Queer Zines

Post by Ellie, Information Services Staff.

On May 11, 2021 Kitchener Public Library is hosting QueerKPL: Let’s Make A Zine! A program where anyone who identified as 2SLGBTQIA+ will hang out over zoom (with their freshly picked up zine making supply kits) and create the first issue of the QueerKPL Zine! (Pssst! Sign up here if you wanna join us.) 

But what in tarnation is a zine, you ask? The short answer is that a zine is a self-published magazine, which is true, but zines are way more than that. They’re an art form, a sub-culture and a tool of resistance. Because marginalized groups have historically not had access to large-scale publishing resources, zines have always been a way for them to share our writing, art and identities with the world, and this is especially true for queer artists and writers.

While zines were born in the 1940s (some would argue they go back long before this), there was a major explosion of queer zines in the 1980s and were often used as a form of protest and revolt against homophobia, toxic masculinity within punk scenes, conservative governments and the AIDS crisis. In the 1990s the riot grrrl movement emerged from the DIY Punk subculture in tandem with third-wave feminism, and used zines as a method of organizing and communication. Like all feminist movements, queer folks were an integral driving force of riot grrrl and further fueled the production of queer zines. 

In the early 2000s, zines took a brief hiatus as blogs and web pages took their place, but soon, perhaps partly as a rejection of web-based platforms, zines (and many other forms of DIY art) became popular again, and were proliferated through zine fairs, distros, libraries and web archives! 

Today zines are more widely recognized as an art form, and a number of major public and academic libraries, art galleries and museums carry zines and other small press publications.

Because I love zines and we are about to be offering the Queer Zine program, I decided to dig back into the amazing Queer Zine Archive Project and assemble here some of my favourite pages from the amazing queer zines that have been made in Canada since the ’80s. Beneath each page is the zine’s title, creator, date and place of production, as well as a link to view the full zine on QZAP’s website. I hope these will inspire you to write, draw, cut + paste and zine to your queer little heart’s content! 

Zines from the 80’s

Zines from the 90’s

Zines from the 2000’s

Zines from the 2010’s

The Queer Zine Archives (of Canadian zines) stops at 2015, but there are many, many more amazing queer zines being produced in Canada.

Interested in learning more about zines? 

Have questions? Want more recommendations?  

Call: 519-743-0271 | TTY: 1-877-614-4832 | Email: askkpl@kpl.org | Chat: kpl.org