Editor’s note: the following is a call for submissions for a new anthology from our partners at Belt Publishing.

Queerness is not uniquely coastal. Queerness is not uniquely urban. Queerness has always existed in “Flyover country,” and it still does today. Belt Publishing is excited to announce an anthology of LGBTQ stories from the Midwest and Appalachia, to be published in Fall 2020.

What we’re looking for:

-Creative nonfiction stories, essays, reportage, and poetry that tell LGBTQ stories, past and present, in the Midwest, Appalachia, Plains, and Rust Belt. Being queer does not have to be the central theme of the piece.

-Detailed, place-based narratives that illustrate the region’s diverse landscapes (wilderness, environment, rural, suburban, urban, etc.) are encouraged.

-First-person stories from communities where queerness is often overlooked or understated by mainstream narratives are encouraged: communities of color, immigrant communities, communities of faith, etc.

-Women, transgender, gender non-conforming, bisexual, asexual, and all queer people (broadly speaking) are encouraged to submit. There’s room for the whole acronym in this anthology.

-Stories about queer joy, humor, love, family, fun, and life are encouraged. There is beauty and nuance to be found in queer mundanity.

-Portraiture. Photography or illustrated portraits of queer people in the Midwest and Appalachia. Show us your beautiful faces!


-Please include the author’s full name and contact information when submitting. Anonymous publication of pieces is possible, but the editors must know the contributor’s identity for communication purposes, and to make sure the work is not plagiarized. Please reach out with additional questions.

-Essays, stories, and reportage should be limited to 3,000 words, with exceptions granted on a case-by-case basis.

-Please indicate the place (Columbus, OH; Callaway County, MO; etc) where the piece is set.

-Pieces that have been previously published can be submitted, but the contributor must provide proof that they retain the rights to the piece and provide credit information as needed.

-Multiple submissions are allowed.

Deadline for submissions is October 1, 2019.

Send submissions and questions to: belt.lgbtq@gmail.com

We plan to offer an honorarium to contributors, contingent on fundraising over the next year.


Ryan Schuessler is a journalist and writer originally from St. Louis. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Public Radio International, and Al Jazeera. He edited Belt’s St. Louis Anthology, and also develops exhibits at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Kevin Whiteneir Jr. is an interdisciplinary artist and art historian whose work focuses the relationships between gender and queer experiences as they relate to race, the effects of (neo)colonialism, and its parallels with magic, religion, and witchcraft. His work is published in various outlets including Howard University Journal of Communication, Dress Costume Society of North America, Venefica Magazine, and the Art Libraries Society of North America Reviews journal.