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The Labels Issue

Snowflake magazine is looking for submissions of art, poetry, essays, flash fiction, photography, interviews and articles from self-identifying queer creators. We are happy to consider pieces that transcend or do not fit these mediums. Being queer already often sits outside the norm, so we encourage your pieces to do the same - really think outside the box!

The submission itself should either be queer themed or from an artist who identifies as LGBTQ+ (or both!).

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For the safety and sanity of our editors, submissions without clear trigger warnings may be rejected outright.

For this newest issue of Snowflake, we ask you to consider labels, identities and the ways they present themselves.

As humans, the way
our brains work often involves creating and identifying patterns and forming efficient ways to reference complicated concepts, to assess risks or analyse and understand a situation. In our day to day, these methods often take the form of shorthands, stereotypes, categories, labels and pattern seeking. While these can be intensely useful for understanding the world (and sometimes ourselves), it can sometimes lead to the individual, the situation, the concept to be simplified and misunderstood. It can lead to bigotry and ignorance if we choose to favour our biased patterns over reality.

But sometimes, having a shorthand way to explain something, to understand something, can allow us all to come together by shared thought, allow us to find those who share our experiences, give us a basis from which to understand the world, each other and ourselves.

We invite you to explore discussions around race, gender (or lack of), sexuality (or lack of), religion, geographic location, nationalism, self-identifying, the problems with labels,  the many other ways in which you may have experienced this phenomenon. The ways in which you have experienced identity, labels and stereotypes, the ways these things have helped or hindered your life, ways you have been pigeonholed or stereotyped, ways you have felt relief in not having to explain or justify something important.

Still feeling stuck? Have a read of the prompts below to help get those cogs turning!

  • How do YOU identify? Do you express this identity visually, verbally, behaviourally and/or through deeds?

  • When you were figuring out your identity, did you find any labels you encountered helpful and empowering? Limiting and exclusionary?

  • Is your identity intersectional? How have you found navigating that?

  • Which situations make you most uncomfortable expressing your identity, and how do you negotiate such situations?

  • What are some complexities, difficulties/struggles and more unique aspects of your identity? Are there aspects you find difficult to accept?

  • Has someone else ever ascribed a label to you? Was it accurate and how did it make you feel?

  • Are there places, spaces or communities where you have found yourself being able to fully express yourself and your identity?

  • Has another person’s understanding of your identity (positive or negative) affected your own understanding or encouraged you to make changes?

  • Do you remember what the child version of you wanted to be when you grew up? Has that changed?

  • Has there been a very clear defining moment in your life? If so, what was it?

  • What do you feel a stranger would assume about you based on your identity or presentation?

  • Do you believe that we are defined as much by our struggles and trauma as our triumphs and passions?

  • Are you ever wary of picking a label for yourself? If so, why?

  • Do you notice differences in the way people identify depending on fundamentals of culture such as traditions, food, arts, language and others?

  • Do you use different labels when speaking in different languages? Are some labels that you identify with untranslatable?

  • Do you find yourself using different labels around different people or in different social contexts such as through code switching or a fluidity in your presentation?

  • What forms of solidarity do you experience with other groups within the queer umbrella, even though your labels and identities may be different?

  • Do you ever feel like corporations or our society see you as a ‘checkbox’ or expect you to ‘prove’ the validity of your identity? Where do you think this comes from and how has it impacted you?

  • Do aspects of your identity argue with each other or feel contradictory? How do you deal with/cope with that?

  • Do you have a mental or physical health condition that affects your perception of your own identity? What does this look/feel like for you?

  • If everyone’s labels were visible, known and understood by all who meet us, such as on badges, tattoos or in some coded way, how would things change? Would you want to live in this world, why or why not?

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Thanks for submitting!

The deadline for submissions has ended.

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