What Annie Brown started out as a Women’s Studies project at her alma mater William & Mary is turning into a publication she is bringing to Richmond.
Lips is a zine focused on sexuality.
“For this project, we were supposed to identify a problem in the community,” Brown says. “Regarding sexuality, everyone is awkward in Williamsburg in general.”
Brown and her peers started digging in to find where people were getting their information about sex. The group encouraged honest discussions about sexuality and began asking women to submit art, poetry, and essays about their own sexuality.
Opening the pages of the pink-bound Williamsburg edition, you’ll see bare breasts, a magnified view of other girly parts (for arts sake), among drawings of curvy figures and photographs. The writers speak candidly about their personal experiences and thoughts on masturbation, first orgasms, and relationships past.
“We’re finding it wasn’t just women that needed to express, but also gays, lesbians and transgender,” she said. “Sexuality gets pushed to the side because it is a hard issue to tackle.”
Brown, also a contributor for GayRVA.com, moved to the city and connected with the Richmond Zine Fest. At the annual event, she hosted a workshop talking about her experience with Lips and opened the doors for a new chapter. The Richmond group held one of its first fundraisers this past weekend with a screening of the campy John Water’s film “A Dirty Shame.”
Now with a staff of over fifteen, the publication looks towards bringing voices to stories that aren’t being told or represented in mainstream media.
“Reading these stories, in the pronouns, you can’t really tell if the entries are from someone gay or straight,” Brown said. ”When it comes down to it, we’re all very similar.”
The first issue hits the streets this spring with distribution planned around the VCU community and other alternative outlets.
This month, VCU’S College of Humanities and Sciences is hosting a speakers series titled, “Celebrating Forty Years of LGBTQ Activism” to commemorate the court decision that allowed for VCU’s first queer student organization to exist on campus. This Thursday, Dr. Marc Stein of San Francisco State University, will give the second lecture in the series [...]