We’re on a mission to bring visibility to the diverse and resilient individuals, groups, and personalities of the ever-growing LGBTQ South.
Spectrum South is a Texas-based online magazine focused on queer southern identity and culture. Through inclusive, well-curated interviews, commentaries, and personal narratives, we share the stories of the South’s thriving LGBTQ community of innovators, taco truck junkies, hip-hop lovers, dreamers, sweet tea drinkers, techies, and more. Wherever you fall on the spectrum—gay or trans, big city born or small town grown—Spectrum South happily celebrates you and your authenticity.
Because LGBTQ southerners continue to face discrimination at higher rates. Because LGBTQ media has been dominated by gay white men for far too long. Because ALL queer identities should be uplifted and centered. Because queer southern youth are leading the way.
Many think queer people leave the South as soon as they can, but we know better. We are here, thriving in business, the arts, philanthropy, community organizing, and so much more. And we deserve representation.
Why Kickstarter? The Spectrum South team just marked our one-year anniversary! Over the past year, we’ve regularly rolled out queertastic content and developed a dedicated following of young LGBTQ readers spanning from Texas to Florida. We’ve doubled our number of queer staff writers, organically built a substantial social media fan base, and established collaborative connections and partnerships with fellow queer community organizations. Outside the digital sphere, our team has thrown three successful events for our readers to celebrate their identities in a safe and inclusive space, to highlight local queer artists, and to dismantle the divisiveness that often exists within the LGBTQ community.
We’ve received love from celebs like genderqueer performance artist ALOK, queer fitness guru Bethany C. Meyers, and NBC’s The Voice singer Stephanie Rice. Spectrum South’s work has been highlighted by About Magazine, Voyage Houston Magazine, KPFT’s Queer Voices and Facets, and The TransAdvocate. We’ve also guest lectured at Rice University, and University of Houston Intro to LGBTQ Studies students are using our content to deeper explore their own identities.
Clearly, something is working.
Spectrum South is on Kickstarter because you deserve a media platform that represents you. Year one brought new friendships, authentic stories, and rewarding collaborations that exceeded all expectations. That’s why, in year two, we want to create more content, throw more events, and add more voices to our team—and we need your support to do it. Now’s your chance to help create lasting change for all queer southerners.
WHAT YOU ARE SUPPORTING
Quality Content: We’re only as powerful as the stories we share. Your donations will help us to cover the costs to pay our team of writers and photographers for a year. As a queer-owned business, we believe in hiring and financially investing in queer talent. While many small publications ask writers to contribute on a volunteer basis, we greatly value our team’s time and skills—and that means paying for their hard work.
A well-supported team means Spectrum South can continue to produce carefully-curated articles, as well as expand our multimedia presence with additional video blogs and brand-new podcasts.
Community Events: We want to help queers and allies connect! Over the past year, we’ve thrown three successful community events to allow our readers to meet in-person and build community in a safe, inclusive environment, as well as to raise money for local LGBTQ non-profits (our official launch party and Vie de Femme celebration raised over $1,000 combined!). Your support will help us to throw five additional events in 2018-2019, with funds allocated to venue costs, food, drinks, and performances by queer artists.
Operations: Keeping a website alive isn’t cheap. We need your help to grow while preserving our existing content. This includes monthly tech maintenance fees, Google Mail and email marketing services, as well as supporting our social media advertising budget.
Megan is a politically-active, feminasty native-Houstonian, editor, and writer who bleeds Burnt Orange. Kelsey is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie and fellow Longhorn, as well as a celebrity aficionado, former rodeo competitor, and creative copywriter. Our friendship began in Austin, TX during our time at UT and grew stronger when we both moved to Houston for work post-graduation.
We both love, value, and want to foster our queer southern identities, and—after a long series of conversations—recognized the lack of visibility and media representation for up-and-coming queer southerners. We wanted to fill the void we saw out there and were tired of waiting for it to happen. So, we decided to evolve our friendship into a business partnership. Together, we hope to create real change.
MEET THE TEAM
Megan Smith (Co-founder + Editor-in-chief) Megan has worked in LGBTQ media for the past six years. A native Houstonian and proud queer femme, she enjoys politics, peach tea, and smashing the patriarchy.
Kelsey Gledhill (Co-founder + Chief Creative Officer) Kelsey is a creative copywriter by trade and has worked in LGBTQ media for the past three years. She is from Huntsville, TX and currently lives in Houston. Vacuuming is her zen place, wristwatches are her signature accessory, and talking with her hands is a must. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging with family and cheering on Houston Roller Derby.
Kirby Squires (Social Media Director) Kirby is from Houston, but found her home in the awesomely weird Austin. Her life force comes from great design, books, and breakfast tacos. She may not have a fur baby, but she has a patio of succulents that is just as instagrammable.
Josh is a queer Texas boy with a heart split three ways, from Michoacán metalworkers to Austrian spell-speakers to Appalachian gospel charmers. Drawing from this cultural mishmash, he writes on arts, politics, and travel.
Crimson is a writer, artist, LGBTQIA activist, and proud Houstonian. He enjoys comic books, science fiction, and the occasional rom-com. In his spare time, he is either working on a graphic novel or going on adventures with his dog and partner.
Sasha is a social worker with a slight Harry Potter obsession. Originally from Colombia, she currently resides in Austin, TX with her wife, Natalie.
Yvonne is a queer Tejana living in Dallas, TX with her partner, Gloria and their handsome dog, Tungi. She's a senior editor at Autostraddle, a news and culture website for queer women. Yvonne calls the borderlands home, strongly identifies with her Scorpio moon sign, and has a giant crush on Gina Rodriguez.
Kelly M. Marshall
Kelly M. Marshall is an Austin-based non-binary and transgender self-employed yoga therapist, massage therapist, and mindfulness coach who also writes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and gripping journalism.
Dr. Laura McGuire
Laura is a Florida-based sexologist, pagan, queer woman, doula, and mother of two. She loves to write on anything and everything that intersects with her numerous identities. As a multi-racial/ethnic woman who was raised predominantly in the South, Laura uses her diverse views, experiences, and perspectives to celebrate the mosaic that is the southern LGBTQ community.
MLe is a leader in the Houston arts community. When she isn’t working or going to grad school, you can probably find her in the nearest pool.
Deondre B. Moore
Deondre is a human rights and HIV/AIDS advocate. He is a writer for HIV Equal and AIDS.gov, and a contributor to The Huffington Post. Deondre is also an ambassador for Greater Than AIDS and the spokesperson and marketing consultant for Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ “Positively Fearless” campaign, which aims to empower Black and Latino gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive to live out and proud and those who are HIV-negative to stay HIV-negative.
Autumn Rendall is a print journalism major at the University of Houston and a proud bisexual. Her favorite things in life are vinyl records, a good TV show, friends, family, and coffee (not necessarily in that order).
B. Root is Chicago-based queer artist who was born-and-raised in Tyler, Texas. They love all things pink.
Nikita studies queer and trans history, and tries their level best to participate alongside those who are making it today. They live off the grid in a tranimal sanctuary in rural Tennessee, where they split wood, pick banjos, and plot revolutions.
Josh Watkins is a New York native who currently lives in Houston. When he's not writing, he can be found looking for the perfect iced soy latte, watching RuPaul's Drag Race, or playing with his dog, Krampus. He is a Virgo and has a penchant for all things queer.
Barrett is a caffeine-dependent human who loves dogs, Houston, travel, and chasing what makes him happy. Aside from journalism, he also dabbles in prose and playwriting.
Danielle left her home in Katy, Texas as a teenager to search for a place in Denton’s queer community. She received her B.A. in Radio, Television & Film from the University of North Texas. She now lives in Houston, where she is active in the city's queer community. Representation in the media is something that she is very passionate about. She aspires to create images and stories that queer people can identify with.
Hannah is originally from Cypress, Texas and currently resides in Houston. She graduated from The Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in photography in May 2015.
When They Tell Us Fat Bodies Ain’t: This Atlanta Model is Changing the Plus-Size Narrative - An interview with Atlanta-based, pansexual, plus-size model Nikki G.
Queer Fitness Instructor Bethany C. Meyers on Finding Yourself, Personally and Professionally - Writer Barrett White chats with queer fitness guru Bethany C. Meyers.
Transouthern Youth: Meet Niko Gonzalez - At age 16, this openly trans and gay teenager is sending ripples through his Dallas Catholic school and diocese, challenging restroom regulation, and simultaneously paving the way for future generations of queer students.
Rise and Grind: 10 Queer Southern Entrepreneurs Doing The Work - Spectrum South co-founders Kelsey Gledhill and Megan Smith curate a list of queer southern entrepreneurs who have taken their passions, go-getter attitudes, and badass boss work ethics to a whole new level.
The Queer Southern Wedding I Didn't Need to Throw - Sasha Lamprea writes on her experience planning a queer wedding in the South, and how queer love transcends institutions.
A Place to Call Home: Finding Peace in My Queer Jewish Identity - Guest writer Brittany Weinstein reconciles her queer and Jewish identities during her birthright trip to Israel.
Living by Choice: My First HIV Test - Guest writer Russell Etherton opens up about catching his boyfriend in an affair and getting his first HIV test as a result.
If Only We Could Remember: Being Queer and Indigenous in the South - Queer indigenous femme woman, activist, artist, and educator Eydka Chilomé talks queer and brown resistance in the face of historical amnesia and a white supremacist heteropatriarchal system.
We Are All The Same: Mississippi Artist Uses Paint to Unite Queerness and Faith - Artist Jonathan Kent Adams talks his religious roots, painting on back roads, and building queer community in Oxford, Mississippi.
Exploring Identity: How Spectrum South Inspired College Students to Embrace Their Truths - University of Houston professor Trevor Boffone describes how he used Spectrum South’s personal narrative series to help his Intro to LGBT Studies students explore their own identities.
Think Globally, Act Hillbilly: A Road Trip through Kentucky on Grindr, Tinder - Writer Josh Inocéncio journeys across Kentucky, documenting the interactions he has with fellow gay men on Tinder and Grindr along the way.
Beyond Borderlands: Reconciling Queerness in the Rio Grande Valley - Writer Yvonne Marquez details leaving her home in the Rio Grande Valley to find self-love and acceptance in Austin, Texas.
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: $40
The early bird gets the worm! Our first 20 backers will receive an original Spectrum South t-shirt, along with a koozie and sticker.
Wall of Thanks
Here's your chance to gain some name recognition...in writing! We'll list you on Spectrumsouth.com's Wall of Thanks.
Social Media Love
We'll happily list you on our Wall of Thanks and take our appreciation public with a personal shout out to you on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Social & Swag
We’ll keep your bevs cool for the summer with a Spectrum South koozie, as well as give you a personal shoutout on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Plus, what good is our Wall of Thanks if you’re not on it!
We’ll send over a personalized thank you note from our team, as well as top off all our love with a Spectrum South koozie AND sticker. Oh, and you’ll be listed on our Wall of Thanks. Duh.
You're a true original! Represent with an original Spectrum South t-shirt, koozie, sticker! Plus, we'll rep you on the Spectrum South Wall of Thanks.
Your name will shine at the top of the credit screen on a future video blog or we’ll give you a credit shoutout in a future podcast. Either way, the Wall of Thanks awesomeness and a personalized thank you note from the Spectrum South team is also included.
That's What's Up
Wall of Thanks...check! Personalized thank you note...check! The Weekly What's Up sponsorship...check! That's right, we'll make you an exclusive sponsor of our weekly newsletter for two weeks straight. And by straight, we mean queer 😉
Sticker and Koozies and Features, Oh My!
Here’s your chance to live forever...well online at least! You’ll be an exclusive sponsor of one 2019 editorial feature, which gets you a personal photo and bio at the very top of the feature. And of course, other perks are included: Wall of Thanks mention, a shoutout on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and one Spectrum South sticker and koozie.
From the Rooftops
We appreciate your support and want to make it known. You’ll be an exclusive sponsor of The Weekly What’s Up (Spectrum South’s weekly newsletter) for one week, as well as an exclusive sponsor of one 2019 editorial feature. Both include a personal photo and bio at the top for all to see and read—because if we could shout our love from a rooftop, we would. Unfortunately, we’re not physically fit enough to make it to a rooftop, so this is the next best thing. To sweeten the deal, you’ll be listed as a VIP on our Wall of Thanks, as well as receive a personalized thank you note from the founders and a Spectrum South sticker, koozie, and limited edition t-shirt.
Let's Get Down to Business
With a one-month sponsorship of The Weekly What’s Up (photo and bio included), a three-feature editorial sponsorship (photo and bio included), and recognition as an exclusive sponsor of a Spectrum South happy hour and social event (logo placed on all event collateral and speaking time at event included), this level is aimed at businesses and corporations looking to spread some love. We'll even throw in a pair of tickets to a Houston Roller Derby Double-Header Event in 2019! But that’s not all...you’ll also be listed as a VIP on our Wall of Thanks, as well as receive a personalized thank you note from the founders and a Spectrum South sticker, koozie, and limited edition t-shirt.
Thank you to Danielle Benoit for filming and editing our amazing Kickstarter video. To Crimson Jordan, Yvonne Marquez, and Barrett White for their honest testimonials. To Kirby Squires for always keeping us on track. To the thriving LGBTQ community across the South for welcoming and supporting our mission since day one. And to our friends and family (Bradley David, Cole Daniels, Genet-Monique Delagrange Chenier, Jennifer Gledhill, Amanda Johnson, Victoria Logan, Corbin Russell, Ken Smith, and so many others) who slay at event setup and breakdown, as well as partying the night away. We couldn’t do it without you.
Risks and challenges
Spectrum South’s risk is minimal as we have a comprehensive operating plan to continue, as well as expand our current work. We have a proposed budget based off of the funding received from this Kickstarter which we can execute immediately.
If you have any questions regarding this project, feel free to email us at email@example.com.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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