I officially met Winter Mendelson at the release party for the first print edition of Posture magazine in the fall of 2015. But before that, I read an interview in Curve magazine where Mendelson offer a piece of advice to LGBTQ creatives on their journeys: “Do not work with people who are not willing to understand you or your identity. And on a human and universal level, do not do something that does not inspire you or make you happy. Not every day will be perfect, but choose the harder route and don't be afraid to start over.”
Winter Mendelson is a writer, an editor, an advocate and an activist. Immediately after graduating from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Art History, they moved to NYC. Mendelson landed an internship at a high-end art gallery and found a lack of creativity and diversity in the mainstream art world. Discouraged by the limited options focusing on identity, gender, and sexuality as explored through the arts, in bookstores, Mendelson founded Posture magazine. I recently had the chance to chat with Mendelson about feminism, the upcoming issue of Posture and the LGBTQ community.
What is Posture magazine and in what ways do you hope it can impact the LGBTQ community?
Posture is a digital and biannual print magazine that explores identity through fashion and artistic practice. We are a (gender)queer and trans-run media platform that stands for revolutionary empowerment. Posture represents humyns who seek access and freedom of expression through the dismantling of the patriarchy, heteronormativity, and white supremacy. In terms of impact, Posture has grown into a community and support system. The contributor base is ever-growing and all I can hope for is that Posture continues to inspire others to create and explore themselves while demanding change. My goal is to make the magazine accessible to audiences outside of the LGBTQ community as well because radical progress can only be achieved through consciousness, empathy, and solidarity.
For Pride month this past summer, Posture magazine released a special limited edition newsprint issue. The mission of this issue was to raise awareness beyond gay marriage. Now that marriage equality has been achieved in the US, regarding the queer community, what are some of the issues we should be focusing on? Or should’ve always been focusing on?
Yes! For Pride, we released a newsprint issue and video series in collaboration with photographer/videographer Mengwen Cao that featured six QTPOCs who answered the question, "How Do You Do it?" The goal of this series was to have conversations with queer and trans people about a variety of personal issues such as mental health, gender, diaspora, parenthood, and disability/illness. The ability to marry whom you love is an amazing thing, but there are many other important issues that queer and trans people face at a heightened level such as lacking access to healthcare coverage for necessary treatments/operations (and/or severe mistreatment by healthcare professionals), homelessness, discriminatory treatment in the workplace, bullying, violence, murder, societal misgendering (ie: wide lack of education in schools on gender and sexuality), disruptive familial relationships, bathroom policing, and much more.
Would you consider yourself a feminist? How would you define your feminism?
I do consider myself a feminist, yes. I define feminism as the belief that female/nonbinary-identified humyns should have the same access to resources, treatment, and support as male-identified humyns (and in particular white hetero-cisgender males). My feminism acknowledges that traditional notions of "masculinity" are praised and prioritized in global societies to a toxic and violent extent. My feminism is intersectional because I reject a singular notion and definition of "woman" and acknowledge that there are varying degrees of privilege that are significantly affected by race, gender, and class. Equality can only be achieved if resources and support are distributed equally to all. Will that ever happen?
In so many cases, the loudest voices on feminism are wealthy, straight, white cisgender women. Is the importance of intersectionality getting lost?
You're right, but I feel like the importance is growing. I'm seeing the white/wealthy/hetero/cis feminist voices come under an increasing amount of critique. I notice instances often when, for example, a white hetero feminist only uses the word "women" on social media, people immediately start demanding acknowledgment of queer/nonbinary people, and raise questions about POC inclusion. We aren't letting people get away with surface level discussions. Yes, all women are oppressed and face discrimination, but there is no more room to ignore privilege. When someone ignores or denies their privilege they are furthering the problem through erasure which is just another form of oppression.
“The Boss Issue” is the theme of Posture’s Fall/Winter release. What can we look forward to seeing in this issue?
I am very excited about this next issue. I can't give too much away, but The Boss Issue seeks to do a couple of things. It honors leadership and those who have or seek to build communities, engage in difficult conversations, and overcome hardships. And it also explores the very notion of "success" and what that means to different artists. Posture has partnered with the startup media company Wayward Wild (debuting officially in September) and this issue is going to be really special — in quality as well as content — and will only keep getting better.
What do you hope people will take away from this issue?
I hope that people will really think about what makes them happy and find a way to push themselves.
What are you reading these days? Any new or favorite authors?
I'm usually really drawn to nonfiction, but my friend visited from Chicago and left me a book of poetry titled Bluets by Maggie Nelson that I've been really enjoying. I'm also finishing up the fourth issue of Selfish, a literary zine by multiple female-identified authors, that is amazing. And I'm re-reading Gender Trouble by Judith Butler because I'm obsessed.
Top photo: Rashaad Newsome and the Winners of the King of Arms Ball by M. Sharkey. All photos courtesy Posture.
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Jacy Topps is a New York-based writer and PR executive. She writes primarily about fashion, NYC, music, LGBT culture and wine. Her love for Lifetime movies is bordering on an obsession. When she’s not attending fashion events in NYC, you can find her sipping wine and binge watching Gossip Girl on Netflix. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jacytopps.