\\ JUNE 2019 //

Cover Art:  “The Tenderness of Shedding” by Leslie Martinez

Cover Art: “The Tenderness of Shedding” by Leslie Martinez


Dear Readers —

Queridx, welcome to SOFT. First, a confession: this is not a Pride issue. When I was invited to be the guest editor for a special issue of TAYO, I knew that I wanted to create an issue that centered the voices of queer trans and gender nonconforming writers and artists of color in my community and beyond. We didn’t set out to intentionally create a Pride issue (that is to be released in June) but time and situations had other plans. And here we are.

It’s not lost on me however the significance—no matter how fraught and complicated—of this moment. This June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the violent resistance against police forces at Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, powered by queer and trans patrons, activists, and civilians. This seminal moment would usher in the beginning of LGBTQ civil rights movement in the United States. Here, I want to pay tribute to our trans ancestors Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera for their enduring commitment to queer and trans liberation.

In a not-so-distant past, this June also marks three years since the attack on yet another queer space, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. On the hallowed dance floor and in the company of lovers and friends, 49 lives were taken and with it the hopes of freedom of a whole community. We remember.

< I’d rather be beautiful, Mark Aguhar >

So much of queer life in public is defined by violence, defiance, and survival. In this issue, I hope you find a home for queer interiority that is rarely celebrated and enjoyed. My intent is to illuminate the determined tenderness with which most queer lives are scarcely ascribed to. SOFT celebrates the revolutionary acts of intentional kinship,  unreserved kindness, and radical care in queer communities and ourselves. Here you will find, writing and visual art that affirms queer identities, subjectivity, and determination. In turn, offering new possibilities for liberatory hope and queer futurity.

I’d like to offer texts that inspired and guided this issue: James Baldwin’s A Letter to My Nephew from 1962, Audre Lorde’s The Uses of the Erotic, Sandra Cisneros’ short stories from The House on Mango Street (1984) and Woman Hollering Creek (1991) and Be Oakley’s manifesto RADICAL SOFTNESS AS A BOUNDLESS FORM OF RESISTANCE.

I want to thank the Aguhar family for allowing me to include Mark Aguhar’s I’d Rather Be Beautiful, 2010-2012 in this special issue. I am so grateful to Leslie Martinez for the gorgeous artwork that opens this issue. Thanks to Erina Alejo, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Trinidad Escobar, Laurel Fantauzzo, Maia Cruz Palileo, Mar Pascual, Carina Santos, Lehua Taitano, Malaya Tuyay, Julianne Villegas, and all the contributors for trusting and believing in this issue. Thank you to Editor Melissa R. Sipin and TAYO Literary Magazine for the invitation and for care-taking this issue into fruition. To my dearests, friends and kin, thank you.

To our readers, I hope that you enjoy this issue and find yourselves amongst the words and images we’ve presented here. May this issue encourage you to be gentle with yourself. To nourish the softness within you.

Take Care,

PJ Gubatina Policarpio
Guest Editor

Mark Aguhar.jpg

— "I'd Rather Be Beautiful" BY MARK Aguhar,
with permission from her family

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