Call For Submissions: SCHOOLED

Hello humans of the internet! Our Summer of Herstory is winding down and as we look forward into September, it’s only natural that one might begin to think about, you know, SCHOOL. Our August/September/October theme is, therefore, SCHOOLED.

In addition to debuting our new College Lesbianager (we haven’t made that decision yet, but we will!), we’ll be looking for stories that are somehow related to queer issues and/or feminist issues AND somehow related to school or education in general.

For example, a photojournalism project about Harvey Milk, the all-gay high school in New York City, a personal essay on what happens when your parents can pay for school or you can be gay but not both at the same time or a feature about students fighting for a gay identity on Religious Campuses.

It doesn’t need to be a story about students, it can be about teachers, anyone who works in the school system, any aspect of education. There’s a lot of room to get creative here, and as usual we encourage submissions from women of all ages and backgrounds!

You’re also encouraged to submit personal essays, of course. Please refrain from submitting essays on the topic of “How [All-Women’s College/Study Abroad Program/Boarding School] Made Me Gay.” If you’d like to submit a personal essay about growing up gay in Catholic School, you need to come up with a really unique clever twist, because you would be really surprised how many of those we get!

More examples of SCHOOLED posts from Autostraddle:

More Visible Than Purple: LGBT Kids and the Road to Safer Schools, by Sebastian

Can Queer Sex Queer Sex Ed?, by Mae & Rachel

Everybody Hurts: Feeling Screwed Up In High School, by Riese

Sarah McBride, American University’s First Trans* Student Body President: The Autostraddle Interview , by Carmen

+ You Need Help: So Your College Roommates Are Homophobic Assholes, by Rachel

How to Deal with Dropping Out of College Or Other Non-Traditional Life Courses, by Katrina

Revolution Queer Style Now: Christian College Bans Students’ Gay ‘Zine, by Riese

+ The Lesbian Insider’s Guide to 40 Queer-Friendly College Campuses, by a lot of people

+ The entire College Lesbianage Series.


More examples of SCHOOLED-esque posts from other websites:

Thriving in Hostile Territory: Black Feminism in the College Classroom (2010), Crunk Feminist Collective – “My belly is so full of air (my anger) and pity (other people’s bullsh*t) that I sometimes feel pregnant.  And because I am a black woman who writes and speaks authoritatively about lived experience and “grown up words” (like racism and sexism), I am immediately implicated. My body is implicated. My authority is implicated. My intelligence is questioned.”

The Cuddle Puddle of Stuyvesant High School: Love and the Ambisexual, Heteroflexible Teen (2005), New York Magazine – “Researchers find it shocking that 11 percent of American girls between 15 and 19 claim to have same-sex encounters. Clearly they’ve never observed the social rituals of the pansexual, bi-queer, metroflexible New York teen.”

One Town’s War on Gay Teens (2012), Rolling Stone – “In Michele Bachmann’s home district, evangelicals have created an extreme anti-gay climate. After a rash of suicides, the kids are fighting back.”

Racism 101: Race and the College Freshman (2011), Racialicious – “Maybe I’m naïve, but when I stepped on the campus of my New England public university, I was dumbstruck by the whiteness of it all. I was literally the only person of color in a sea of white people.”

Accounting For Queer Studies (2012), Pretty Queer – “Queer people in America have an unhealthy addiction to institutional approval.”

Coming Out in Middle School (2009), New York Times Magazine – How 13-year-old kids are dealing with their sexual identity — and how others are dealing with them.

The Freedom to Choose Your Pronoun (2011), New York Times – Katy is one of a growing number of high school and college students who are questioning the gender roles society assigns individuals simply because they have been born male or female.

The entire School’s Out series from Bitch Magazine.

My Weekend in America’s So-Called “Rape Capital”  (2012), Jezebel – “80 reported rapes in three years is, indeed, on par with national averages for college towns of Missoula’s size.”

Send your story pitches to Laneia [at] Autostraddle [dot] com by August 10th. Include a resume and 2-3 writing samples (either PDFs from print publications or link to your work online). If you don’t have any writing/publishing experience and/or clips, we ask that you submit your entire manuscript (or most of it) instead of just the pitch. We also accept pitches for photoessays. There’s no pay, but everybody loves exposure and we can reimburse you for any expenses incurred while writing the article. If there is a more in-depth project you’d like to produce that might require a budget, include that in your pitch.

Special note: One of the Top Ten Problems With Submissions is the problem of “tone” — specifically that we get a lot of pitches and articles that are written in a very academic tone. We like our articles to be conversational, unique, exciting, smart and accessible — but most importantly, FUN!  (Not all the “examples from other publications” reflect what we want w/r/t tone, the best gauge for that is the Autostraddle examples listed above.)

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  1. Now I’m curious to learn what a pansexual bi-queer metroflexible person is actually like. Hoping we’ll get a personal essay from one of those elusive creatures.

  2. I was going to write about how watching The L Word in my feminist and queer theory class turned me bi but I’m pretty sure that counts under the “please refrain from” note.

  3. Omg, can I tell the story about how I fell in love with my RA, acted ungodly awkward around her for a year and a half and then, right before leaving the dorm for good, marched downstairs and told her about my crush? Mostly I would like to tell this story for sympathy…

  4. I’ll refrain from talking about how I was super repressed in Catholic school. And how much I regret not exploring all those awkward feelings surrounded only by girls. I’m so bummed. Seriously. So many were gay I’m finding out.

    • Pretty much this is me. (Not the Catholic school part, but the regrets part.) One of my best friends in high school, who was a few years older than me, TOLD ME that she was curious about girls and her and her then-fiance had talked about having a threesome with another girl and I was STILL too scared to make a move. Basically I failed at all things relationship-y and/or sex-y in high school.

    • ugh, same!! my gaydar didnt work while i was also at a catholic all girls high school. ditto about finding out girls who turned out to be gay… and not realizing they were on that path back then. haha!

      i kind of gave up trying to figure out whether people were gay or not, because many of my classmates were super affectionate with each other, and sometimes jokingly called each other lovers. (how confusing is that for a clueless teenager like i was!?) to make things worse, i was a little shy and quiet and socially awkward (still kind of am). also i was a bit of a loner…. sigh. stupid high school.

      • Part of my confusion arose due to our jokingly flirty nature. Seriously, every day was one big “we’re super gay and in love” fake interaction filled with arm clutching, passed notes and secrets. Turns out I was actually super gay and in love!

  5. There’s a really great drama going on right now with my Catholic university having a GSA, so they’re “technically inclusive,” but don’t actually let us *do* anything. It’s a weird, “you can exist, just don’t be seen/demonstrate on campus,” situation. Absolutely astounding, if you ask me. (Also frustrating as all get-out.)

  6. bad stories i could pitch but won’t:

    “it’s sophomore year and all the straight girls are cutting their hair”
    “women’s studies: it’s a thing!”
    “everyone has a crush on the only visibly queer professor in my school and why this is a thing”

  7. What word count does Autostraddle have on articles and submissions? I’d like to write one but having no word count makes me waffle on about random stuff like cats and katherine moennig.

      • I had no idea using waffle as a verb wasn’t well known around the world… this kinda makes me feel like an ignorant British chippy for assuming.
        And also just discovered in the AS contact section that the general submission word count is 1,000 – 3,000 words.
        This means lots of waffling space.

  8. As someone who lived in a dorm room with two other lesbians, on a floor that was 99.9% lady gays, I MAY have something to contribute.

  9. Soooooo… Anyone love queer boarding school stories? I’m definitely pitching stuff! Exciting stuff!

  10. Can one of you queer teacher who are probably on her write about your experiences? Because in high school, I was that closeted kid who projected my sexuality onto my teachers who were also of questionable love lives … and I really just want to know what it’s like.

    • This. I’d love to hear from one or more queer teachers about their experiences. I’ve thought many times about going back to school to become a teacher but the thought of not being able to be out at school and having to hide my family, or dealing with homophobic parents if I do decide to be out at school, gives me pause.

    • I’m a queer teacher with lots of stories to tell. Hopefully you’ll get to read some of them under this theme, but if not, I’m totally starting a (new) blog to dealing with being a Queer Educator, bc it is an Experience.

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