Queer Year of Love Letters

Author Nat Pyper

Dear writer,

A Queer Year of Love Letters is a series of fonts that remembers the lives and work of countercultural queers of the past several decades. The series aims to make the act of remembering these overlooked and illegitimate histories accessible to other people, as easy as typing. Better yet: it aims to make the act of typing an act of remembering. That these fonts might be considered typefaces is incidental. They are an attempt to improvise a clandestine lineage, an aspatial and atemporal kind of queer kinship, through the act of writing.

I began making these fonts in order to rapidly document and disseminate the work and ideas that they cite. I pack these histories, or part of them, into fonts for a couple of reasons. First, font files are durable. OpenType fonts (.OTFs) have persisted in their ubiquity since the late '90s and maintain their utility as a nimble and reliable format. Second, fonts have the capacity to contain a hefty amount of information within a tiny package. In under 100 kilobytes, an entire alphabet! In the font’s metadata, a manifesto! Fonts then function as a useful format for ferrying information from one place to another.

I am using these fonts as time machines. These machines take me back—to Robert Ford and Black gay and lesbian underground publishing in early 1990s Chicago; to the Lesbian Alliance, a socialist-feminist enclave in 1970s St. Louis, Missouri; to G.B. Jones and queer punk filmmaking in 1980s downtown Toronto—but they also take me forward to unknown futures through the act of writing itself. In use, these fonts engage the past as a provocation. They engage the past as a verb.

Is this romantic? Yes.

Love,
Nat

Series Titles

  • PublisherNat Pyper2018
    Robert Ford published THING from 1989 through 1993, a zine that he described as a “black gay and lesbian underground arts journal and magazine kind of thing.” The Chicago-based publication foregrounded queer black and brown DJs, drag queens, artists, poets, and filmmakers. THING proudly proclaimed on its masthead “She Knows Who She Is.” In 1994, Ford died from complications related to AIDS. This typeface is dedicated to his memory. The letterforms replicate various text treatments used by Ford and his collaborators across several issues. This font was commissioned by Earth Angel, a Milwaukee-based club night, in June of 2018. It is ...
  • PublisherNat Pyper2018
    MARTIN WONG painted the world in bricks, sweat, and sign language. He moved to New York City in 1978 and his work often depicted the urban blight of that time while being singularly saturated with deeply humanist joy. Wong was an “outsider among outsiders”: as a gay Chinese-American painter, he sidestepped the detached conceptualism of many of his contemporaries in favor of social realist tributes to the gritty ecstasy of city life, homoerotics of prison and firemen, the voyeuristic nature of language, and queer black and brown love. Wong died from AIDS-related causes while in the care of his parents ...
  • PublisherNat Pyper2018
    G.B. JONES is an artist, filmmaker, and musician with a bone to pick. In the early 80s Jones co-founded the post-punk proto-riot grrrl band Fifth Column and in 1985 started publishing the queer punk zine J.D.s with co-conspirator Bruce LaBruce out of their rundown apartment in downtown Toronto. The zine’s inaugural issue featured the debut of her legendary TOM GIRLS series. Her drawings continue to be exhibited worldwide. Jones’ “no-budget” films often depict the hijinks of bad-mannered girl gangs, homo hustlers, and anarchist mischief-makers. This font is based on the title sequence of her 2008 film THE LOLLIPOP GENERATION. Jones’ matter-of-fact ...
  • PublisherNat Pyper2020
    The WOMEN’S CAR REPAIR COLLECTIVE was one of several initiatives organized by the Lesbian Alliance of St. Louis, Missouri, in the early 1970s. The collective was a “service by and for women” that offered repairs of foreign and American cars, workshops, and rentals of garage space, books, and tools. The Lesbian Alliance, formed in 1972, also opened a coffee house, offered counseling and legal services, and published a lesbian-feminist newsletter called MOONSTORM through their imprint Tiamat Press. In a 1973 issue of the local independent radical newspaper THE BRIDGE, the collective wrote that “we must create our own lesbian-identified structures.” This ...
  • PublisherNat Pyper2020
    ERNESTINE ECKSTEIN (1941–1992) was ahead of her time. As the lone Black lesbian at an early gay rights protest in front of the White House in 1965, her legacy is one of courage and unwavering resolve for the liberation of all peoples. She was a vice president and active member of the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian civil rights organization in the United States. She helped move the DOB away from the early homophile movement’s emphasis on medical legitimization and towards direct action in the form of protests and demonstrations which she described ...

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