Queer Out Here Issue 03
What does it mean to gain or lose a connection with nature or place? To move in familiar or unfamiliar landscapes? To form relationships with other creatures, myths and histories? Queer Out Here Issue 03 asks these questions through poetry, diaries, music, monologues, prose, field recordings and conversations - while passing through seasons and countries, memories and cities, woods and weather. Jump on a bike, lace up your walking boots, hop on a reindeer sled and take your ears adventuring!
If you enjoy this audio zine, please share it with your friends - and let us know, too!
Information about Issue 03
File size: 155MB (.mp3)
High quality audio version: Google Drive (1.28GB, .wav)
Cover art: Dev Moore (Instagram / Twitter / Patreon). Dev says, “When I lived in Wales, sometimes I would head to the valleys to wander through the woods. I remember a clearing in Cwm Clydach which I came across accidentally in late summer, deep with moss and dappled light. The woods in Britain retain its ancient history, the lost pathways of people and animals past, the bones beneath your feet - nature will always be there, waiting to take you back.”
Show notes: See below.
Content notes: The pieces in Queer Out Here talk about many things related to being queer and the outdoors. This issue contains swearing, queerphobia (mostly homophobia and transphobia), mentions of drinking and physical violence, risky activities and environments, mention of misogyny/sexism including passing reference to sexual harassment, dead animals, sensual encounters (not explicit). If you have specific anxieties or triggers, you may wish to ask a trusted friend to listen and give you feedback. You could also check the transcript for particular words, or send us an email. In particular this issue contains the following:
Queerphobic slurs in “Home” and “Half Moon Lake”.
Description of a dead animal in “You Gather Their Bones”.
Wind distortion in audio in several places, notably in “Walking the Spaces Between”.
Show notes for Issue 03
Introduction - Jonathan and Allysse
Short description: Opener, welcome, thank yous and housekeeping. The sound of a small stream plays beneath Allysse and Jonathan’s introduction.
Sweeper - Anna, Jessica, Dan and Jonathan
adventure - Narinda Heng
Short description: Poem. A Khmer American backpacking instructor reflects on the differences between her mother’s and her own attitudes towards adventuring.
Creator bio: Narinda Heng has worked in experiential education since 2014, starting with GirlVentures as a volunteer climbing mentor and then as a backpacking and rock climbing instructor. She’s also worked with National Outdoor Leadership School, Dunn School and Eagle Rock School. She is currently an instructor at the Stanford Adventure Program and will work with GirlVentures again this summer. Prior to 2014, Narinda worked in the nonprofit sector and Asian American arts community in Los Angeles. From rock climbing trips to extended wilderness expeditions, she values group outdoor experiences as opportunities to grow self-awareness, learn effective communication and practice interdependence. As an instructor, she emphasizes reflection and curiosity around the complexities of history, place and identity. Aside from teaching rock climbing and backpacking, Narinda spends her time making pottery, baking with wild yeast and writing.
Creator statement: Since 2012, I’ve put together annual collections of poetry and writing as a way to process the year and to share with people. Today I’m sharing a poem from my 2015 collection, from somewhere along the way. That year, I was just beginning to embark on work as an outdoor educator, and reflecting on what that meant to me as a child of Khmer refugees. I’m constantly ruminating on what it means to work in the outdoors and participate in it in these particular ways, and the contradictions that exist there. If you relate to these thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.
Go to Hell (The Road to Hell 1) - Julia Freeman
Short description: Diary. Short diary-like recordings made while cycling to Hell from Northern Germany in Autumn 2018. The first of four diary entries found in this issue.
Creator bio: Julia is a geek, currently residing in Amsterdam. She built herself a bike and has since been riding far and wide, training for ultra endurance bike racing.
Creator link: Twitter
Creator statement: In the four diary entries I talk about Hell, about Åmal, whether to quit or not, and generally the discomfort of long distance cycling.
The Nature of Queerness - Kaj Jensen
Short description: Conversation. Friends Susannah and Kaj talk about their relationships to nature on a walk at Sauvie Island.
Creator bio: Kaj is a trans, genderqueer person who recently completed the Masters of Creative Writing programme at the University of Brighton. They write personal narrative essays, speculative fiction, poetry and video games in addition to creating audio essays. They prefer to travel at human powered speeds, walking and cycling whenever possible. Kaj has learned to love backpacking and bike touring in the Pacific Northwest, where they now call home. When Kaj isn’t writing or doing research, they can often been found spying on birds and sneaking up on wild edible plants.
Creator statement: This piece is part of a much longer conversation during which Susannah and I compare our childhoods, I stop to identify birds and plants, and we ponder the existence of ghost cats. We have about as opposite experiences as you can get, since I grew up 20 miles from the nearest town, and 45 from the nearest 'city', and they grew up in New York City. Our relationship to nature is very different, but our struggles to inhabit our genderqueer/nonbinary bodies are quite similar in a lot of ways. I find that spending time in nature, especially doing challenging hikes or bike rides, helps me feel connected to and grateful for my body as it is, reducing my sense of dysphoria. I also have found that learning the names of the birds and plants in places I call home for any length of time helps me to feel connected and grounded, so I share a bit about that in the longer piece as well. Special thanks to Susannah H for letting me take them into the woods and ask a lot of questions.
Note: The land that is currently called Sauvie Island, and the broader Portland area, was illegally taken from the Multnomah tribe of the Chinook Indians.
Home - Jonathan
Short description: Song. A reflection on the country town where Jonathan grew up - the beauty and the bigotry.
Creator bio: Jonathan is a walker and a stickybeak. He is one of the editors of Queer Out Here.
Creator statement: I have a complicated relationship with the place I was born and grew up. I loved the river, the bush, the animals, the beach, the rainforest, the hills where we lived. But my desire to protect nature (expressed often and loudly from a young age) put me in conflict with a small town that pinned its identity on logging native forests and with peers who couldn’t wait to get a gun and go duck shooting. I felt that conflict more keenly, but more privately, as my awareness of my queer identity coalesced: when you’re a teenager surrounded by prejudice you learn to be strategic with your admissions and omissions. Time and distance have soothed some of the hurt I felt when I wrote and recorded this song over a decade ago - I’m more sad than angry, now. The atmosphere of that town - stultifying bigotry, queerphobia, tall poppy syndrome and toxic masculinity that surrounded us - didn’t only harm queer kids, sensitive kids, marginalised kids: it stunted everyone. I love the place. I wish I could have been happier there.
Note: This song was recorded on stolen Wurundjeri country. I pay my respects to Wurundjeri and Kulin Elders past and present - and acknowledge all Indigenous and First Nations people listening.
Half Moon Lake - Penelope Foreman
Short description: Prose and poem. Penelope lost her bones-deep attachment to nature because being queer felt like she could never be natural again.
Creator bio: Penelope is a former teacher, storyteller, folklore magpie, landscape poet and industrial heritage enthusiast. Her roots are in Wales and Yorkshire and the rich artistic and cultural heritage of both these wild, working, wind-and-rainswept landscapes. With almost a decade’s experience in teaching, specialising in challenging behaviours and working in areas classed as deprived, Penelope is a passionate proponent of creative arts, outdoors and hands-on learning. As a community archaeologist she helps people embed themselves in place, past and heritage by bringing archaeology alive in creative ways. She is rarely without her favourite hat, glittery Dr Marten boots and her ideas notebook.
Creator statement: When I was a child, I was indistinguishable from the landscapes around me. My skin was earth and my bones forest - and I ran with other children through the wild with abandon. But as soon as I became “woman”, and a non-straight woman at that, suddenly this illusion of harmony was shattered. I want to talk about how the queer experience of basic human interaction, of existing in places we used to feel totally at home and at one with, changes with the weight of society's assumption of heterosexual sexuality, hormones, and adulthood. This piece has only become more poignant as I see a return to the dark, lonely, frightening Section 28 days of my own education. I don't want anyone to grow up frightened of themselves and with that immense, painful loss of belonging that homophobia and LGBTQ+ erasure makes horribly possible.
Fucking Åmål (The Road to Hell 2) - Julia Freeman
Short description: Julia’s second diary entry. Further information above.
Sweeper - Gavin
RSPB Birdwatch - Mags
Short description: Field recording, postcard. A review of doing the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in winter 2019, including some birdsong from summer.
Creator bio: Mags lives in East Sussex, UK and works for a local educational charity. She enjoys travel, photography and the outdoors.
Creator link: Website
Creator statement: On Sunday 27 January 2019 I took part in the RSPB Garden Birdwatch, which helps the RSPB to monitor trends and see how birds are doing. I filled up my feeders and observed from my living room window. The weather was cold and dull and I didn't observe as many birds as in previous years. I did spot blue tits, robins, great tits, a chaffinch, magpie, pigeon and a pesky grey squirrel who decided to try and consume as much of the bird food as possible! A relaxing hour doing something useful before the heavens opened and it started to pour down.
Finnish Winter Adventure - Emily and Jenny
Short description: Conversation, field recording. Jenny and Emily discuss the outdoor adventures they had in a remote part of Finland.
Creator bio: Emily and Jenny are a couple of outdoor adventurers and homebodies living on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne, Australia.
Creator statement: We went on a holiday to Finland, using a tour group to go on a "Finnish Winter Adventure" in a national park in the north of Finland. We did some conversational field recordings and Jonathan interviewed us about our experience the week after.
Note: Recordings in Finland were made on Saami Homeland, which has been occupied by the Saami people for thousands of years.
Satyrs - Pablo Miguel Martínez
Short description: Poem. This short poem reflects Pablo Miguel Martínez’s love of nature, history, art and men.
Creator bio: Pablo Miguel Martínez’s collection, Brazos, Carry Me (Kórima Press), received the 2013 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry. Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sandra Cisneros praised Brazos, Carry Me as her favorite book of 2013. Pablo’s chapbook, Cuent@, was published by Finishing Line Press in February 2016. Pablo’s work has appeared in numerous U.S. publications, including Bilingual Review/Revista bilingüe, Gay and Lesbian Review, Inkwell, North American Review and Pilgrimage. He has been a recipient of the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Artistic Excellence, the Oscar Wilde Award and the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize. His literary work has received support from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. Pablo is a Co-Founder of CantoMundo, a U.S. retreat-workshop for Latinx poets. He resides in his hometown, San Antonio, Texas.
Creator link: Twitter
Creator statement: I have long imagined the ancients' expressions of what we currently refer to as homoeroticism. That fascination serves as a personal reminder that queer people have lived and loved even when we were excluded from the official record and/or widely circulated representations.
You Gather Their Bones - Jade Wallace
Short description: Poem. A recording of a poem Jade wrote about feeding feral cats in downtown Toronto with their then-lover.
Creator bio: Jade Wallace is a legal clinic worker and writer whose fiction, poetry and essays have been published internationally, including in Studies in Social Justice, The Town Crier, and The Dalhousie Review. Their latest chapbooks are Rituals of Parsing (Anstruther Press, 2018) and Test Centre (ZED Press, forthcoming 2019). They are an organizing member of Draft Reading Series, a member of the collaborative writing partnership MA|DE and one half of The Leafy Greens, a band that has been incorrectly described as "psychedelic stoner metal."
Creator statement: In downtown Toronto, there is a well-known neighbourhood called Kensington Market, which is home to a large population of feral cats. Local volunteers set out food and water for the cats year-round, as well as taking up other initiatives to help ensure the cats' well-being. A few years ago, I was in my first visibly queer relationship with someone who fed the cats weekly and often I would tag along as they made their rounds. One of this person's other and unrelated habits was tenderly collecting the bones of dead animals they found and setting them among stones, feathers, and other ephemera in beautiful quasi-shrines throughout their apartment. I thought that both the feeding of the cats and the collecting of the bones were not only good but also mystical and inspiring undertakings by my lover. These two preoccupations collided one day when we came across a striking dead starling while feeding the cats. A choice had to be made.
Sweeper - Dan
Good Intentions (The Road to Hell 3) - Julia Freeman
Short description: Julia’s third diary entry. Further information above.
Walking the Spaces Between - Jonathon Stalls
Short description: Monologue, field recording. Move by foot with Jonathon Stalls after a snow storm on urban streets in Denver, Colorado.
Creator bio: In 2010, Jonathon spent 242 days walking across the United States. He has continued to walk alongside thousands of people for thousands of miles. He's a passionate artist, social entrepreneur/co-op owner and advocate for social, economic and racial justice. He is also LGBTQIA+, Creator of Intrinsic Paths and Founder of Walk2Connect. He finished his studies at the Living School for Action and Contemplation in 2017 and has committed much of his life to help people deepen and heal relationships to one another, to the natural world and to themselves.
Creator statement: It's a raw, urban, traffic-filled invitation to moving more the way we're made to outside of our walls, screens, and automobiles. I believe so deeply that queer lives are essential to a more loving, just, and human future. Our bodies, stories, reflections, and art are needed more than ever in public - outdoor spaces, whether that be on nature trails, rural dirt roads, or urban streets.
Note: Walking on mostly Arapaho and Cheyenne lands (Colorado front range).
Nature Walk - Johnnie Gale
Short description: Poem. Johnnie created Nature Walk while taking a stroll along a creek - it is a spur of the moment piece.
Creator bio: Johnnie is a multi disciplinary gender-queer artist. He is a poet, working in both performance and Spoken word. He is also a videographer/photographer, creating video art, poetry and postcards from where ever he is at the moment. He is a Zinester creating culinary themed zines, photography zines and per zines. Years ago he got a degree in Media Arts. He worked as a professional cook/chef in world renowned restaurants/hotels. He likes to draw and paint, play with his cat and spend time with his spouse. Together they are the Artistic Nomads, two people looking to live and work full time on the road, creating art and experiencing life. His photography has been focused on flowers and food, with a bit of abandoned buildings thrown in. He loves the sweeping vistas of both the Sonoran desert and the Plains where he currently lives.
Creator statement: Nature Walk happened in early Spring, 2016, in a suburb/rural area of Kansas. It is a piece I created while visiting my current home, Kansas. It was early spring, I was on my daily walk. I realized that I have a recording device with me at all times. On the spur of the moment I read this piece into the recorder of my smart phone. Extracted for your listening pleasure is the audio recording of this piece. The video can be seen on YouTube. I love nature in all of its different states and environments and am inspired to create more pieces like this one.
The British Countryside - Allysse Riordan
Short description: Field recording. People using the British countryside, including horses, cars and bikes on the road.
Creator bio: Field Recordist. Sound Artist. Photographer. Writer. Microadventurer. Usually found traipsing in the countryside if not inside creating something from material collected while outside.
Creator statement: I set out to record a piece about my love of cycling but while I was doing so, this field recording happened and I fell in love with it. I was standing on a quiet Somerset lane next to my bike. As normal there was some shooting going on (clay I assume) and a lot of birds. I was enjoying the relative quiet when a small airplane came in, followed by cyclists, cars, horse riders, a bigger airplane, and finally the shooting and birds again. I felt I had captured a slice of a typical beautiful Spring Sunday in the lanes of Somerset when everybody is out enjoying the sun. All I was missing were joggers and ramblers but then, they were probably in the fields rather than the road.
Sweeper - Gemma
Been There, Done That (The Road to Hell 4) - Julia Freeman
Short description: Julia’s final diary entry. Further information above.
Conclusion - Jonathan and Allysse
Short description: Concluding comments and thanks. The sound of a small stream plays beneath the voices.