As I welcome you back to Bent Street, I wonder, where is it that we as the LGBTIQ+ and allied communities can credibly, consistently congregate beyond our creative contributions? The many disasters of the year 2020 saw rural and remote LGBTIQ+ communities chased from their towns and homes by flames and floods as the threats of climate change intensified, leaving some important community halls and meet-up sites in ashes and mud. The dominance of meet-up technologies taking over real-world gatherings have seen suburban and urban commercial queer venues reduced to queer nights, and then to single rounds of queer drinks, and even a clink-of-a-drink against a computer screen from separate locations. The widespread COVID-19 pandemic lock-down restrictions have left our school and university-based queer rooms emptied; our protests over a plethora of anti-LGBTIQA+ bills relatively unpeopled or intensely policed; our art shows unseen and our music unheard.
Accordingly, this year Bent Street serves as an interstitial space for meeting to discuss the sites available to us; our sense of separation from each-other; our concerns about the uses and misuses of lockdowns and community iconography; and a host of other apocalyptic topics. As our assurance in the security of our old worlds and ways end, our contributors show we need to rethink our connecting and creating modes anew.