Illustrated by Kelly Doherty/OutWrite
This letter was originally published in our Fall 2022 print issue “Satanic Panic.“
I wish I could welcome you with nothing but vigorous optimism, but the precariousness of my community’s position in this country is too important to be waved away. As a historical queer publication, it is our responsibility to make sure the most marginalized do not go unnoticed. The theme of our Fall 2022 print edition is Satanic Panic, named after the hysteria of the late 20th century that cast a dangerous shadow over queer people everywhere. With as much progress as we’ve made in the past few decades, the country has turned into a downward spiral in recent years when it comes to queer — especially trans — rights.
Engaging in gay sexuality was legalized nearly 20 years ago and marriage equality seven years ago, but our Supreme Court is now reconsidering those decisions to correct supposed sins of the past. People are no longer required to wear three articles of clothing that “match” their assigned sex at birth, but two states successfully banned gender-affirming healthcare for trans minors this year. There are rising numbers of trans people on TV, but violent crimes against our community, especially for our sisters of color, break new records every year. The rise of conservatism and the familiar American fear of deviance are coming to a head with queer people so often painted as the targets.
As many of us experience, that shadow of the Satanic Panic is now creeping back around seemingly every corner, but it is not over, and we are not gone.
The following pages ask you to be angry. They ask you to face a history of persecution head on. They ask you to bask in the beauty of reclamation. They hand you a match and tell you it’s okay to burn it all down; they encourage you to use the light to find a path forward through the darkness.
It may sound cliche, but the only way we can get through this time is unrelenting solidarity and love for ourselves and each other.
Only the belief that queerness is a sacred, unshakeable force can plant us in the soil and let us push upward for centuries to come. It gets worse before it gets better, and I’ll be damned if we go down before
we see the other side.
Christopher Ikonomou (Xe/He)