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From the Editor
This summer, Proud Queer Monthly experienced firsthand the struggles of being a team of queer people of color working in media. It felt like an extensive metaphor for what we were trying to accomplish—like the universe itself was reminding us that centering and celebrating people of color is never something that is achieved without a fight. This month, Charlottesville reminded us all, yet again, that the depth of hatred runs deep in this country, and a frightening percentage of it is directed at people of color. It is horrors like the violence in Charlottesville that also remind us just how important it is to make intentional space for people of color, when so much of this country would prefer us to disappear altogether. The Melanin Edition is made up entirely of the words and images of people of color. It is an act of resistance.
Many writers who have never contributed to PQ before—or even read PQ before—expressed enthusiastic interest in being a part of this project, and I am honored to share their brave and powerful words in The Melanin Edition. Dakky Comics contrasts Portland’s oh-so-progressive image with the realities of living in it as a queer person of color (page 10); and Joseph Jordan Johnson addresses the subtle violence that white liberals enact upon black people (page 5). Anna Zheng discusses the consumption of womxn of color by those who care about race in theory but are self-serving in practice (page 7); while Lani Felicitas explores the intersection of colorism, gender, and poverty in Asian-American communities (page 6).
Understandably, there is a lot of hurt and anger in these pages—it is difficult to exist in this world as a person of color, and Portland provides its own unique brand of struggles—but this edition is also full of joy, love and gratitude. I was repeatedly moved to tears while interviewing folks for the “Melanin of Portland” photoshoot (page 12), as they spoke of unlearning a hatred of their own skin—reclaiming and decolonizing their bodies through radical self-love and community-building. Cambria Herrera celebrates the intersectional queer Latinx community here in Portland (page 4), and shares personal tips for self-love and healing (page 11); and Luis Silva highlights the creativity and perseverance of local artist Cynthia Gerriets in an interview about her work designing and making toys (page 17).
Throughout the process of creating this edition, I found myself humbled again and again as I witnessed the fierce pride that people of color take in those aspects of ourselves that mark us as outsiders in this racially homogenous city. We have a lot to cherish and celebrate, and a lot to fight for; and I am honored to do that alongside this community.
Editor-in-Chief, Brilliant Media