Editor's Note: Visible's editor-in-chief asked The Eagle to use the name Rumi Zai to protect their identity.
American University’s student media welcomed a new publication, Visible, which is dedicated to publishing the work of LGBTQ+ writers, artists and creators.
Rumi Zai, Visible’s founder and editor-in-chief, explained that when he was looking at student media organizations to write for during his freshman year, he realized there was no publication focused on the LGBTQ+ community at AU.
“I just had a sense, a feeling, that there was a need for it,” Zai said.
Now in his junior year, Zai turned his vision into a reality. In the spring of 2019, Visible published a preview of their work in The Rival, including a profile of queer musicians and a review of the film “Life Partners.”
The publication features news, culture and art sections, but Zai said he wanted Visible to be open to anyone who wanted the platform for their work, not just traditional journalists.
“I want [a] situation where students come to us, tell us what they want to write about, what their visions are [and] what they want to work on for projects,” said Zai.
This academic year, Visible is moving beyond publishing work and is helping to co-sponsor events with other organizations on campus. Last month, Visible co-sponsored the KPU event that brought Jim Obergefell to campus.
“We want to … bring that inclusivity throughout different organizations to make it feel more welcoming to LGBTQ+ students on campus,” Zai said.
Zai also spoke about the importance of telling stories of the LGBTQ+ community in an authentic and empowering way.
“Especially [in] mainstream media, I think there is very little exposure of the LGBTQ+ community,” Zai said. “And when the LGBTQ+ community does get exposure,” Zai said, “it is very stereotypically done, in a way that made me feel like there wasn’t much representation for me.”
With Visible, Zai hopes to change that. “By providing this kind of a platform, it’s a much more authentic way to provide insight into the lives of people who deserve to have their voices recognized,” he said.
Students interested in joining Visible can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.