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.

Women’s Health Care IS Political!!

A black and white graphic with a target in the center and the text “Women’s Health Care IS Political” encircling it set on top of text that reads Lesbian bashing • hysterectomy • AIDS • cervical cancer • rape • bulimia • forced child-bearing • Operation “rescue” • Pap smears • incest • endometriosis • RU 486• pre-menstrual syndrome • forced sterilization • sexual harrasment • IUD • pelvic inflammatory disease • cesarian section • liposuction • unitary infection • breast cancer • gynecology • clitorectomy • yeast infection • breast implants • cystitis • ovarian cancer • fibroids • Dalkon shield • abortion

This graphic by WHAM! – the Women’s Health Action and Mobilization is from the split zine CUNT/PRICK circa 1991, and was a direct response to the AIDS crisis.

According to Wikipedia:
“ Historically, women have often been excluded from HIV and AIDS advocacy, treatment, and research. At the start of the AIDS epidemic in 1981, medical and scientific communities did not recognize women as a group for research. Women were excluded from clinical trials of medication and preventative measures. They were also often blocked from being subjects in clinical research with exclusionary with restrictions like “no pregnant or non-pregnant women”. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) rejected grants that were targeted at understanding HIV in low-income women of ethnic minorities. This lack of attention is often attributed to the prominence of the gay rights movement in the area of HIV and AIDS. HIV’s clinical symptoms differ between men and women, and the focus on male symptoms caused medical professionals to overlook symptoms in women. “

As we all knew then, is still true now, and was evidenced by the election in the U.S. this past week, Women’s Health Care IS Political.

 

Aborting Mission Should Be Your Volition

Rock for Choice ad from the back cover of Teen Fag #2, 1993Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began we were thinking about trying to write a thing about zines that talk abut using herbs and DIY abortion. Then came the pandemic, and in the U.S., the confirmation of another anti-abortion supreme court justice, who, it’s speculated, will work to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized pregnancy termination.

We kind of hate that we have to write this at all, but the ongoing attacks on reproductive freedom and healthcare across the world make this necessary. Everybody should have access to the healthcare they need, full stop. This means being able to make informed choices about reproductive options including different methods of contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, and the ability to end a pregnancy as desired.

A couple of notes:

  1. The following links were not digitized by us at QZAP. Abortion and reproductive healthcare are absolutely queer and trans issues, but these zines are maybe outside of our collection policy scope. As such, they are not necessarily up to our standards for digitization, nor can we assure that the original creators permissions were sought before these were put online.
  2. These zines are intended to be informational and not “how-to” manuals. If you need to get an abortion or know someone who might, try contacting Planned Parenthood (in the U.S.) or The International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion (global)
  3. A lot of the research for this (short) list came from Jenna Freedman’s article Unreproductive: Zines on Herbal Abortion and Menstrual Extraction at Zinelibraries.info, which is focused library holdings, and the Let’s Talk About DIY Sexuality Zines handout (PDF) by Emily Bee that was prepared for the 2015 Milwaukee Zine Fest.

The Zines

By Any Means Necessary

P-Form #23 coverIn 1992, the drag queen Joan Jett Blakk ran for presidential office with backing from Queer Nation. Using the slogan “Lick Bush in ‘92,” Blakk’s campaign brought national attention to issues impacting queer communities, particularly the AIDS epidemic that the federal government was completely ignoring1. In the midst of the campaign, Terence Smith, the activist who performs as Blakk, penned an article for the performance art zine P-Form. Smith writes that drag carries a politics of “invulnerability,” providing a means of protection for Smith on both the stage and the streets. “No one can ‘harm’ me in drag,” writes Smith, “Because part of me is hidden underneath a Maybelline shell.” The article is a beautiful illustration of drag as a queer political force—a form of gender-fuckery that according to Smith “stomps out” the signifiers of masculinity and femininity.

Smith’s article is one of many articles on drag performance in this special issue of P-Form. The Randolph Street Gallery ran the zine from 1986 to 1999 and covered the performance art scene in Chicago. (Note: Blakk also ran for mayor of Chicago in 1991.) P-Form regularly highlights the work of queer and feminist artists. In the case of this issue, the majority of the articles are written by the artists themselves, who describe their performance practice as well as the difficulty of surviving and sustaining life as a queer performer.

JJBPIn an article entitled “Every Breathing Moment,” Michael Palmer describes the institutional violence enacted against trans bodies. Palmer writes about endless visits to doctors who challenged his identity as a trans man and refused to provide top surgery. He writes that “listening” to doctors or family would have meant turning toward death. Palmer describes breathing as a radical act—an assertion of life in institutional spaces that negate trans lives.

P-Form also provides reviews of other artistic forms, including painting cinema. In accordance with the drag performance theme, this 1991 issue includes a brief review of Jennie Livingston’s documentary Paris is Burning, which had been released the previous year. The review reads like a collage of interviews and pull-quotes, featuring press statements made by Livingston as well as iconic lines from drag performers such as Dorian Corey and Venus Extravaganza. “The balls used to be about what you could create,” says Corey, “Now they’re about what you could acquire.” Corey notes that theft was not uncommon among the economically struggling performers on the ball circuit. The statement is a strong illustration of how the Harlem ball circuit served as a space of queer of color fabulosity that also gestured toward the precarity of queer life. Performance is a means of sustaining queer life, and it depends on radical forms of resistance to institutional oppression.


1 Goodman, Elyssa. “The Drag Queen Who Ran For President in 1992.” Them, 20 Apr. 2018, https://www.them.us/story/joan-jett-blakk-drag-queen-president. Accessed 13 June 2019.


Jacob Carter graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2019 with a master’s degree in English. He is interested in queer cinema and performance art and plans to apply for a PhD in performance studies later this year. He has previously presented his research at the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference.

What’s Up, Doc?

“Are you queer? Do check-ups give you chills? Do nurses make you nervous? Yeah, us too. Put on your hospital gown, take a deep breath, and we’ll try to get through this together…”

Awkward at the Doctor, a 2010 zine from Eugene, OR, voices some all-too-familiar experiences of doctor anxiety and awkwardness because of heteronormative doctors making assumptions. In 2017, this zine is more relevant than ever! With the election of cheeto-fascist, the increasing agenda against affordable healthcare and increasing criminalization of reproductive healthcare, it’s more important than ever to hold our doctors accountable for providing inclusive and accessible healthcare.

AATDAATD tells how hard it can be to go to the doctor as a queer person, and includes a few different stories of bad times in the exam room. Kari Odden discusses her difficult experience learning safe sex practices as a bisexual woman. She shares what she wishes she’d have been told, to “use a condom on your toys!…Use a dental dam! Cause guess what– women can get and spread STIs, too– even HIV…Wash yo hands!…You should still get tested!” Instead, her doctor did not offer her any comprehensive sexual health advice that was relevant to her. Negative experiences like these, while common, should not be tolerated.

Another entry outlines Lance Heisler’s experience as a queer man with a presumptuous doctor whose assumptions of Lance’s straightness degrade the quality of care Lance receives. Lance makes sure to note just how common awkward doctor experiences are for queers, and he stands in solidarity with queer individuals who may be reading the zine: “I should mention now that this story is specifically meant for all those lesbians, gays, queers, and trans persons out there that know what type of stories I’m talking about.” This statement of solidarity lays groundwork for positive sharing of stories without judgement, and with understanding.

The last page of the zine is a whole page of resources!!!! These include Sexual Assault Support Services, Transgendercare.com, Sex Ed For The Real World, and many other websites or orgs that help with queer health. The time is ripe to take our health into our own hands, and hold our doctors accountable! If you have a shitty, anti-queer doc, write them a bad yelp review. We gotta demand fair treatment, and Awkward at the Doctor explains why. Enjoy the read, and be sure to check out the resources at the end.


Ella Williams, originally from Boston, MA, is a third year student at Grinnell College majoring in Gender&Visual Praxis. She’s a queer cis-lady who spends her time making music/touringunder the moniker Squirrel Flower, researching feminist art history, and trying to abolish capitalism.

Sometimes You Just Want to YELL!!!

YELL coverWhen things turn bad, when all your worst fears come true, when that thing you always said could never happen actually does, sometimes the only option left is to square your shoulders, takes a deep breath, and yell with all your might. Trust us- it can feel really, really good.

Once you’re all screamed out, take some of that excess energy and check out a YELL zine. YELL, or the Youth Education Life Line, is an affinity group within ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. YELL was founded in 1989 as the youth arm of ACT UP, to work on AIDS issues facing young people, especially AIDS education. Based out of NYC, YELL was born in response to the failings of the public education system to educate its students about HIV and AIDS, and the largely unaddressed issue of HIV transmission between young people.. At the time of publishing YELL #1, (1994) AIDS was the leading cause of death for NYC women 25-34, and “since the average incubation period for HIV to progress to AIDS is 10.5 years, most of these people were probably infected as teens.”

Despite (or perhaps because of) this grim reality, the pages of YELL #1 are full of humor and fun, as well as the spirit of punk rebelliousness and fierce strength. Its splashy pages feature pictures of Big Bird, Lucille Ball, Queen Latifah, Bart Simpson and Rupaul, all with mouths open wide and, clearly, voices up. The newsprint-style of this zine gives it the urgency it needs, along with a sense of pragmatism. Far from pandering or condescending, as so many youth-oriented publications do, YELL feels like it had actual teens on staff. Frank and effective guides on condom use and infection risk are mixed with articles about the triumphs and challenges facing youth AIDS activists in the 90s.

who YELLIt’s easy to get discouraged. Easy, and understandable. At times like these, it can be helpful to look back and see how others handled times of crisis. YELL is unfortunately, at the moment, defunct. However, its achievements (as listed near the beginning of YELL #1) are nothing short of inspiring. From handing out condoms and safer sex literature to over 45,000 NYC students, to enacting change in NYC public education policy, to representing youth interests at the international conference on AIDS, it’s clear the body of this organization was just as energetic as its publication.

And that’s the thing- when you raise your voice, the rest of you is sure to follow. The worst thing is to stay paralyzed. If you get active by volunteering time or money, that’s amazing. If you do it simply by existing in the world as a queer person or a POC, or a staunch and vocal ally, that’s amazing too. Maybe, right now, all we can do is yell- and maybe, for now, that’s enough.


Dac Cederberg is a former QZAP intern, now residing in Spain.  He will be periodically blogging about zines from our collection.
Dac recently graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He’s a cisgender gay man, he/him pronouns, from Missoula Montana. His alter ego is drag-queen bombshell Lady Dee. He doesn’t quite know what he wants to do with his life yet, but he loves reading, writing, TV, pop culture, and all things queer. He’s a Gemini and his favorite color is purple. Feel free to contact Dac through QZAP with any questions or comments.

 

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