Seeking to be “loud and queer,” the student-run magazine Crass hopes to provide a new type of space for LGBTQ+ students on campus through self-expression across a variety of media.
“We wanted a space to be loud and queer in a very particular sense — queer as disgustingness not respectability. We were interested in writing about our feelings in ways that we weren’t able to in other spaces on campus. We wanted a space for organized chaos,” Naira Bezerra-Gastesi ’21, an executive board member, told The Sun in an interview.
Crass seeks to fill a hole in existing LGBTQ+ spaces on campus by providing a space for what some members affectionately call “bullshit.” The free zine is published in print once a semester.
“We wanted a space to write and make bullshit and not pretend as if everything we do is pretty and amazing,” Bezerra-Gastesi continued, explaining why they felt something lacking from other campus LGBTQ+ spaces.
“From the beginning, we wanted it to be a space for art but also trash. We are not here to make beautiful masterpieces, we are here writing shitty poetry about our feelings and putting it on the page because the act of making the art feels good,” Janie Walter ’21, another member of the executive board, added.
The idea of simply creating art and making their own space on campus is central to the publication, and influenced the decision behind its unorthodox name.
“The reason we settled on ‘Crass’ was it felt loud and willing to be obnoxious. Crass as a word means to be obnoxious, loud, annoying and willing to be blatant and upfront. It really captured the spirit of what we are trying to do,” Walter continued.
The publication stresses “horizontal leadership,” according to Angeliki Cintron ’22, a member of the zine’s executive board. While the publication does have positions, every member of the publication has a say in what the publication does, such as which themes to use for the semesterly issue.
The zine has been running since fall 2018, and has featured a variety of themes such as Power, or this semester’s theme, Home.
“Home can be different for lots of LGBTQ individuals … that’s a conversation that’s important to have, such as the history of ‘chosen family.’ We are handling questions like ‘what does home mean for queer people?’ and ‘can it be something besides just a biological mom and dad?’” Bezerra-Gastesi explained.
People are free to interpret the semester’s theme in a variety of ways. For the Power issue, there were pieces about government and control next to pieces examining the power dynamic between “bottoms” and “tops” in queer sex.
The zine stresses that all forms of expression are valid as long as they are not offensive or marginalizing towards others.
“There’s no real filter, besides obvious things like racism and sexism. If people want to write explicitly about sex, sexual assault, family, their feelings, that’s fine. Whatever we want goes,” Bezerra-Gastesi said.