Behind the scenes at Queer Out Here
A bit of background
We decided to start this audio zine after struggling to find media focussing on queer people's experiences of the outdoors.
We had an itch that needed scratching! We knew that queer folk were spending time outside - we were doing it, we knew a couple of famous people in the adventure community weren't straight, we had friends who were cyclists and cider makers, flâneurs and footballers, Jonathan's part of a queer walking group, we found websites for several LGBTQIA+ outdoors groups around the world, we found feature articles about gay surfers and rock climbers and hikers - but we couldn't find any audio-visual channels where we could hear about these people and experiences in one place. We spent a year or so looking before deciding that if we really wanted to hear a variety of queer perspectives on the outdoors collected together we might as well do the collecting ourselves.
As we are both sound nerds, we are interested in going beyond straightforward interviews (though they're great, too!) to include field recordings, sound art, music, spoken word, documentaries and more. Our hope is that the zine format of Queer Out Here will encourage a variety of submissions, exploring and interpreting the outdoors in different ways.
What's an audio zine, anyway?
Good question! We think it could be kind of like listening to an art journal - essays, interviews, reviews and creative stuff of all kinds. The audio bit should be self explanatory, but why 'zine'?
First of all, we like the DIY ethos of zine culture. Anyone with a bit of time, a pair of scissors and access to a photocopier can publish something in a print zine, and we want to bring a bit of that to the audio world. Many people have access to a phone with the ability to record something, so why not take advantage of that?
We also like that zines are a way of publishing content or ideas that otherwise might not get coverage in mainstream media. The rise of podcasting has helped people find niche audio content and connect with other likeminded people around the world. Hopefully Queer Out Here will help connect people who want to explore the outdoors from queer perspectives.
So why isn't Queer Out Here a regular podcast? Well, we both work more or less full time and have various other projects on the go - not to mention getting outside, going travelling and sneaking in a microadventure or two. We can't commit to publishing something every week or fortnight, or even every month. Instead, we like the idea of creating standalone 'issues' of the zine as and when we have enough relevant material from contributors. Also, while it's not always the case, many podcasts focus heavily on the presenter/s, whereas we see our editorial role mainly as coordinators and collators, encouraging and enabling others to create and publish their own work.
About the editors
The two editors of Queer Out Here (at least for now) are Jonathan and Allysse.
Jonathan is an Australian living in the UK with his partner. He likes to go on long distance, multi-day walks whenever possible - and when he doesn't have the time or energy for that he enjoys short walks that involve pubs and picnics. He’s walked across a country (OK, it was a small country: Wales) and recently didn’t manage to travel all the way down the Snowy River in Australia. He blogs at In Which I.
Allysse is French and also lives in the UK with her partner. Her usual engagement with the outdoors comes through cycling, microadventuring and the gathering of sound. In 2016 she spent four months cycling around the Iberian Peninsula and recently she embarked on a mission to walk around Wales one day off at a time. She blogs at Beste Glatisant.
How is the zine funded?
We’re just a couple of people with an idea. We don’t make any money from the project and at the moment all expenses are covered by us, personally.
We do believe in paying people for their work, however, so for now we have decided to make a thank you payment of £10 for each accepted submission (apart from the greetings/sweepers). We've chosen a flat rate partly because we don’t want people to make longer pieces when a tighter edit would say just as much and partly because we don’t want to spend time trying to judge how much work has gone into each piece. If a piece catches our attention and works for the next issue of the zine, great! We'll review this payment system after each issue, so get in touch with feedback.