An upstart local zine is deliberately making space for the voices of people who identify as queer femmes.
Whiny Femmes is a submission-based zine and creators Christina Hajjar and Jules Hardy said no contribution was turned away for the Vol. 1 that came out on Oct. 7.
“The only way we curated the zine was just in the order,” Hardy said. “We didn’t reject any submissions and we felt that was really important to the multiplicity of stories.“
The zine received submissions from around the world, including from Mexico, London, Melbourne, and places across the United States.
“This is a forum to complain about something and think about the power of voice,” Hajjar said.“ There’s a wide variety of submissions, both in form and content. They range from being sad to grumpy to loving and contemplative.”
The inspiration came during a set by local band Mulligrub.
“Our friend Kelly [Campbell] is the lead vocalist and we just admired this person a lot for screaming and crying into a microphone,” Hardy said. “We wanted to mimic it in a way but we couldn’t start a band.”
Campbell, who is the Manitoban’s graphics editor, contributed to the inaugural edition.
Hajjar and Hardy put out a call for submissions across Facebook, and through friends and peers in Winnipeg.
“We would find femme healing collective groups and we kind of launched our call for submissions and just posted it in those groups,” Hardy said.
Emma Lytle, who identifies as a pansexual femme, attended the event. She said she appreciated the space that organizers created.
“We need more publications devoted to queer femme voices,” Lytle said. “Reading content created by other femmes is healing, inspiring, entertaining, and develops a sense of community.”
The launch event featured readings from local artists that were published, musical performances by À La Mode and Mirror Frame, art galleries by Callie Lugosi and Jotika Chaudhary, and a bubble machine.
“The bubble machine was really built up on Facebook and it definitely lived up to hype,” Lytle said, after praising the performers of the evening in an interview.
According to Trans Student Educational Resources, “femme” can refer to a gender presentation and a sexual orientation, sometimes simultaneously. For organizers, femme denotes a non-heterosexual orientation.
“We think that the word femme is a queer experience, but we include it because there can be misunderstanding and appropriation by het[erosexual] women,” Hajjar said.
Max Bronstein knows Hardy personally, and said he was happy to see the zine come to life.
“My friends and I made it a special event to go out and support them in their endeavour because we think that what they did was really cool.”
He agreed the space organizers created in the evening, and with the zine, is a positive environment.
“It was a very friendly space which you could tell was actively pushed in that direction by the organizers. Jules and Christina definitely succeeded in creating a space for femme positivity.”
Hajjar and Hardy are tabling the zine again on Oct 24 at CanZine Winnipeg/The Winnipeg Anarchist Book Fair, in the Millennium Library