Queery is an art-based violence prevention discursive education program based in Westchester. Our name, Queery, is a mash up of the sociological critical theory called queer theory. And since not everyone studies lgbtq issues in college, we aim to make queer theory accessible and fun for everyone.
Our first project was called Sticks and Stones: Reclaiming Names that Were Used to Hurt Us. In Sticks and Stones, we took 25 words that are used within and against LGBTQ communities and created beautifully designed and fun rebuses (a visual puzzle). Over the last year, these rebuses have been set up in an art gallery setting at pride events, colleges, lgbtq programs and centers, youth programs, the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence Prevention Summit in 2018 and 2019 and the DOH’s Bureau of Women, Infant and Adolescent Health Conference in 2019.
In this interactive exhibit, participants are encouraged to share their experiences on post-its and in conversation. These stories are added to our collection and each time we hang our rebuses, we add stories next to each one allowing for the next audience to experience the impact these words have on people.
Participants experience a range of emotions at these events as they find fun in the images, validation for terms they choose to reclaim, and connection through real stories left by fellow patrons.
In addition to the body of work (rebuses and stories) we engage participants in a meta reflection on the terms. Many find these discussions illuminating and insightful. For example, many participants ponder a little more about why there are so many negative terms related to sexual acts for folks in LGBTQ communities, but those terms are hardly ever used on cishet (cisgender and heterosexual) communities who may be engaging in those same behaviors.
A side effect of creating clever and beautifully designed rebuses is that many participants want to own them for themselves or gift them to their friends. So, we started selling the prints, but found them to be cost prohibitive for most folks. To make them more affordable, we created cards, magnets, and t-shirts with our rebuses on them. These are now affordable ways for participants to claim their own words as well as contribute to our work and they can be found on our website: www.queery.us.
Queery is currently developing a queer centric card game called Just Love. We expect to have them ready for the holidays so that people can bring these conversations to their own homes with their families, both biological and by choice.
To find out more and/or to get your own deck of cards, please check out our Kickstarter which ends on November 27th. Funds raised will assist us in finalizing development, printing and shipping of Just Love, just in time for the holidays.