Silencing of Queer Voices

Some of you probably saw that we have lost PRIZM magazine. In a state that doesn’t have a lot of resources for Queer journalists, this was a huge blow. We have already witnessed our Queer spaces disappearing and now we lose a valuable asset to our community. Where does that leave us and how can we fill the void it left?

PRIZM was a means of our voices to be heard. It was a place that allowed people to learn about various parts of our community that they may or may not have had access to prior. It even offered hope to the more rural areas that those reading it were not alone, for we are many. It also offered knowledge of resources and what laws are being voted on that would affect us.

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I only became acquainted with PRIZM when I started working at my present job. We were focused on getting an LGBTQ presence in the MidTown area and found that PLEXUS would be the best resource to help with that vision. They brought with them a copy of PRIZM. Immediately I was transported back to my early coming out days in Roanoke, Virginia and reading the monthly newspapers our area offered. Much like PRIZM, those newspaper rags depended on subscriptions and donations to survive. As the media slowly turned to a more digital focus, our community followed suit. Subscriptions dropped and the financing for those publications dried up. I hoped that Cleveland would have an easier time of keeping this magazine going for the community. Unfortunately, dollars are what is important and when you are getting them, it’s hard to stay in business.

What’s next? Honestly, I think that burden falls to us, as a community. There are talented LGBTQ people in our state. There are many voices that need to be heard, so we should work to uplift them. Dr. Ken Schneck has already started a Facebook group for local writers, and this is a great start. We need to come together as a community to support the creative talent that we have and work on a platform for getting those voices out to the masses. After all, if we don’t write for our folx, no one else will. I have had a couple guest bloggers submit articles to me and I hope to keep doing that as long as someone has an interest in putting out material.

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As a community, we also need to be supporting the ones who are already out on the web pushing their content. We should be retweeting that statuses, liking and sharing their videos, and linking the blogs everywhere we can. Our safe spaces are getting smaller and less physical, so let’s make sure we are taking care of the digital spaces we have and push for more.

If you have ideas for submitting an article, let me know. I would be happy to get your work out there. If you have a site you want to promote, definitely drop me a comment, I would love to get you on my resource page and promote the hell out of you. You can leave me messages here, on Twitter @ruralgaypagan, on Instagram @w01fy, or even email me at gayinthecle@gmail.com.

It is left to us to find a guiding light. We need to be the ones to show why publications such as this are needed and if the medium it is presented in is obsolete, then we need to change those resources to reflect the times.

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