Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit, and other diverse and expansive sexual and gender minoritized (LGBTQIA2+) individuals are increasingly the targets of sociopolitical bias and violence. Within the first 3 months of 2022, 238 anti-LGBTQ bills were filed in the US. From youth sports bans, to restricting bathroom access, to allowing healthcare providers to deny life-saving care, these bills seem to share one goal: make life so scary, violent, and/or complicated for LGBTQIA2+ people that we run back “into the closet” and stay there.

For those of us deeply embedded personally, politically, and scholarly in LGBTQIA2+ life, we know that there is so much more to life, health, and well-being, than trauma, stress, and suffering. We are individuals, families, and communities that are constantly resisting the forces of oppression that attempt to eradicate us, while simultaneously sustaining relationships that are generative, nurturing, and resilient. We are active in all areas of social, communal, and political life, working to build the future we want to see. For this Spark series, we invite submissions that showcase the breadth, depth, and beauty of the LGBTQIA2+ experience, and highlight how — despite rampant attempts to discourage and prohibit us from prioritizing our physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, and sexual health — we flourish each and every day.

We encourage written pieces from diversity scholars, partnerships between scholars based in traditional academic settings and those in public health communities and organizations, and scholars based outside of academic settings whose research, analysis, and action are focused on LGBTQIA2+ health and well-being. We seek work that is grounded in and/or emphasizes community-led science, citizen science, diversity science (psychology), quantitative critical research (QuantCrit), disability studies and critical race studies (DisCrit), and/or other approaches that are explicitly anti-racist, intersectional, and/or theoretically and methodologically polyamourous.

Possible essay topics include, but are certainly not limited to, how health behaviors, outcomes, disparities, and/or care stem from or relate to:

  • The role of joy and pleasure in leading healthy lives, particularly where there is convergence of synergy with other movements, such as Black Boy Joy and/or #DisabledPeopleAreHot
  • Access intimacy, trauma sex, and other forms of intimate, sexual carework that have emerged among disabled and neurodivergent (crip and mad) individuals
  • The healing potential/power of Bondage, Discipline, Dominance/submission, and/or Sadomasochism (BDSM)
  • Healthy relationships, sex, and intimacy outside of the monoallocishet norm: including sexualities and stories of/research on affirmative asexual identity development, intimate relationship building, and/or community-making; the seemingly increasing presence of non-monogamies and polyamorous kinship networks; and/or stories of T4T love
  • Strengths-based health promotion approaches, interventions, health services, and/or sexual education models

As you submit your pitch, please keep in mind that the audience for Spark is not specific to any one discipline or education level. While we aim to reach a broad audience to influence public knowledge and opinions, some essays may have a primary audience to influence policy and practice.

Pitches will be reviewed by considering public scholarship principles (e.g. non-academic jargon), grounded in diversity scholarship, and clear writing organization and style. Priority selection will be given to members of the Diversity Scholars Network, those who engage and co-author with students, and those including community members and non-academic practitioners.

Invited contributors will receive writing guidelines to submit a first draft within 4-6 weeks of being accepted and will be assigned an editor.


This Spark series is curated by Dr. B. Ethan Coston, associate professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Spark editorial board member; Andrés Cordero, Jr., PhD candidate in Human Sexuality at the California Institute for Integral Studies and postdoctoral fellow for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneering Ideas project, "The Sexual health, Erotic life, and pleasure eXperiencing (SEX) Assessment."

If you have any questions about the Pop-Up Writing Opportunity and submission process, please contact managing editor, Laura Sanchez-Parkinson at lasanche@umich.edu.