Projects, Team

It’s Alive! #QueerQuarrels

Kickstarter Launch


Remember how we kept talking about working on our project F, M or Other: Quarrels with the Gender Binary?

Well, no more teasing and you having to wait — we are ready to raise funds and be able to share this brilliant book with you!

We have been working hard since the first open call for submissions and have managed to create and put together something that we are really proud of and eager to share.

F, M or Other started out of the desire to provide a platform for people to project their opinions and experiences with gender and its social construct to a wider audience. Now its ready to do exactly that, we just need your support in order to fully bring it to life.

A combination of hard work (and great luck) has led us to being able to gather over 40 incredible creators and writers whose pieces will be compiled into an anthology split into two volumes. Each piece has a unique perspective on the theme of quarrels with the gender binary. We wanted to make sure that when you pick up the book, you are provided with a range of experiences and thoughts expressed in different forms. Gender means different things to different people — it only makes sense to show this through a variety of formats. The anthology is filled with poems, essays, short stories and comics that are here to shake things up.

Using Kickstarter gives us a chance to reach out to you, dear readers — people who want to read a book that does not try to put anyone into a neatly organised box but instead, is letting the quarrelous nature of gender speak for itself. The crowdfunding page will provide you with information about the project, showing different ways of pre-ordering the book and supporting authors and a small, independent publishing company.

Don’t worry if you dont have any money to spare, we appreciate your support in any way thats accessible to you — pitching in at Thunderclap, sharing the Kickstarter page and using the hashtag #QueerQuarrels will make a difference.

Thank you for your continuous support that reminded us during long work hours and stressful editing nights, that you want this book to exist and you are ready to have more queer writing out in the world.

If you missed the event @Lighthouse Books, make sure to check out our Twitter (we tweeted live) and Instagram (click on Birdie to see live videos).

Preview Booklets for #QueerQuarrels ‘sold like hotcakes’ – with donations going to support LGBT Health & Wellbeing, a cornerstone local LGBTQI+ charity supporting the “community of communities”(c) Jules in Scotland. You can pick up a copy and donate what you can for the cause @LighthouseBooks. (Browsing recommended, their selection is absolutely fantastic.)

Love, The Team

PA, Team

Public Announcement

We are a Queer Press.

An interesting label, isn’t it? One that we have chosen, as the issues closest to our collective hearts are those that affect the LGBTQI+ communities.

“Queer” isn’t necessarily the right term for everyone within these communities – or even those that we publish – and we are aware of that too.

Recently, our emergent press has been confronted with anger and disappointment online. Apparently we have not lived up to the expectations of one or more persons or groups because of the choices we have made regarding the authors we wish to publish in our forthcoming anthology: F, M or Other: Quarrels with the Gender Binary.

The clue is in the title.

There is scope for publishing a writer whether or not you agree with their point of view. Indeed, in our opinion, it is important to listen to others whether or not you agree with them. It represents maturity of thought, intelligence of response and a desire to be outside the echo chamber of your own thoughts; to invite in the ‘other’, discuss and to evolve. To move forward.

Silencing the voices of those you disagree with is not a means of moving forward. This kind of social censorship is a way of excluding and denying, ultimately learning nothing, receiving nothing and giving nothing. We cannot move forward or have a chance at moving forward if we choose to exclude.

We do have a line. We do not publish hate speech. We are not a ‘phobic’ press by any stretch of the imagination and will not publish content we believe would propagate such opinions. We have debated to the point that it was painful regarding what to and what not to include in this book.

We will not silence. And we will not be held to ransom by those that would.

The approach of excluding voices simply because you are affronted by them is the reason minority presses such as Knight Errant Press have to exist in the first place.

Judging material you have not read and being willing to discount the rest of the anthology in the perpetuation of your own ignorance is a poor example of evolved thinking and one we will not support or pander to. Is it OK to accuse people of perpetuating their own ignorance…? Yes. When it comes to people demanding the same censorship on others as they suffer themselves.

We’d rather have a healthy debate through a plurality of voices than be self-congratulatory and never learn anything.

We hope you’ll join us when our Kickstarter for our quarrelsome anthology launches on February 8th.


– The Team


Image sourced from here depicting art found on the Berlin Wall,  “My God Help me to Survive this Deadly Love” features the Brezhnev / Honecker kiss.


The Gay ‘Sellouts’

The famous Princess Bride quote “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something” fits quite well into our current social climate where commercials and ads jump out at us from every corner. Companies have to scramble to stay relevant and they are trying to reach new audiences by being ‘current’ and, as we all know well enough, it doesn’t always work out (Pepsi, I’m talking about Pepsi).

So, if we have these massive corporations reaching out to different markets, inevitably, LGBTQIA+ people end up becoming a part of that conversation. The famously dubbed ‘pink pound’[1] is becoming more and more desirable. According to Crunch, its estimated worth is £6 billion per year, and while the term still is often linked with gay men, it is being increasingly used to describe the purchasing power of the LGBTQIA+ community in general.

As June was Pride Month, many companies came forward with different campaigns that celebrated pride. Nike did an ad for its #BeTrue pride collection featuring the legendary performer and vogue artist Leiomy Maldonado. After years of ads featuring different athletes, Nike recognised voguing as a legitimate sport that deserves praise for its intricacy and the amount of hard work that goes into it. Nike’s act of featuring a transgender woman performing something which has so much of its history linked to the LGBTQIA+ movement is one of the few instances of mainstream sport brands shining a spotlight on queer issues. This has led to people discussing the intentions behind a big brand’s choice to play on themes connected with the queer community in order to appeal to a wider audience. For example, David Levitz and Ash Hardell talked about “pinkwashing”[2] and the commercialisation of the LGBTQIA+ movement in a recent video together, saying that brands like Skittles and Target producing this kind of merchandise makes them wonder if these companies have ulterior motives.

Pride Marches are also being accused of becoming too commercial. There are a number of activists who have expressed the opinion that Pride marches are becoming increasingly commercial and are watering down their original political message. Some have criticised Pride Marches by saying that Pride is now just an excuse to party, that people have “lost sight of its identity — and of the many challenges that the gay community has still to overcome. The outside influence of brands is ‘classic pinkwashing’”.

While the amount of people attending the march in New York City has grown by a third, a survey showed that more than a quarter of the attendants in 2014 identified as straight. These numbers could suggest a deviation from the original aim of Pride, which is to create awareness of the social and political issues concerning queer lives. That is not to say that it has become just a party for straight people; there are many straight allies who want to show their support. However, this could mean that Pride is now more focused on catering to the ‘general’ public. Last summer, a group bore a black coffin on their shoulders along the parade route at London Pride, symbolising what they, and others, perceive to be the death of the movement. In addition, smaller Pride celebrations are closing down because of a lack of funds and sponsors.

Two opposing camps become visible in this debate. There are those who are not pleased with the influence that big sponsors have on Pride marches. Then there is the opposing side that argues that sponsors are needed in order to make the events as accessible as possible and help raise public awareness. This was the case for Leicester Pride – the organisers had to set up a donations page because they struggled to find sponsors, without financial support the event simply could not happen.

The real question is this: Are the giant, faceless corporations that do not care about helping anyone but their wallets just trying to profit off of yet another marketing strategy? Can something good come out of this?

Amrou Al-Kadhi, a drag queen performer, talks about general, mainstream venues demanding that queer performers should just be grateful for being given the chance to perform for free. They feel as if they are just tokens for cis, straight people to come and see something unusual and for the venues to bring in the ‘pink pound’. If voices of people like Al-Kadhi are not taken seriously and they themselves are considered just an obscure attraction, then queer people have the right to be sceptical about anyone wanting to make a profit selling products connected to queer culture. This is not to say that everything is just about the ‘evil corporation’ wanting to make money, but there is always the danger that the message will be watered down in order to appeal to a larger audience. Shannon Keating brings up the history behind “The Future is Female” slogan t-shirt and points out how a product whose proceeds were donated to a charity supporting the cause got taken over by bigger clothing companies that do not share their profits with any of the charities that the t-shirt was originally made for.

This debate reveals that providing a platform where marginalised voices can share their stories, and have others understand their struggles, is vital and needs to be focused on. While the mainstream is starting to recognise more queer performers and creators, it is important that it is not done in the spirit of ‘tokenism’ but as a gateway to understanding and acceptance.

This is also, firmly, an issue for the publishing industry to consider. There is a lack of diversity in the industry and a need for representation, a need that commercial publishing cannot fulfil in its current state.

When LGBTQIA+ focused venues close down, like the legendary LGBTQIA+ bookstore, Giovanni’s Room, that closed in 2014, it is often a large blow to the community. Places aimed and created specifically for queer people should be uplifted and supported – giving a platform to those avoided by the mainstream is crucial to creating a change. While Nike’s decision to feature a trans woman in their ad is a significant move forward, more energy needs to be put into places that are specifically created by and for queer people. These places need to be supported not for how much they can entertain the mainstream, but because they’re one of the main reasons for the continued survival of the queer community.

Written and researched by Lenka Murova 

[1] Def: “The perceived spending power of homosexuals as a group; (in plural) money belonging to, or earned by, homosexuals” from Oxford dictionary