Jeremy Owens is a writer, performer, and teacher of an upcoming multi-week class called “June is Not Enough: Queer Nonfiction Writing” which starts next week, August 17. We were lucky enough to get to chat with Jeremy recently.
1. Let’s start at the beginning. WHY IS JUNE TRULY NOT ENOUGH?
I mean — have you seen the news? Justice Alito and Clarence Thomas are running around giggling and threatening to reverse Obergefell v. Hodges. Not to mention the Senate is talking about codifying same-sex marriage. TALKING ABOUT (it bears repeating). Talking about codifying same-sex marriage (and even interracial marriage!) and it’s not a for sure done deal. Check the calendar, it’s 2022. I mean what in the world.
June truly is not enough, friends. I think of it like RuPaul’s Drag Race. There was the original show, then there was the All-Stars version, then in Canada, the UK, Australia, Spain, and there are more and more versions every time you turn around. I used to get annoyed because I can’t possibly keep up. But I’m starting to get it … until we have Drag Race around the clock 24/7 from every country, on every station, every single everywhere — it’s not enough. Until people are afraid to talk about queer people as if we are second class citizens, until queer folks aren’t afraid to walk down the street — it won’t be enough.
All of that negativity has a weight to it. We live in the big gorgeous liberal and royal blue Chicago — we can forget our privilege — the privilege to walk around being as queer as we want to be (in some spaces). Not everyone has that. All of that privilege means that we as big city queer folks have a responsibility to keep the torch lit, to light the path, and live out loud so those who don’t have the same privileges as us can see our example and find their way to communities where they will be celebrated and loved. We have to be an example! We have to live fully in our truth and be seen! Hi. I’m on my soapbox. I’m very passionate about this!
2. How will you encourage writers to create their most “brave, bold, and revealing work”? What about your class will do this?
I didn’t have any elder gays (queer folks) to teach me or encourage me to live my best gay life when I was growing up. I feel the personal responsibility to be that light for others. In my class I talk about creating a love bubble — where we all agree to put down all of our issues and come together and be brave and share ourselves. My favorite thing to do is hold the space for brave, bold, and revealing work and conversations to happen. I demand it!
3. What is the most important thing you hope writers can take away from this class?
My hope is to get queer writers to be brave and bold enough to share their stories. Our world (at least in Chicago) is pretty queer. It’s sometimes easy to forget how important and necessary our stories are. There are queer people right now who are unable to fully express who they are. Those people need us!
REGISTER ASAP FOR A SEAT IN JEREMY’S CLASS: