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QUEER GRAVITY

      "The universe may be not only queerer than we
      suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
      (J.S. Haldane 1860-1936)

At the 1993 Queer Collaborations (QC) Conference (an annual national Australian event for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students) in Sydney, a contingent of Brisbane university students campaigned for and won the right to host the next conference in their city, marking the first time that QC would be held outside Sydney.

In late 1993, as part of this group I began asking around the student union offices of the three Brisbane university campuses to see if we could get a queer magazine co-published for the Brisbane conference that would include articles on queer politics & issues and poetry/prose by students for students. No one seemed very interested (it was hard enough to get queer articles published in the campus newspapers at the time).

However my negotiations with Justine, the editor of Gravity (the newspaper of the Griffith University Student Representative Council) were most forthcoming. The QUEER GRAVITY magazine could appear in the centre of the mid 1994 edition of Gravity as a supplement which could be removed to become a separate edition. It would be funded by the GUSRC and hopefully through some paid advertisements. While this meant that there would be no single queer publication, the info in QUEER GRAVITY would however reach all (not only queer) students on the campuses where Gravity was distributed.

In early 1994 calls for contributions (and advertisers) to QUEER GRAVITY appeared in the Brisbane campus newspapers at Griffith University (Gravity), Q.U.T. (Utopia) and the University of Queensland (Semper).

The contributed materials that subsequently arrived from students (from all these campuses, and beyond) included photos, other graphics, and writings on paper & floppy disc. It took me a very stressed-out week to type up, design and piece together the issue with Justine helping on the scanner and with the lay-out. All 25 plus student items received, including an article on Gender Dysphoria and some lesbian poetry and gay verse, were incorporated into the issue, along with some of my essays, and several paid advertisements (not least one from a body piercing shop).

Thus, the 24-page QUEER GRAVITY supplement (with its pages numbered backwards from 46 to 23) came hotly off the press (as part of issue 5 of the 1994 Gravity) a week or so before the 1994 QC conference opened. The magazine was distributed across Brisbane campuses during conference events (in the sample bags), at the lesbian confest, and throughout queer venues in the inner city as part of that year's Poof-Dyke Pride Festival.

The spacey theme of QUEER GRAVITY reworked the ideas in the title and reflected my interest in Astrology. The cover page included the index in the right margin beside an image of planetary symbols in Space. The "SoLuna" or "queer face/s" icon (which I designed for use as the logo for QC 1994, see image at right) was embedded in the title, along with the quote (see above, top right) by J. S. Haldane.

QUEER GRAVITY was the first publication to reproduce Susi Blackwell's Dam Dykes lesbian safe sex poster. The poster contained an explicit image of safe (dental-dammed) cunnilingus between two women, and was later removed from the walls of the Brisbane City Council Art Gallery during an exhibition. [see Elizabeth Ashburn's Lesbian Art: An Encounter with Power (Roseville East, NSW: Craftsman House, 1996) for more about this.] No-one complained about the appearance of the Dam Dykes poster in QUEER GRAVITY.

The original QUEER GRAVITY was printed in black and white with a colour centrefold spread. In laying out this cyber-edition of selected items from the magazine I have tried to maintain the feel of the original paper copy. The only changes made to the verbal or visual art have been some resizing, multiplication and colourizing.

Simon-Alice (alias Simon-Astley Scholfield).
{QUEER GRAVITY editor}.

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