What to expect in this series
Hello and welcome to a series on my blog dedicated to sharing the stories of a range of influential LGBTQ+ content creators from all walks of life. This series will enable me to showcase their experiences in the industry to inspire future content creators from our community. I want to shine light on the people who have made strides in a very competitive industry. Hopefully this series is the start of something special for my blog where I get to meet more inspiring people like Scott and share their stories with my readers.
The month of June is a particularly special month for those of us who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and although things are extremely difficult this year, it doesn’t stop us from celebrating. Pride month is a global celebration, no matter your gender, race or sexuality – Pride month is a time to celebrate. For the month of June here on the blog we will be shining a spotlight on various different LGBTQ+ creators to help aspire journalists and show that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
We spoke with Jason Kattenhorn, the editor in chief of Sassify Zine which is a one stop shop for all things queer. The Not-For-Profit print magazine and website is a vibrant showcase of queer art and culture. Jason talked with me about his journey into LGBTQ+ media and the importance of this platform for the community.
Growing up Jason recalls weekly trips to WHSmith with his Grandparents where he would pick out a magazine to read on a Saturday morning. Relishing in the words and pictures, he quickly came to love publications such as Smash hits and Buffy magazine. Drawing became a passion as he dreamed of growing up to become an illustrator.
Jason went on to University to study policing and criminal investigation. After he completed his studies, he found himself working in print and design where he could once again express his creativity via illustration. Sassify Zine blossomed from a need for a platform for his illustrations. Jason described his vision as a more creative and accessible approach to navigating the high and lows of the LGBTQ+ experience outside of the typical fashion and white gay experiences. He told us we need to see black bodies, and queer people of colour of all shapes and sizes, talking about their lived experiences.
Speaking in a TEDx Talk Jason described his own experiences with sexual and gender identity. He described the journey he has been on and how this has led to creating Sassify Zine. Jason told me in our interview that many of the disadvantages he faced come from himself worrying about others perception of his sexual identity. In his talk he described how the magazine had helped him embrace his own queerness and embrace the local queer community. The open attitude of the magazine has helped him battle his own feelings of ‘internal queerphobia’ and he aspires to continue to face this alongside people both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community.
‘We can explore new work and new dialogues about race, racism, and homophobia to give everyone the tools to become better allies.’ Sassify Zine is accessible for everyone, with plenty of art, stories and interviews, but being an independent publication makes it harder to reach such a broad audience. Despite this, the magazine has been a great success, even receiving a nomination for best use of illustration at the 2018 Stack awards. Jason works full time in printing to put aside money to keep this platform running. As a not-for-profit, all of the money made from each issue goes towards paying for the next one alongside the commission fees to support the featured artists. He says it’s important to continue to use his platform of privilege to show the intimacies of the marginalized communities and to share his knowledge, vision and practice to a diverse range of audiences.
For aspiring LGBTQ+ creators Jason has some important advice – just be yourself. Make sure to stay, authentic, inclusive and be open to challenging your own beliefs, as well as those prejudices that may come your way from other people. Get yourself a support network and collaborate with others.
You can view more of Jason’s amazing original content on the Sassify Zine website here.
Overview – Get involved
As mentioned before this Pride Month we will be taking an insight into various LGBTQ+ creators to help inspire the young and upcoming journalists today. If you have a story you would like to share or think you know someone who would like to share their story. Get in touch and get involved.
Big thank you to Jason Kattenhorn for sharing his story.
Have your own story to share?