‘The Queer Gaze’ is a space in our newsletter to commission emerging and underrepresented queer creatives so you can get published, receive mentorship and ultimately, kickstart and build your writing career.
The Queer Gaze gives readers eye-opening insight into the experiences and viewpoints in our community they may not have encountered before.
Afterwards, our audience feels intrigued, introduced to new perspectives and inspired to read more.
Our newsletter is primarily about what happened in the last week. So our features bounce off something current to hook the reader.
It could be something you’ve seen on social media, a recent experience you've had or a story in the news.
This feature is about your perspective, so the topic you pick will be strongest if it's based on your experiences and viewpoint.
Choose something you feel comfortable with, and can own.
Your feature will be a ‘think-piece' between 250 and 350 words (more on this below).
A think piece aims to be thought-provoking and speculative. It consists chiefly of background material, analysis and some opinion.
Here is our typical format to get you started:
Opening (20-30 words)
Sum up your experience and perspective. Hook the reader and make them want to keep reading. (You might want to write this last)
Hook (50 words)
Why is this relevant? Briefly outline the social media conversation, experience or news story you’re bouncing off of to give the reader context. Include links to the original story or source.
Why did it matter to you? (100 words)
What did the social media post/experience/news story make you feel? What previous experiences did it bring up for you? What did it make you think about? Why did it matter to you?
Why does it matter to the community? (100 words)
What did it make you feel about the broader LGBTQIA+ community? What needs to change? What should we be talking about? What might the reader not have thought about before? Model the change: share your experiences, ones that show the change is doable and happening.
Closer (20-30 words)
Finish with one or two sentences that will really hit the reader and leave them thinking. It should sum up your point, and be the one line the reader will copy and paste into a Tweet about your piece.
Our newsletter is all about showcasing the queer world to our readers. So we ask you to link to at least three sources (more if possible) that have different vibes and backgrounds.
News is fine, but it’s already been filtered by another journalist. Try to use primary sources like social posts (Tweets, TikToks, YouTube videos, Instagram posts), organisation blogs and websites, or educational resources.
That way, we read your gaze on the world – not someone else’s.
If you don’t have lots of writing experience, don’t worry - that’s why we’re here. We'll guide you from pitch to piece. Here are our top tips for writing this feature.
- Try to keep your sentences short, concise and under 25 words - here’s why
- If you’re struggling to get going, remember this is about your perspective. Think about starting with:
I saw/experienced… It made me think/do/feel...
I often feel/think/hear...
It reminded me of when…
- Try writing the main body of the piece first, and come back to the opener and closer last
What to think about
Think about your boundaries:
- Would you be comfortable sharing this story with a stranger?
- We don’t need to share all the details for our story to be powerful.
- Could you make a similar impact by explaining the broader perspective – the world the story plays out in, and the bigger issues involved?
Think about your audience:
- Your readers will, largely, also be queer. They will understand some of your sensibilities through their own experiences.
- The queer community is also broad and has lots of different perspectives. How can you invite people in to understand your gaze?
Think about buzzwords:
- Are the words you’re using open for interpretation?
- Will everyone understand these words?
- Don’t be afraid to define exactly what you mean
- Almost never use an acronym (definitely not without explaining it)
- For this commission, we will pay you £50 to write 300 words on your chosen topic (17p per word). You can write between 250 and 350 words, but the fee is a flat rate of £50.
- We also run and encourage you to join our short (optional) session with each commission to help you improve your feature skills. It's a great way to become part of the QueerAF family.
- Your piece will be featured in the newsletter, with a bio introducing you to the community and directing them to your social media or website, so they can follow you (or so other editors can commission you too!)
- Once you’ve been commissioned, come back here and fill out this form to let us know what to put in your bio box.
- Your feature will also be hosted on our website here, so you can send links to potential employers or share them with your friends and followers.
Who should apply?
We work with all queer creatives, but our focus and priority for this feature are working with underrepresented, marginalised and/or emerging creatives.
This is an evolving definition, guided by our members. This non-exhaustive list includes some of the intersectionalities we're interested in hearing pitches from:
Lesbian, Bi+, ansexual, Romantic orientations, Trans, Non-binary, Marginalised genders, Queer, Low-income backgrounds, Migrant backgrounds, Disabled, Neurodivergent, Black, Asian and Racialised communities.
Not sure if this is for you? Drop-in a pitch, it's super quick and we can always get back with other opportunities for you.
This pitch form lets us get to know you and see whether you've understood the feature. If you haven't yet, have a good read about the format on this page, and look at some previous examples.
Then when you're ready - tell us what you would write, if you were writing the feature this week.
After you've filled this short form out, we'll get in touch to let you know if you've been successful and what upcoming week you'll be able to write for us.