What Brings You Queer/LGBTQIA+ Joy?

This piece is a collaborative, crowd sourced project meant to encapsulate the spectrum of queer joy. Our group is interested in documenting queer/LGBTQIA+ joy. We want to highlight the highs of being LGBTQIA+ even when we are faced with hardships, past and present. Our trip to the Gerber/Hart Library & Archives–specifically the archive on the lesbian fishing club and the myriad of archives on local drag–-inspired us to work on a sort of digital archive project. To gather this joy, we created collection boxes asking community members to answer the question, What Brings You Queer/LGBTQIA+ Joy? We placed these boxes in LGBTQIA+ spaces around the city of Chicago, specifically in Boystown and Andersonville, and shared a link to fill out a google form for people within our online communities. These boxes are aesthetically rooted in group member’s experiences with drag and queer self representation, and the process of making them together in our intergenerational art making group facilitated conversation about queer/LGBTQIA+ joys and histories in Chicago specifically, and in our pasts more generally.

Using the responses we gathered, we made the accompanying video presentation showcasing the community’s answers. This project seeks to represent a wide range of queer/LGBTQIA+ identifying people and their joy. We worked to represent more than just the clubbing scene associated with the LGBTQIA+ community in Chicago, placing boxes in bookstores, coffee shops, and community centers as well as two LGBTQIA+ night clubs. Even the process of designing the piece was aware of the differing experiences of the members within the group. We talked a lot about whether to use queer, gay, lgbtqia+, or some combination of terms to best represent the community we are a part of. Ultimately, we decided to pose the question ”What Brings You Queer/LGBTQIA+ Joy?” The responses we received were varied and beautiful, and reading them fittingly brought our group a lot of joy.

Artists: Lamar Marti Smith, Korina Hernandez, Willow Lipson, Isabel Sperry, and Joe Henry

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