On Jan. 29, Queer McGill held an online, synchronous open-mic night celebrating the debut of their winter semester zine—a self-published, pamphlet-style magazine showcasing queer art submissions from McGill students. The zine, which contained poetry, visual art, and prose writing, was Queer McGill’s second publication, succeeding their summer zine which exclusively contained visual art. In an interview with The McGill Tribune, Queer McGill event coordinator Jordan Elbualy elaborated on how the first zine came together.
“We were trying to look for new ways to engage with people,” Elbualy said. “We had made this [online] art-sharing group, and we thought it would be a good way into [publishing a zine]. One of our resource coordinators, Natan, was working on an e-library and we thought it would be a good thing to include.”
Alongside displaying the zine for the attendants, students at the open-mic night performed spoken-word poetry and music. For the first performance, student poet Alexa Pronman recited poems about witches and perception, and her stand-out poem titled “At the Edge of the Universe” creatively personified human experiences such as life and death. On guitar, musician Vc Renaud covered The Head and Heart’s “Rivers and Roads.” Renaud’s most stunning performance occurred when they performed the currently untitled final song of their upcoming record, which will be available on all streaming platforms in April.
“[The first zine] was well received, which was why we decided to do another one,” Elbualy said. “We got a lot of good feedback about it, so we thought we’d bring that forward again.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Queer McGill’s zine was a way to communicate with the McGill community and reach out to anyone who could benefit from Queer McGill’s resources.
“We also wanted to make sure everyone was up to date on all the events we were running throughout the semester and to put in our product guide, which is another important resource that we offer,” Elbualy said.
Queer McGill’s product guide enables students to acquire free, gender-neutral supplies. The zine release showcased stand-to-pees, organic pads, mooncups, and an exciting new addition: Breast forms. McGill students can obtain any of the products by filling out an online order form. The Zine also advertised some of Queer McGill’s upcoming events, such as “Palentine’s Gay” on Feb. 12.
“For Palentine’s Gay, we do a ‘powerpoint party,’ which basically [means] everybody makes a powerpoint about something they care really passionately about […] and you present it to the group,” Elbualy said. “In the last powerpoint party, I ranked all the One Direction albums, something silly like that.”
Queer McGill is also hosting the “Drag and Burlesque online hangout” on Feb. 25. The event will be similar to their previous drag events, but adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
“We usually actually do a drag show that we put on at Théâtre Sainte-Catherine, but unfortunately, we couldn’t transfer that to an online platform,” Elbualy said. “In the spirit of drag and burlesque, we’re doing a drag-themed hang-out. We’re trying to encourage people to come in drag make-up, or whatever they want to dress up in for it.”
With the success of their first zine and the hype surrounding their second zine’s release, Queer McGill hopes to continue using the zine-format as a platform to showcase queer art around McGill.
“We want everyone to be informed about our events and resources, and we want to give queer artists a place to showcase their work,” Elbualy said.