Call For Submissions: “On Camp” and More Queer Girl City Guides

click for more on a-camp

Hey-o Yes Homos! Is it ever your lucky day! March’s theme has been “Here/Queer” — stories with a strong sense of place — and ’cause we feel like there are so many more city guides and et cetera to be written and read in this great big world of ours, we’re gonna keep publishing these city guides periodically over the next six weeks or so. We will have an April theme as well though, so hang tight.

First — Moar City Guides!

We’re especially interested in somebody doing a guide for Los Angeles, ’cause a lot of A-Campers will be taking some time in the city at the end of April while journeying to camp!

We welcome submissions from wherever, and we’re especially looking for:

– Manhattan
– San Francisco
– Oakland/Berkeley
– Atlanta
– Houston
– Miami
– New Orleans
– London
– Melbourne

If you wanna submit a city guide, email Laneia with a letter describing your connection to the city you wanna write about. She’ll let you know if it’s already been taken or not, at which point you’ll be responsible for crafting a comprehensive guide (see other guides for tips) and providing at least five of your own high-res photos (which you own the rights to), links to the places you talk about (and phone numbers/addresses when necessary), and whatever insidery details you’ve got.


Secondly, Our April Theme is “On Camp.”

We’ll be publishing more Here/Queers as well as “On Camp” posts from April 1st – May 15th, at which point we’ll announce the June theme and then take a breather! Isn’t it cute how we like to make things as complicated as possible? I thought so!

“On Camp” is — you guessed it! — about camp, and we chose this theme to celebrate the launch of our first ever A-Camp, taking place the last weekend of April.

On Camp pitches could include anything from “how to build your own shelter” to your favorite trail mix recipe to the history of girl scout camp to a personal essay about how your torrid affair with another lady at band camp helped you accept your homogayness. It need not be explicitly queer, but we do prefer stories that explore or relate to issues that affect queers, feminists and/or outsiders.

Examples of “On Camp”-ish material from around the web:

How Nerd Camp Saved my Life, – “The summer I was 14, I went to two different summer camps. The difference between them summed up the central crisis of my life at the time: Was I going to identify as the geek or the Kid With Issues?”

Notes on Camp, – “Public masurbation and other things I learned at Vacation Bible School.”

Summer School Is Bunk: Why Camp Shouldn’t Just Be for Rich Kids – “Admittedly, my skepticism about year-long school is connected to my own summers, which were unusually fruitful. My parents were able to afford to send me to a summer camp where I learned not only swimming and sports, but history and politics. “

Jazz Hands, Everyone!, New York Magazine – “The story of Stagedoor Manor, where Robert Downey Jr and Lea Michelle honed their chops.”

+ Beauty Q&A: Pack and Travel, Pack and Travel, the hairpin -“Summer means music festivals and camping. And for me, music festivals and camping mean trying not to look like I haven’t properly showered in three days even though I haven’t properly showered in three days. “

Notes on Camp, rookie – “First kisses, Friendship Night, and the importance of snuggling.”

Camp Out, – “The director of the first gay Christian summer camp on turning the political tide.”

+ Ten Movies to Go Watch if You Can’t Go to Summer Camp, Gawker – “As June creeps on, school kids across the nation are getting released from the crumbling prisons that are America’s schools and being sent off to life-guarding jobs, coal mines, or, if they’re lucky, sleepaway camp. Not one of those lucky kids? Well here are some movies to watch that will make it feel almost like you’re there.”

What I Learned at Luxury Boot Camp, Good Magazine – “If you are among [the wealthy who can afford it], wonderful: I highly recommend you explore it as an option if you’re looking to seriously reboot. If you are not, click through the slideshow to read about some of the lessons I gleaned from my week on Ranch time.”

My Imaginary Wet Hot American Summer, The Rumpus – “Even though I’m Jewish, I never went to summer camp. A popular girl in the sixth grade called me “Pizza Legs,” because of my purple spider veins and red splotches and moles—bright, textured flaws that looked like pizza toppings on pale skin. During a pool party, I refused to get in a swimsuit, and a different popular girl called me a lesbian. What did a lesbian look like, I wondered. I guess they looked like me. I tried not to look like me. I’d now like to imagine what summer camp could have been if everything were different.”

Notes on Camp: This episode of This American Life has quite a few examples of what we’re looking for (but in writing, not audio, obvs)

Send your pitches to Laneia [at] Autostraddle [dot] com and cc Rachel [at] autostraddle dot com & Laura [at] autostraddle dot com by April 3rd. Include a resume and three samples (either PDFs from print publications or link to your work published online).

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 3202 articles for us.


  1. i am in desperate need of a city guide for boston because i’m moving there in four months and not exactly over the moon as i was expecting to get into uw, my dream school, and move to seattle, my dream city, and live happily ever after. so i need reassurance that boston is sufficiently queer and wonderful. please.

    • I second the call for a Boston city guide, but having been here for two years, I think you will find Boston plenty queer and wonderful. Hope you enjoy!

    • Me, too! (Well, more than likely…You know what. It’s like, 95% happening). Which university will you be attending? I’ll be at Northeastern. :)

      Montreal is my dream city and right now that’s looking like a dream deferred, but Boston seems pretty cool.

      • YAYYY!!! I’m moving there in June and I would definitely like to know all that.

        Will there also be ones for possibly Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam, or London? I’m going to all those places for a graduation trip with my girlfriend and I want to go to allllll the gay places.

    • How could it not be queer? It was the first state in the US to legalize gay marriage:)

      (I am very protective of Massachusetts).

    • Boston is AWESOME SAUCE! I went to college there. Graduate school is a little different but probs even better. There so much to do, see, hear and plenty of queerness. And if you have a car or access to one, you can always check in at lesbian headquarters in North Hampton or Provincetown. If you want to be super queer, Jamaica Plain is where lots of homo ladies live, work, have bookstores, etc. It’s not that close to BC though, iirc so I’m not sure you’d want to live there for your main priority assuming your main priority is school which of course it’s not! ;-)

      • in the very limited research i’ve done so far i definitely heard that jamaica plain was where the queer ladies are, plus the slightly-less-expensive roslindale (is this true in your experience?). my main priority is most definitely living somewhere queer. school is number 2. :)

      • Yes! Jamaica Plains actually is one of the neighborhoods I’m considering because of its proximity to Northeastern. I probably won’t get out much thanks to grad school, but at least I’m in the neighborhood.

    • here is your queer-lady guide to Boston: 1) Jamaica Plain 2) Somerville (the western part) 3) Queeraoke at Midway


  2. I really hope someone can do Houston. I may be from here, but my knowledge of Queer anything starts and ends with Montrose. It would be nice to know where the best spots are when I move back for the summer!

  3. little darlings, little darlings!!!! I love that movie with the lesbian-ish Matt Dillon and an actual lesbian and a political lesbian, yaaaaay!

    On topic: These city guides really do help, I plan to move to NYC and I have printed out the guide(s) that are relevent to the places I will be going to. Also, I fucking love AS, love.

  4. Anyone working on an Indy guide? Former resident more than willing to collaborate someone else can help.

    Indy Pride!

    • we don’t have anybody already writing one, so i hope you can find somebody and doooo ittt

  5. Are there any Latin American city guides in the works? That would be so ridiculously cool. Also, I’d love one for Eugene, but I realize that’s very unlikely and I’m not qualified to write one myself yet.

  6. I’m working on a city guide right now! It will be done soon promise!

    Also I’m super excited about stories/essays/poems about camp. Camp is my favorite thing, probs because I basically grew up in one (in the middle of a state forest).

  7. I’m going to a school in Minneapolis/St. Paul this fall and I keep hearing that the city is fantastic for lady gays but I really don’t know where to start. Could someone do a guide for that?

  8. I would ask for an Ann Arbor city guide, but I literally need it by this weekend.

    Would also like to request a Chapel Hill/Durham/Raleigh, NC (Research Triangle) guide. I might move there in the fall and need to experience at least one gay thing before I commit to being there.

    Also Also – Ithaca, NY.

    • there is some information about Ann Arbor in the original “21 most lesbian cities” article here on AS.

      • i’m from ann arbor and went to the university of michigan, but i don’t feel qualified to write a queer girl city guide for it since things have changed so much since i last lived there, every time i go back state street looks different

    • Seconding a request for Chapel Hill/Durham/Raleigh. One of the grad schools I’m applying to is in Raleigh, and my dream job of dream jobs is in Durham.

    • The Chicagostraddlers are straddling the heck out of the Chicago city guide. Unfortunately, it’s hard for us to write about partying when we are out doing it (partying, i mean). But have no fear, the Chicago city guide is going to be crazy awesome!

  9. As someone looking all over the country for a job, these guides are saving my little queer soul with thought of possibly knowing what’s up when I get somewhere completely new. Anyone know where new nurses are being hired?

  10. Wait, so does this mean that I don’t get honorary entrance membership for camp because it’s me and well, since camp isn’t in March, it could be like a belated gift for me blessing your walls with my face along with Michelle all of this month.

    juuu know?
    I just. wanna go. before I move off the Mainland. :(

    *sad luna dance in the corner*
    *eats ice cream*
    *watches season 2 of the L word for jenny, specifically*

  11. Could someone do Toronto? I will be going there for university, but have absolutly no idea what’s up with the queer scene. I’ve heard it’s awesome though.

  12. If no one else is already doing it, then I would happily volunteer to do Houston. I love talking about how much I love and hate my city. It’s mostly love though!

  13. The Notes On Camp episode of This American Life is hands down my favorite ever. My entire childhood is derived from summer camp.

  14. I was hoping to see a Salt Lake City guide to provide some light at the end of the predominantly Mormon tunnel. Born and raised in Utah, but it’s hard to find fellow gays and happy gay places here.

  15. Anyone want to collaborate on a Northampton/Amherst area one? I think I’m only qualified to write part of it (my friends are’t 21 so I’m lacking in nightlife knowledge mostly).

    I’ll email a pitch or whatever we need to do in if people are interested.

      • Is Amherst included in that? They’re connected by a bus system and are both college towns so a lot of people party/go out/eat/whatever in both.

        I can do Amherst parts if no one’s doing that.

  16. #1 Who are these curious people going to LA after camp? I wanna to come too! Really really.

    #2 I would love to write the guide to Melbourne because it is my heart-home and I have many feelings of love and adoration about that place. But I wasn’t out/involved in the homogay scene at all when I last lived there which, sadly, disqualifies me. If it still hasn’t been written later this year though, I’ll jump on it.


    • My other half and I will be spending the day before (well, what’s left of it after flying from ACROSS THE WORLD) and the day after in LA…

    • Agreed, Melbourne is an amazing city and totally queer loving and friendly. I wish I was living there so I could write about it. Someone get on it!

    • I would also really love someone to do a guide for Melbourne. My (other) work sends me there on the reg and so I’d appreciate some insider knowledge.

    • I am going to LA after camp until Wednesday night. I have no idea what i’m doing there or where i’m staying yet. A big part of me just wants to spend the whole time longboard skating and surfing in the sun for 3 days.

  17. An additional plea for a Los Angeles guide! I am moving out there this fall for graduate school and while I have gathered that it is a bastion of lady gay glory *ahem the L word* a real-world confirmation that I will have reasons to leave Pasadena would be vastly appreciated.

    (And reassurances that there are, in fact, things to do in Pasadena would be divine)

  18. Just moved out to Anaheim so an Orange County/Anaheim guide would be lovely…

    Also I am trying to think of gay things about camp because I went to sleepaway camp for 6 years and was staff there for an additional three and I basically lived, breathed and ate camp even when I wasn’t there. JEW CAMP FO LIFE.

    • Ariel,

      Find Alice on here…she’s Captain of the Varsity BBQ Team and goes to UCI. She will hook you up in a big way / lives in Orange County.

      Good luck !

  19. Camp stories!

    I might be going camping this weekend.

    5 lesbians, 3 exes, 1 tent.

    I can’t imagine there will be any drama worth writing about.

  20. NASHVILLE. Please please please someone write about Nashville.

    Currently the only lesbian online piece on it is this:

    too depressing for words. I’m gonna be here for two more years and I only know the one gay club and have found on google what looks like the one lesbian bar which is full of middle-aged women with bad highlights and cowboy boots. And now this article says that all six of Nashville’s other lesbians are already dating each other.

    HELP MEEEE. Write about Music City!

  21. Um….. so I just officially found out I am going to be a camp director this summer like…5 minutes ago

    Also, is anyone doing a Queer Detroit/Ann Arbor/MI post? Because I’ve been thinking a lot about that shit and pretty sure I could colabdrate with some fabulous ladies to write that.


      Sorry for the caps.


    Also, I need a London city guide so that come September, I can hit up the queerest of spots.

    • Cheers for that, i’m moving to London in september too. But brighton is just 30 minutes and 13£ away!

  23. Please tell me someone is doing Philly! I’m in my first year of college here and I really want to find out more about the city from a queer perspective. ESPECIALLY if it means getting out of my university’s bubble more often!

    • Ahhh! Philly is fantastic! Kudos for wanting to get out of the bubble more often. I am just finishing up my senior year and while I don’t know much about the queer scene outside of bars/parties (though the gayborhood really shouldn’t be taken for granted) I can, at least, give you some good food reasons to escape your campus. Hopefully someone will write a full post and do Philly justice.

      I don’t know what school you are at so I am going to arbitrarily pick places around Philly worth checking out with a potential bias towards things easily accessible from my campus.

      Great hole in the wall BYO: Vientianne at about 48th and Baltimore (can also call in for pick up and then picnic in Clarke Park)

      Vegan Cheesesteak: Yep, you read that right. A twist on the Philly classic that contains no meat and no cheese, just pure unbridled glory. Can be found at Govindas as South and Broad.

      Restaurants to impress a date with: Farmicia at 3rd and Chestnut(ish) and Abyssinia at 45th and Locust. The first has lots of farm fresh and tasty food and an excellent brunch (happy hour included) and the second is an Ethiopian place with a great bar upstairs.

      Best veggie burger of your life: the Belgian cafe at 21st and Green(ish)

      If you are looking to get (potentially) further off campus you should head to Nolibs. The piazza has a great concentration of more upscale restaurants and they have fun concerts/events there. It is also super easy to get to via Septa.

      I am going to stop raving now because you didn’t ask about food. One final protip: don’t get sucked into restaurant week. You will very rarely find a good deal. It is infinitely better to shell out and spend the same amount of money at a restaurant that isn’t participating. Just trust me on this one.

      Oh one last thing: if you haven’t yet experienced Korean karaoke in ktown you really need to check it out. If you take market-Frankfurt to 69th it is only a few blocks to multiple karaoke places that will allow you and at least 25 of your closest friends to pile into a room and belt Lady Gaga/Tegan and Sara/Florence and the Machine/everything that has been on glee to Korean battle and/or love scenes. Pretty much infinite potential to be queertastic right there.

      • Ahhhh thanks so much! I will definitely be looking into all of these things. I go to Penn, so these seem to cover a fairly good variety of places and distances from campus. Vientiane is fairly (very) close to campus, but I’m definitely looking forward to any BYOs that take place there. Thai food is kind of my favorite (and Banana Leaf is getting old…). And thanks for the tip about Nolibs! That’s one thing I definitely hadn’t heard of before. I’ll be sure to drag a friend along and check that out.

        One sad thing. There was a great tea place in the gayborhood that was my absolute favorite. However, it closed down back in November. I definitely would go over there more often if it were still open. :/

        • Hey Anna and Arabella,

          I live in Philly too! As a suggestion for a replacement tea house, might I suggest Pumpkin Cafe? It’s at 1610 Sounth Street, which you can get to on the 41 bus I think (double check that-) They have lovely teas, coffee and tasty foods. Super queer friendly, it’s owned by my good friend Hillary and they also serve ice cream. They don’t care if you study there all day, every day for like a year…(based on personal experience).

          Also, in the next block there is Jet Bar which is super fun with great appetizer foods but a little pricey. Also in that block is a cool pasta place, a Thai place at the corner and the Baja Room across the street (with a WAY too fun patio in the back, sit outside and drink margaritas, eat the nachos, be happy).

          And let’s not forget that Bob and Barabara’s Bar is in this block as well. An awesome neighborhood place with a wide range of karaoke, jazz etc–also, I think Thursday is still Drag Night.

          See ya there kids!

        • Anna, I go to Penn too! Gear up for another three amazing years. Penn gets even better with age. :) (and get pumped for fling!)

          Oh and if you want to do a tour of Thai BYOs there is another one on South St. at ~8th. :)

          Smartypants, thanks for the tips, I am going to look into that teahouse! I have a thesis to write and a newfound love of tea to explore and it would be great to take care of both at once!

          Also, b&bs definitely still has drag on Thursday and jazz on Fridays.

          • Arabella,

            Have you been to Tamarind?–it’s on South Street but waaayy down by Front Street, basically across the street from the South Street diner–it’s one of my favorites!

            B&Bs does rock. When it’s warm out, I love eating at the Baja Room and then walking across the street for more “adult beverages”.

            Good luck with said thesis!

          • I was born pumped for fling. :D

            And I have to ask, is having a required thesis too horrible? I’m considering IR, sooo…

            Thanks for the tips, Smartypants! I’m a lifelong tea enthusiast, so I’ll probably be at the Pumpkin Cafe all the time now that you’ve alerted me to its presence. Maybe if I head over there to read I’ll finally finish Midnight’s Children. :P

            Do either of you know of any good University City coffee shops? I’m more of a tea person, but I’m really starting to miss good coffee. You know it’s bad when coffee from Starbucks or Williams starts to sound good because “at least it isn’t Commons.”

          • Anna,

            Have you been to the Green Line cafe yet?
            There are two–just google them for locations. Also, the one on Baltimore is across the street from a kick-ass farmer’s market that will so totally rock your world, think queer Moms, kids, dogs, multi-racial errbody, drumming circles, chess geeks, Amish farmers and hipster-aggie types. Yep. It’s a little unbelieveble. Also, Tom’s Taco Truck and coffee in the morning makes life worth living.
            (well, that plus girls.)

            Flowers, honey, fruits and veggie also, BAKED GOODS !
            with the following caveat; I will let you decide for yourself if you want the taste of Shoe-Fly Pie in your mouth ever again as long as you live.

          • That farmers’ market sounds like the ass-kickingest of kick-ass things. Sounds like the best potential weekend excursion ever. Is it open most days, or is it a once a week thing?

            I’m super pumped to check out the Green Line Cafe now! Both locations are so close to my end of campus. Just. Ahhhh. I might have to run over to the one on Locust as soon as I’m done at work.

            Um…what the hell is Shoe-Fly Pie?

            Maybe you should just write the Philly guide. You’ve been really helpful!

  24. oh man. I now wish I was more in the “scene” here in Vienna just so I could write an article for AS.

    also, you’ll be my hero forever if anyone would do edinburgh (with st andrews maaaaybe?)

  25. So the post from I went to Camp Merriwood! my last summer was only a few summers ago but all of my memories are the same!!! Also it was totally awesome and random to find someone else talking about it as like no one really has ever heard of Merriwood.

  26. when I first saw the title for this article I thought y’all wanted articles on the kitschy, drag-y kind of camp, not the woodsy outdoorsy kind.

  27. I got really excited when I read that the theme was Camp because I’m taking a class on the Aesthetics of Camp in Literature, Film, and Art and thought we were going to be talking about Camp, as in the aesthetic defined by Susan Sontag in her essay “Notes on Camp,” and then I got disappointed that we weren’t.

    Mostly, though, I just got disappointed once again that I can’t go to A-Camp.

  28. Okay so we all love SF and Oakland but lets not for get the bay area is HUGE and us homogays in San Jose need Love TOO! I moved down here from Portland and I really would like to hear about how i can get sweet lady time over here with out going to the three queer clubs that seem to define this town! ^_^ BTW i wish i was still in SD, Ca where i came from cause I would so be down to volunteer for that!! Yup SD we go hard and my old bartender was actually one of your sexy calendar gals.

    • Ditto on ” really would like to hear about how i can get sweet lady time over here” for Sacramento!

  29. I can’t believe no one’s volunteered yet to write Oakland/Berkeley! Probs ’cause those of us who live here assume that there are like, a gajillion lesbians, so someone will inevitably volunteer and thus we don’t have to. :)

    But seriously, if someone’s taking this on, I would be glad to help (too busy to write the whole thing myself, though…sadly)!

    • do you have anything you can share about Sacramento? I know it’s not the Bay Area, but proximity is close, no?

  30. I blame the baby-sitters club for my firm belief that I was missing out on something by not going to camp, as well as my firm belief that baby sitting is fun, which it is not. Damn kids. It probably didn’t help my overuse of commas either!

  31. Does anyone have insider knowledge about Sacramento? I am 95% sure that I’ll be moving there at the end of the summer and I’d LOVE to know more about it from a fellow queermo! : )

  32. Someone should do Paris. I am so not qualified to do that on my own, but I guess I could provide wingwomanship. Also sarcasm, probably.

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