Community organiser and writer Adam Eli speaks to AnOther about the latest issue of The Chime Zine, which centres around the fight for gender equality
Chime for Change was founded by Gucci in 2013 with the simple but important intention of “convening, uniting and strengthening” the voices speaking out for gender equality around the world. The Chime Zine is a part of this campaign and its latest issue, edited by Adam Eli, came out last week, covering a variety of topics pertaining to this subject.
“Gender-based discrimination, oppression and violence take many different forms,” says Eli. “Having a global perspective is essential to the mission of Chime for Change and The Chime Zine. Therefore it is important we cast an extremely wide net. In this issue we talk about women with disabilities, trans dating, TERFism, Black queer womanhood, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women, female genital mutilation, child marriage and more. On the surface these issues may appear unrelated but they are all about gender inequality. The zine is an exercise in intersectionality; by literally binding these issues together we show that their causes and solutions all intersect.”
Art directed by Eli’s creative partner, MP5, the publication features an essay on Lady Phyll by Tanya Compas, a graphic narrative exploring civil war, refugees, gender and sexuality by Lena Merhej, and a photo representation from NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (NSAF), an Afrofuturist narrative from Hyphen-Labs, an international art/tech collective of women of colour, as well as an entire section devoted to Japan, and much more.
While Eli is hesitant to name a highlight, he does express his love for Merhej’s graphic narrative – a “sinister” maze which reflects the refugee crisis. “The maze begins with two queer women in love escaping a war, prejudice or natural disaster to a place where they can love freely,” he says. “Along the way they ‘encounter psychological, physical and sexual abuse … administered two fold for their being women and gay’. The maze is riddled with obstacles fleeing refugees often face – militias, chemical weapons, gunmen, terrorising police, poverty, rape, an unsafe voyage across the Mediterranean Sea, detention camps and more.”
Eli himself is a community organiser and writer based in New York City. Listed in the 2018 Dazed 100 and even featured on the cover of the summer 2018 issue of Dazed, alongside other anti-gun activists, Eli is the founder of international activist group Voices4, releasing his debut book, The New Queer Conscience, earlier this summer.
Eli’s own entry into activism came via his upbringing, specifically his Jewish faith. “I grew up in a deeply Jewish household and my parents placed a huge emphasis on the Jewish principle ‘Tikkun Olam’ which literally translates to ‘heal or mend the world’,” he says. “Essentially we were taught that being part of the Jewish people, a traditionally marginalised group, we had an obligation to show up for other marginalised peoples. My work within the queer space was activated by the Pulse Orlando massacre.”
Now editor-in-chief of The Chime Zine, in addition to his other work, Eli says the publication is about “creating and fostering a network of people fighting for gender equality across the world”. “It is our dream that the zine be used as a tool to inspire and connect those who are looking to become involved in the fight for gender equality,” he says.
The Chime Zine Issue 2 is out now.