Call for Submissions: The Outsiders Issue

Our spring issue wants you to get outside and find the rest of us, or yourself, or the history of a people, or something else we’ve never seen. LGBTQ women and other trans people already find themselves on the outside of a few things — the confines of a heteronormative cisnormative culture, for example — and a lot of us go to great lengths to stay that way. We take pride in not conforming, we find the strength in it. But when we’re talking about being outside outside, as in out-of-doors — taking hikes, building campfires on the beach, climbing rock walls, or climbing trees — it can feel weird or maybe even impossible to take up that space. Like we need permission, or just proof that it’s been done before by someone like us. Or maybe getting way way out there feels like the only time you’re free to fully be yourself! Some of you aren’t waiting for permission or proof of anything — you’re the only proof you need.

We’re not always in the history books alongside other trailblazers and outdoor enthusiasts, but we were there. Ads for outdoor gear and opportunities aren’t usually aimed squarely at us, but we’re there, too. We’re outside and outsiders all at the same time.

For the Outsiders Issue, we want to hear about what you’re finding when you look beyond your four walls, and what you were even looking for to begin with. Send us dispatches from the wildest spaces and unexplored histories, especially including histories that speak to the colonization of these lands and spaces.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with REI for this issue! REI is a member-owned co-op (not a corporation!) that launched their Force of Nature initiative in 2017 to help make the outdoors a place where more women could feel not just welcome but encouraged and fully capable. REI added more sizes to their clothing line and partnered with brands to design more gear specifically for women. They offer local classes, retreats, and adventures in the U.S. and abroad just for women, and have been sponsoring the Women’s Climbing Festival, highlighting trailblazing women (with an emphasis on women of color) and providing funding for groups like Latino Outdoors and Rocking the Boat.

And now they’re sponsoring this issue on Autostraddle! They’re super serious and not fucking around here: you belong in the outdoors and they want to help get you there.

What we’re looking for:

Longform journalism, on the ground reporting, photography, essays, humor pieces, graphic essays, and whatever else you could possibly think of related to the topic of outdoor recreation and the land! Here are some examples of the kinds of pieces we have in mind:

+ The Source of All Things, by Tracy Ross for Backpacker Magazine

+ Outdoor Voices: Blurring the Lines Between Working Out and Everything Else, by Jia Tolentino for The New Yorker

+ We’re Here. You Just Don’t See Us., by Latria Graham for Outside Magazine

+ Hiking the Nüümü Poyo: An Act of Love by Indigenous Women, by Tazah Chavez for the 562 Blog

+ Why I Got Off the Pacific Crest Trail After 454 Miles Instead of Walking All the Way to Canada, by Vanessa Friedman for Autostraddle

+ You Think You Have Time: Hiking the Lowest to Highest Trail, by Carrot Quinn for The Toast

+ Going It Alone: Hiking the Appalachian Trail as a Queer Black Woman, by Rahawa Haile for Outside Magazine

+ Life’s Swell, by Susan Orlean for Outside (the article that inspired the film Blue Crush)

+ Horse Girl, by Heather Radke for The Believer

I Walked From Selma To Montgomery, by Rahawa Haile for Buzzfeed

+ These Gender-Nonconforming People Are Building a Safe Haven on an Appalachian Farm, by Cristina Maza for

+ Daughters of the Springs, by Lauren Groff for The Oxford American

+ The Incarcerated Women Who Fight California’s Wildfires, by Jamie Lowe for The New York Times

+ Green Screen: The Lack of Female Road Narratives and Why it Matters, by Vanessa Veselka for The American Reader

+ A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing With Your Father, by Heather Radke for Longreads

+ Adventurous. Alone. Attacked., by Megan Specia and Tariro Mzezewa for The New York Times

+ The Group Getting Queer People Outside Together, by Rebekah Frumkin for Outside Magazine

+ The Miseducation of Leave No Trace: Policing Black and Brown Bodies In The Outdoors, by Danielle Williams for Melanin Base Camp

+ How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women’s Rights, by Adrienne LaPage for The Atlantic

+ Traveling Lite: Why Women’s Travel Memoirs Get Sold Short, by Rachel Friedman for Bitch Magazine

+ Returning Stolen Land to Native Tribes, One Lot at a Time, by Emily Wilson for Civil Eats

+ Raise the Flag High: Queer Farming in Rural America, by Lori Rotenberk for Modern Farmer

+ Bicycling Across India, Learning About Queerness and Intimacy Along the Way, by Mary Ann Thomas for Autostraddle


Thanks to REI’s generous sponsorship, we’re able to offer much more competitive rates than usual, so wow this is really a great time to have something to say about queer culture as it pertains to the outdoors! Depending on the piece (length, edits required, reporting involved if relevant), payment will be between $150-$1,000, with personal essays and shortform work falling between $150-$250, and reported or longform work falling in the range of $300-$600. We can go higher ($1,000) for like, ONE exceptional pitch! 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.

The deadline for submissions is April 26, but we will be accepting things on a rolling basis, and will respond to you either way by May 1.

If your pitch is for a story that would require reporting, then let us know how many weeks you would need to put it together. We will be publishing Outsiders pieces until the end of June, so you’ve got some time between pitch and publish!

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 3228 articles for us.


    • I’m so excited!! It’s so bomb that REI sponsored this and I can’t wait to read it. I think I’m gonna try to pitch something too!! Thank you guys for all your hard work.

  1. this is such a huge deal, i am so excited to see what everyone comes up with!! also THANK YOU REI for sponsoring this!!!

  2. I’m so excited for the pieces from this issue! And that’s wonderful about the REI sponsorship! I already liked REI a lot; maybe it’s time to finally get my own membership instead of still using my parents’.


    oh by the way! is there an affiliate link thing for us to shop at and further benefit AS? I can’t remember where to find that list or anything.

  4. This is so awesome! It’s sponsored by REI!! A big legitimate business!!! That’s just so crazy fantastic!!

  5. I was going to buy winter boots from LL Bean but I’m looking at the ones on REIs website right this minute!

  6. This is awesome — I’m excited to check out all of the links and read the issue!

    It is also really great to see REI supporting Autostraddle and getting queer women outside! Is there a specific link I should follow to get that new backpacking tent I’ve been on the fence about, or just go through the main affiliate page?

  7. Goodness, AS.

    I’m leaving on a three-month hike on monday, and it means so much to me, and that topic is something that brings me back again and again.
    I would love to write, and share, and I would love to save everything and read everything. But also. I’m leaving on monday.

    SO excited.

    • I’d also like to encourage everyone to read the beautiful “You Think You Have Time: Hiking the Lowest to Highest Trail”, by Carrot Quinn for The Toast / from the list of links in the post.

      (Saving everything else for further reading)

    • 🧡 Ohhhh my gosh BEST WISHES ON YOUR HIKE ! Wait what’s the hiker’s version of break a leg?

  8. If this was a photo submission project with the minimal text I would be submitting right now. I love the outdoors, but not a good writer unfortunately. I will be looking forward to reading all the great articles!

    • we totally accept photo essays and i personally would be very interested in receiving this submission!!! <3

      • I’ve been thinking about submitting a photo essay idea for a long time (not really outdoor related though) – what’s the best way to do that? Photos pasted into a Word Doc with a little commentary? Or is there a better way?

        • you can email me and attach some photos! or you can send a link to a google drive or dropbox folder filled with the photos. shoot me an email – vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com. thanks!!

  9. I had to stifle a squeal at work when I checked my phone earlier and saw this good news!! Suuuper looking forward to reading this issue and WOW I am just so stoked that REI is sponsoring and I hope it means lots of good things for AS. ❤️

  10. This is such a great theme, really looking forward to it and hope we can see some reporting as well as essays!

    I had never heard of REI before but I am excited for everyone else’s excitement so keep at it.

  11. I’ve potentially got something, but I’m not sure if it’s… right? It’s ”about” ( and not) being outdoors, but it’s really about disability.. hard to explain..

  12. I so wish I could submit an article for this, but with a few other deadlines I have coming up, it sadly cannot be. Looking forward to the issue!

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