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Cover art by Angela Weddle







Editor's Note

James R. Adair

When the editors chose the theme for this issue, “Writing Pride,” a little over six months ago, we did so knowing that Pride month was in June, so we thought it was fitting that the May issue should be a vehicle for celebrating LGBTQ+ authors and artists. Little did we know at the time that so many politicians and bigots would decide to attack the movement so vociferously and flagrantly. Attacks on Bud Light for platforming a trans influencer, boycotts of Target for selling kids clothing with Pride themes portrayed on them, legislation designed to squelch drag shows, political power unleashed against Disney for deigning to speak out against anti-gay laws in Florida, more banning of books (and movies) by gay authors or that include gay characters—the editors had no idea of the torrent of events that would occur before the start of Pride month.

The news is not all bad, though. In the face of blatant attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, many people—I believe many more people—are pushing back against hate, homophobia, and discrimination. Politicians, businesses, cities, actors, authors, parents, and many other people—gay and straight—are standing up for basic human rights and human decency. People are calling on their elected leaders to reject the politics of hate and division, especially the targeting of the trans community. It reminds me of the groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the horrific murder of George Floyd in 2020. For that reason, I have hope that all the outrage against the LGBTQ+ community will be drowned out by the voices of love, compassion, and understanding that support them.

We feature many of those voices in this issue. Queer, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, trans, lesbian, gay, bi, and people respresenting other categories, or no category at all, submitted material for consideration in this issue of Voices. We didn’t have room to publish all of them, but we hope we’ve been able to offer a representative sample of some of the best works that were sent to us. Certainly near the top of the list comes KB Brookins, self-described as a Black, queer, and trans writer, cultural worker, and artist from Texas. Brookins is our featured poet. Our cover artist is the award-winning Angela Weddle, who identifies as Black, biracial, autistic, and gender fluid. Many other contributors of writing and art also identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, and I know you will enjoy reading their contributions.

Not all of our contributors see themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ community, but all identify as supporters of equal rights for people in that community, and all communities. We are fortunate to have Nephtalí De León, San Antonio’s newest poet laureate, as the focus of our featured interview. De León is a poet with roots in the Chicano movement, and he speaks with the voice of a former migrant worker who discovered the power of poetry as a child. He is also a visual artist.

Finally, I am very sad to report that our beloved friend and former editor Carol Reposa passed away in April. A tribute to Carol begins on p. 37.

Happy Pride month to all who celebrate, and remember: drag shows don’t kill people, gun shows kill people!


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Themes for future issues
August 2023: Quinceañera Issue
November 2023: Honoring Ancestors

Current Voices


Another relative says KB don't call & don't write, again

KB Brookins

Another relative says KB don’t call & don’t write, again Quiet as it’s kept, you know a thing or 2 about guilt. What it does in the bones of fast girls & bible-raised queer kids who come from families that don’t talk about it like they should. You’d call it Holy Trinity but there’s nothing holy about night sweats. There’s nothing anointed about guilt being burned with weed leaves in the middle. Dank isn’t the correct word for it. More like pow goes the natural order of things because the pastor’s wife said you were a woman. Pow goes the other pastor’s wife mandating skirts because there was something too wrong about you saying Hello. Fast. Like you wasn’t slow as hell running from predatory men & rumors spread by people you loved at reunions (how dare they ask why you don’t visit). Have they abandoned the crops, attempted to pull decades-old roots they’ve planted in you? You’re a Hackberry now; you can’t be uprooted by bigotry. What? Does your greenery disturb them too much? You know the answer to the age-old riddle. When a tree falls & there’s no one there to hear it, it vibrates in the key of I’m out of town again. Have a good time, though.




Luna's Ascension

Caitlin Rose Davis




Lupinus Texensis
(this is the year I finally care about bluebonnets)

Violeta Garza

This is the year I finally care about bluebonnets. Because I’m Tejana and grew up with its imagery on the occipital lobe, the Texas state flower has always felt too present, too obvious, and too connected to mitologías de vaqueros quesque chingones.

Every year, bluebonnets, y’all—on calendars, in picture books, center stage in people’s profile pictures online. Most of my life, I have been immune to fields of their florets of blues and moon hues, strewn all over highways. I would think, “Ay tu. Cálmate already.”

          But now I am a person who sings to the root.

These days, I know that it takes more than light, water, and breath to make life. It takes our attunement to the source, too.

Now if, on a warm afternoon, I see a single bluebonnet in someone’s front yard, her chin to the clouds, I see a miracle. I see resilience. I see just a little bit of attitude. And I see the elders who have taken care of the land.

With my eyes on Bluebonnet Baby, I draw infinity on my heart with my finger and I tell her, “Tu dale, mija. The medicine is inside you. No te dejes. This is your home, too. Tu puedes. Breathe for me. Lean into me. Síguele la onda, chiquita. We need you to live and croon.”




La Mirada

Marisol Palacios




Feminist Sex

Callie S. Blackstone

She is Andrea Dworkin reincarnate: passion and loud voice, her large brown eyes meeting mine while her fingers follow the lines. “Pornography is used in rape: to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act.” I lean back on her couch, pretend to listen. She seems to forget that I can recite her favorite lines easily, that I can discuss every point—every point’s implications. These days, I’m much more interested in the practical, the flesh. I consider the parade of my body: ridiculous outfits, color on color, greenwhiteblue, the curve of material against my breasts. We both know about sex. I am painfully aware of my chest, hips legs, her eyes. I want her to look at me move—I lean against counters and couches to accentuate every curve. I hope she photographs every pose. I want her to save the pictures and devour me later. I want her to pretend it’s me when his hands are all over her in the dark.





Marlene Jorge




Nary a Bi

Hannah Phillips Mollenkamp

When I told my mother I was bisexual she blinked, asked me how I chose. Between what, I wish I’d asked her right back— between soft lips and calloused fingertips? between love, and love, and love again? between butterflies and tornadoes, between history, and memory, and flesh? —does anybody really choose between these things? between the chicken and the earthworm, the north star and the rain? These aren’t choices, like what to have for dinner, where to go next spring. It’s so much simpler than that. These are the secondary facts of what it is to live and love a life. They’re part of the story, they matter, yes—but truth matters so much more.