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Originally made for the Lesbians in the 70s conference held by the CUNY Graduate Center in 2010, this zine is a curated look at the black-focused records in the Lesbian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.

U.S. Kweer Corps

Zine of the Gay

U.S. Kweer Corps, Issue #1, July 2000 Queer Punks, Unite to Fight!! Keeping things radical, today’s Zine of the Gay is U.S. Kweer Corps by friend of the archive Hank Thigpen. Starting in July 2000 and continuing through the early 2000s, Kweer Corps were shorter digests focused on the queer punk scene Hank was observing in Florida. In our archive we have issues #1, #2, #9, and #10.

Kweer Corps #1 includes the Kweer Corps Manifesto, a statement of the issues Hank sees in the punk scene and with queer people. A majority of these issues revolve around the lack of revolutionary spirit in punks and queer people who had been the ones ready to fight for revolution in the past. Hank declares real punk dead, as current punks are more focused on fashion statements and mistreating women at shows than any real political movement, and how other genres of music enjoyed by queer people lack action and purpose. Hank reminds readers that “queers helped create early punk… and kept themselves in every scene and movement in between and STILL havent started fighting for the revolution we’ve been preaching this whole time.” He ends the manifesto with a call to action, saying:

Because I’m ready for MY goddam riot.

Because I cant be the only one.

For these, and for a hundred other day to day reasons, Im a part of the Kweer Corps.

Queer punks, unite to fight!

Hank follows this up in Kweer Corps #2 by talking about the loneliness he experiences as a queer punk, and how he sees other queers at the random punk show but nowhere else. We recommend you read this one for yourselves as the writing here is particularly striking, especially the line: “Straight edge kids and skinheads all know their brothers. Why don’t I know you?” Hank writes about the Kweer Corps as being an alternative to this loneliness that he suspects other queer radicals experience as well through the creation of a community of radical queers across the country.

Cover of U.S. Kweer Corps #9 Image shows a roll of pennies, and the text on the cover reads: “PENNY ROLLS: legal & handy Use electrical or duct tape reinforce ends first! added weight in your fist make the punch so much harder” “I would sooner fuck a dog than let your bigoted bullshit go unpunished.”We then jump to Kweer Corps #9, which starts by showing you how to reinforce a penny roll to add weight to your punches. This issue focuses on physical violence experienced by queer people, challenging what “Your parents told you from the beginning, “Ignore them and they’ll go away.”” Hank encourages hitting back when harassed or beaten up, saying “peaceful resistance doesn’t work against individual attacks.” He states: 

I’m gonna take the knowledge that I will hit back and use it to make myself stronger. I’m gonna think of all the girls and boys who are too small to fight back and I’m gonna get one lick in for them, too.

Hank argues that through fighting back against bigoted, sexist actions, we can start a revolution, and ends the zine by saying, “Instant physical retribution for any attack. Queer punks fight back.”

Kweer Corps #10 is focused on the exclusion of and responses to the Michigan Women’s Music Fest, a festival that stopped in 2015 and only allowed women-born-women into the festival. Hank sees issue both with the exclusionary nature of the festival, and the trans-organized protests that form outside of the festival every year. He writes: “Here’s an idea – instead of spending all that time, energy, and money protesting against women who don’t feel comfortable with things they don’t understand, all to get into a music fest where people like Lucy Blue Trem-bleh headline, why not make our own fuckin weekend of music?” He argues that there are ample resources, a lack of loyalty among the younger women who go, and no monopoly on the performers, so why not? “If we can create our own gender expression, we should be able to create our own shows.” “With all the cute transfolk out there, I would say it’s gonna be her loss, right?”


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.

My 2nd Lesbian Coloring Book

Zine of the Gay

As many of the zines we have focused on for the last three Zine of the Gays have been mostly text-based, we wanted to highlight some zines that were more art-focused, and what is more cooperative, comforting, and artistically rule-breaking than a coloring book?

My Second Lesbian Coloring Book CoverMy 2nd Lesbian Colouring Book was created by Sacred Feminine and actually comes from Toronto like our last zine, Shame on Pride!, just a year later in 2006. There is very little text in this zine, but the writing we do have is a request by the creators for completed works from the zine. They say:

We feel that the spirit of art, much like the spirit of sisterhood, is a co-operative one.

Joan Jett Coloring PageIn exchange for the reader’s Sapphic graphics, they offer a “care package including herbal tea and a mix tape” which feels so perfectly lesbian it makes us all warm inside.

The coloring pages include queer women of the past and present who were famous across multiple fields, such as basketball player Sheryl Swoopes, musicians Madonna and Melissa Etheridge (who is pictured on the front cover), comedienne Lily Tomlin, writer Virgina Woolfe, and (actually genderqueer) activist Leslie Feinberg.

The zine ends with the statements “Sisterhood is Powerful!” and “Love is tender, knows no gender.” We hope that you carry these sentiments with you, and if you’re able to print the pages out, have fun coloring!


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.

Shame on Pride!

Zine of the Gay

Shame On Pride coverEven though this Zine of the Gay project is inspired by Pride month, we at QZAP want to make sure we look at Pride critically. Today’s Zine of the Gay is Shame on Pride! created by Abuzar in 2005. The original zine was created as a part of Queer Diversity, a community focused on the relationship of radical queers to (at the time) modern day Pride in Toronto. Though this zine is specifically focused on Pride Toronto from almost twenty years ago, the messages are still applicable and we encourage you, dear reader, to keep an eye out for racist, transphobic, sexist, or classist behavior at any Pride celebration you go to this month.

Before even giving a table of contents, the zine starts with newspaper clippings from the New York Post and New York Times recounting the Stonewall riots, reconnecting readers with the reason we have pride in the first place. After the table of contents, Abuzar addresses their readership:

Calling all Radical Queers, Trans People, Youth, Sex Workers, Poly People, Anti-Poverty Activists, & Allies:

Sick and tired of the main streaming of the “Gay Movement”?

Frustrated at being pushed out of and excluded from queer spaces?

Angry at getting kicked out of a queer community we helped create?

… If you’re a pissed off and unapologetic hooker, tranny, gender queer, radical, lived/worked on the streets, or an ally, it’s time to fight back!

They then follow what happened after Stonewall, as white gay people began to push down other sexual and gender minorities in order to assimilate into mainstream culture. Abuzar says that in their pursuit for mainstream acceptance, “It doesn’t matter how many of us are murdered, go missing, or find ourselves excluded, bashed, or beaten. The band plays on like the single minded machine that it was always meant to be.” Pride has now become another part of this single minded machine, becoming a co-opted event “that perpetuates homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, social classism, economic classism, polyphobia, bodyphobia, binary-dominance, sex negativity, erotophobia, ableism, ageism, anti-sexwork sentiment, systemic exclusion … in short, all of those issues that it was meant to address and fight.”

There are also other pieces within the zine that address Stonewall’s origins, the internal oppression in gay culture, and how “more acceptable” queer people “sic cops on “less acceptable” queer people at Pride.” There is also a piece on how the fight for gay marriage “dismisses and ignores the decades-long struggle of feminist movements to abolish or establish progressive alternatives to the marriage system imposed by governments and churches over previous centuries of gendered exploitation, colonization and oppression. Instead, the debate encourages non-heterosexual partners to identify the legitimacy and “equality” of their relationships as the ability for those partnerships to be “permitted” by the same legal and religious authorities which have historically dominated, exploited and excluded women from participation and decisionmaking [sic] roles.” These argumentative pieces all support the majority of the body of the zine, which is focused on alternative queer spaces at 2005 Pride Toronto.

The main point of this zine is that rather than just creating alternative spaces for queer people, we need to also actively resist the co-opting of queer spaces. The body of the zine highlights organizations offering alternative spaces and resisting the co-opting of Pride, with events such as Resist! Rovolt! Celebrate! held by Limp Fist to stand against the corporate sponsors of Pride, Whores And Dykes Unite! organized by the Sex Professionals of Canada which is a march supporting trans people, sex workers, natives, and other POC within the greater Dyke March (a politicized, corporation-free, queer alternative to Pride), as well as the events held by Queer Diversity called the Renegade Community Fair and the Protest Against The Cooptation of Pride, both of which looking to dissent against Pride in the community fair and parade. Abuzar writes about these events, saying:

We refuse to participate in Pride in a manner complicit with their oppression. We refuse to be tokenized by Pride and dissent against it’s marginalization of the queer community.


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.

Hot Rods

Zine of the Gay

Hot Rods zine coverFrom the femme herbal transition of The Transgender Herb Garden, we are now transitioning (hehe wink wink) towards Hot Rods, a zine of health resources for “For Folks assigned a Female sex at birth who have strayed from that path” in Oregon. The zine was made by Gender Machine Works, a direct action group serving “female assigned, gender-variant” (or FAGV) people based in Portland, Oregon, and was published in 2002. This is the only zine we have in our digital collection made by Gender Machine Works.

Despite being written with a very specific audience in mind (FAGV people in Portland in 2002), this zine has a lot of incredibly useful, effectively timeless, information. This includes the effects of hormonal testosterone on the body, their information on routine healthcare procedures for AFAB individuals, how to check for breast cancer and do hormone injections safely, safe sex tips, and a wealth of other important knowledge for not just physical, but mental female assigned, gender-variant health.

From a use standpoint, the only downside is that a lot of the information they give is very area-specific and probably outdated. However, looking at it from a historical lens, it gives a lot of information about doctors, groups, and resources that may not be well-documented, making this zine a really important record in Portland queer history. They are also supportive of a multitude of gender identities and are incredibly open to a multitude of viewpoints regarding transitioning.

In a world where transgender healthcare rights are being taken away right in front of us, we feel it’s incredibly important to come together as a community, and know that despite everything we can support each other and find the cracks in the systems restricting us from getting essential care. We feel that this zine is a great example of the queer community doing just that.


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.

The Transgender Herb Garden

Zine of the Gay

Hello ! This summer we once again have a cohort of interns working on several projects, one of which includes a month-long research and blogging project called Queer Zine of the Gay. We will be posting just about every other day for ‘Pride Month’ 2023 on a zine within our holdings, which will hopefully be new to even the most experienced zinesters. So join us on this journey through QZAP’s holdings 3-4 times a week, (usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) here on the QZAP blog! The first Queer Zine of the Gay is…

The Transgender Herb Garden coverThe Transgender Herb Garden: an MtF guide to disconnecting oneself from big pharma by FlyingOtter is a cottagecore-anarchist zine focused on the use of herbs to help facilitate physical transition rather than relying on pharmaceutical companies. This zine was published in 2009 and upon some supplemental research seems to be one of the few zines made by FlyingOtter. This zine is a one-off, but is also held by other queer zine archives, so it must have circulated well.

FlyingOtter starts by addressing the fact that this is not medical advice, but is rather suggestions on herbs to eat for other MtF people that may help them appear more feminine as the herbs helped her. However, ze suggests that anyone can read this and get advice from it, as “trying different plants and foods will inform you about yourself”.

“As you take the time to sense how it makes you feel , how your body reacts, in its slightest movements and ways — as you come to know your own body, that is the key to transforming it, maintaining it, and healing it.”

Ze recommends eating the herbs raw, though teas also can be useful, as well as finding a good balance for how often you consume them. Ze also suggests switching up the herbs you’re eating, especially if you’re MtF, as “A bio-woman’s biology/hormones change throughout a month, no reason to not do the same.” Some of the herbs ze suggests include sage, fennel, and clover, which are all wonderful nonbinary names. FlyingOtter says that they won’t stimulate breast growth, but will help add fullness to the face and thighs, while helping create an hourglass figure.

Some other zines (page 8) cite this zine as purely anecdotal, which is true, but they also point out the information on transplanting the plants Ze does discuss is rather helpful. We also personally don’t mind how anecdotal the zine is. In reading it we get a much better sense of the person writing it, the environment and feeling that ze carries with zir than information on the plants ze suggests using. But that doesn’t mean we’re not learning anything from FlyingOtter. Ze very clearly has a lot of gardening knowledge, including information about the amount of nitrogen carried by certain seeds that will add to your soil, and where things should be planted depending upon use. Ze also advocates for community herb gardening with female bodied people, and breaking away from the machine of capitalism, which are easy to get behind.

One of the most interesting parts of the zine is where FlyingOtter discusses gender as a construct of capitalism, and looks forward to the day where there is no gender. Seeing this through their perspective we think is rather telling of where the queer community was in regards to nonbinary and agender genders in 2009, and we highly recommend reading it for yourself.

⚠️ ⚠️ Additional Advisory Note!!! If interested in using herbs similarly, lovely reader, you should consult with professional herbalists when embarking on using herbs in a medicinal or health-boosting capacity.


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.

The Toni Compendium

Advertisement for The Toni Compendium. The cartoon adventures of a transgendered high school student, as originally presented in "Cross-Talk” from 1989 to 1991. Also includes four single-panel cartoons never published in "Cross-Talk and a self-portrait of the artist, Angel.This story is likely part one of what might be several posts, and it goes something like this:

Sometime in the autumn of 2018 during one of our evening work sessions we were making our way through a collection of materials that had been deassessioned from an academic library and came across a couple of copies of Cross-Talk Magazine, “The Gender Community’s News & Information Monthly.”

Amongst ads for other queer publications like Dragazine, Black Sheets, and a note that Cross-Talk can now be reached on FidoNet (started by Tom Jennings, one of folks who made Homocore zine) was an ad for The Toni Compendium. The Toni Compendium is an anthology of Toni comics, written and illustrated by Angel, that appeared in Cross-Talk in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thus began our 5-year journey of trying to acquire a copy.

After tracking down a copy in a different library (and subsequently being turned down when we asked if they could digitize it so we could check it out) eventually we discovered that Kym, the original publisher, had an online presence. So we contacted her to see if there was any chance that she might possibly still have a copy. This was in April of 2020, just as we were mostly staying at home for the foreseeable future.The Toni Compendium cover

After sending the initial email, we waited a couple of days, and she got back to us to let us know that, in fact, she had had the foresight at some point to take the remaining issues of Cross-Talk and bundle up whole collections – not a complete run, but a lot – including The Toni Compendium, and pack them away. Unfortunately, the bundled collections were in their storage space, and it would be a little bit until she could get to them. So far, so awesome!

And then life happened, the pandemic shifted, time marched forward, etc. etc. We hadn’t forgotten about it, but as is always the case, we at QZAP are usually juggling several projects at once, and we figured we’d get back to this eventually. Also, with COVID being in play, we had no idea how it effected Kym or her folk.
Fast forward to February, 2023. Kym reached out to us to say that she had finally gotten access to where the Cross-Talk bundles were stored, and did we still want a set? We jumped on it, to say the least. After a couple more emails back-and-fort, the PayPaling of postage fees, and a few severe weather incidents, and they were as good as shipped.

Thus concludes the long and maybe-not-that-interesting story of how we came to finally possess a copy of this long-sought comic book about a teenage trans woman.

Cover for Khen-Draa, Transgender Warrior comicAs an added bonus, there also was a copy of Khen-Draa, Transgender Warrior, from 1995 by Kym and Beppi. But that’s another blog post.

As of this publishing, we haven’t had a chance to get to digitizing these comics, but we’ll update when we do.

photo of the zine Violet Tendencies. The cover shows the creator curling their arm with their hand in a fist. Black ink on pink paper.

Violet Tendencies

As 2022 draws to a close, we’re saying “we’ll see you soon!” to our intern Cedar. For their final zine project they made a 24 page perzine called Violet Tendencies #2. A combination of personal narrative, pop-culture influences, and an exaltation of all things butch, it’s a great addition to our archive, and shows a growth of their work in zines as both an artist and writer. While we’re sad to see them go, we’re super excited that this zine is out in the world, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with them in the near future.

One of the fun things that Cedar did with this issue is create a personality quiz. It’s very Autostradle-style, but also hearkens back to older queer zines, and even the long-departed Sassy. Click through to take the quiz and find out…  What Lesbian Earrings Are You?

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Sex Panic! At the Disco – World AIDS Day, 2022

Cover of the zine Sex Panic! circa 1997Today is World AIDS Day, and while we’re not “celebrating”, per se, we are acknowledging the day, and the incredible impact this stupid fucking virus has had on our lives, our friends, our communities, and the whole damn world. In this vein, we present Sex Panic! – The Zine by the fine activists of Sex Panic!

This 40 page, digest size zine from 1997 is a collection of essays about how the anti-sex policies and politics of the 1980s and 1990s (and into the current millennium) have had a huge negative impact on queer communities. While the zine’s focus, at least initially, is on New York City, it’s contents is applicable much more broadly.

This is an incredible document, up there with Diseased Pariah News and How to Have Sex in An Epidemic in terms of DIY community-based communication about AIDS. Essayists include Douglas Crimp*, Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, Allan Bérubé, Lisa Duggan, Alison Redick, and Jim Eigo, among others.

We’ll be bringing this, along with a bunch of other AIDS activist ephemera, to the panel talk that we’re participating in with our friends from Gerber/Hart and Chicago Public Library on Monday, Dec. 5th, 2022.


*Doug Crimp was also one of the authors of AIDS Demo Graphics, which documents the first couple of years of ACT UP visuals, and has been a huge influence on us and scores of queer zine makers around the world.

19 And Non-Stop!

emoji of a pink glazed donutAt the beginning of November we quietly celebrated the 19th anniversary of the launch of qzap.org. Back in 2003 we had no idea that this project would last as long or be as meaningful to so many amazing folks as it has become.

Our quiet way of celebrating is that we’ve just launched the newest version of this site, making the move from Joomla, our CMS of choice for the past decade or so, to WordPress. SO, yay for that! Welcome to the new site, almost like the old site.

As has been the case, we are mostly a labor of love, with no formal affiliations to other institutions. Internally we work on a consensus-based “little-a” Anarchist model for decision-making and getting stuff done. Also, we’re mostly funded by the sale of buttons, zines, occasionally t-shirts, and donations from visitors like you. SO, thanks for supporting us!

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