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Features

Meet The Queer, Body-Positive Trucker Zine Taking Outlaw Culture Back

Online zine Trucksluts is reminding the world what it truly means to live on the fringes of society.

What the world needs now is Trucksluts. The Instagram-based online zine — which is currently nearing the publication of its first-ever uncensored physical issue — showcases a demographic most people overlook: rural queers. Featuring male, female, trans and nonbinary models whose highest priorities include big rigs, cold beers, and hunting rifles, Trucksluts celebrates those LGBTQ+ individuals who don’t fit into the mainstream stereotype of the crunchy, passive gay. But while the zine has amassed a tight-knit community and a booming fanbase around it in the four years it’s existed, Trucksluts started the same way all great outsider art does: as an outlet for those who felt like the world didn’t see them.

I just wanted to see representation of people who grew up like me and look like me,” explains Trucksluts founder Tiffany Saint-Bunny. “I grew up in Oklahoma in the ‘90s, very rurally, also queer but into things like trucks, jumping trucks, beer…hanging out in fields and partying and shit, just as a homo. You see queer representation in the media, but it’s never that — it’s always people going to clubs, or raves. It’s pretty standard across the board. I wanted to see something that was more akin to my experience.”

Trucksluts Pistollicker 35Mm Film Photograph 2020

READ THIS: The queer punk scene is defiantly thriving in the American south

After starting the account in 2016, Tiffany quickly discovered that she wasn’t alone. Since its launch, Trucksluts has amassed over 44k followers, and has become a place for both atypical queer people to revel in outsider attitude and fans who appreciate the mag’s goal of breaking all the rules. Of course, it’s also encountered resistance from self-proclaimed ‘outlaws’ whose rebellion only works within the rigid confines of mainstream masculinity – a body of people who Bunny believes don’t really know what struggle is.

I have a blocked list of probably four or five hundred people,” she says matter-of-factly. “You have these Punisher skull-wearing Thin Blue Line assholes, and they see ‘Trucksluts’ and they think, ‘Oh cool – trucks, sluts, this is my shit!’ Then they get on there and they see it’s a bunch of homos, and they’re like, ‘What the fuck!’ and get real pissed off. I think they feel like Trucksluts is tricking them or appropriating their culture or something. And that comes around to the point of, that’s not their culture. That shit belongs to everyone.

Or, if I’m being perfectly honest, I want to take that culture from them,” she adds. “They don’t deserve to call themselves badasses. They have it easy. Talk about people who are truly outlaws and truly have to fight against The Man, society, the machine — rural queers really have that shit on lock.”

Trucksluts Butterfly 120Mm Film Photograph 2020

Growing up in Oklahoma, did you know many people who embraced both outlaw culture and queer culture?

Tiffany Saint-Bunny, founder: “I grew up in a family of outlaws. My family are all a bunch of trainwreck shitheads, in and out of prison, cooking meth – not that I’m into that shit, it’s just how I grew up. I couldn’t really see myself fitting in to any kind of normal queer community at all. I was always really into Ministry, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Sepultura, and I couldn’t go to the club and hear that shit. So I think there was definitely a lot of crossover of growing up rough and digging that kind of music and being a homo, and I think a lot of people now are into that.”

Rachel Saxer, editor: “I think [Trucksluts is] the crossover of outsider genres. You have queer people who are marginalized and left out and their stories are left out mainstream ideas. Bunny and I talk about this a lot — mostly, outlaws are these romanticized representations of straight men and cowboy stuff. And for me, I grew up in Florida, and I didn’t grow up around a lot of explicitly queer people, but it was people having to chip away at who they are while finding each other, and as we got older we realized we were queer. There were a lot of adults we were around at the time who fit that bill, but it was very tongue in cheek.

Taking this version of community and exaggerating it to create a vision of what we hope that everybody could experience, living very unapologetically, and getting imagery around that, is really fun for us and fun for people who, growing up in the south or the countryside, have to stay quiet for safety. An experience where they can have fun, and show off themselves, and show off their truck – that feels really good.”

Tiffany: “I also want to say that right now, we have this huge cultural shift where we have actual fascists and shit calling themselves outlaws and infidels, and I think it’s fucking garbage. I don’t think those people are outlaws at all, I think they’re fucking bootlickers. I think part of Trucksluts was always taking that phoney machismo garbage and just showing a more authentic version of what it’s like to live on the fringes of society.”

READ THIS: We need to talk about the queerness of Judas Priest

Trucksluts Easyriders But Gay 2 35Mm Film Photograph 2020

How regularly do you receive submissions from people?

Tiffany: “Submissions really started off around 2017 and 2018, and have just ramped up exponentially from there. I’d say we get a good five to ten submissions a week now. It’s a little tough now, honestly, because we don’t really post more than three times a week. The other reason we’re printing a magazine now is that we have so many people that are all about it, we want to showcase the work that we’re getting, the work that we’re making ourselves, and do it in a way that’s not under the thumb of Instagram, which is pretty censored and geared toward straight white people. We don’t want to be on their platform like that. So we want to get it out of there so we can wile out. We want to show titties, we want to show asses – we don’t like how Instagram fucks with us.”

Are there areas of the country or world that you get a surprising number of submissions from?

Tiffany: “We’ve never done a spacial analysis, but I’ve never noticed a trend of people sending submissions from one particular area. Australia is the big country that we get from that isn’t the United States or Canada. But I literally got a submission once from Zambia. We get submissions from everywhere.”

Trucksluts Johnny Football 120Mm Film Photograph 2020

Do you get to meet these people regularly, or do they just send stuff in?

Rachel: “It’s about half-half. Bunny’s been doing this for three years, and I joined last year, kind of as a result of collaborating with Bunny separately and realizing that we all had shared creative goals that we wanted to help bring to life. So it’s a very organic kind of relationship. I feel like it’s been this active catalyst around creative relationships. Like, we just shot a total stranger who was in town and was really enthusiastic. They brought all these watermelons that they picked up from a produce convention, and shot this watermelon-crushing shoot on my truck.

For me, as an artist, it’s been tricky to navigate the art world, because it’s kind of exclusive and elitist. We’re always thinking about creating something for people as a platform, but also creating something that’s open – people can access it, and submit, and see themselves on it. We want to keep things fluid, and want to keep it accessible.”

Tiffany: “I think what’s really cool about it is that a whole community has been created around it. We get messages all the time from people saying, ‘It’s really empowering to see this. I never get to see queers in rural Alaska, or I never get to see people who drive trucks and go hunting and are gay.’ We have had people several times say, ‘Hey, I’m in the closet because I’m scared of where I’m at, but your Instagram has really inspired me to live authentically, to live real.’ That’s cool.”

Trucksluts Trouble Digital Photograph 2020

Trucksluts is currently accepting submissions for photographs, illustrations, erotica, comics, classified ads, and vanity plates for their first physical issue via their website.

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Posted on March 6th 2020, 5:00pm
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