Welcome to Bent Q Media! You have found our FAQ section, so you probably have some questions. Hopefully they are answered here, and if they are not, please don’t hesitate to hit us up!
Q. What even is this place?
A. So glad you asked! Bent Q Media is a multimedia company that produces news-style media, provides a platform for community contributions, hosts a list of programs, services and resources that is as accurate and up-to-date as possible, and hosts an events calendar of things happening in the Hamilton area that we think LGBTQ2SI+ folks would be interested in knowing about. We are also a platform where products and services relevant to our communities can be advertised.
Q. Who are you people?
A. Right now, we are a private business that is a partnership between Laura Kooji and James Dee – two queer folks who live in Hamilton and are involved in a few different community development projects. You may think that this business structure is not ideal for a project like this, and we would be inclined to agree with you on that – this is a short-term solution to get the project launched and is not how we plan to operate forever. Our long-term plans are to incorporate and register as a not-for-profit. Because we are a private business, we do not currently have a board of directors, but we feel strongly that accountability to our community and consultation with our community are very important for this project, and so for the time being we have regular open meetings where this consultation process can happen.
Q. Who died and made you two the voice of the queer community?
A. We want to be pretty real with you on this point – we do not believe that as two queer Hamiltonians we are an appropriate cross-section of our vibrant and diverse communities, and we acknowledge that nobody can be a voice for all of us. It is not our intention to speak on behalf of all queer Hamiltonian’s, rather to provide a platform that brings our communities together, informs us on the goings-on that are relevant to our communities, and make it easy to get connected to events, programs and services. We have simply seen a gap in the programs and services in this town, and are doing what we can to address that gap.
Q. What is this ‘gap’ you speak of?
A. One of the biggest gaps we have observed in the past several years since the closure of The LGBTQ Wellness Centre (The Well), is that a lot of folks are doing great things, but finding it difficult to make sure that Hamilton’s LGBTQ2SI+ communities know about those great things. LGBTQ2SI+ folks are also finding it difficult to find the programs, events and services they are looking for. The gap we aim to address is that communication piece, we want to be Hamilton’s go-to resource for finding out about all things queer in this city.
Q. Why are you using the words ‘Hamilton’s diverse LGBTQ2SI+ communities’ rather than just ‘the gay community’ or the LGBTQ+ community’?
A. As per our mission and values statement in full here, we do not believe in a monolithic ‘gay community’, rather that we are many diverse communities, who share commonality in that our gender and sexual identities and expressions ‘other’ us in a society that places normative value on being (among other things) hetero and cis. We believe that these differences are a source of strength, and that there is no one correct or normal way to be queer. So we acknowledge that there are many different communities under the umbrella. There are even a few umbrellas, and that’s a good thing.
Q. Why do you keep using the word ‘queer’? I find that word offensive.
A. We get that. We like the word queer because it’s got some punch, and is broadly inclusive. Queer also has significance for us because of its political connotations – queerness evokes the feeling of a fight for liberation, of claiming a pejorative word and taking its power for our own use rather than letting our enemies use it against us. Also, it is nice to have another way to express ‘LGBTQ2SI+’, which we feel ‘queer’ accomplishes better than any other word we are aware of. For the sake of clarity, we use ‘Queer’ and ‘LGBTQ2SI+’ interchangeably, and use words like ‘gay’ to describe more specific communities (in the case of ‘gay’ to mean ‘men who self identify as predominantly or exclusively romantically or sexually attracted to men’).
Q. What do you mean when you say your aim is to ‘strengthen connection to community in all we do’?
A. Lets be real about this, there is a lot of room for criticism, anger and demanding that people do better in our city, and our LGBTQ2SI+ organizers and establishments are not without faults. We are not saying that we won’t ever be critical or make space for folks to be critical. Having said that, we have observed that criticism and negativity are often troublingly prevalent in Hamilton queer organizing. We are not interested in making space where folks come for each-other or call each-other out in non-productive ways. Strengthening connection to community and our communities capacity is a guiding vibe more than a concrete value, it’s a question we will ask every time we make a decision about what we will or will not publish “does this strengthen our communities?’. It is hard to quantify, we have to trust that we will ‘know it when we see it’ when something is not appropriate, and we know we will mess up now and then. We ask for your patience, and that if you do not agree with us on this or any other choices we make when running this site, that you come to our community consultations or send us feedback and let us know.
Q. How are you possibly going to represent all LGBTQ2SI+ people in the content you produce or provide a platform for?
A. Easy! We won’t be able to do that, and we are not even going to try. There are incredibly diverse opinions out there in the world, and some of them are zero-sum, where you cannot believe in or represent both. Hamilton’s LGBTQ2SI+ communities are no different, some folks feel very strongly about things that directly conflict with the strong feelings of other people. We are not neutral, and do not claim to be. We have very clear anti-oppression, intersectional and inclusive values, and only produce content or provide a platform for content that meets those standards. Our line is drawn where peoples opinions and values cross a line into oppressing another group of people, whether overtly or implicitly. You can read our full mission and values statement here.
Q. I see content on this website that doesn’t seem relevant to gay stuff, what gives?
A. Solidarity is one of our core values – we believe that oppression of any group is unacceptable, and that none of us are free while any of us are oppressed. We believe that the oppression of LGBTQ2SI+ people is always linked to the oppression of other folks, whether that link is obvious or more subtle. We will occasionally produce content or provide a platform for content where the relevance to queer liberation is harder to find or immediately understand, but that we believe is important for queer Hamiltonians to know about, understand and show solidarity with.
Q. Why do your values only say what you are not here for? What are you here for?
A. Making our anti-oppression values clear is very important to understand the framework we are operating in, there are too many things we are pro to list them all! We are for inclusion, solidarity, promoting the health and well-being of our diverse LGBTQ2SI+ communities, we are about evidence-informed information, and we are for strengthening connection to community. We are into harm reduction, sex positivity, body positivity, trans inclusion, feminism, intersectionality and unpacking colonial patterns, attitudes and harm. Basically, we’re here for all of the good stuff mentioned and not-mentioned that you would expect from an expressly radical queer publication.
Q. Are you guys just doing this to make a bunch of money?
A. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahah ahahahahaha no. There are ways that this website makes money (through advertising, donations, fundraising, potentially grants etc.) but I assure you we are not getting rich off of online LGBTQ2SI+ media catering specifically to Hamilton Ontario.
Q. I want to contribute some content as a community blogger! What should I write about?
A. We are pretty flexible, and want to make space for the vibrant and diverse queer experiences in Hamilton! Do you want to share your art? Do you have feelings about queer things you want to share? Do you have a program that you are running and want to tell us its story? Send it our way! Send us your submissions, and if your content meets our anti-oppression standards and we feel that it meets our goals of strengthening community, we will post it. Remember us little people when you get internet-famous okay?
Q. What do you offer for community submissions?
A. Right now our heartfelt appreciation, and hopefully in the future, money. Running a site like this is expensive and we need to get established before we can offer honoraria to contributors, so at this time it is voluntary. However we appreciate your wisdom and labour and it is our plan to be able to offer compensation for submissions as soon as we have the capacity to do so.
Q. There is something missing/inaccurate in your resource list or the events calendar!
A. That is 100% likely to happen. Please tell us about it! We are a small crew, we need your help to keep things accurate and up-to-date. Please send your feedback our way!