In October 2015, I decided to apply for the position of editor-in-chief of a new queer arts magazine on the University of Florida campus, SPILL. A few weeks later, I found out I had been chosen to lead the magazine which had no funds, no official status and consisted at that time of me and Carolyna Guillen, who had come up with the idea to create the magazine despite no prior experience in the area.
I hired a team of ten, and we began to plan out the magazine. The only thing we had when we started out was the name SPILL, coming from “Spill the tea,” a popular saying in the queer community on campus.
In the first few months, we lost three staff members, and Carolyna had to put her schooling on hold, leaving me completely in charge of birthing the magazine. We bought ourselves a domain name, SpillArtsMag.com, with money we all donated, and I found myself constantly wanting to give up, feeling like we were trying to do the impossible.
What kept me going was the staff, which seemed hopeful about completing the magazine and the people who had been submitting.
Before us, there had been two other queer magazines started in Gainesville, both of which didn’t make it past their third issue. “Quality over quantity,” I emphasized again and again at meetings, and I came back to this mantra when looking over the previous magazines in Gainesville.
Finally, on April 14, we released the magazine, charging $15 per copy because we didn’t have any funds and we wanted everyone to have access to it for the cheapest price. We didn’t make any profit, and even spent more money on the release party, but in the end, it felt right.
At the release party, we learned the stories of the writers behind the work, like the man who was once suicidal, the person who had a crush on their roommate who still had no idea of it and the individual who found his confidence in photographing drag queens at nightclubs.
These are intimate works meant to be shared, and regardless of sexual orientation, I feel like everyone can relate to the common theme.
We have allowed people to tell their stories and done so in a way that does not put them to shame. For me, that is enough. If you are interested in viewing or purchasing a copy, submitting your own work or learning more about the magazine, visit us on SpillArtsMag.com.
Content broaches topics not limited to child abuse, the transgender bathroom controversy, genderful fashion and life at the Parliament House. I also urge you to check out submissions that didn’t make it into the magazine. I hope you enjoy.