Ottawa
2 min

A launching pad for young queers

First issue of Queer Teen Magazine hits the streets

Credit: Capital Xtra files

The closet doors crashed open loudly this month – and charging out came Queer Teen magazine, the new voice of an entire generation.



Fittingly, the new magazine’s “coming out” issue is focused on coming out, explains chief editor Patrick Juneau.



“This issue is centered around coming out, but we have poetry and stuff, creative writing,” says 18-year-old Juneau.



A flip through QT’s pages reveals the heartaches and triumphs of teens who have come out to both applause and rejection. Not all of the stories are pretty. The writing is mature and thoughtful, making QT a potentially essential launching pad for queer teens who need someone to identify with. It’s also chock full of useful information for kids who don’t know where to begin.



“There’s an interview with the Pink Triangle Services youth group,” says Juneau. “There’s facts on STDs in general, just a whole bunch of information on it. It’s always good to know.”



But Juneau’s baby is the resources page.



“That, in itself, was a lot of work, but that page makes the whole thing worth it,” he says of the long list of numbers where teens can go for help or advice. “It’s permanent. As long as I’m in with this magazine, it will be there.”



While Juneau and his team are breathing a sigh of relief now that the copy is on the shelves, the road to this moment wasn’t smooth.



“It was supposed to come out, no pun intended, at the end of December,” says Juneau. A change in staff left the magazine in a lurch for some months but with the help of nearly 25 contributors and active regulars, QT put its first issue together last month. The next issue is expected in mid-fall.



The magazine was founded by the youth of Centretown Community Health Centre on a grant from Youth United Project 2002. Right now, it’s not supported by advertising revenue.



“But if we want to keep it going, we’ll have to get ads,” he explains, adding that QT may consider seeking charitable organization status.



Juneau points to several flaws in QT’s coming out issue, mostly visible to only the creator’s eye. But he doesn’t hesitate to point out the importance of a queer magazine for teens.



“In general I think it’s really good. Getting the first issue out has been really hard, but I think it’s a great idea. It’s a good voice for youth.”



Juneau cites other gay media outlets, such as Capital Xtra, as trailblazers for the teens’ efforts, but says QT is the first youth vehicle of its kind that he’s heard of. “The [other media outlets] are all by the older gay community. This is our voice, it’s the way we see the world.”



The magazine’s first run totalled 500 copies and can be found at the Centretown Community Health Centre, After Stonewall and the Pink Triangle Services library.



Juneau says he’s also considering sending it to sexual health clinics in the future, if the run gets any bigger. “I thought 500 was a lot, until I saw the three boxes,” he laughs.



While QT’s future is up in the air, Juneau and his team already have a vision for the next issue.



“Part of our focus is going to be on what happens after you come out. Violence, talking to your family. We’re also thinking about putting in a horoscope.”



Juneau also hopes to include a section on this year’s first ever Youth Pride Day, as well as profiles on teens who spent extraordinary summers. “A lot of people hold the view that youth don’t really care. It’s not true.”



But Juneau says QT is always open to ideas. “It’s there to be useful. We don’t have to follow strict guidelines. It’s here for people, we want it to stay, and we appreciate anything people are willing to do for us.”



To submit articles, poetry, letters, and rants to Queer Teen Magazine for publishing, e-mail q_t_magazine@hotmail.com.