In our first issue, we considered our identities: who we are and who we are becoming. In this issue, we turn to the past that frames our present.


Frank Adams is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry. His poems have appeared in Iris; The Otherwise; Down-go Sun; Q Review *and in *Between: New Gay Poetry. He is the author of Shadows, Mist & Fog; Love Remembered; Strangers, Men & Boys; Mother Speaks Her Name and Crazy Times.

Camilo Bacca is a gifted young writer. His piece '8 Honest Thoughts On Loving A Gay Boy' is the first work by a young author to be featured in Iris.

Natalya Bakay, cover artist, graduated in 2012 from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Fine Art. She is currently pursuing graphic design and freelance drawing projects. She maintains a personal sketch blog on Tumblr.

Forest Balderson graduated with high honors from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, where earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing. Balderson works as the grant writer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, serving 10 counties. His essays and poetry have been published in literary magazines and journals such as Bacopa 2014: A Literary Review, Peppertree Magazine, Eckerd Review *2012 and 2014, and *Gently Read Lit. Balderson has many more publications exclusively available on on Amazon Kindle. Find out more by visiting his website at Amazon and Goodreads.

Islay Bell-Webb is a Sapphically-inclined fantasy writer, born in Edinburgh and raised by sociology professors. She maintains that this was like being raised by wolves, but with more books. At the age of thirteen, after the sudden death of her father, she took to a life of crime, which coincidentally mostly involved hiding in her bedroom, eating sweets and writing stories about dragons. She is now twenty-four years old and possesses a laptop, a degree in English literature and David Lean Foundation Scholarship to the National Film and Television School, where she is studying screenwriting and plotting her eventual domination of the world (or at least, the BBC). She can be found in coffee shops and on twitter, and has previously been published in the 7th edition of Gutter magazine and by LGBT History Month Scotland.

Amanda Bennett, co-founder and co-editor of Iris, is a Chicago-based writer and critic. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Review 31, Bitch Flicks, and Autostraddle, among others. A graduate of Northwestern University, she holds degrees in art history and political science, and works in content strategy. To learn more, visit her website or reach out on twitter.

Amanda Enders lives in the city of Philadelphia, where she is a copywriter and ogler of other people's dogs. Find her jogging in freezing temperatures and appearing at any event involving free food with Ziplock bags.

Bina Hammer is an English teacher, graduate student, writer, and photographer. Her photos can be found here.

Eileen Holmes is a journalist and writer living in Berlin. She is about to begin a mentorship programme for young journalists, and is particularly passionate about amplifying voices from the LGBTQ+ community. She was the recipient of the Zara Malone Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Creative Writing, and her work has appeared in The 405, Gold Flake Paint, Intuition, and Exetera Magazine among others. She can be found at poetry readings, any event with "queer" on the flyer, and on Twitter.

Andrew Huerta lives in Tucson, Arizona where he teaches writing to undergraduate students who are interested in going on to graduate school. He has a Master's in Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University and a PhD in Education from the University of Arizona. He is currently working on his first novel. For more information, visit his website.

Rob Jacques grew up in northern New England and enjoyed a 30-year career as a technical writer. He now lives on a rural island in Washington State's Puget Sound. His poems have appeared in national and regional literary journals, including Passager, Quercus Review, Poem, Poesia, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Slant, Windfall, Amsterdam Quarterly, The Huffington Post, and Assacarus.

Audrey Johnson is a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, where she is majoring in Women's Studies and minoring in Queer Studies & Psychology. Outside of class, she is the chair of the LGBTQ+ student org Alliance, a Program Assistant for the Women's Studies Program, and a Safe Zones facilitator. You can follow her on Tumblr if you want to see frequent fangirling, pictures of puppies, social justice rants, oxford commas, and general confusion about life.

Carrie Nassif

Tyler Oshiro recently earned a BS in Chemistry from Pacific University, where he also studied Physics and English Literature. Originally from Aiea, Hawaii, he now serves the AKA Science (All Kids Are Scientists) program in Portland, Oregon as a member of AmeriCorps. To learn more, visit his website.

Tamara Reisdorf is based in Germany. Besides studying Education Science and Gender Studies, she tries to advocate helpfulness in her daily life and can be found writing and listening to music most of the time. She is a contributing writer to the Creating Iris website.

Rebecca Wang is a recent college grad from Southern California that will soon be relocating to Iowa to pursue her J.D. In the future, she hopes to help the LGBTQ+ community as a lawyer and she also hopes she will still have time to write.

Apolline Weibel is a bilingual writer and private tutor based in the United Kingdom. She studies English Literature and is currently developing her own literary review website. She loves Amelie Nothomb, epistolary literature, and musical theater.

Katelyn Wirth is a graduate of Manhattan College (don't let the name fool you, it's in the Bronx) and currently lives in New Jersey. She loves to write passionate essays and rants about television and the importance of visibility for all. You can find her on her Tumblr, which is mostly filled with cats.



Amanda Civitello & Rebecca Bennett

Fiction Editor

Apolline Weibel

Poetry Editor

Elis Lui

Staff Readers

Maria Civitello & Sydney Bourrie


Marylou Mao

Cover Artist

Natalya Bakay