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Welcome to our new digital issue: IN CONVERSATION WITH – Part 7! Featuring Tyreece, Gegen, Bambi Mercury, ArtKB48, Teun Seuren, Maricas, Purrja and Twat Butcher, Marina Kitsukawa, Sherø, and many more about safe spaces for the queer community.

In the last year, many of us have had to redefine our realities. The COVID pandemic not only took lives, but it also took away the veneer of routine we’ve constructed over millennia to make our world functional. As we begin to approach what many regards as a ‘return to normalcy, a rising number of voices have questioned that approach. The pandemic and subsequent series of lockdowns have been a horror show, no doubt; yet this has also been a time of self-reflection, of refocusing and recentering the will toward greater and more meaningful pathways outside of the capitalistic, Work-Is-Life framework that is slowly killing us all.

Particularly within the queer community, where outsider status is the norm, this idea of forging new paths resonates intensely. It’s a baked-in truth that we make our own families; our own blood-kin are oftentimes unable or unwilling to connect with us on our level. So we gather like-minded folks around us, folks who make us feel human and loved, who build us up to a place where we can create worlds within worlds. When that gets taken away, it can be like watching reality disintegrate.

If one good thing has emerged from this last year, it’s the greater focus and willingness to talk about mental health, self-care, and community care. Around the world, the queer community are channeling this moment and finding new ways to create and connect with their chosen families.

Like many artists who once plied their trade in clubs and festivals, Barcelona’s MARICAS and Manila’s Jorge Juan B. Wieneke V found the momentum of continuance by creating digital clublands to get lost in. Queer cultural icon Alan T, true to his larger-than-life spirit, has barely slowed down, using his sudden acquisition of time to finally kick off a long-gestating project with fellow nightlife legend Nicole Moudaber. New York family Seks 5th Ave, Siren Starlite, and Dick Van Dick have found a tighter connection and a deeper sense of self-peace, while in Taiwan, ARTKB48’s Betty Apple and Wang Ping-Hsiang stand in a unique position of having almost no cases of COVID in their country at all, due to their government’s rapid border closures.

Thank you for your continued work and contribution. To the many more grassroots organizers out there who have tirelessly fought tooth and nail to hold onto the spaces that we hold so dear, and that we all so look forward to returning to once this nightmare is over.

We see you. We’re rooting for you. We will dance together again.

Nicola Phillips,
Music Editor

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