Blak sovereignty, the Matildas and queer polyamorous parenting: Our editors’ top picks for 2023
By: Archer Magazine
Hello there! Dani here, Archer’s Online Editor and non-binary Libra (with a Virgo moon).
I’ve now officially been part of the Archer team for over seven years. It’s a total dream. The magic of working in a community of passionate, creative queers who want to see marginalised voices amplified is nowhere close to wearing off.
This year we celebrated our 10th birthday! That’s 10 years of sharing powerful stories about gender, sex, sexuality, queerness and identity. That’s 10 years of working with brilliant writers whose words make us laugh out loud, feel big feels, shed a tear or say, “That’s exactly how I feel!”
My fellow Online Editor Alex recently shared our most read pieces of the year, and now’s our chance to share some of the pieces that really stuck with us. Our editors’ top picks for 2023.
Bookmark these for some holiday reading; these stories are Archer at its finest.
Dani Leever is a non-binary nonfiction writer, editor and arts worker. They’re Archer’s Online Editor by day and DJ Gay Dad by night. They collect fishing-themed hats and apparel.
Queering the parenting narrative: On co-parenting, uncoupling and polyamory by Frankie van Kan
“As the fog of my inner turmoil begins to lift, I am beginning to taste the freedom this disentanglement brings.”
I can always tell a piece will hit hard when my comments on the Google Doc I share with the writer during the editing process include ooooof and oh god, my HEART. I admire and respect Frankie and her craft so much, so working on this piece was a dream. We were lucky enough to have her perform at our 10th birthday launch, and also have her pen such a powerfully vulnerable, poignant and insightful piece. Get ready to weep.
The Matildas’ lasting queer legacy: Green, gold and gay by Rach Mellerick
“Never in my 16-year-old-Caitlin-Foord-filled dreams could I have imagined that I would watch Australia v Denmark in a packed-out queer bar in Brunswick.”
Matildas fever peaked during the Women’s World Cup this year, particularly for sports-loving queers. Rach Mellerick writes a piece perfectly encapsulating the mood during that queer time, when fervent discussions about the Matildas being so talented and hot were inescapable. The piece speaks to Rach’s connection to sport, and reflects on the lasting legacy of these brilliant athletes.
The terror of queer trauma: Horror in the New Queer Cinema Movement by Eric Browning
“I devoured every independent film that I could, revelling when the rare Brokeback Mountain, Rent or Transamerica would play.”
As a queer film school graduate, this piece speaks to me in a deep, nerdy way. Eric’s insightful exploration into the New Queer Cinema Movement is as informative as it is captivating to read. The factoid about ACT UP’s Basic Instinct protest instantly became my favourite bit of queer trivia of the year.
Cry Club is creating a queer space for you to be whoever you want to be by Patrick Lenton
“Cry Club are not interested in doing anything other than chasing joy. They refuse to limit themselves, or be reduced to one genre or box. It’s an inherently queer philosophy.”
Patrick Lenton is such a stellar writer. This piece profiles Cry Club and their undeniable queer power. It speaks to representation, queer joy and safe spaces in such a refreshing and delightful way; you can feel his love for Jono and Heather radiating off every line. It will absolutely make you a Cry Club stan. And a Patrick Lenton stan.
Safe spaces for older LGBTIQ+ people: The Coming Back Out Salon by Archer Magazine
“This is my opportunity to recreate my life and history when I get to attend the very glamorous Coming Back Out Salon event with my partner – at the same place, and in a different time.”
Reading the first draft of this piece filled me so much overwhelming pride and emotion that I had to lie down and do some deep breathing. Listening to the words of older queer people, who have paved the way with their fearlessness, resilience and tenacity, is always an honour. So working on this piece in the lead up to the Coming Back Out Salon at Sydney WorldPride really filled my soppy queer heart.
Alex Creece is a writer, poet, collage artist and average kook living on Wadawurrung land. Alex works as the Online Editor for Archer Magazine and the Production Editor for Cordite Poetry Review. She collects human teeth.
Loving Eurovision as a trans woman by Natalie Feliks
“I know I’m far from the only trans woman who partially owes her life to the contest, and this is a lesson on how a largely cis gay audience needs to make a space feel safe for trans fans, especially when trans people are a big part of why those spaces exist.”
Natalie skillfully writes about her identity as a trans woman and her complex and bittersweet relationship with Eurovision. Even for those who don’t have a specific connection to Eurovision, this piece offers thought-provoking considerations around fandom in general, and how the politics of these spaces can be alienating and unsafe for trans people.
Out of print: Lesbian literature as an artefact of queer history by Darla Tejada
“Historical lesbian texts are often taken out of print due to being ‘unrelatable’. This has made me even more determined to keep their legacy alive. I want to read and remember lesbian literature in the way it deserves, even if no one else does.”
This piece opens with “Just like many introverted and bookish dykes…” and that’s basically my calling card! Darla’s article gives me serious bookshelf envy. She not only weaves in great book recommendations (if I can track down these rare gems!), but she also shares a beautiful narrative of lesbian pride and history.
The Voice referendum: Blak sovereignty and justice after ‘No’ by Roxanne Moore
“We demanded the bare minimum, and it was too much for the colony. I feel that the time for reconciliation is done. We’ve had 20 years of that – now there’ll be less concessions and palatability. We need to do things on our terms. We will not be silent.”
Politically, this year has been heavy and, frankly, heartbreaking. In this stirring essay, Roxanne reflects on the ‘No’ outcome of the The Voice to Parliament referendum, and the importance of Blak-Palestinian solidarity against settler-colonial violence. As a call-to-action, Roxanne urges allies to act in support of First Nations people here and worldwide. It remains a must-read for all of us in so-called Australia.
“In a world where the overwhelming imagery of Pride has traditionally been dominated by white, gym-fit, able-bodied and muscular cis men, Progress Shark is a symbol for us all. The quirky, the different, the strange.”
Progress Shark and Mama Alto are two queer icons (in quite different ways), and it’s an utter treat to have an essay featuring both. In this poetic and poignant article, Mama captures Sydney WorldPride 2023 as a distinct moment in queer history, reflecting on what brought us here, and the symbolism of this glamorously enigmatic shark.
“Whether in space or as an elfin renaissance dandy, I still looked like I was in my element – but becoming that person was too far a distance to traverse in my lifetime. Why did I have to see these images and know in my bones that life as this person was out of reach? It took my breath away.”
For all its faults and complications, artificial intelligence has offered unique ways to explore gender expression – especially for trans and gender diverse folks. Jasper discusses this topic deftly and intimately, sharing their journey as they generate different renditions of themselves.
What were your favourite stories this year? Do you have any feedback for the Archer Magazine team? Get in touch with us here!
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