The posts on here have dried up a little as of late, the truth is I’ve been really busy with university. It turns out there’s a lot of work involved in getting an MA!
As part of the course, we recently put together a short magazine called Queer which was selected by a panel of magazine industry professionals as the most viable idea from four possible titles.
Queer is a concept for a monthly magazine serving the LGBTQ+ community and, although it wasn’t the concept my group pitched, I was excited to explore an area I’d had little or no exposure to in the past.
Writing from a new perspective is always a welcome challenge, especially when it encourages me to consider the views of others in a new way, but writing responsibly and sensitively for a readership who may have felt marginalised or discriminated against in the past was an opportunity that really excited me.
I consider myself to be an open-minded person, I would be mortified to think that anyone construed something I said to be prejudiced or homophobic in any way, but working on this project made me scrutinise the language I use and assumptions I make in a way I never have before.
When I interviewed members of gay-friendly football team the Nottingham Lions for example, I was concerned that I might refer to a typical football team as being “normal”. This is the sort of thing that could cause offence to my interviewees even if it was just a faux pas on my part.
It’s easy to think of this sort of consideration as “political correctness” or a trivial distinction, but when you consider that many of the players felt unable to represent themselves openly in mainstream football teams, and considered giving up the sport they love because of the small-minded behaviour and offensive language they encountered while playing, it becomes clear why the words we choose are so important.
You can learn how to use design software from YouTube, grammar can be honed using text books, everyone under 25 seems to have a basic knowledge of Photoshop these days, but experiences like working on Queer are the reason I signed up for a postgraduate course in the first place. To be able to reflect on yourself and work in a safe environment, where a mistake won’t cost you your job (and probably career) is truly invaluable.
Here’s a link to the finished magazine, I hope you like it!