Welcome to Visible: a Letter from the Editor

Welcome to Visible! 

I am beyond thrilled that you all finally get to see the vision I have been working on for a while with an amazing team of passionate students who care about the LGBTQ+ community. There is so much negative rhetoric directed towards the queer community, especially in our current climate. We must address these issues that are disproportionately impacting the marginalized. Always spread love and positivity. I would have never expected the reward from spreading such things. I had my expectations for how enduring this journey would be, but they were completely blown out of the water. That is what happens when you decide to pursue something that has not been done before. But that’s the beauty of it all, isn’t it? 

I have learned and grown so much since I first decided to officially take this on, exactly around this time last year. I can’t believe it has been a year. In just one year, I have met some of the most talented, inspirational kinds of people I have ever met. Grateful does not begin to describe what this journey has done for me. None of this could have been achieved without the help of you all. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for believing in me. Thank you for giving me a chance. Specifically, I want to give a big thank you to Visible’s advisor, Jermiah Patterson! Your tireless pursuit in helping us will not go unnoticed. Next, I would like to thank e-board for their extreme level of dedication and perseverance. The symbiotic relationship we have formed with each other is one I hope will prosper for semesters to come. To our co-sponsors, thank you for your helping hand and willingness to collaborate. For it is only through collaboration that we can finally achieve the inclusive community we so desperately need. To my three younger siblings T, O, and R, thank you for understanding and loving me unconditionally. To my parents, thank you for believing in my future, even if you don’t know the whole truth about my identity yet. I know you two would be proud of me if this was any other publication and I can’t blame you for your homophobia considering you both grew up where it is punishable by death: Afghanistan. I hope that one day you will come around, for me. Finally, to my friends, your support and love means everything. Thank you. 

This website has been a dream of mine since freshman year. It took me a while to realize for myself that I wanted to study journalism and even longer to decide to start a publication, on campus nonetheless. It was after an inspirational Politico event hosted on campus around this time last year where I got to hear from journalists such as Wesley Lowery and Kristen Welker. This life-changing event became that much more life-changing when I spoke with Professor Sherri Williams, who instilled the confidence I needed to start this publication. Who also connected me to Advisor Patterson. Thank you Professor Williams for the spark you ignited that day. 

This past year has been an exceptionally difficult one for me. I want to share this with y’all in hopes that it will mean something to anyone going through something challenging right now or has ever had to. Around this time in early November of last year, I lost my best friend, Kieli, to cancer. She was a beautiful small-town woman who got up everytime life knocked her down, with a hand out for anyone she could help lift up with her. She reached hearts like no other. I have a feeling she was looking after me the day I met Professor Williams and Patterson. I know she is out there in the universe now, riding her red Audi into the sunset with her bold red lipstick and flowing black hair with the music blasting and the fall leaves chasing behind in their silly attempt to keep up with her.  

I remember when I would talk to you about Visible and seeing the encouragement in your face gave me all the strength I needed. When I lost you Kieli, I lost my own sense of reality. Suddenly, nothing was making sense and it felt like the whole world was crashing down around me and I was the only one who could see it. It took time, but I know that you would want nothing but the best for me. You believed in me so much, that I eventually started to believe in myself, too. All the years of frustration in having others decide who I am for me ended. I found myself through all of this. And I realized the person I found has always been there, hidden under all the personas I thought I needed to survive in society. All the frustrations with who or where I am supposed to be, have disappeared into nothingness. You saw me for exactly who I was and that love and energy is something I still feel from you today.  

Here I am, staring at my laptop screen, with eyes blurry from the bittersweet tears. Seeing all the work, excitement, pain and frustrations of this past year flourish into something as beautiful as Visible is truly unbelievable. I know this would not be possible without you, my angel. Thank you for always watching over me. Thank you for making sure my dream came true. 

Rumi Zai

Rumi Zai

I am from a small town in Maine called Windham, about 30 minutes outside of Portland. I am the Editor-in-chief and President of Visible, which I started on campus last semester. I have a variety of interests, especially when it comes to covering entertainment, column writing, investigative reporting and art.

Pronouns: They/them

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