If you've ever received a gift from Colby, you've been made to feel special. He has that knack for understanding other people at their core and figuring out just the perfect commodity that will speak to your sense of self, your ability to grow and change and your realization that aren't yet what you could be, but will eventually become. Ok maybe all book gifts do that, but Colby is quite good at it nonetheless. So when I received an issue of FAQNP, I knew before I finished opening the package that it was the perfect gift for me. And it was. . . jam packed with nerdy writing and queer art, I fell in love instantly and was fortunate enough to sit down FAQNP's Raymond Cha to talk a bit about his project.
KARL MARXXX: What is FAQNP?
RAYMOND CHA: FAQNP is a zine made by and for queer nerds and their admirers. The name stands for FAQNP's A Queer Nerd Publication. The first issue was published in the spring of 2010 and comes out about every eight months or so. Themes have included: obsessions, the early internet and personal computing, travel, science fiction + fantasy, and most recently education.
KM: How do you collect submissions for the Zine? And who else works on it?
KM: What distinguishes queer nerds from others in the LGBT community and why is it important to you to draw a distinction?
RC: I take a broad definition of queer nerd, which includes anyone who feels outside the mainstream of queers and nerds. I talk and write about science fiction and comics a lot because I like them. Other contributors share their nerdy take on everything from Walt Whitman to vintage typewriters.
I thought it was interesting that queers and nerds were becoming more common and even celebrated, which I never expected to happen at this speed. Of course, this progress is a great thing overall, however, something was getting lost in the process. That something isn't something I can exactly define. The zine is about recording a slice of the queer community, hopefully in an amusing and thoughtful way.
Friends have questioned how "nerdy" I am, which makes me chuckle. Explaining my obsession with Doctor Who and learning programming languages for fun among many other nerdy pursuits quickly clarifies the answer for them. An ironic aspect of queer culture (especially in New York) is how self segregating it can be in terms of outward appearance, but also in terns of interests. We're lucky to be in New York with such a large community, however it also allows people to interact with only like-minded, similar looking people. The distinction tries to define a space that acknowledges and encourages the diversity among queers and nerds.
KM: Are we in a nerd renaissance?
KM: What is your favorite nerd moment in pop culture?
Actually, now that I think about it, seeing Ian McKellen star as Gandalf in the Lord of Rings films as well as playing Magneto in the X-Men films is near the top of the list in my favorite queer nerd moments in pop culture.
KM: Why should people read FAQNP?
KM: What else should People be reading?
I also have been reading a lot of comics recently, and No Straight Lines is an anthology of queer comics with work covering four decades.
KM: 'Nuff said. So, be as good a gift-giver as Colby and get your besties copies of FAQNP here!!!