Those of you who know me personally know that this year has been hard for many reasons, and that some of my very favorite days are zine fest days. Traveling for zine events, visiting zine friends and sharing my work, the work of our press, and the works included in our distro has become a lifeline.
In 2014, Mend My Dress Press has tabled at L.A. Zine Fest, Portland Zine Symposium, and the Anarchist Book Fair day of Shout Back Fest on unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver BC Canada). Those days have been full of catching up with old friends, meeting new people and feelings of mutual respect and support. Some of my closest friends live hours, states away. A zine fest can often be an escape, a much needed vacation.
This spring, I was at a zine event when my former partner, an emotionally and sexually abusive man, showed up. The organizer of the event had him removed at my request. I was talking to my sister about it afterwards, and she said, “Well, he has just as much a right as you to be there. If you were upset, you could have just left.” And while that may be true at base, and while that is how most of the people in this country tend to think, I know that she was wrong. I like to think that I operate in a small slice of the world where survivors are given more space, where someone’s comfort and mental health outweigh someone’s “right” to be there. Sharing art can be a very vulnerable thing to do, and feeling safe emotionally and physically is paramount to this act. My sister came around and agreed with me, stating that she was proud of us for “giving a shit.”
I’ve been meaning to publicly thank all of you zine fest organizers for all of your hard work, and today seemed like just as good as any. I would like to send my special thanks to the people of Portland Zine Sympoisum (thank you for the best PZS ever) and to Shout Back Fest for having such thoughtful and meaningful Safer Spaces policies.
Mend My Dress Press will be tabling at Fierce Fest this October and the organizers are putting together a zine about issues around creating safer spaces. You can send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
love and support,