What is queer tarot? Uh…tarot by queer people. LGBTQ decks fall under this category, but the three queer decks that I’m thinking about are also simply queer as compared to mainstream tarot decks. Mainstream tarot usually features thin, beautiful white people who have heteronormative interactions with each other and traditional gender presentation. Needless to say, many people do not see themselves reflected in these decks. Perhaps people buy decks because they present some idealized version of human beings and it’s a wish fulfillment type of thing? Because I’m pretty sure that 95% of human beings on this planet do not look like the average men and women you see on tarot decks, whether they be lithe fairies or comely vampires.
For those who are not straight, not white, not skinny, not gendered, and/or not possessed of the mainstream ideal body type, working with these decks can be difficult if not downright damaging, so the need for decks that acknowledge different races, sexual identities, gender expressions, and bodies is pressing. I am actually skinny, cis, and white, and even I get put off by people in tarot who look like they fell out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog/Chippendale dancers calendar. (I also want to acknowledge that these critiques were in the tarot community long before I came and to honor the work of people of color and queer and trans folk who have been making them. Just adding my voice here.)
Right now, there are THREE queer tarot decks in the works–one as of yet to be funded, one in its funding campaign right now, and one that is already funded and is being drawn/written as we speak: The Collective Tarot, the Next World Tarot, and the Slow Holler Tarot.
I just got word from Beth Maiden of Little Red Tarot that a Collective Tarot reprint is in the works. I know I promised that I would not spend any more money on tarot stuff from now till May, which is true, but when I made that vow I secretly made the one exception: if there were a reprint of the Collective Tarot.
The Collective Tarot is a queer, multi-racial, body-diverse deck drawn by a collective of five artists. It has only been produced in crowd-funded print runs and has been out of print since 2013. I love the funk to this deck, as well as its diverse cast. Here’s an image search of what the cards look like. No word on a timeline for this deck yet, but I am willing to wait for as long as it takes.
The second is a brand-new deck by Cristy C. Road called The Next World Tarot. This also might tempt me to break my tarot vow–only because (a) I want to support this artist’s amazing work and (b) once it’s printed who knows when I might get the chance to buy it again.
Road’s style is both gritty and slimy (literally–and in the best possible way.) I’m in awe of her line, as well as her colors. I don’t know if it’s 100% my style of deck since I tend to like decks with visuals that are less busy, but that it’s a visionary deck is unquestionable.
The third deck is the Slow Holler Tarot, which I backed in the spring. The best place for deck updates is on their Instagram page, and, I’ve gotta say, as each new card comes out I am so thankful I backed it. The official ship date for the deck is November 2016, but unofficially they are ahead of schedule.
In the meantime, I’ll work with my two queerest decks: The Wild Unknown and the Wooden Tarot. (The former queer because it features no people and lots of rainbows; the latter queer because it features no people, lots of weird stuff, and was created by a trans man, A. L. Swartz.) Likewise, my series of posts on the Wooden Tarot continues!