Sex and the Steel City
C/O Jessica Yang
Holding space for the stories closest to our hearts
One of the first articles I wrote for the Silhouette was for the 2020 Sex and the Steel City issue. As I struggled to come up with an idea, I remember feeling daunted and underqualified to tackle the topics at the heart of the issue. I agonized over that article, rewriting it half a dozen times before I got a draft I was even remotely happy with. But after, I also appreciated the space writing that article offered me to think about the questions of love, intimacy and relationships—and then the space the issue offered to read the stories and thoughts of others as well.
Just like that early article, I’ve agonized over this issue, too. When I started planning it, I felt just as daunted and underqualified as I did before. Sex and the Steel City is a unique special issue, close to the hearts of so many people and I wanted to do justice to that, but I didn’t know what I had to bring to the issue.
And I kept thinking about the space that first article gave me, the spaces I’ve strived to offer interviewees as a reporter and my writers as an editor, and I thought about the unique, wonderful safety inherent in community — in a space where you are free to not only be yourself but also able to even just figure out who you are to begin with, without having to worry about protecting yourself or the expectations of others and knowing you have people in your corner who see you and will support you.
This same sense of safety, of community, is a key part of Sex and the Steel City. It’s what allows this issue to offer the space it does to not only its contributors to share the stories closest to their hearts, but also to its readers to feel seen and heard, to know they are not alone. In this year’s issue, we’ve tried to honour the importance of community, highlight the ones that have built us up as well as those we’ve built through love, intimacy and relationships.
Sex and the Steel City is a community project, a true labour of love. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this issue, who shared their stories and their artwork; it has been a privilege to hear your stories over these past few weeks. Thank you to everyone on staff who wrote for and created and organized this issue. This will be the largest issue of the Silhouette to date and it wouldn’t have been possible without you.
For everyone who reads this issue, though, I hope you feel some of that same sense of community, too. I hope you can see yourself somewhere in these pages, even if it’s just in one image or one story, and know you are not alone.
But if you don’t, because I also know there are stories missing from the pages of this issue, stories still to be told, I hope you know there is still space for you here, just as you are. I like to think that’s why we do this issue every year, so everyone has a chance to tell their story.