It’s a new year now, and for 2014 Broad! has resolved to be more actively supportive of those who are trans* or otherwise outside the gender binary. When I founded the journal, for lack of a more suitable phrase, I resorted to the language “female-bodied and/or female-identified” to mean that we would publish cis women, trans women, trans men and individuals outside the binary (essentially, anyone who wasn’t a cis man). However, as our readership––and submitter pool––has grown and diversified, it’s become clear that this terminology isn’t as applicable, fair, or accurate as it needs to be. Though I had intended Broad! to be a space where non-binary-identified individuals could feel comfortable, it’s come to my attention recently (thanks, T.R.!) that, well, it isn’t. Not to the extent it should be. And for that, I am sorry.
I’d like to ask you for feedback on your experiences with Broad!, your suggestions as to how we can become more inclusive in 2014, and any other ideas you might have to throw our way.
This journal is meant to promote and support the work of people whose genders have been (and still are) marginalized, particularly in the publishing world, where their work is either neglected by the mainstream culture––unpublished, unregarded––or demarcated as Other. We publish people who are not cis men. Limiting publication to individuals who don’t identify a certain way, however, has its own logistical issues; largely, that a submitter’s gender is often assumed based on the name heading their manuscript.
Since Broad!’s inception, we have received several submissions from cis male authors, all people who either hadn’t read our guidelines closely enough or didn’t care about adhering to them. In these cases, I used to click on the link the submitter included to his website/Facebook in order to to confirm that he was cis (and thereby exclude his work from our submission pool). This is not something I am proud of. While, each time, it turned out that the authors were cis male-identified and blanket-submitting their pieces across publications, that’s not the point: that doesn’t resolve the problem of what to do when a male-identified person (or even someone with a masculine name) submits to our publication. And it reinforces another problem: the idea that one can “tell” someone’s gender by looking at them.
We should not be policing the gender(s) of others, ever. Full stop. Particularly not as a way to promote the demarginalization of other genders. Submitters who are trans or outside the gender binary should not have to feel as if they have to “out” themselves in their cover letters in order to send us their work.
Any feedback you could give us on making Broad! a better, more inclusive, friendlier place to those who are trans* or otherwise outside the binary would be greatly appreciated. You can leave your comments here or at our Facebook page, where this will be posted as well. I hope to hear from you soon.