Over 40 years after its conception — and after about five years of not publishing — Lambda, an LGTBQ+ publication at UNC, is returning to campus in both print and online formats.
The student-run publication began at UNC in 1976 as a newsletter for the Carolina Gay Association that was sent in a sealed envelope to confidential recipients.
The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) is taking the initiative to restart Lambda in coming semesters.
Junior Danny Bowen, co-president of SAGA, said the organization had reservations about bringing back the publication for fear that it wouldn’t capture students’ attention.
“Since I found out about Lambda from past SAGA leadership, we've always sort of passed around the idea of 'Oh, what if we brought this back? What if we started this again?’" Bowen said. “But we were always worried that there was not going to be enough support for it, not enough people to write for it, no one would read it, no one would care.”
But Bowen said that in an October general body meeting for SAGA about LGBT History Month, attendees expressed a lot of interest in bringing Lambda back after looking through the archives of old issues.
Bowen said there have also been people independently contacting UNC’s LGBTQ Center to express interest in a publication.
“It seemed like now is a good time, when we have the momentum to do it,” he said.
Bowen wants Lambda, which will have semesterly print releases, to allow students to express themselves and put LGBTQ+ perspectives in one accessible place.
“You have to go hunting if you want to find a lot of things that are relevant to you and your identity,” Bowen said. “Lambda will be a good way to put a lot of that in one place and create visibility and create community, especially among probably the more creative and involved side of the community here.”
Bowen said Lambda will feature content from many different genres — including articles about events from queer student perspectives, art and essays. He said he doesn’t think there will be a large writing staff, as content will be heavily based on student submissions.
Funding for the publication will come from digital and print advertising, SAGA’s budget and possibly alumni. The new publication could also be useful for connecting LGBTQ+ alumni to what’s happening on campus, he said.
The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, which has over 90 issues of Lambda on its website, explained in its blog that Lambda has appeared in a variety of different formats — from a newsletter for UNC’s gay community, to an “activist newspaper,” to an “LGBTIQ-Affirming Magazine,” to an online blog.
Sophomore Montia Daniels, the other SAGA co-president, said she wants Lambda to promote free expression among the campus’ LGBTQ+ community.
“I'm hoping that it will allow people to realize that they can have a voice on this campus,” Daniels said. “If they want to be creative and expressive, they don't necessarily have to do that through political censorship.”
SAGA released an application, due Jan. 8, 2020, for those interested in writing, editing, designing or marketing for Lambda. Daniels said she encourages interested students to check it out.
Daniels said she is excited about the variety of mediums and topics that Lambda will cover and what a publication like this can do for students.
“I think it's all about elevating their voices and letting them be able to dictate our own narrative,” she said.
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