fairy files is an international platform for publishers whose focus is queer content.
That the realities of self-determined queer lives have become visible in the world today is thanks to numerous individuals’ decades of commitment to emancipation. Publishing and authorship have played a major role in this. fairy files aims to turn the spotlight on the past and present political struggles carried out on countless pages.
To keep a small independent publishing house up and running while paying a fair wage to everyone involved seems utopian. Any commitment to putting political content in the public eye so as to influence and shape society, despite all the obstacles, therefore deserves a platform where it can be treasured, nourished, and celebrated.
fairy files spurs and supports the work of queer publishers by fostering an expressly politi-cal and international publishing network and by organizing a variety of events with and for colleagues and readers. True to its roots in »Queeres Verlegen/ Queer Publishing«, fairy files continues to prioritize personal exchange and empowerment over solely commercial interests. Its international network formats and annual public events are therefore geared to the following goals:
- to raise the public profile of particularly small and/ or marginalized publishing houses
- to promote and consolidate queer-political networking in the international world of publishing
- to forge more tools with which to increase the political leverage of queer people in the face of persistent discrimination
- to present works of literature and journalism that address structures of oppression and show how these are mutually informed—for example, how gender norms and racism intersect and uphold one another
- to provide space for exchange, agency, and the pooling of strategies and skills in order that queer publications can challenge norms in the publishing industry and in texts
- to continue debate of which interventions in the spoken and written word are feasible and effective
- to discuss problems and practices, and to forge common visions.
We aim to involve as many interested parties as possible in this collective endeavor: experienced publishers as well as a broader public. And by this we mean not only those within current “scenes” who actively confront queer issues in their everyday lives. For the ultimate goal is to articulate political claims and so effect far-reaching social change and gain acceptance for everybody.
The selection of publishers presented by fairy files encompasses small publishing houses, political initiatives, and associations whose structures and content are informed by queer-feminist discourse.
Likewise we extend invitations to events and presentations—discussions, readings, panels, and bookstands—on the basis of this political position. Queer-feminist engagement in textual work—publishing, writing, translation, proofreading, and support—is vital to social development and yet largely invisible and often undervalued. Political commitment, the willingness to adopt a clear position, and the persistence required to publish socially critical, emancipatory texts, mainly with no hope of economic reward, are the unifying factors for everyone involved. This work cannot rest on financially secure, profit-oriented calculations geared solely to the search for the next bestseller. Rather, by its very nature it raises many questions: Who gets to speak yet is generally not heard? Who writes but is not read? Why? Who should be heard and read more widely? And how to ensure this happens? Who decides? Where does power lie and what influence does it have? How can we disrupt power relations and discriminatory structures—in the subjects we address and in our other daily work? At what distance to the ›mainstream‹ do (and can) we act? Where best should we extend invitations and support, and where should we draw a line? Can we get by without positions and evaluations? How can we work together now, and how would we like to in the future? Publishing is one among the many ways of expressing queer and queer-political activism.
Since fairy files focuses specifically on queer publishing and authorship, and expressly invites anyone interested to explore this niche, a few terms and concepts need to be defined up front: because a queer-feminist premise underpins our events and programs, and a basic consensus in this is presumed. The premise rests on two factors: firstly, political commitment to the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*gender, intersexual, and queer people (i.e. all those implicit in the shorthand LSBT*IQ); and secondly, a relentless critique of hegemonic social norms and all forms of discrimination: inter- and transphobia, racism and sexism, homophobia and ableism, and the exclusionary mechanisms of nationalism, capitalism, and other structural causes of inequality and injustice.
Many families have realized the importance of challenging traditional role models. Many children may grow up as self-determined, emancipated people. But insecurity, exclusion, and insult still plaque queer people’s everyday lives. Depending on the context and personal situation, some can assume their queer identity with pride. Yet, however self-assured they may feel, people with non-heteronormative agendas continue to face daily discrimination—on the street, at school and at work, and within their families.
Precisely because we have made the spoken and written word our field and focus, we constantly hone our awareness of the power of naming. The various tags and labels assigned on grounds of sexuality, racialization, class, ability, and gender are interrelated. They have common historical roots. Too, the power structures that perpetuate inequalities of opportunity in society intersect, and this amplifies their effects.
This is why it is vital to name (and possibly reclaim) names—as tools of political discourse as well as in poetry or any other striving for (self-) definition, rapprochement, and acceptance. To understand such structures and to forge alternative emancipatory language is a political task. No one can wholly avoid making linguistic blunders or tripping up on their own stereotypes, because these structures and their effects constrain every aspect of our lives. But any attempt to question, disrupt, and overcome these power structures and the limiting labels they impose is simultaneously a chance to challenge and diversify queer-feminist theory and practice.
As cultural players in the fields of publishing and authorship as well as political activists in queer-feminist, and anti-racist projects, we consider it a matter of urgency to foster effective networking in the financially desolate yet politically vital field of queer publishing, so that strong, empowering, and, optimally, infectious attitudes and positions can multiply and flourish.
This vision is what drives our work. Though the composition of the team has changed in part, our pro bono efforts to present a variety of formats have continued unabated since 2015. The common thread in our work is a love of language; and, too, the conviction that the power of words is key to the success of our common political agenda: for when it comes to self-empowerment and sharing experiences, publications are of immeasurable importance.