As a queer writer, the prospect of finding an outlet for your work can be daunting. The mainstream publishing industry is undoubtedly making strides towards being more diverse and inclusive. However, we still have quite a ways to go before LGBTQ2IA+ narratives, especially those told from the perspectives of BIPOC folks, will be centralized in the same way as privileged voices. For this reason, indie houses and publications can be a great medium to get you work out there. There are small publishers all over the country (and abroad) who are committed to doing justice to queer stories as their core company mission. Whether you’re a poet, novelist, or playwright, I hope the suggestions I’ve provided below can help you find a strong platform to raise your voice.
The Gay and Lesbian Review
Image via Lambda Literary
The Gay and Lesbian Review (The G&LR) was first published in 1994 by the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus. After being reorganized into a nonprofit without university ties in 1998, it became the bimonthly magazine published today. Essay topics include LGBTQ2IA+ history, culture, and politics, as well as book, movie, and play reviews. The G&LR intends to reach an educated readership of queer folks, which is substantiated by the magazine’s mission statement: “to promote equal rights and equality for all sexual and gender minorities, advance the intellectual life of LGBT people, and educate a broader public on LGBT topics.”
Image via raspa Magazine
Raspa Magazine is published yearly out of Austin, Texas. César Ramos launched the literary magazine in 2012 in response to the dearth of literature available for queer Latinx folks. Raspa encourages submissions from Latinx artists of all genders and sexual identities in order to promote visibility within the broader literary sphere. Highlighting these perspectives also fosters community and understanding between both peers and allies. The magazine’s title was chosen for how it encompasses both colloquial speech and formal Spanish. Raspar, the traditional word meaning “to scrape,” has evolved into raspa: rainbow-colored shaved ice. Raspa took this colloquial usage in stride for two symbolic reasons. First, the rainbow-colored ice mirrored the pride flag. Second, the cone could be seen as an inverted triangle, which has been reclaimed as a sign of pride after being used to label queer internment camp victims.
The New Press
Image via The New Press
The New Press is a non-profit, independent publisher based in New York City. Though small, its social justice mission is far-reaching. Being a public interest entity allows it to put constant focus and effort into showcasing innovative ideas and progressive voices that can incite social change. Those voices and the diversity of perspectives they offer are what allow The New Press to engender inclusive and authentic conversations surrounding representation, political access, racial justice, and equity. The New Press is also constantly innovating the way it looks at its own responsibilities as a publisher and the purpose of its published titles. It hopes to serve as a launching point for progressive organizations seeking a national audience. Additionally, books are thought of as tools for leveraging social movements and furthering intellectual growth—not a means to make a profit.
Image via Plentitude Magazine
Plentitude Magazine is the sole queer literary magazine in Canada. Through online publication of poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and more, the magazine hopes to further the growth of LGBTQ2IA+ literature. It welcomes submissions from both established and emerging queer writers to achieve this goal, and it especially encourages BIPOC and trans writers to share their experiences. Plentitude offers the following definition for queer literature and art: “works created by LGBTQ2S+ people, rather than works which feature queer content alone.” By publishing a diverse collection of literary content, it complicates expressions of queerness and gives voice to a multitude of identities.
Harrington Park Press
Image via Harrington park press
Once the queer imprint of The Haworth Press, Harrington Park Press was relaunched under Columbia University Press “as a specialized academic/scholarly print and e-book publisher devoted to emerging topics in LGBTQ diversity, equality, and inclusivity.” Its titles are meant for advanced college courses, graduate study, and professional schools. LGBTQ2IA+ faculty members serve as the target audience. These books aid disciplinary or cross-disciplinary teaching in the fields of social work, health care, psychology, and more. Harrington Park Press focuses on publishing titles it believes will be helpful as required or recommended reading; it also goes to great lengths to ensure that its being mindful of the interests of the international queer community.
Bold Strokes Books
Image via Bold Strokes Books
Headquartered in Cambridge, New York, Bold Strokes Books has been publishing queer titles since 2004. It offers an incredibly wide collection of LGBTQ2IA+ books across multiple genres. Some examples include crime, speculative fiction, romance, mystery, and young adult fiction. Bold Strokes strives to embody both quality and diversity through the stories it publishes, as well as in its actions as a publisher. It sponsors multiple queer literary festivals, including the Rainbow Book Fair and Lesbian Book Festival, and recently launched an initiative to publish more titles from BIPOC authors.