Graphic by Christopher Ikonomou (Xe/He)
This letter was originally published in our Spring 2022 print issue “Reflections of Radiance.“
I would first like to introduce myself. My name is Christopher and I am OutWrite Newsmagazine’s resident trans/(gender)queer Marfanoid and now Editor-in-Chief. I am finishing up my third year as a part of the OutWrite family and UCLA community, having grown from a hopeful, L-G-B-T, physically exhausted pure Mathematics major to the proud queercrip and rejected art student studying Communication and Disability Studies, who led two of the biggest disability rights actions in the University of California’s history. It’s been an interesting few years, and our collective isolation has allowed me plenty of time to reflect.
To start at the beginning, I joined OutWrite as an illustrator in 2019, freshly moved from the suffocation of Silicon Valley. I had just started an Etsy shop, fallen for my suitemate while realizing I was aromantic, and attended my first party after not being cool enough in high school. Despite my several coming-outs before this point (finding-outs if you were my mother), university was the first place I truly felt like I could take a deep breath and explore who I was. OutWrite was the first place I could witness the depth of queer experience and learn what loving a community truly meant.
To put it plainly, OutWrite showed me the possibility of queer joy, and I took it. I found joy in the way my pronouns feel from my friends’ lips, the authenticity of a trans person’s laughter when they feel truly safe, the pride in seeing my published work in the hands of others, the awe when we receive the recognition we deserve.
Just like my own journey, our publication has been through its ups and downs, and I am incredibly proud to be a part of its resurgence. “Reflections of Radiance” is the third installment of our emergence this year. It represents the end of an era, when the butterfly can officially come out of its cocoon and bask in the sun for what feels like the first time. This issue represents queer joy in all its unadulterated forms, pure and warm and rough and wrought.
I would love for you to join us and test out your own wings.
Christopher Ikonomou (Xe/He)