Grain magazine looking for submissions

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Courtesy of Grain Magazine

Queer Writers Issue is fast approaching

Grain Magazine, a Saskatchewan-based literary magazine published by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, has opened up submissions for their Queer Writers Issue. The issue is intended to be released later this year – in Summer 2020 – but Grain is accepting submissions until Feb. 29.

But, what exactly is the Queer Writers Issue? What does it mean? What does it accomplish? Does it follow a certain theme I need to adhere to when I submit? Luckily for you, I’m here to answer those questions.

Grain magazine is accepting previously unpublished work such as poetry, fiction and literary nonfiction (up to 3,500 words), other forms of writing if approved by Grain’s editors, and visual art.

Grain also notes that “all contributors, regardless of genre, are paid $50 per page to a maximum of $250, plus two copies of the issue in which their work appears.” Artists who submit visual work to be published that is accepted will be paid the same rate, but to a maximum of $500.

This issue, however, is profound. The meaning behind it is influential and matters in the long run. Creative endeavours like these – ones that demonstrate representation using the actual voices of queer students and young adults – are what make a profound difference in the lives of queer Canadians.

In a 2016 study done by Stats Canada, they uncovered that “police‑reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation rose 25% from the previous year, accounting for 13% of all hate crimes reported to the police during that year” and that sexual orientation-based hate crimes “were more likely to be violent (71 per cent) and were more likely to result in injuries to the victim (44 per cent).”

This study also reported that “most (82 per cent) of the victims were male” and that almost half of the victims, equally out to 43 per cent “were under the age of 25.” Even worse, StatsCanada also reports that “police-reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation rose 16 per cent in 2017.”

But, what does all of this have to do with Grain’s Queer Writers issue? Well, the very act of representation, of opening the floor to inclusion and respect, is what can open the door to a more understanding future for queer students and young adults.

Natasha Negovanlis, one of the stars of Carmilla, a web-series in video-blog style of character Laura Hollis documenting her first year at university. The show documents the main character’s gradual progression into falling in love with her roommate, Carmilla Karnstein, played by Negovanlis.

In an article for This.org, Negovanlis says: “For me, it’s not about red carpets and the illusion of glamour. It’s about feeling the warm energy a room full of fans gives off, and meeting parents who say to me, ‘Thanks for telling my kid they’re worthy.’ It’s the lives and perspectives that have been changed forever.”

This is why meaningful queer representation written and distributed by queer writers and creators is so important.

It’s so essential that in 2019 the government of Canada announced that they were opening a “Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics.” According to their website, “this initiative will help citizens make informed decisions and will support city planners, business owners and policy-makers at all levels.”

Grain’s Queer Writers Issue expands far more than just supplying writers with a means to share their work. Grain is giving marginalized writers a voice and is allowing them to be heard. It’s providing them with an outlet to express, create, and be themselves.

It’s giving them a safe space to exist, and that’s even more beautiful than the gorgeous work their issue will be sharing with the world.

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