To my gay magazine, thank you.
Eager to get involved in DePaul and all it had to offer, I attended my first 14 East contributors’ meeting in the fall of 2018 – my first quarter at DePaul. I do remember being intimidated by all the older, stylish, creative and obviously very intelligent journalists who sat around me, but I was also drawn to all of them – to their ideas and energy.
I couldn’t help but feel slightly out of place as I walked into the newsroom tucked into a corner of the large downtown building. I walked in to find the group of young journalists sitting around a large table, their laptops open, all typing away furiously. A few glanced up as I entered and I sunk into a seat in the corner.
But that same table ended up being the exact place I needed to be. It was where I heard people talking about their queerness openly and discussing their mental health and going to therapy – without stigma. Now, I openly talk about the same things with the knowledge that there may be someone who needs to hear it, as I once did.
Only this year, I learned of bell hooks’ definition of queerness and as soon as read it, I couldn’t think of a better definition for the type of queerness that wholeheartedly embodies 14 East. It reads:
“Queer as not about who you’re having sex with, that can be a dimension of it, but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.”
14 East is internally (and affectionately) known as “the Gay Magazine,” and while plenty of our staff does not identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community, all of our members contribute to this queerness – this divergence.
From thought-provoking commentary to long-form investigations and odes to the memory of loved ones who left us too early. From an in-depth look at the business of sex work to personal stories of former Cabrini-Green residents – 14 East has strived to be divergent from its founding and we continue to diverge as we grow and thrive and expand our newsroom.
I’ve always identified with this sense of divergence, and many other aspects of 14 East confirmed that this was the place for me. It feels only fitting that my last issue at 14 East is the Queer Issue.
I’m so proud to have been a part of this team for the past four years. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and admiration for everyone who has guided, corrected, listened to, pushed and cared for me.
My wish for this magazine is that it continues to expand and be a place of learning and of growth. But above all my wish is that it continues to be queer, divergent and at odds with everything around it.
To my gay magazine, I can’t say it enough … thank you.
Header image by Bridget Killian