copyright laws, and donor agreement forms. After this section is a fun list readers can write in of “Stuff I’m Gonna Donate to the Archives.” The zine ends with Shawn(ta)’s contact information and a note to readers that they should schedule a consultation and create their own special collections. She says, “We’ll have tea/coffee… it’ll be fun!”

We highly recommend reading this playful yet powerful zine as a part of your Juneteenth celebrations this year, or to connect with this important, often overlooked, history any time of year. 


Kit Gorton is a current intern at QZAP and graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in library science and English, with focuses on archives and media studies. A rather queer Hobbit, Kit is most often seen collecting things (such as leaves, rocks, books and the like) or doting on their cat, Good Omens Written in Collaboration by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett.

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