What is an OUTlaw?

2017 Editorial Team: Abilene Donegan, Colleen Gundersen, Kelli Farrington, Nya McNeil, Nhawndie Smith, Skye Warren (Greensboro, NC)

This year’s theme came from the need to celebrate those that have been criminalized or erased altogether by the established order. Our aim was to celebrate those whose existence is resistance. In spite of the contradictory borders and disposability of this colonized world we know that we all must rise up against oppression and all things that do not serve us.

In the fifth issue of I Don’t Do Boxes, we invited creators and change-makers to boldly connect to experiences they have had with rejecting cultural norms. We know that in this political moment all of our communities are under attack in some way. Queer, trans and gender non-conforming beings were given this theme to critically think about how we move against laws that further oppress our people?  

We will take time to honor those that have fought for us to exist today. When we realize that the violence inflicted on us is institutional we can then concretely imagine the worlds we need to have in the future. Join us as we recognize the multiple histories in our bodies and get to the root of what it means for us to decolonize and reclaim our communities!

P.S. We always strive to show a full spectrum of queer experiences, thus we want everyone who wants a voice in the zine to submit. Look out for our next call for submissions (Fall 2018) to see how you can be involved in transformational futures we are building towards.

Sincerely,
The I Don’t Do Boxes Editorial Team

December 2017

 


Alex, 13

My definition of outlaw goes beyond just “not belonging”. It is a living definition that bends and changes with every new “outlaw” I meet. I think that an outlaw, to put it in the most basic terms, means someone or something that is not accepted. It can be all of society or just one person, but to that one person they are an outlaw. There are also different ways to deal with being an outlaw. Some people own it, while others hide it for fear of being “different”. Working with I Don’t Do Boxes has definitely shaped my definition of outlaw. I’ve learned that being an outlaw isn’t just differing from the norm. It’s being so unacceptably different that you are rejected for it. There’s nothing wrong with being an outlaw. The word, unfortunately, has a negative connotation that it does not deserve. Being an outlaw is awesome. Own it! I’m proud to be an outlaw. Are you?

 

 


Skye, 12

I think an outlaw is someone who has been shunned or exiled from society or just generally looked down on. The word also seems to have a negative connotation while in reality it’s just someone who stands out or is different in a “bad” way. I personally relate to the term outlaw because I seem to stand out almost everywhere I go. Being an outlaw is not a bad thing, it’s just being unique, which makes you who you are (that’s cliche I know).

 

 

 

 

 

Nya, 20

I tried to make this sound super poetic and deep, but an outlaw is not something that is easily defined. That’s what makes an outlaw, an outlaw. Wild and untamed an outlaw is the spur on the heel of a trans women’s leather boots, the cracked tongues of our queer ancestors thirsting for just the smallest sip of freedom. It’s the burning of saddles and smelting of pistols turning them into the framework of liberation. Being an outlaw is living without boundaries and arbitrary labels. It’s reclaiming and replanting trauma and turning it into firewood. It’s more than death and deserts. It’s surviving in the absence of protection. It’s living outside of the law.

 

 

 

 

Colleen, 19

As an outlaw, one is thought of as an outcast. They are pushed aside, mocked and avoided at all costs. They often feel isolated, as though they have no one to turn to in the world. In reality, they are not alone. Often unbeknownst to them, there are countless other outlaws in this world. We, as outlaws, are a family, and we shall stand united and make a home for one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nhawndie, 22

Outlaws are the changemakers of society. We disrupt order by simply existing but also inspire others to show up as their full selves. Regardless of what others may define me to be, as an outlaw, I know that only I can define who I am.