Call For Submissions: Brand New Queer Mamas

feature image via shutterstock

We’re growing up a lot around here and we want desperately for this site to grow up with us. In fact, Laneia and Riese have made this their #1 priority for 2015 — to get more stuff on this site geared towards gay ladies in their thirties, like them!

First up? We’re looking for a columnist in a same-sex relationship who is either currently pregnant with their first baby, or who has recently (within the last few years) birthed a brand new human into this glorious world and would like to write  ~1,500-2,500 words about it every other week or so. Basically you’ll be talking about the joys, trials and tribulations of becoming/being pregnant, getting ready for a baby, and being a new mom. We’ll want some of this to be about the period of time immediately after your human burst onto this planet, but that can be done in retrospect if it’s been a year or two since that time.

To apply, send an email to riese [at] autostraddle [dot] com and laneia [at] autostraddle [dot] com with:

  • YOUR MOM in the subject line.
  • A brief cover letter that tells us who you are, your writing experience and the kinds of things you imagine you could write about in this column.
  • Either a draft of what would be your first column (preferred, but we realize you’re probably very busy and might not be able to pull this off for an application) or links to examples of your writing online that will give us an idea of your writing style.
  • If you have a clever title idea, we’re all ears.

Please do not send us any word documents!

The main thing we’re looking for is a witty and intelligent writing voice and somebody we can count on to meet deadlines. Payment is $50/post. Deadline is Monday February 9th!

While you’re all here, we’re also interested in hearing from adoptive parents, single moms, step-parents, and parents whose babies aren’t really babies anymore! And we’ve had multiple requests for a story about sex after childbirth. If you can speak to any of these things, please hit up our submissions page!

Also, if you’re in your thirties and have requests for the types of stories you’d like to see, let us know in the comments!

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  1. My partner and I have a two year old and she currently has a bun in the oven. As well as cooking bread, she has a small human growing inside her. Ba doom BA! (that was a drum beat. Obviously.)

    This is cool and I look forward to reading.

  2. ooh so excited for this! Sounds like Michelle Tea’s column for XOJane, except better because it’s on AS.

  3. If you really want the experience of queer moms, I’d suggest taking out the assumption that a baby had to come out of our vag.

    • we’re actually looking for someone with the specific experience of carrying and birthing, either through her vag or via c-section, a baby.

      as well as:

      “While you’re all here, we’re also interested in hearing from adoptive parents, step-parents, and parents whose babies aren’t really babies anymore! And we’ve had multiple requests for a story about sex after childbirth. If you can speak to any of these things, please hit up our submissions page!”

      if you have a story you’d like to tell, please do find our submissions page and share! we’re always accepting submissions and looking for ways to amplify voices.

      though honestly i have to say that i’ll never understand how leaving a comment like the one you left is supposed to be helpful or productive. like, you know i’m a person, too, right? you could just ask a direct question about what we’re looking for, if you were genuinely interested. and this is one call for submissions out of dozens — some are specific and some are broad. that’s very normal in this business. every single retelling of a lived experience cannot be inclusive and representative of everyone. it’s impossible. it’s why we have hundreds of people writing for us — so we can tell all the stories. just not all the stories at once.

      • Would you be interested in hearing stories of a bisexual adult adoptee raising their biological child (and the first genetic family member they’ve known from day 1)?

        • Wait. Are you me? Are we the same person, @egypt? Uh, I want to hear your story. The idea of meeting someone genetically related to me blows me mind, as a fellow bisexual adult adoptee who is planning to have kids through IUI. I want to know everything about your experience. Seriously.

          • So a how to get knocked up with husband on massage table while drunk and most decidedly childfree and being asked by the first medical professional if I had thought about giving my unplanned pregnancy (@29) up for adoption.

            Maybe I should write something!

          • Also, there is like Coming Out as Bi (for me because of the invisibility since I’m married to a man), Coming Out as adoptee, Coming Out as Non Monogamous, and weirdly, since my identity was always sorta childfree in my head…Coming Out as Mom/parent (with all the other identities spilling out too)

      • Maybe the very specific idea that “Queer Mamas” meant “grown in the uterus” was surprising and unexpected.

        Autostraddle always seems to try really hard to be a safe space and not simply a gayer reproduction of straight media. Queer motherhood means people hearing “which one is the real mom” or all sorts of dismissive and hurtful things. For Autostraddle to make the choice that their readers would be interested in bio-mom stories specifically and not general Queer motherhood is somewhat surprising. I agree, if it is what the people want, then as a business you absolutely have every right to request it. I would like to directly say that it seems like an oddly specific choice. The “oh by the way you are also totally legit mamas too, just not for the series” at the end didn’t make it better. The title could have been something like Call for Submissions from Pregnant and Postpartum Queers or Call for Queer Biological Moms.

        That way those who have consistently had their parenthood insulted and marginalized wouldn’t have been so caught off guard to realize that when you said “Queer Mamas” you meant only “real moms”. As a reader I do look forward to reading all about Queer parenting, but I certainly have no strong preference for a specific journey to parenthood. If you want the writer to have grown the baby in her belly it would be compassionate if whatever you decide to name the column indicates such.

        • As a non-bio mom, I am sick sick sick of having my motherhood questioned. If you want a column about pregnant queers, say pregnant queers. Don’t say “Brand New Queer Mama,” because that is a category that includes a lot of non-bio mamas as well.

          Of course you can call for submissions about whatever tiny subgroup you want. Just don’t imply that “queer mama” is synonymous with “queer mama who birthed a baby.”

        • hi fania and PW!

          the title choice was mine because we are looking for stories from all queer mamas.

          in this field — or in any creative work, really — it’s super common to start off with a concrete idea and start digging into that, then realize that you’re also interested and excited by X, Y and Z things, too, and then the project takes you in a million other directions and it’s AWESOME. we always leave ourselves open to what might happen next in terms of content and stories to be told, because there’s a fuckton of world out there that we don’t know about, and oftentimes the best way to see that world is to cast a really fucking wide net. that’s what we’ve done here. the additional call at the end of the piece encouraging other types of moms and parents to submit wasn’t me just throwing y’all a bone, that was me casting a super wide net in the hopes that those people would also want to write something for AS.

          we have one column planned that will focus on the specific experience of being pregnant with and giving birth to a baby, and subsequently living with and parenting that baby — that much we know for sure. we’d also like to do some miniseries or one-offs or possibly additional full columns that focus on other specific experiences. because there’s an array of experiences when it comes to motherhood and parenting, i chose not to limit the people who would possibly click on the call for submission by limiting my language in the title. no one here would ever say that “queer mamas” applies only to women who carried the baby. just ever, i would literally never ever say that. that would be ignorant and completely against pretty much every single thing i stand for.

          also “queer mamas” isn’t the name of the column — the column doesn’t exist yet and therefore doesn’t have a name. in fact, just as another editorial note, that would actually make a TERRIBLE column name because it’s too vague and doesn’t give the reader any idea what the column will actually be about.

          so again, just to reiterate in case this was at all vague! the title of the post was an editorial call that i made to get as many types of moms as there could possibly be to click on that link and see that we’re accepting submissions from them. it’s also worth noting that it worked! we have so many submissions from people who want to write about parenting from other perspectives. do you know how many submissions we had on this subject a couple of weeks ago? zilch. if the title of this post had been “Call for Submissions from Pregnant and Postpartum Queers or Call for Queer Biological Moms”, those people would never have clicked it, and would never have submitted, and then you’d definitely not be reading their varied accounts of parenthood on AS.

          you’re welcome!

    • i already got the first email and was like ‘omg who is this funny person’ and then was like ‘omg this is what we told them to write eeee’

    • Love how they’re all ‘we’re growing up!’ But this is the subject line lolol. So much love, AS. So much love.

  4. Sweeeeetness! My wife and I have a two year old and just found out we are Preggggggo.. (Insert confetti throwing here) can’t wait to read the column! :))))

  5. This is awesome, essays on queer parenting help me stave off baby cravings.

    How about some essays about single queer parenting also? Especially choice moms!

  6. As someone who is nowhere near having children but very much adores (and regularly cares for) tiny humans, I am super excited for this!

    It will be the appropriate antidote to all those “parenting in [my professional field]” panels that are so painful but I always go to anyway because babies

  7. I’m looking forward to this SO MUCH. In the next 8-10 years I definitely want to be in the position of birthing a tiny human, and the advice currently out there for lesbians is…not grand or plentiful. Or at least very outdated. Just read “The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth” (which I hated) and “The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians” (which I loved, but it’s a bit dated). Definitely need some funny Autostraddle stories to use as guidelines in my distant future of parenthood.

    Also, while I’m glad we acknowledge that not all children are had by a woman-identified person through vaginal birth, I would like some tips on this that are more queer and personable than the current medical lit.

  8. So glad this is going to be a thing, and also, OMG the feature picture for this is so freakin’ cute!

  9. I’m oh-so-glad you are gearing more towards us 30somethings! Hmmmm…. What do I want to hear about? Hmm… Hmmm… I want all the things on all the things 30somethings gaymos wanna read about.

  10. And also… More content for avenues on starting a new family… What to consider, options, pros and cons of one method versus another… Polls on the matter?

    • Yes! My wife and I have tried IUI twice and are debating IVF. I have such conflicting feelings! Maybe adopting would be a better choice?

      • I’m actually working on a survey that we’re gonna put up to solicit ideas and experiences ON THIS EXACT THING!

      • I feel you, @shewasnice! I am down for IUI, but IVF is a little more…of a commitment life/body/money/time/emotions-wise.

        I’m hoping to embark soon and look forward to reading about other people’s experiences!

  11. As a 30-something reader who is (very sadly but for the bestly) in the midst of a divorce…..DIVORCE & more importantly, life afterward. Including dating while 30 & queer & divorced (and a teacher w 3 cats, ok that might be a niche)….but really. Equal marriage laws —-> equal opportunity heartbreak. Do it. We need it. (Well, I need it.)

  12. Hello, I am in my thirties and I would like to see stories about:

    – the 1990s

    – bossing people around

    – international snack foods

    – Tonya Harding

    I don’t think this is a helpful list.

    • Tim tam biscuits. Do it!

      I sent musk lollies to a US friend and she thought they tasted like perfume and would dare people to eat them. I like them though.

      Caramello koalas.

      I can’t think of anything else ahhh

      Dunkaroos? Tiny kangaroo shaped biscuits that you dunk into strawberry or chocolate flavouring.


        I’ll also allow occasional advice columns from Patricia Velasquez’s mum.

    • I missed the Tonya Harding comment until looking at this article today, but . . .


  13. As a person in my thirties, I’d love to read about growing up queer in the 80s and 90s – things have changed so much! Also the divorce topic suggested above and starting dating again at for example 35 years.

    I would love to read about coming out in your 30s.

  14. I’m in my 30s and would like to read about being bisexual and in a long-term monogamous relationship – how people combat bi invisibility, how people inhabit and own their sexuality in a way that respects their partner…sorry if I’ve not expressed this very well (and I’m not dissing poly relationships)

    • Yes! This!

      Also how to deal with having never had a girlfriend and coming out in your 30s. Do you have to go through all the same stuff you went through when you started dating the first time?

  15. Hello! Two questions about submitting:

    Would you prefer that I send in my cover letter sooner with some pitches, or try to bang out a rough draft over the weekend?

    If you don’t want word docs, does that mean you want the rough draft in the email body itself?

    SO excited!

    • Would you prefer that I send in my cover letter sooner with some pitches, or try to bang out a rough draft over the weekend?
      try to bang out a rough draft over the weekend, if you end up not being able to do it, then just send the cover letter with pitches!

      If you don’t want word docs, does that mean you want the rough draft in the email body itself?
      Yep! Or else in a pdf or a google doc.

    • hey katherine!

      i’d love to see a rough draft of your idea! and yeah just put it directly into the body of the email.

      excited to hear from you!!

  16. I second all these things from the comments right above me.

    I didn't even KNOW I was queer until I was 29, and I had to navigate this whole new existence alone with basically zero resources available that were relevant to someone my age.

    It was nuts.
    If I had any writing experience, I'd tell you all about it!

    Now I'm 32 and married, on the brink of starting a family, and I still have no idea what I'm doing.

    I can't be the only one.

    Thank you for making this a priority in 2015.

    • Exactly!

      Like, I knew somewhere that I was bi, and even half heartedly expressed it to my husband when we started dating, but now at 32 with a toddler and hopefully another pregnancy soon, I’ve been navigating the dating scene as a newly polyish and entering a relationship with a woman who’s been dealing with infertility for a few years and there’s all sorts of identity and dating and parenting feelings all going on and basically very few things to read on it…

  17. I would loooooove to see submissions about dealing with the foster-to-adopt process as a lesbian. I used to follow a blog about the process but it was taken down. Pretty please??

  18. Love that you’re making this a priority!

    What else do I wanna read?advice on and stories about long-term relationships, weddings, changing relationship with parents as they get older, how to deal with homophobia at work (might sound so boring/not creative but I would honestly like to read about these run of the mill kinda topics from a queer and autostraddle point of view).

  19. Not relevant to me personally (due to age more than anything) but would love some stuff on trans parents, with cis partners, trans partners and/or single.

    Also pieces on parenting trans kids? And parenting teens (trans or otherwise), as queer/LGBTQ parents? Dealing with bullying of kids cos parents are LGBTQ?

    This all sounds amazing. It’s so irrelevant to my current stage in life but I still can’t wait to read it!

  20. One way to throw a bone to queerios who want kids in their lives but don’t want to start a family, would be to talk about what it’s like to mentor kids, either as being involved in the lives of your own cousins /nieces / nephews, or working with local organizations or schools. It’s something I’d like to do, but I don’t have concrete strategies on how to navigate being visibly queer and interacting with kids and their parents and caretakers about that.

    • “One way to throw a bone to queerios who want kids in their lives but don’t want to start a family, would be to talk about what it’s like to mentor kids[…] It’s something I’d like to do, but I don’t have concrete strategies on how to navigate being visibly queer and interacting with kids and their parents and caretakers about that.”

      ALL THE YES TO THIS. As a professional K-8 educator who is queer…classroom teachers with bonafide teaching contracts struggle with visible queerness in the classroom and navigating relationships with families (hell, colleagues too!) …nevermind ROCKING mentorship queerly…and schools/kids in general need all the amazing mentors and community involvement we can get! “Takes a village” applies perhaps now more than ever with all the stresses on families and demands on teachers. We need amazing mentors. Someone should write this, do this, encourage this. I’ll read hungrily as both an educator and concerned community member…and “queerio” [uh. adorable.]

      Lily, the adorable baby in my picture, happens to agree that queer aunties are bestest, so queer mentors probs are too!

      • I’m not sure about personal kids either (that makes it sound like going to the Humane Society or Build-a-Bear?), but I have a niece and nephew, so . . . YES. I really, really care about that. They’re here in a super-homophobic area of the South (and their mother is mutter-mutter-mutter), so I want to be their super-aunt because I love them like crazy and also want to teach them some things somehow without lecturing them and have to do whatever in a subtle way.

    • Ooh, I spent a year essentially raising my 3 nephews when they were little while also realizing I was queer and living with a conservative pastor brother in law! I should write something about it.

  21. As a single mom who has been mom for all of her 20’s and jujust entered my 30’s!!! This is exactly What I would love!! I would love to see articles about queer dating with kids, and also stories of how people explain difficult parts of life to kids… from gender to sexuality to things like ferguson, acts of violence towards trans and queer persons, how other people have these conversations with their kids wouldaybe offer ideas to others!

  22. hey just wanted to thank you all for these suggestions and energy! i’ve put your ideas into a spreadsheet — please keep putting stuff here or email me + riese at the addresses provided in the post with more ideas. WE ARE LISTENING AND WORKING.

  23. Not nearly 30, but my wife and I have an age gap so we’re trying to find a happy medium of ages without restricting my pre-child experiences.

    I have to say, I’m very interested in hearing about both adoption and birthing stories. My wife wants a kid by any means that aren’t her vagina. At the moment I’m leaning towards adoption – on Monday I had to force feed my rabbit hourly. Not sure I could cope with sleep deprivation of a tiny human.

    Then again, we were thinking of adopting a child with disabilities which aren’t always conducive to sleep. Hm.

  24. I know its super vague, but it would be cool to see some articles that focus more on european specific gay things, like looking at which cities are best to be gay in or something. Or where the awesome clubs are at; or which countries you can and cant get married in and if you get married in one country does it still count if you then move to another; or “how to get on with your girlfriends super catholic family whilst not being able to speak a word of their native language”. Just some random ideas off the top of my head there… nothing personal or anything.

    …and you may already have some articles like that I just might not have seen them, if so; my bad, good job.

  25. So very happy AS is going to gear toward the 30something demo!
    Things I’d like to suggest:
    – long term relationships, their trials and tribulations
    – growing up gay in the 80s-90s
    – crushing on Sporty Spice
    – Xena: Warrior Princess
    – office politics/work related stuff
    – grad school
    – aging parents
    – may/december queer romances

    • And how to get back in the dating pool now that lesbian bars don’t exist anymore.
      How to deal when you get Divorced and you don’t get custody of the friends

  26. Also also also: more Harry Potter. There could always be more Harry Potter everywhere all the time
    Thank you

  27. I am late to this party and super excited about kiddos and other stuff for us autostraddlers in or nearing our 30s!!

    -dating ladies with kids
    -dating after divorce
    -being out or kind-of-out in the corporate world (gak)
    -stories of single queer mommas
    -long-term and/or long-distance relationships,

    (can you tell kids are on my mind, not entirely because of the original topic of this post?)

    -second the aging parents suggestion
    -but seriously, Buffy Summers
    -second careers
    -keeping our queer minds open/active/radical as we get older and just want to live our boring, happy lives
    -all the other things you already do!

  28. Also also: Being queer (and trans) and having a body that is not quite so spring-y as it was at 18.

  29. I love everything about this! My girls are almost-6 and almost-2, and I didn’t give birth to them, but I am definitely up for sharing my family’s experiences in comments.

    Personally, I would love to read about the experiences of other non-bio moms, and have a space to talk about all of the feelings that come with that. It often feels like this odd middle-place between being a mom and being a dad (even though I am very much my kids’ mom… you know what I mean), and I don’t really fit in with either.

    Anyway, I love love love that you all are reaching out and making it a goal to add more content for us “older” readers. :)

  30. Some of this people have already said, but I guess it’s just like an additional vote? Anyway:

    -growing up in the 80s/90s
    -growing up without significant support/resources (no GSAs, no “It Gets Better,” no Internet– does that make sense?– not “I walked uphill in the snow both ways,” just the generally different environment– no, this doesn’t make sense . . .)
    -coming out to Baby Boomer parents/relatives
    -general child-related decisions– especially thinking about how the hell to raise a child when you were raised by Baby Boomers (echo) with way different values (X-er speaking here) and on top of that you’re queer and you don’t read standard Mommy Blogs etc.
    -mental health issues, either persisting from the past that still need to be processed, that tend to show up at this general age, insurance?!?
    -you’re at the age where you may need more medical care, so how do you deal with the usual uncomfortable questions? how to you find health care workers who aren’t going to freak you out or make you feel uncomfortable?
    -work– come out? harassment? rights? if working with public, how do you deal with what they say?
    -living situations– living with significant other (when? when not to?), roommates, alone, house vs apartment
    -relocation– are you supposed to be settling down (see: all my relatives) or can you still be restless?
    -if you’re sick of bars et al, how do you meet people? (recently was told: “there are two ways to meet people here: bars and church. I’m tired of one, and I don’t do the other”)
    -if you have relocated and don’t have a group of friends, how to you establish one, especially if you’re not living in a very liberal/whatever area?
    -frankly, ANY major life upheaval or transition– if you go on Facebook (“depression central”) and see how all the people you know are settled with kids and longtime jobs and all that by your age, and hey, you’re just keeping your shit together in 24-hour segments, what ARE you supposed to do? I know “comparison is the thief of joy,” but who doesn’t do that? Their update: “Here are some photos of hubby’s new office (promotion!), the 20-course dinner I cooked, and a blog update about #ourfamily!” mine: “played a hashtag game on Twitter until 4 AM”)
    -budget stuff– not finance 101, but real-world stuff, like this site always does
    -it would be kind of cool to check in with people etc. from 80s/90s from time to time– not like every single week, but a sometimes nostalgia thing? Especially if they’ve come out as queer since then.
    -that last Augusten Burroughs book (it was a yellow hardback, and now I sound like a library patron), the advice one– I thought it was overall kind of snarky and all that. Maybe I should reread. But the concept itself was good, if not the execution: here are some problems, here are some ideas about how to deal and get beyond. Except situations that would pertain to this age group AND this site’s readership. No, I’m not making sense.

    Will drop the curtain on me there, because I’m pretty much raving at this point.

  31. Another comment in support of queer parenting, non-bio parenting, babies and older kids, explaining gender to kids, feminist parenting, etc. I’m Baba to two kids with maybe a third in the works.

    Also, aging parents. Maybe dying parents, even.

    Long-term relationships. Schedules, especially with kids, jobs and sick parents.

    And I know this has also been said above, but I have felt excluded with the phrase “queer moms” which has been used a few times in the last weeks. I do not identify as a mom. I know that mom blogs don’t always refer to me nor do queer parenting blogs, but in the general sense that it’s been used here maybe “queer parents” is more inclusive.

  32. I would love to see more content for 30-somethings! I would really like to learn about:
    – How to choose a sperm donor, what things to consider, cost, the insemination process
    – The adoption process, how to get that started, what is the timeline, cost, requirements (do you have to be married?)
    – How to raise children, specifically in relation to having queer moms, how to raise adopted children and children of a race different than your own
    – How to support your pregnant partner
    Looking forward to this new content!

  33. That is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  34. Any single moms by choice out there? That’s sort of a life goal of mine, and I’d love to hear from them.

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