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Spotlight on New Queer Literature is a monthly series highlighting publications that are LGBTQIA owned, promote queer and trans writers, or publish work on LGBTQIA themes, seeking to connect Lambda’s readership with contemporary queer publishers and authors.
This month, Lambda spoke with medina, editor-in-chief of inQluded, a magazine for LGBTQIA+ youth of color, about creating inclusive, accessible spaces, embracing the complexity of identities, and supporting emerging writers. medina (they/them) is a queer nonbinary Latinx writer from Brooklyn. They are a second year MFA Creative Writing Candidate at The New School with a Concentration in Writing for Children and Young Adults. medina is a SCBWI Emerging Voices Winner and Impact Entrepreneur Fellow. They are represented by Marrietta Zacker.
Tell us a little bit about inQluded and its mission.
inQluded is a digital magazine and platform created by/for Queer, Trans, Intersex, Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Everyone on our editorial team identifies as QTIBIPoC. We publish poetry, flash fiction, nonfiction, music, Young Adult short stories, visual art, we spotlight/interview artists and influencers, and more! We also accept pitches for stories.
Beyond the digital space we also host free workshops around NYC and Brooklyn. We currently have a partnership with New Alternatives – a drop in center for LGBTQIA+ Homeless Youth and are providing a creative writing workshop series at their center. In addition to our creative writing workshops, we host author panels that feature only QTIBIPoC authors. Shout out to Books Are Magic for having us! Our next author panel event is November 21st.
Our mission is to support emerging writers, we are continuously putting out surveys, polling and asking for feedback from our readership and potential contributorship, so we can make our collective space something that feels good to everyone. From our feedback we’ve received, we’ve been able to adjust what we’re doing to help better emerging creators. We also create educational packets to help (ie: how do I submit to a magazine? How do I find more time to write?).
We envision a world where the publishing industry honors the potential, complexity and fullness of the world itself.
You don’t have to write your trauma. We won’t pigeonhole you.
How long has inQluded been around? How has it developed or changed since it began?
I first set up the domain name and secured all the @’s last September. I started with a really simple website and put a call for submission out on Twitter last January. I had just started my MFA program and was immersed in my Impact Entrepreneur Fellowship, so I kind of set up a landing page and began to plan my next move. I officially published the first piece on the site in February of 2019. By March, I had the first person who submitted to us become our media manager. Isaiah does all of the graphic design for us (he’s amazing at what he does! Buy all of our issues for proof!). So, short answer? Actively? 8 months. Over the last 8 months, our team has grown to a total of 7 people including myself and our in-house cover artist, Daylen.
I think we’ve experimented a lot with our branding and we’ve become to settle into our own skin and produce materials that embody the entire inQluded spirit.
One aspect of our magazine that has changed is how we produce our magazine. For the first 4 or so months we published work solely on our website inqluded.org. As our team began to grow and I was able to talk with people about how we could continue to evolve we decided to produce digital thematic issues. To get started we produced three issues back to back, our first issue being in celebration of Pride in June. Now, we’ve decided to publish our issues seasonally. We want to give potential contributors more time to polish their pieces and submit.
What kind of work do you publish?
We love to publish work from never before published writers and artists! If that’s you, submit! We publish poetry, fiction, nonfiction, young adult short stories, and visual art. We spotlight/interview artists and influencers.
Each issue has a theme. For example, our most recent issue, issue three: beyond borders & binaries highlighted and prioritized the experiences and narratives of QTIBIPoC migrants, refugees, and folks from the diaspora. We asked to see work that combats, questions, engages, or transcends these borders and binaries.
Our Fall issue’s theme is all about love. Love presents itself in a magnitude of ways. Whether it be love for oneself, or a strong sense of familial love–it’s felt in ways that bring us closer to ourselves and one another. We’re asking contributors to explore how love has been present in their lives. Submissions open back up October 1st.
How would you describe inQluded’s aesthetic?
Qmmunity, inclusion, authenticity and accessibility. Our reason for existing is to help uplift the narratives of our QITIBIPoC family.
Where can new readers start?
Chella Man interview–we have been fans of Chella ever since he started his YouTube channel. It’s inspiring and motivating to see a young deaf trans genderqueer person of color breaking down all the binaries and making a name for himself. His visibility is so important to our community. An excerpt of his interview can be found here and you can buy issue three to read the full interview here.
Angelo Lorenzo – “Prom Date”. Angelo is an exceptional writer from the Philippines. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will become a successful published YA author. Beyond his talent as a writer, he is a kind, and insightful agent of change. Please be on the lookout for his work. Prom date can be found here.
cozcon – We’ve always been drawn to work that embodies a sense of freedom and acceptance. Art that moves us to action. Art as a form of resistance. cozcon is an exceptional artist. They’re so effortlessly cool while also successfully telling the narratives of queer people of color. You can buy issue three to see their work here.
What would you like writers and artists interested in submitting to inQluded to know?
For many of us we’ve spent most of our lives not seeing ourselves authentically represented in media. We’ve been spoken for or spoken about. We have been deprived of visual models that represent our diversity in media and pop culture. Our identities are complex and valid. By embracing the complexities of our human identities, we provide people with mirrors, where they can finally see themselves.
You do not need to send us trauma pieces, or first person narratives that only talk about your identity. We wish to honor you as writers and artists and showcase your talent as such. We do not REQUIRE your stories be about your identity.
Please do not limit yourself or your work. Don’t settle. Don’t conform.
I’d love people to know that we are a magazine that publishes work by Queer, Trans, Intersex, Black, Indigenous, People of Color.
Please read our guidelines before submitting.
Buy our issues here.