A Point of Reference

An Introduction

Trans Issue 2015

Because now, suddenly, I exist in the imagination of the world. Not just as a ghost, but as a human being with a point of reference.

Shaadi Devereaux

If we are to truly speak to, from, and about the margins, to which voices are we to tune our ears?

The last two years have given long overdue visibility to trans / non-binary realities, pushing us to re-imagine what centering the margins truly means. Being intentional, though, is more than a special issue of a literary journal for the “marginalized;” it’s about creating a space for folk to curate, create, and declare their own bodies: of work, of resistance, of survival.

This issue began with an open call for trans / non-binary writers to submit work to any and all of our departments. However, to be accountable to the lived experiences and capacities of our editorial team we know we would need more necessary people at the helm of this process. Graciously, Cameron Awkward-Rich, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Devon Llywelyn Jones, H. Melt, and TC Tolbert came on as guest editors for this issue. Some we have had the pleasure of publishing before; others we got to meet for the first time.

The Offing project editors for this issue, Jayy Dodd and Danez Smith, made a large initial selection from the work submitted, and sent it to the guest editors. The guest editors sent back their recommendations, and The Offing department and project editors compiled and were guided by those recommendations as they constructed this issue. We are beyond grateful for the time, thought, care, and consideration generously contributed by each of the editors involved.

To no one’s surprise, the submissions were phenomenal. Prose that tickles your quietest hurt. Stanzas that take the wind out of you. Creative work that compels one to read and read again. We are so grateful for all who submitted; please know the editors unanimously communicated how difficult it was to choose from among so many exceptional works — and we hope that all who submitted their writing will do so again, soon.

This issue is a point of reference, another space for these voices that have long been calling out their realities. Realities of grief and mourning for Trans Women (of Color) the year has taken. Realities of resistance with CeCe McDonald’s imprisonment for self defense and Jennicet Gutiérrez’s clapback to President Obama at the LGBT Pride month celebration. Realities of visibility with culture and policy makers: Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Lana Wachowski, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan and Kim Coco Iwamoto. Realities of creation from artists and innovators: Juliana Huxtable, Wu Tsang, and Amos Mac.  

We hope this issue gives a little more more space for trans / non-binary voices to create, sustain, and maintain their narratives.

We hope you hear the beauty, urgency, and power with which they are speaking themselves, as human beings, into the imagination of the world.

Letter to Self

When Asked to Defend Your Position
On Why You Are Non-Binary
Trans Issue 2015