Fresh Meat: Trans and Queer Survivors on In-Community Assault
co-edited by July Westhale and TT Jax
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS and FAQ
Q. You mean, even queer people do violent, fucked up things to each other?
Yes. Some queer and trans* people have no reason to love queer or trans* communities. Some of us will never call- nor wish to call- queer community home. Exposed primarily to its failures- its classism, racism, misogyny, ableism, sizeism, self-perpetuating violence- we are exiles, bitter, wandering among trans* and cis, homo and hetero communities that cannot or will not hold our truths.
Queer and trans* communities, like any communities, play out the isms, insecurities, and carefully policed insularities of the dominant culture. “Family”, we frequently name each other- chosen family, beloved community- and yet like any other family, we’ve got skeletons in our closet. Hurt and fear carry as much influence as joy here, abuse- physical, emotional, sexual- as much our shared experience as pride.
Living through trauma is like dropping into the underworld. Unimaginably displaced from our communities, our bodies, our sense of security and safety in the world, we wander penumbral places of fear and possibility from which we must take flight or fall. Confined to liminalities, we are not inclined to slap on rainbow smiles and pretend that nothing happened. It happened. It happened in us and we carry it, all of us, regardless of the vibrancy of our rainbow banner.
Q. So, what’s Fresh Meat?
Imagine an anthology written not by experts but directly by us, the people who lived it, from the ground up. An anthology of stories that neither pretends that women don’t rape nor that everyone who is raped is a woman. An anthology that acknowledges systematic oppression as trauma. An anthology that acknowledges that systematically oppressed peoples do each other violence, even as they attend three hour work planning sessions complete with fresh fruit and iced water to plan their liberation. Imagine an anthology that is specifically by and for queer and trans* survivors of in-community trauma- in all of our wit, boldness, and brilliancy- that is not so much a guidebook to our healing as a map of our return- where we’ve been, where we’re going, where we wish we were.
Fresh Meat aspires to be that anthology: a queer community coming out, the skeletons of in-community trauma assuming for ourselves flesh and voice, shape-shifting through page and possibility as we perform stories uniquely new and deeply entrenched. For some of us, these skeletons are not our secrets but our most intimate stories, deadly to pack away, imperative to be witnessed, validated, illuminated. Please help us throw wide this cumbrous closet door to the light of duh, people: it happened, it happens, we’re here.
Q. What sorts of work are you looking for? Is this supposed to be, like, art?
We have an extensive wish list: creative nonfiction, experimental fiction and nonfiction, hybrids, calls to action, speculative fiction, flash, revenge fantasies, fabulist pieces, ergodic works, poetry, lyric essays, plays, prayers, screenplays, postcards, drawings, graphic art, photographs of flesh, fear, or dance, letters, appropriated texts, song lyrics, and any other form of text or page-based expressions are wildly welcomed. We hope to explore every possibility of rage, forgiveness, love, loss, and transformation as we clack-dance our skeletons out of the queer-pride closet.
We also hope to include works derived from poly, kink, and sex positive communities that overlap within queer or trans* experiences; works that explore the violent impacts of misogyny, the ridiculousness of trying to access gender-based support services when you have more than one gender, the confluence of race, support, and access, the sick joke that is only funny to you cause laughing is better than laying in bed another day, and the contraindications of class or locality on help and healing. Also, long erratic musings on nonviolent transformation vs. beating the **** out of that ******** ******, how you came to accept your health and wholeness by pounding spaghetti dipped in red paint onto canvases you made from your old bedsheets, and what you really thought about that support group that you had to start yourself once you were discharged from the nuthouse again.
And more. We want raw, witty, mesmerizing, bold. Art in all of its possibility and messiness. Down in the underworld, we learned how deep the wells of our creativity and resiliency really were. Draw from there: breathe life into it, animate.
Q. When should I send in the postcard with the flash piece about the survivor art I made from painted spaghetti and an old bedsheet?
Please send your submissions to email@example.com by July 31st, 2013. Works should be 1-35,000 words, negotiable, and double spaced in .rtf, .doc, or .pdf format. Previously published and simultaneous submissions are fine; please just let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere, as well as all relevant information for any previous publishers. We anticipate going through each submission thoroughly and respectfully, while taking the time to care for ourselves and our personal triggers, so the response time may be several months.
Q. Who can write for this? Are y’all gonna, like, double-check to make sure I’m really gay?
Please only submit if you are or have lived through, or have loved or known someone who has lived through (or is living through), the experience of in-community queer or trans* assault. We talk about assault, for the purposes of this anthology, as the ability to carry out threats of emotional, corporeal, intellectual, implied, verbal, community, or psychological harm due to violence, disruption, or lack of accountability in all of their myriad forms. We believe assault is self-defined. Our job as editors is to curate your stories and archives of healing, and we will not police, invalidate, background-check, or shame you or the manifestations your trauma creates.
**On consent: please note that we value consent and believe that disrespecting the laws of consent further or re-traumatizes victims and survivors. That noted, make sure you receive consent from those you love if you are writing their stories.
Q. What do I do if writing for this triggers the poo out of me?
For survivor-led, queer, trans, and BDSM-knowledgable emotional support for triggers that this project may trip up on, please call The Network/La Red hotline at 617.742.4911 or 617.227.4911(tty).
Q. Who are y’all, anyway?
July Westhale is a bossy femme writer, activist, and radical archivist with a weakness for botany and hot air balloons. She works as an editor for Arktoi Books (an imprint of Red Hen), Narrative Magazine, and Copper Canyon Press, and writes the Litseen San Francisco column Hello, Typewriter. She was recently nominated for the Best New Poets of 2012 anthology. www.julywesthale.com
TT Jax is a parent, partner, mixed-media artist, and writer currently living in the Pacific Northwest by way of 28 years in the Deep South. He is a columnist and associate editor for LambdaLiterary.org, blog editor of Specter Magazine, a certified Celebrant, a doula-in-training, a Salmon Steward, a survivor, and a welfare mom. He blogs about homelessness, PTSD, disability, abortion, transitions, dreams, killer bacon cheese dogs, and time at www.ttjax.com.
For more info, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.