Queer Honi is the annual autonomous edition of Honi Soit. It’s roots stretch back to 1976, when USYD students who were a part of the gay liberation movement stormed and occupied the Honi Soit offices, marking what would be the first ever edition of Homo Soit, the forerunner for Queer Honi.
The publishing of this year’s edition takes place amidst unprecedented social upheaval in the wake of COVID 19. During this time, where freedom of movement is restricted, taking physical action as impactful as that of the original Homo Soit editors, is near impossible. A community with a strong history of rioting and protesting against the oppression imposed on our own and other groups, are left looking for alternatives to taking to the streets.
Globally, marginalised communities are suffering heavily under the weight of an imploding neoliberal regime. The current pandemic has laid bare for all to witness the brutal mechanisms of a system which prioritises profit above all and is willing to trade in blood. Queer people are of course especially vulnerable at a time when many millions of people out of work and forced to rely on family and the charity of strangers in absence of a fully functioning and wide reaching social welfare system. Many have been forced into the homes (and closets) of unsafe and unwelcoming families, or worse, face homelessness.
Queer clubs, parties and communal activism is the ichor that flows through and nourishes the far reaching rivulets of the LGBTI+ community, in absence of a world that is able to nurture. It is this loss of community, that vital life force, that is deeply and silently grieved amidst the mundanity of quarantine. It is only in the dark however that new life can germinate. Just like a bulb lying dormant, the queer community will, as it always has, burst forth gloriously. We can witness these seeds of collective action taking root as we speak.
Mutual aid efforts, a long practiced phenomena born of necessity in marginalised communities, have sprung up organically throughout the world and especially within the queer community. The USyd Students Representative Council’s own mutual aid initiative was spearheaded by members of the Queer Action Collective, thanks to which hundreds of vulnerable students are now able to access free and nutritious groceries and essentials. We hope too, that through the sharing of the stories and art within this humble student publication, we may help provide that spark of comfort as well as a call to action.
In love and fury,
Paola Ayre and Priya Gupta
SRC Queer Officers 2020
Cover Artist Statement (Paola Ayre)
This edition’s cover is a memento mori for the capitalist, patriarchal and colonial ruling class, a symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death for those who seek to rage hell on earth. Make no mistake, we remain very much within the grips of a dark age still, yet upon its precipice, we may glimpse the day-break of dawn. May we take inspiration from the vision of Sappho, famed Lesbian poet of Ancient Greece, casting a sinner into the despairing depths of Tartarus.