BirlZine! is a compilation zine of personal writing, essays, poetry, photography, art, news, and resources for and by boyish girls (birls) who enjoy riding the gender wave and don't let their gender dictate how to act. A birl can be a hetero tomboy, an FTM, or anyone in between. This is a safe space for birls to share our work and find relevant news and resources.
This project is a labor of love. I want as many people as possible to have a copy. That's why I'm trying to keep it free. I never imagined how big this project would grow, though. I only ran 30 copies of the first issue, but for the second issue, I ran about 150 because that's how many people requested copies. Then I did a second run of the first issue. Technically, I sell it for the cost of postage for two zines (60 cents per copy, except for the second issue, which cost more to send out because it was bigger than I expected it to be), but if someone tells me they can't afford it, they'll get a copy, anyway. I take donations, and those donations help to offset the cost of copying and postage. I make other zines through the rock scissors paper label to also help offset postage to send out BirlZine! Those zines give me the opportunity to get my own stuff out there because I don't want BirlZine! to be loaded with my work (in fact, I'm happier when I can populate an issue with everyone else's work but mine). Those other zines are also sold for the sole reason of funding BirlZine!
I built the first BirlZine! in December 2004 after I kept seeing beautiful artwork, photography, and poetry posted in the birls LiveJournal community. It was inspiring. As an artist and writer, I thought about how much I liked to see my work on display or in paper print, and I wanted to see this work on display and in paper print, too--something that could be kept around, handled, and passed on to other people who might be inspired by it. It's not just an artistic muse, but a social muse, too. I wanted to use the opportunity to show off who birls were. It's such a diverse and supportive community where people who might usually be taunted and suppressed in their day-to-day, real-life world could come to be encouraged to be who they were. The zine is my way of encouraging birls to make their art and tell their stories and use the resources that are out there, or even make their own resources. There's so much potential with this project. The project is meant in part to educate, and I'm really excited because I'm getting to learn so much, too, about birls, independent publishing, promoting, networking, etc. This opportunity is like a dream come true!
Ways which you can help:
BirlZine! is a nonprofit zine, paid for and distributed with funds out of its editor's pocket. Contributors are paid in copy. Until production costs get out of hand, the only cost to the public is shipping and handling, at least until production costs get out of hand. For more information, please contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and visit www.rockscissorspaper.org