On Oct. 20, a new collective for LGBTQIA+ individuals kicked off with a launch party just north of the University of Texas at Austin’s campus. ORANGE Magazine got in touch with the founders of this new club, PURDEE, to shine some light on this unique outlet for Austin’s queer voices.
Story by Rylan Henderson
Photos by Aaron Dehn
For those who don’t know, what is PURDEE? Who are the founders and what do you all do?
PURDEE: PURDEE is what we’re calling a Queer Voice Collective. PURDEE is based in Austin, TX and was created by Devin Bowman, Alyssa Koudelka, Austin Marzan and Grey Gibbons. We all do a little bit of everything and are looking forward to making new friends along the way.
Grey, Alyssa, Austin, and Devin are the founders of PURDEE Club, a queer collective in Austin.
How did the club come to be? What inspired the formation?
PURDEE was born out of our desire to be more active in the Austin LGBTQIA+ community. We love Austin for its liberal heart and creative spirit, but it’s also like a little bubble deep in the heart of Texas. It’s easy to forget that the moment you step out of city limits, your freedom of expression can become very limited. We felt that Austin’s queer voice needs to be stronger to set an example for surrounding areas.
So, who is PURDEE for? What kind of audience are you looking to build?
PURDEE is sort of a digital safe-space for gender and queer expression. We want to enable queer voices and provide a platform for them to publish their art and ideas. One thing we’re trying to avoid is the exclusivity/pretentiousness that often comes with curated media. At PURDEE, we want the community to create the brand -- hence, “The Club.” All PURDEE is is a reflection of our combined, queer-centric ideas.
Let’s talk about the launch party. It was packed and it seemed like people had a ton of fun! With that day 1 support in mind, how do you think other people are going to view PURDEE in the future? What can we expect from PURDEE from this point forward?
We were really happy with the launch party. We promoted it as the same concept as PURDEE -- as a safe-space for queer expression. There were a lot of heels, sequins and glitter. It’s cool being in a place where you don’t have to worry about what you look like. Going forward, we want to replicate that feeling, but digitally.
When you write about “documenting the Southern queer experience” on your website, what exactly does that entail?
We feel that being queer in the South is a really unique experience -- especially with everything going on these days. Being openly queer is still super taboo. Every day feels like you’re rebelling a bit, but it’s a beautiful rebellion and we want to capture that essence. And, with all the creative minds in Austin, we think we’re in the best place to do so.
Anything specific you want to mention about the club? Things to watch out for in the future?
First, we want to address the fact that three of the four founders are white, and the same ratio exists for our male to female composition. We want PURDEE to be intersectional and are actively working with queer persons of different ethnicities, race and genders. We want to avoid the “cis white gay” archetype and focus more on expanding a true representation of the LGBTQIA+ community. PURDEE is still in its infancy, and we really want to stress that if you’re reading this and you’re interested in working with us or using us to publish your work -- or even just making friends, then send us an Insta DM [direct message]. Please! Like we want help.
From the looks of it, PURDEE is just getting started and we’re excited to see what it has in store. If you are interested in working with the PURDEE gang or just want to see what it is all about, get in touch through Instagram @purdee.club and be on the lookout for the organization’s podcasts, playlists, written pieces and other content in the near future.