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July 8, 2021
What’s On Queer BC is an online magazine that shares community-driven resources, personal anecdotes, and astrology reports – basically everything queer’s need to get their day started. The magazine’s main draw however is their poster wall, a virtual bulletin board advertising events happening around the Lower Mainland, like the upcoming VQFF! The magazine began as a hobby project in 2015 for Founder Jude Goodwin (she/her) to promote queer events happening around BC. I had an opportunity to speak with Jude this month about the evolution of the magazine and the importance of community partnership.
At the heart of What’s On Queer BC is a need for connection. Therefore, the website evolves to meet the ever-changing needs of the queer community. When COVID-19 interfered with in-person events, the calendar became a senseless integration: what even is time under quarantine? Based on her role as an administrator for the Facebook page COVID-19 Coming Together (Vancouver), and in response to the rise of mutual aid, Jude replaced the calendar with an events tab and poster wall to promote online initiatives for bringing people together.
Another tab on the website, LGBTQI2S+ resources, is a collection of living resources, such as Facebook groups for accessing housing, cultivating friendships and queer-friendly fitness activities. “The resources served the community really well. What’s On Queer BC had a lot of traffic over most of the pandemic months,” says Jude.
We are incredibly grateful for our community partners who publicize the work we do illuminating queer lives through film. “From our perspective, we want to do as much as we can to support,” says Jude. What’s On Queer BC endorses the Festival by sharing information about passes on their Facebook page and publishing press releases for their 200 daily visitors. Some of whom may have recently come to terms with their gender or sexuality, others are new to the Metro Vancouver area. Both are seeking a sense of belonging. Jude has fond memories of when she first came out and attended the Festival, she says “[that] standing in a lineup outside of Simon Fraser Theatre with a bunch of other community members was very fulfilling.”
Queer writers based in BC write the articles published in the magazine. A selection of written work is available to readers, including an article written by Jude, Braids and Cultural Responsibility in Changing Times. A personal story in which Jude grapples with her understanding of what constitutes a style of braids as cultural appropriation, and addressing a policy introduced by promoters ManUp in 2019 that bans appropriative hairstyles at events. In another article, Emory Oakley advises readers on How to Talk to your Child about Drag. Emory defines drag as “an opportunity to play with gender.” Families are welcome at Pride events and discussing the artistry of drag at a young age fosters an openness to all gender expressions.
The blogging industry doesn’t always compensate writers, but What’s On Queer BC is committed to supporting their content creators. As a freelance writer, when I started submitting pitches to magazines, many did not pay. Last time I checked, exposure doesn’t pay the bills. Jude hopes that the magazine can continue to grow into the future, providing even more opportunities for local queer writers to share their stories
There is a growing need for mainstream media representations of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, and publications like What’s On Queer BC provide an outlet for queer folks to exist on and offline on their own terms, especially as COVID-19 cases continue to fall. The events tab and Poster Wall is a one-stop-shop for movie nights, drag shows, and dances happening around Greater Vancouver. As we collectively long to re-enter community spaces,strip ourselves of our inhibitions and shimmy onto the dancefloor, Jude is especially keen on attending Pride Dances for lesbian and queer women hosted by DJ Jakkie.
Check out the latest articles published by What’s On Queer BC and events happening in Vancouver, Victoria and beyond, today.