by Katie Burkholder
(Katie Burkholder is the new editor of Atlanta-based Georgia Voice. The following piece ran in the June 3, 2021, issue of the newspaper and appears here with permission.)
Exactly one year ago, I wrote an editorial titled “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” announcing I would be Deputy Editor of the Georgia Voice. A lot has changed since then.
Now, there’s the obvious matter of that little thing called the coronavirus. In June 2020, the pandemic was at its peak (or at least one of its many peaks), and I was just beginning to grow accustomed to virtual learning and a depleted social life. In June 2021, I’m fully vaccinated and wondering if it’s possible to overdose on serotonin, as the rush I’ve gotten from going out with friends and making travel plans again is even stronger than I expected it to be.
But, even outside of the pandemic, my life has changed drastically. I officially embarked on a brand-new journey, that of a college graduate. A month ago, I graduated summa cum laude (sorry, but publishing that humblebrag is my graduation present to myself) from Georgia State University with my Bachelor in English Rhetoric and Composition and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Under normal circumstances, it would’ve been a bittersweet moment: I loved college a lot. However, what with the agony of online learning, I had been itching to graduate and finally leave jargony theory and mountains of discussion boards in the past for good.
While it’s an exciting enough milestone on its own, my graduation also means three other exciting things (the last of which hinges on the previous two). One, I’m finally a degree holder. Two, 15 to 20 hours of schoolwork a week has been eliminated from my life, cracking my schedule wide open. Three, (and this one’s the kicker!) I can drop the “Deputy” in my title and lead the Georgia Voice as Editor full time.
I became an English major in 2017 because I wanted to be in print and digital media. I became a WGSS minor because I’m passionate about gender equality and liberation, on both a feminist and queer front. Needless to say, this is pretty much my dream job.
But it’s more than that; this is a position at a company that I truly love. The Georgia Voice is where I established myself as a writer. I can still remember my first-ever interview for an article on LGBTQ Alzheimer’s caretakers with Dr. Whitney Wharton in 2018. I was absolutely terrified. Now, interviewing incredible community members like Sen. Jon Ossoff; Mary Anne Adams of ZAMI NOBLA; drag queens Tamisha Iman, Miss LaLa Ri, Evah Destruction; and Gwinnett County Board of Education member Everton Blair has become my favorite part of the job.
I have grown tremendously over the past three years because of the people behind the Georgia Voice: the editors that came before me, Berlin Sylvestre and Patrick Colson-Price, both taught me so much about journalism, and the rest of the editorial team — Tim Boyd and Rob Boeger — have shown me invaluable support. I feel so lucky to work with such amazing and dedicated people.
I have grown up with the Georgia Voice, and I plan to move forward with this new position with even more love and dedication. I will continue on with our mission of covering Southeastern LGBTQ news, but I want to do more with this platform. Being a smaller, independent, and niche media source, we have the opportunity to highlight and platform marginalized people who are ignored by mainstream media. I want to highlight more queer women and young people of color, up-and-coming artists and activists, trans and non-binary people, and all others living at the intersection of identity. I want to use this platform to celebrate the diversity of people that LGBTQ represents.
I’m embarking into for-real adulthood, complete with responsibility and freedom — both simultaneously exciting and terrifying concepts. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to lead this publication, but I know that my love for the Georgia Voice comes with the dedication to doing right by y’all, our readers.
I’m beyond overjoyed to be writing this editorial, celebrating this accomplishment, and honoring the paper that I love. But, like I wrote in my editorial one year ago, this isn’t about me. I’m not interested in sharing anecdotes from my life with y’all. I’m interested in writing editorials and articles that explore the issues you and I care about, the people we admire, and a community grounded in love and acceptance.
I’m so excited for this opportunity. I’m so excited to keep growing up with this paper. I’m so excited to talk to more inspiring individuals and share their stories. I’m so excited for what the future of the Georgia Voice has to offer all of us.