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Maddy

 

Maddy

By getting people to read about our shared history, and recognise what happened, I feel like I’m giving back.

I remember being really young and out with my family, and there were two butch women having a meal opposite. We went to my grandparents’ house after, and my mum was like “we were next to some lesbians” and wouldn’t say it out loud. I’m still undoing that. I don’t believe that being butch is bad anymore, but I’ve been thinking about if I should shave my head, and it’s still like it’s the final step of really not caring how masculine I look. But it’s so scary. And it’s still scary. Even though I’ve been out for nearly 10 years, and know that most people see me a butch, that’s still a big step. The general stereotypes of being butch is that you’re too unattractive for a guy to fancy you. You don’t have a sense of humour. Easily offended. Not fun. Bad at dressing. I think it’s mostly down to appearance. When we think about ‘being attractive’, we thinking about what straight men find attractive. stereotype. And ‘butch’ is basically the opposite of that.

 
 
 
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I work in publishing, that’s what I’ve wanted to do. I’m really interested in queer voices and generally underrepresented voices, which comes from me being queer and there still not being a huge amount out there.

I’ve not seen myself represented in a nuanced and readily accessible way, I’ve had to seek it out. It’s still not super mainstream.

The industry has had to wake up in recent years to how white, middle class and straight it is. So they are now really consciously doing things to change it. The fact that I’m the only out queer person in the editorial bit of where I work has usually meant being able to run with whatever my own ideas. If I say a writer is good, people say “I believe you, because this is your area of expertise.”

 
 
 

I want people to read more about the AIDS Crisis. So many people died, and there’s a risk of these voices being forgotten. It’s a huge part of our shared history. By getting people to read about it, and recognise it happened, I feel I’m like giving back. That’s really important to me in terms of what I do in both my job and my life, is repaying that to the LGBT community.

 
 

I recently acquired the rights to my first ever book. It’s an old novel, called ‘People in Trouble’ by Sarah Shulman. She was a member in ‘ACT UP’ and a founder of ‘Lesbian Avengers’. She was there during the AIDS crisis in New York and wrote a bunch of books about it. One of them was this novel about a love triangle, it’s maybe the first novel I’ve read about Act Up and the AIDS crisis from the perspective of queer women and non-binary people, and the activism that queer women and non-binary people did. They did loads, but you don’t see that in more mainstream stories. It’s quite revealing that it’s the first book I’ve tried to buy, and it’s the gayest book ever. Everyone has been positive and kind about it. Lots of people have read it who would never of read it. That’s really cool.

 

You can follow Maddy on Twitter and Instagram. I’m an avid fan of their presence on both.

They currently work at Stonewall. Previously, they were an assistant editor at Vintage Books, who recently republishing Derek Jarman’s work as part of a year-long celebration of his life and work.

They also DJ at one of my favourite nightlife pilgrimages, Aphrodyki, London's only Ancient Greek themed night for queer, trans +/or nb babes who love pop - as seen on Channel 4’s The Bisexual.