Connecting to Queerness
I’ve always sought out community. My earliest memories of community come from my days of being a Girl Guide in primary school and then a House Captain in secondary school. During my adolescent years at all girls’ Catholic school in Trinidad and Tobago, I was exposed to a number of women in leadership roles. I knew I wanted to be a leader and I was most happy when working side by side with others, collaborating and sharing talent. As I started to question my sexual identity, I also began to better understand the spectrum of femininity and my first concepts of queerness in relation to leadership.

As I came into my queerness I quickly realized that there were very few queer public figures (and of them only a handful of women) who were actively out in Trinidad and Tobago. Not only were there cultural stigmas around homosexuality, but there were also homophobic laws left over from British colonisation. The queer representation I needed to see was not there for me while I was growing up.

It wasn’t until I moved to New York City for college that I first felt comfortable exploring my sexuality, and what it meant for me to be a queer woman of color. For 1) I didn’t yet know what it meant for me to be queer and 2) everyone back at home was a person of color so what did it mean for me to now be outside of that comfort zone? How did these two identities intersect with my desire to communicate through design? After a lot of searching, one of the questions I’d been left with was “Where are the queer graphic designers and how can I connect with them?”

I had early ideas of creating a project highlighting and connecting LGBTQ+ persons in design, and sharing interesting LGBTQ+ design history. Being an extremely online person, I knew I could use social media to seek out the community I desired but it wasn’t until e-meeting John, that Queer Design Club began taking form. Within a few months of launching our directory of LGBTQ+ designers and a Slack Workspace, we had gathered over 400 persons within our community. We met a plethora of diverse individuals but as began digging into the demographics, we realized that we knew hardly anything about them or their backgrounds. Seeking to understand the wider segment of queer people within design, we came up with the Queer Design Count — an industry wide census targeted towards LGBTQ+ persons. The Queer Design Count will gather deeper insights into the experiences of LGBTQ+ designers that we can use to build a more inclusive field.

Our questions seek to understand identities such as race, gender and sexuality along with job related circumstances such as ability to be openly queer in the workplace and available protections for LGBTQ+ persons and job satisfaction.

As Queer Design Club grows, it’s clearer now more than ever why community is so important for us. Safe, queer communities like QDC are most helpful in places where persons may not have access to LGBTQ+ resources in their everyday life due to restrictions by culture or law, most commonly found in communities of color. Our community isn’t about the people leading it, but relies on all of us uplifting the incredible people inside it. By creating a space online to connect folks within marginalized communities, we are extending queer representation to those who may have the freedom to express themselves at home. Whether it’s through our Slack or our Directory, we know that the work we’re doing is important and we hope to continue to reach those who need us the most. 
Queer Design Club is a community where LGBTQ+ designers can celebrate queer contributions to the design field and visual culture, share their work, and connect with each other. We host the first online directory of queer-identified designers and a private Slack. Across channels, we have over 400 members and continuing to grow. The Queer Design Count runs until November 30, 2019. 
Rebecca Brooker is a queer Trinidadian born designer, living in Buenos Aires. She enjoys bringing people together in community, exchanging ideas and collaborating with others. She is the co-founder of Queer Design Club and on design projects at MediaMonks and Planthouse Studio.
Art used in this issue: “The Punt” by Gluck
Desk Lunch is a community for all creative people of marginalized genders.

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