2015 – #editorsletter

In #editorsletter, Features, HOME, LIFE by Sam Prance

#editorsletter is an editor’s letter with a hashtag in front of it.

Writing this was uncomfortable. Usually at the end/start of any year I like to celebrate the great things that have happened over the past 12 months and brush past the bad. Linger on the good in the hope that doing so will drown out any of the negativity of the past 52 weeks. The past 52 weeks, however, have not just been great. They have, like any other year, had great highs and terrible lows, all of which deserve remembering.

2015 was a year in which:

Jazmine Sullivan reminded us she is queen. Cookie came to slay all our faves. Taylor was problematic. Janet Mock established herself as pop culture’s leading expert. Serena slammed. Donald Trump happened. Julianne Moore won. Marlon James won. Selma was snubbed. The Balmain army grew. Black emojis came to be. The UK bombed Syria. Reese Witherspoon had a revival. Selena Gomez had a revival. Beirut was bombed. Viola reigned supreme. Shonda reigned supreme. Baga was attacked. Those who didn’t Beliebe began to. Lana got high. Paris was attackedCarly Rae became a critical darling. Sunjeev Sahota wrote. Zella Ziona was killedStraight Outta Compton flourished. Beyoncé and Solange provided us with sweet sweet fashion moments. Samuel DuBose was killed. Feeling Myself was everything. Love Myself was everything. Elisha Walker was killed. Ciara taught us how to strip gloriously in a mansion corridor. Zendaya clapped back. Christian Taylor was killed. Chi-Raq provoked. Carol existed in perfect imperfection. Bettie Jones was killed. The Mindy Project got real. Madonna got back up. Freddie Gray was killed. Nicki spoke up. Amandla spoke up. Walter Scott was killed. J.K. Rowling tweeted. Black Hermione was loved. Eric Harris was killed. Willow arrived. Caitlyn arrived. Ty Underwood was killed. Zayn decided to be a normal 22 year old with a multi million dollar recording contract. Adele did good. Jamar Clark was killed. The Lobster came in all it’s splendour. Star Wars broke all the records. Calvon Reid was killed. Janet Jackson returned. Kendrick was. Sandra Bland was no more.

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2015 saw PTL take on themes.

In the first half of the year we decided to focus on race and the racism which black people face specifically and in the second half of the year we moved our focus to gender and gender identity, whilst continuing to discuss race and how the two intersect. We aimed not to tokenise the themes but to use them simply as an opportunity to focus on matters which we believe are in much need of discussion and act as a platform in which those most affected by these matters could speak up on them directly. It was all rather serious but the matters are serious and I hope that we, as editors, have done some semblance of justice to them.

Jacq Applebee wrote on black, non-binary erasure. Sawyer DeVuyst wrote on trans representation in and out of his art. Travis Alabanza wrote on their relationship with writing as someone ‘brown skinned, queer as f*ck, poor, and young’. Jade Fernandez and Sarah Gibson wrote on the creation and importance of Beyond the Binary. Moxiie wrote on the struggles of being a black woman in the pop industry. These people are just a few of those who wrote for PTL in 2015. Just a few of those who have taken the time to be brave and honest and share their experiences with us. They have written some incredibly important pieces and we are extremely lucky to have them on PTL. Please take the time to read them if you can.

In more general news Khanya Mtshali joined the PTL TEAM as our Deputy Editor – check out her new feature #khanyaskorner to learn of her brilliance. We also saw James Fyfe and Elizabeth Clarke come and and go in all their musical wonderfulness. And finally Hannah Beer, Anisha Muller, Sonia Muhwezi, Ella Hendy, Hannah Oliver and Mel Christie continued to hold the fort and keep PTL together even when I wasn’t. *relaunching the day of an essay deadline perhaps wasn’t the brightest idea i’ve ever had*

Thank you to all of you, thank you to our readers and thank you to our writers.

We will be back in February.

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I opened this #editorsletter with an ode not just to the brilliant things that have happened this year but the terrible things too. It is uncomfortable to intersperse people’s great feats with the killings and horrors of others – and I apologise to those it’s offended. I did so because these realities are uncomfortable. I tried writing a celebratory list of just the good things which happened this year but I couldn’t. I felt more uncomfortable ignoring the terrible things that have happened this year than writing on them.

Being someone who is both white and cis and privileged enough that they are able to have a eureka moment in which they realise just how privileged they are, I have spent much of my life painfully ignorant. I still am, in many ways, painfully ignorant. It wasn’t until the events of the past few years that I fully began to examine my privilege and start to realise how factors such as my gender identity and my race give me such unfair advantages in life. I’m not quite sure how my boyfriend or anyone for that matter has had/has the patience to put up with those of us who take so long to ‘get it’ and in many ways never will ‘get it’.

As a result of my privilege I was able to ignore some of the terrible things which happen to others on a daily basis. I was able to act as though they didn’t happen. However, these things did/do happen and they should not be ignored, prejudice should not be ignored, those who have been killed should not be ignored.

Just as great feats deserve to be remembered, these people deserve to be remembered too.

And I have listed just a few. Too few.

Trans is beautiful. Black lives matter.

Here’s hoping 2016 is better.

Sam Prance

Sam is the Editor-in-Chief of PTL. He likes adapting surnames into brand names and pretending to be professional. His possibility model is Janet Mock and he turns to Beyoncé interviews for guidance on the regular. Sam tries to make out that he has his shit together but more often than not can be found crying watching Desperate Housewives reruns. Some episodes are really sad okay.

This piece is part of Season V of PTL which is run in association with: All About Trans.

We encourage all of our readers to donate to this season’s organisation: Gendered Intelligence.

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(Image was sourced from: here)