Witness Capsule Issues is a project imagined by the editorial staff to expand our readership and to grow our community of writers and the voices we are able to feature, doubling down on our mission to raise voices and stories of those who are underrepresented. q+1 is our first installment, featuring work from writers identifying anywhere along the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Their work explores themes of tenderness, coming-of-age, troubled friendships, being the only gays in a bar, and wedgies.
As we sit down to write this letter and we try to figure out how to discuss the contribution of our writers to the literary community, it weighs heavy on our minds that people are out in the streets protesting police brutality, fighting for the lives of Trans* people who are being killed every day, and still trying to get people to understand that all lives cannot matter until Black lives matter. Even now, 51 years after the Stonewall Riots, people are in the streets of New York City marching for Pride and remembering that the rights of queer people would not exist without Black Trans people, yet the marchers today were beaten, pepper-sprayed, and arrested in the streets by the very same police force that continuously harassed the patrons of the Stonewall Inn.
There is no erudite statement to encapsulate what the impact of this literature will be. And we are not in the business of saying what literature can and cannot do. The very existence of these stories by these writers is an act of resistance. On these pages, queer people are writing their own stories on their own terms.
Each issue of Witness usually takes on a single-word title that attempts to tackle multi-dimensional themes. In that past, you have seen Magic, Threshold, Disarm, Abandon, and so forth. This issue derives its name from the mathematical redundancy n+1, a variable in a sequence. The +1 denotes the next element in that sequence, suggesting that it is constantly evolving, adding, moving forward. In the same vein, q+1 impels readers to think about how the narratives of and by queer people and evolving, adding, moving forward.
We hope you enjoy,
Cody Gambino & Robert Ren