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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Queer artist duo co-edits zines for Palouse LGBTQ community

By Gabrielle Feliciano For The Spokesman-Review

Two queer artists were both showing work at John’s Alley Tavern in Moscow, Idaho, toward the beginning of Moscow Artwalk’s 2023-24 season. After talking for hours about their art and mutual love of zines, they became best friends and were editing two zines together within weeks.

Mary Love’s “Queerly Beloved” and Kris’ “The Creatives” feature LGBTQ people, their allies and more, with many of the first issues’ contributors being from the Pacific Northwest.

Between August and September, Love and Kris will distribute 100 to 150 copies of both “Queerly Beloved” and “The Creatives” throughout Moscow, Pullman and Lewiston. Later, between November and December, they will distribute them in Spokane.

“People want to put their perspective and their ideals on (a community) without stepping foot into that community and finding out who we are and what we’re about. Instead, they want to know what we do behind our closed doors,” said Kris, who requested to be identified by first name only due to safety reasons. “Whatever is going on under my roof, it really isn’t anybody’s business. It’s what I’m bringing out into society … That’s another thing that kind of brought out the zines.”

Love and Kris are editors of their own zines and editors-at-large of each other’s zines. “Queerly Beloved” and “The Creatives” started as one zine, but they decided to split it after realizing Love’s ideas needed another zine, Kris said.

“Queerly Beloved” only has queer contributors, centering on queer life and culture through the arts, education and history, Love said.

One of Love’s biggest inspirations for her art and political activity is the 1990s punk-feminist Riot grrrl movement, which she said zine culture was a big part of. To Love, it is important to have control over her work, create her own labor and distribute “Queerly Beloved” in a way she feels is most ethical.

“Queerly Beloved” is aggressive in both message and look. Kris said Love’s zine is more tactile and piecemeal in a way that makes sense.

“I’m an anarchist,” Love said. “So mine definitely has a very political intent and bend to it.”

Love grew up in Sanford, Florida, which she said was still, in many ways, racially segregated. But it was not until college that she found out her own high school was under desegregation orders. In coming from that background and exposing herself to more information as she got away from it, Love discovered queer identity.

An asexual trans woman, Love said she did not come into who she is for political reasons, but because of who she is. She had to be political as soon as she saw how society and culture shaped her. Love believes in a world without systems of oppression or the need to politicize communities – a world where no one has to attend a segregated high school – but that world has to be fought for.

“Once you know, you can’t unknow that, and if you care about people, you have to do something,” Love said. “I think that’s a big part of what inspires my zine.”

“The Creatives” celebrates artists that are LGBTQ or allies of the community, Kris said. While “The Creatives” centers the arts, the zine will also feature writers, musicians, dancers and others whose craft is creative.

No matter their work or experience, artists who do not have money or fame are not talked about in the arts as much as artists who do. Kris said they want to put these artists’ faces out there so galleries, collectors and others can see and uplift them in the art world.

“The Creatives” resembles an art gallery booklet, clean, sophisticated and streamlined in design. Yet, the zine still has some of the edginess of “Queerly Beloved.” Of the zine’s first 100 to 150 issues, 10 to 25 will have some pages that pop up or fold out.

Kris is editing “The Creatives” in the memory of their partner, an artist who died in 2022. Before her death, the two planned to work on the zine together.

“Something that we talked about is uplifting the LGBT community that’s around here,” Kris said. “And so I do that now to honor her also.”

A transmasculine nonbinary person, Kris said they knew by age 3 that they were not like their friends in their neighborhood. But Kris could not share that with their parents, nor could they go to the library to figure out who they were and what they were experiencing. They never had a word for their own identity.

Kris said they went to their first Pride in their late teens. They thought they were with their people, that they could finally relax in the open. But the gay people Kris went to Pride with had nothing positive to say about the transgender people that were there, either.

As part of an older generation, Kris said they feel most responsible for their younger generations. Kris did not have support, other trans people to look at, confide in or learn from; they had to do it all by themself.

“Being trans and being in the Pacific Northwest is not an easy thing, for sure,” Kris said. “So I want people to learn, be educated, help lift them up, help them get their art out there, learn things, learn new things.”

Love and Kris may have a large generational gap between them, but Kris said their transness, trans journeys and political ideals bring them together. Though their art and ideas may differ, they respect each other and appreciate their visions for both zines.

Kris had always wanted to do an LGBTQ arts zine, but they said Love was the one who brought a broader picture and a more political, substantial ideal to that zine.

“If I can at least help one person in the LGBT community feel accepted by grabbing up that zine and reading it, and learning something, and becoming better for themselves, and making a tomorrow better for somebody else, that’s a lot,” Kris said. “And that says a lot about that zine.”