The Magazine Making a Case That Identity Politics Matter Now More Than Ever

Photo: Courtesy of Posture

The third issue of Posture magazine will be released in early December, and it couldn’t come at a better (or is that worse?) time. The magazine, which is available both in print and online, is an arts-and-culture publication dedicated to identity, a term that itself has played a divisive role in this year’s election. But what Posture does is much more than just grandstand over a vocab word: Instead, it gives a platform to the most marginalized voices and communities — whether queer, trans, nonbinary, or people of color — to speak out about their experiences.

In celebration of the magazine’s upcoming Boss issue, the Cut spoke to editor-in-chief Winter Mendelson about the magazine’s new redesign (by famed art director Lotta Nieminen in collaboration with new-media incubator and content studio Wayward Wild) and what post-Trump America looks like for the vulnerable communities that Posture is committed to highlighting.

What role does a magazine like this one play in Trump’s America?
I want Posture to become one of the most valuable places for people to go when seeking empowerment, community, and resources through creative expression, all of which lay a critical foundation for self-love and social change. I strongly believe that the world is in need of more entities that are led by queer, trans, and POC humyns if we’re going to move into a progressive future. Joining Wayward Wild was a big leap for us, and what is so significant about this for me is the fact that we will be able to reach larger audiences, and especially those who may not be inclined to go to our website organically. I feel that the arts are an important catalyst for change and are powerful ways to help others empathize and grow. By making our magazine accessible, we have the ability to change minds in a fluid and inspiring way.

What do you think are the biggest challenges people in vulnerable populations will face under a Trump presidency?
Trump has given his supporters the proof that it is okay to hate, mock, and harass anyone who is not a white, able-bodied, male, cis heterosexual. On top of just dealing with the fact that your new president doesn’t see you as an equal human, vulnerable populations are already experiencing higher levels of hate crime and violence since the election (and during). I feel that the biggest challenge marginalized communities are going to face is hate and fear from privileged populations (i.e., white cis hetero men and women). Trump’s ignorance of environmental issues is also going to impact the entire world in serious ways, but of course the poor and underprivileged will suffer first.

It’s so sad that we have come this far and have to face a huge setback. Instead of being able to progress, all of our efforts will have to go into slowing harmful political agendas down. Posture will combat these challenges by continuing to openly express who we are and work to expand consciousness and understanding. We must speak louder, fight back, and organize resources.

With the help of friends, we created a large database called “Resources for Humanity,” which is a collection of organizations that fight for humanitarian rights. The best thing we can do right now is to not back down and donate our money and/or time into entities that will need support now more than ever. Even a monthly recurring donation the equivalent cost of a latte can make a huge difference. Also, since we know that money is power, we can boycott businesses that work with or support Trump.

What does being a “boss” mean to the Posture community?
A good leader to me is someone who desires to use their abilities to help others. A good leader is someone who puts other people before themself and whose heart is full of love and compassion, not swollen with pride, ego, and self-service. Good leaders make the world a better place because their intentions are pure.

In the Boss issue, we wanted to highlight queer/trans/nonbinary and women of color creators and activists who pave the way for progress and set new standards for equality. I think there is this stereotype of a “boss” who makes orders and calls the shots, and that’s true sometimes, but I wanted to feature lots of different people to show that being a “boss” and a “leader” is way more than that.

It’s about seeing a problem or a lack and taking the initiative to subvert the status quo. It’s about not being afraid to be yourself, even when there are potentially violent consequences.

How can allies of these communities successfully enable more queer/intersectional leaders?
When you are a person of color or someone who exists outside of the taught binary, your life is inevitably more difficult. It is harder to find housing, jobs, and move up within companies or obtain higher-level positions of power. The best thing allies can do is to hire and promote more marginalized people and donate time and money to organizations that exist to support these folks. Putting money and resources back into these communities is one important part of the overall solution.

It is also about taking active measures to reach out to these communities because sometimes it’s not easy and they won’t just come to you. And also, importantly, it is critical to speak out among your peers when you see or hear injustice. Even in “small form” like a racist, sexist, homophobic, or ableist joke, the domino effect of systemic inequality continues. By confronting your friends and having a serious conversation about the dangers of that mentality, the impacts can be huge.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Photo: Courtesy of Posture

BUFU — a collective of queer, femme women aiming to strengthen ties between Asian and black communities through organizing.

Photo: An Rong Xu/Courtesy of Posture/An Rong Xu

BUFU member Jazmin Jones.

Photo: Kate Owen/Courtesy of Posture/photo by kate owen

Posture cover star, model, and activist Jillian Mercado.

Photo: Courtesy of Posture

Makeup artist, photographer, and Pat McGrath brand ambassador Ryan Burke.

Photo: Courtesy of Posture

Makeup artist, photographer, and Pat McGrath brand ambassador Ryan Burke.

The Art Magazine Arguing That Identity Politics Still Matter