Rebirth, Revival and Reclamation: A Queer Renaissance

Meet the new team behind Proud Queer Monthly.

The Renaissance was a period of transformation and renewal, of rediscovering the old in a new light and moving forward into a new age of art, culture and diplomacy. Proud Queer Monthly is in the midst of its own renaissance, with a brand new team shaping the future of our publication.

We are drawing from our history as a queer publication here in Portland, learning from the ways we have striven to represent and serve our community in the past; and we have our eyes on the horizon, dreaming of how we can evolve and innovate in the shadow of this dark age.

Our new team is bringing fresh ideas and energy to PQ, pushing us to be better than ever, and we couldn’t be more excited to begin this journey of rebirth, revival and reclamation with our amazing community.

Ryn McCoy – The Editor

When I was nine years old, I won my school’s poetry writing contest. My teacher took me out in the hall and asked me, sternly, if the words had been mine. I was shocked when I realized I was being accused of plagiarism; first, I was indignant that anyone could think I would do something so dishonest, and second, I was hurt that my teacher was implying he did not believe me to be worthy of the words I had produced.

We are often not credited for our own work because we are not considered worthy of what we have created.

It affected me deeply to have the ownership of my words doubted as a child. And at the root of it, this is a common experience for people who are marginalized. We are often not credited for our own work because we are not considered worthy of what we have created, or our work is not seen as “valid” or “valuable” simply because we are the ones doing it.

A large part of my job as editor at Proud Queer Monthly is deciding what content will be published—whose words will be put to ink and paper and distributed across the city. This is a great responsibility, and I am determined to use this opportunity to lift up the voices of those who are most often silenced, whose stories are most often untold, who are considered “unworthy.”

I believe it is powerful to put our own words—the words of the marginalized—in print, because it is an act of reclamation for us to take space in this medium that has so often been held out of our reach. One of the most important things PQ can do is demonstrate that the most marginalized people of this community are worthy of being recognized and appreciated, and the work we do is worthy of being documented and shared. I want us to see ourselves and our friends and family represented on the pages of our publication; and to turn to PQ as a place to celebrate our many diverse and overlapping communities, to share knowledge and educate one another, and to let one another know we are here, we see you, and you matter.

Maya Vivas – The Art Director

My full name is Maya Linare de Ceano-Vivas. Yes, it’s long, and yes, I’ve heard every mispronunciation under the sun. Names are funny things. Those syllables in that particular order serve as a symbol of who you are. They are deeply tied to identity, hold history and have the potential to make history.

I believe that my need to create comes from a history of thinking creatively, not only as a desire for self expression, but as a desire for survival.

I have not always been comfortable with my name, my symbol. It is one that tells the story of immigrant parents and otherness deeply influenced by colonialism. But also a history of great strength and adaptability. I am a queer person of color navigating a society that was not built for my prosperity, but built as a stepping stone for others on the backs of my ancestors. I believe that my need to create comes from a history of thinking creatively, not only as a desire for self expression, but as a desire for survival.

I have always been interested in the act of making. Of bringing something new into the world that has yet to exist. Adding something, leaving my mark. This desire inevitably lead me to a career in art and design. Just like a name, art can serve as a symbol that represents much more grand and complex ideas. I believe that art can propel a narrative, begin a conversation and communicate our deepest feelings when words fail us.

For PQ, it is my job to marry written word with the visual in order to strengthen the narrative. Ryn and I work closely together to seek out the marginalized voices in our community and uplift them. This a task that I take very seriously. PQ has given me a tremendous opportunity to not only hear and share the stories and ideas of my community, but I have also been gifted with their trust to visually elevate their ideas in a way that stays true to their original concepts.

My dream for PQ is that it continues to be a place in media where my community can see themselves reflected. Representation, in mainstream media, while improving with each generation, still leaves a lot to be desired. I will continue to use my strengths as a visual communicator to produce symbols that propel the narratives of my community, for each story is as unique as a name.

Miguel Cobian – The VP of Marketing

Hi, I’m Miguel! I’m the newest member to the PQ Monthly and El Hispanic News teams. I’m from Guadalajara, Mexico and when I was 5 years old, moved to Salem, Oregon so that my family could open up Mexican restaurants.

I fondly remember growing up in our state’s capital surrounded by the Hispanic community. Never liking a babysitter, I would sometimes sleep in the corner restaurant booths while my parents were hard at work. I quickly made friends in school by inviting them over to our restaurant—which was close to school—for some free Pepsi and chips and salsa. Growing up, I always liked music and theater (Titanic is still my favorite movie), but as technology became increasingly more accessible, I quickly got hooked on that.

I want to help people, organizations and businesses to connect with each other, help each other and enrich each other.

I vividly remember seeing the first iMac G3. You might remember them as the “colorful” or “translucent” iMacs. I stared at it like you stare at your first crush—and quickly became a pro at Number Munchers and Oregon Trail. Little did I know—or imagine—that at 18 years old, Apple would recruit me to work for them.

During my 5 years at Apple, I learned a lot about aesthetics and technology, but most importantly about how to enrich lives. How do you enrich lives through technology, through software, through experiences, through a photograph, through a story? How do you help someone, an organization or a business achieve their very best using our tools? During this renaissance, the computer was like a bicycle for our brains—allowing us to achieve our very best potential through minimal friction.

For PQ, my job is exactly that: to enrich our community members’ lives. I want to help people, organizations and businesses to connect with each other, help each other and enrich each other. Look out for our expanded community outreach efforts coming soon!

During this troubling political climate, I hope our publication can help enlighten the minds of the public. Whether you identify as LGBTQ, are a straight ally—or simply don’t know—we want to enrich your life, build connections, and just like during the renaissance, come out more FABULOUS than ever before!

Let’s not allow the last 8 years of progress to be rolled back. Reach out to others. Share the love. Get involved.

Feel free to shoot me a message anytime at miguel@pqmonthly.com