Long before he founded Wussy, whose mission is to produce the magazine for Atlanta based sissies with an eye on queer art and pop culture, Jon Dean grew up Columbus, Georgia.
Columbus is a small (ish) military town on the border of Alabama and Georgia. “There’s a church on every corner and I was voted Most Christian in seventh and eighth grade,” Dean says, “My first foray into publishing was a highly successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer email newsletter that I ran from my AOL account. It included spoilers, fan fiction, music videos, and reviews. I don’t mean to brag, but I won awards.”
After majoring in photography at the Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), Dean moved to Atlanta and started exploring the queer scene. “Me and my partner at the time started attending The Other Show — this fabulous cabaret style drag show hosted by Edie Cheezburger. I began photographing former cast members like Violet Chachki and Evah Destruction, and created a drag/artist/photography collective called Legendary Children Atlanta. We threw art shows, drag shows, dance parties, and just generally tried to make as much noise as possible. I found my tribe going to bars and drag shows — photographing people that inspired me.”
Dean felt compelled to create Wussy because at the time, most coverage of the LGBTQ community (especially locally), was heavily catered to affluent, older white gay men. “My friends and I wanted to create a space to discuss things that we were seeing in pop culture and the local queer community.”
Wussy began as a Southern + Queer Publication and in the past year has expanded to cover all aspects of queer pop culture. Dean says, “we got our feet wet by being a regionally focused blog, which has now allowed us to expand our lens internationally and become a fully realized, biannual print publication.”
But Dean refuses to accept any of the credit, giving that to his collaborators, “I work with an amazing team: Sunni Johnson, Nicholas Goodly, Iv Fischer, and our designer Liz Yo. We’ll be launching a new web design soon and our latest issue just came out with TR/ST, Jayne County, Allie X, Aja, Mister Wallace, and more. It’s available on our website now.”
All photos by Kelly Blackmon