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Sober Queers Do Exist

Zine, Clementine Morrigan and geoff (eds.), out of print

Note: This zine is from 2016 and the project is no longer underway.

“It’s kind of like playing Minesweeper with my life.” That’s how one contributor describes sober dating in the queer scene, where it can seem like everyone, at the very least, casually drinks, making navigation as complex as that glitchy puzzle game of yore. In the nearly two dozen contributions to Sober Queers Do Exist, we find proof that here are many, many sober queer folk. The majority of contributors are queer, but also trans, mad, immigrant, asexual, and Indigenous, giving this zine an inclusive and full picture feeling.

What struck me about this collection is that a comp zine about sobriety and queerness isn’t a niche thing, as though queer issues are just a subsection of sobriety. Rather, the breadth of perspectives included here actually gives proper weight and dimension to the topic of addiction, which has maximum impact when discussed in public. By giving proper attention to the way our whole cultural matrix affects one’s experience with substance use and recovery, this zine really shines.

That may sound vague but what I mean to say is that Sober Queers Do Exist gives such a complete and engaging picture of a topic without defaulting to some hegemonic identity that perhaps plagues the average discourse on the topic. It’s also really hard to overstate the quality control that has gone into editing this collection. The editors and writers eschew judging or moralizing about substance use, acknowledging that the queer community’s relationship to substances is complex. They go out of their way not to wave fingers or disrespect users in the community.

As you might assume, Sober Queers Do Exist can get heavy at times (content warnings are provided for each contribution), but if you can handle that, you should read this and then give it to a pal. (Chris Landry)