Beginning in August of 2018, Autostraddle will be newly committing itself to quarterly theme issues. We’ve done theme issues before (e.g., On Camp, Trans*Scribe, Art Attack!) but this time our approach is a little less specific.

Our theme for Summer 2018 is Bad Behavior.

Yes, this is the title of my favorite short story collection of all time, by Mary Gaitskill. I lent it to Sarah last month, apologizing for the chunk in the middle that’s no longer attached to the spine, the pages here and there angling for an exit, the whole deal begging for a rubber band. My editor at had recommended it to me while I was writing an (anonymous) personal essay about sex work, and it changed everything. I’ve read every word she’s written ever since. Bad Behavior turned 30 this year, and at LitHub, Emily Temple articulates so much about what captivated me about it when my editor at suggested I pick it up in 2006:

The women in this book are not Strong Female Characters. They are people. They are often horrible. They are sometimes victims. They are sometimes prostitutes. They sometimes “win.” They sometimes lose and sometimes get lost. But they are neither celebrated nor condemned for these attributes or actions.

When puzzling over our ambitious list of potential themes, I kept returning to this one. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it really has anything to do with the book, ultimately. The world is so bleak right now that all our themes seemed either inappropriately optimistic or way too on the nose. But this idea — bad behavior — kept resurfacing as something that could be neither of those things. When making a mood board for Sarah to start thinking about imagery for the series, I sent her imagery from Ram Ham’s dreamy illustrations and Adrian Piper’s Catalysis and the swim reaper and Olivia Von Hale’s Los Angeles collection and Justine Kurland’s Gibraltar. I thought about it while watching Pose and also while watching G.L.O.W. Which is just to say once it’s in your head, it’s something that can be whatever you make of it. Forget about the book, chances are good you haven’t and never will read it — that’s just how we got here. Now take us where you want to go.

What to Submit:

We’re looking for stories of defiance and/or deviance; of thriving in the outer limits, of living on the fringes and yearning for connection; stories of the underground and the underworld. We want to hear about when you did something that you knew was bad, but it just… didn’t feel that bad to you. Mistakes that turned out to be miracles. Defying convention or breaking the rules for because it made more sense than embracing convention and following the rules, and maybe you were right and maybe you weren’t. Stories about when the bad behavior was somebody else’s, but you were there too. We want investigations into people and groups who are challenging what “good” or “bad” even means. Is [action, decision] genuinely “bad behavior” or is it more nuanced than that? Why do people do [thing everybody says is bad] or avoid [thing everybody says is good]?

We’re looking for personal essays, reported features, photoessays, graphic essays — anything that strikes your fancy and fits the theme as you conceive of it.

Below we’ve got a list of articles we’ve published on Autostraddle that would fit into our vision for this theme. Although a lot of the stories below are focused on sexual orientation / gender identity because, you know, this is Autostraddle, we encourage anyone submitting with a similar focus to be sure you’re saying something new or unexpected.


We are an independent publication currently hanging on for dear life! So our rates aren’t the best out there but relative to our budget they’re quite good. Depending on the piece (length, edits required, reporting involved if relevant), payment is between $50 – $200. Theme issues are also one of our favorite ways to find new regular contributors and staff writers — that’s how writers like Sarah Fonseca, Mey Rude and Reneice Charles first graced these pages.

We are, as always, especially interested in submissions from trans women and people of color.

Submissions Are Now Closed, Thank You!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3183 articles for us.


  1. Well, I am excited in advance to read all these things, and also for the general re-re-introduction of themed issues!

    • you can be anonymous, yes, although we do prefer people to submit under their name, we understand that depending on the subject matter that isn’t always possible.

      however, one would have to submit the piece as themselves and interact with us and get paid with us as themselves, it’s just that the piece’s author on the website would not be revealed.

    • at least 1,000 words but in general — “as long as it takes,” as my old writing teacher used to say

  2. oh man stoked for this. hope we get some Hannah-Gadsby levels of empowered realness <3

  3. And thanks for the links to great essays of yore! I look forward to re-reading these.

  4. I am so excited! So excited that I started writing after a long day of work and stayed up way too late. Worth it!

  5. Hmmmm. Intriguing.

    I can think immediately of what I’d write about, but I don’t know. Would it be acceptable to ask to submit something for free? I’ve been given to understand that it’s not fair or considerate to give away writing for free when there are others trying to make a living from it, so I hesitate to ask. It’s just that I’d feel better writing anonymously, and due to financial dependence, some people in my life currently have permission to view my online banking info… If an unpaid submission were acceptable as a one-off, I’d be interested, but otherwise maybe I should just treat this as a prompt for private writings.

    • Hi Rue! We have a handful of writers who’ve declined payment and that’s totally fine with us, or like Chloe suggested, we could always see if there’s another form of payment that might work better for you!

    • So this is really late, but maybe you could be paid in a year’s subscription to an A+ membership?

  6. Hi!

    I was wondering, for Comic / Graphic Essays, are you looking for fully completed submissions (final art and writing), or would it be ok to submit sketches / layouts first? My apologies if guidelines for this has been posted elsewhere, I’ve looked around but I might have missed it.

    Thanks for your time and please have a great day!


  7. Can you all publish facebook messages if I cover the names? Itll really add to my tale.

  8. I submit a piece late at night, when I was too tired to remember that editing is a thing(eep). Any chance I can resubmit?

  9. Submissions due July 22nd…Eastern Standard Time? Asking as a West coaster who works best under pressure.

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