The queer media space seems to be both shrinking and expanding, as august brands struggle to adapt to the mainstreaming of queer narratives while smaller, more niche titles flourish by embracing marginalized facets of the LGBTQ community.
Among those upstarts is Brunch Club, a contributor-based magazine and community center with a mission to “help elevate the voices of queer people- especially those of color.” Brunch Club itself is an off-shoot of another independent queer zine, Hello Mr.
“In 2017 we were awarded a residency and launched within Hello Mr. Issue 9,” says Colby Anderson, Brunch Club’s 27-year-old founder and creator. “Last summer we launched our second issue featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race star Valentina, on two covers!”
The event will feature five Los Angeles-based queer writers of color reading a few of their personal pieces. Here, we talk to Anderson about the impetus behind the poetry reading and the current state of queer media.
Why did you want to create a queer reading event?
Last summer our friends at Homoco invited us to have an event at their pop up during NYC World Pride. We decided to host a poetry night. There was something very intimate about having queer people open up their souls in a small shop full of people they had just met. The event was so successful that we realized we had to do it again—this time in L.A.!
What do you think of the current state of queer media?
I think there are amazing things happening right now in queer media. It’s all happening very slowly, but queer people of color are starting to take up space, be seen, and work on projects that they might’ve been ignored for in the past. Brands are slowly beginning to understand that pride isn’t just one month out of the year. Sadly, a lot of queer media companies and platforms have shuttered recently. I know if we all learn to support each other more as a community, the future of queer media will be on the right track.
How do you think mainstream media fails queer people of color?
Simply by not having enough queer people of color at the table is a huge failure. Hire us, invite us, see us. I also don’t think it should be 100% up to QPOC to educate non-QPOC media on our experiences. Stories on QPOC should never be told and executed without a QPOC at the head of the table, but at the same time it doesn’t take much to pick up a book.
Conversely, what do you think the mainstream media gets right about QPOC?
I think just by honestly telling our stories, without a filter. I think people growing up today are lucky to be able to see themselves on platforms and in spaces that a lot of us didn’t get the chance to.
How does Brunch Club fit into this conversation?
We haven’t been around for all that long, but within the past three years, we’ve been able to form a community of people who want to be heard and of people who want to hear them. We’re not just a zine, but a community. Since we’re not a huge publication, we’re able to connect with people in ways that others can’t. Our mission is to give a voice and opportunities to queer people of color. We also make it our goal to donate to trans and queer organizations when we can. It should never be about us but the community.