GayRVA is proud to introduce our brand new editor-in-chief, Drew Necci. If you’ve been following the Inkwell Ventures family of publications for a while, you may recognize her from her previous contributions to both GayRVA and RVA Magazine. She acted as editor-in-chief of the latter publication from 2010 until 2016 before striking out on her own as a freelance writer. We are pleased to welcome her back to the fold in a brand new role, and we’ll let her introduce herself now!
Yes, hello, all you wonderful GayRVA readers! I’m really glad to be joining the staff of this publication, which I hope to take to a whole new level of excellence. I’ve got a long history of working in journalism, beginning when I was 15, in the heady days of the early 90s when all the cool kids were doing photocopied zines on their parents’ Macintoshes. I spent the 90s self-publishing a variety of publications, some of which focused on music journalism, and others of which were focused more on my personal life. I had a lot to figure out about myself, a process that has continued ever since.
My humble little zines and, eventually, web 1.0-era blogging brought me to the attention of RVA Magazine founder R. Anthony Harris in the late 00′s, and he initially hired me to edit his art/music/culture publication in spring 2010. Once RVA Mag’s parent company, Inkwell, acquired GayRVA in 2012, I became a contributing writer and editor, working with previous editor Brad Kutner on several print publications and writing a variety of online articles, from an early article about Chelsea Manning’s gender identity to an in-depth exploration of Lady Gaga’s difficult third album.
Throughout that time, and really, as far back as I can remember, I was struggling with questions of my own gender. Having been born in the late 70s, I didn’t grow up in a time when transgender people were part of the national conversation. I knew my life felt… wrong, somehow, but I didn’t realize that one’s gender could differ from one’s birth assignment until I saw trans women on Donahue when I was 14. After spending most of my high school career soul-searching, trying to understand myself, I eventually realized the truth: I was and always had been a woman.
However, the climate around transgender issues was very different 20 years ago than it is now. To the extent that trans people were acknowledged as existing at all, they were either derided as perverse freakshows or turned into “cautionary tales” after their untimely murders. The climate of fear around coming out kept me in the closet, depressed and repressed, for nearly 20 years. But eventually, I could no longer hide. I began my transition while on staff at RVA Magazine, but eventually left the publication, in part to try and figure myself out.
In the time since I’ve been gone, I’ve learned to embrace my truth and live my life as myself. I began hormone replacement therapy, which immediately improved my life in all kinds of ways. I started playing music again with a bunch of cool young punk kids, many of whom identified as LGBT themselves (a welcome change from the state of the punk scene when I was a teenager). I met and fell in love with the woman I’ll be marrying next month (!). And I got back into writing again, doing zines with the feminist art collective Elbow Room and the DIY music promotion group Great Dismal. I restarted my weekly column covering local live music (which will now return to its original home on rvamag.com). And when I learned that Inkwell was in search of a new editor-in-chief for GayRVA, I delightedly threw my hat in the ring.
And I’m even more delighted to be here! I’ve got a ton of ideas for the site, and I’m fully prepared to make it an even better publication than before! Not only can you expect more of the in-depth political coverage and LGBT advocacy that has been a hallmark of GayRVA throughout its history, you can expect a stronger focus on Virginia’s vibrant LGBT culture. There’s a lot more to the creative side of our community than the mainstream perception might indicate. I want to focus on our energetic spirit and celebrate our diversity, getting beyond the stereotypes to showcase the plentiful cultural contributions that originate with the LGBT community. I will be a tireless advocate for the recognition, representation, and celebration we deserve. Let’s get to work!
Send me emails and let me know what we should be covering: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!