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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 25, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 43
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Arts & Entertainment
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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

from Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Between Certain Death and a Possible Future:
Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis


Every queer person lives with the trauma of AIDS, and this plays out intergenerationally. Usually we hear about two generations - the first, coming of age in the era of gay liberation, and then watching entire circles of friends die of a mysterious illness as the government did nothing to intervene. And now we hear about a current generation growing up in an era offering effective treatment and prevention, and unable to comprehend the magnitude of the loss. We are told that these two generations cannot possibly understand one another, and thus remain alienated from both the past and the future. But there is another generation between these two - one growing up in the midst of the epidemic, haunted by the specter of certain death. A generation growing up with AIDS suffusing desire, internalizing the trauma as part of becoming queer. And these are the personal stories I'd like to collect in this book - accounts that overlap with the more commonly portrayed generations, and offer a bridge between.

By telling this specific generational story in all its complications, how do we explore the trauma the AIDS crisis continues to enact, and imagine a way out? How do race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, rural/urban experience, regional/national origin, Global South/Global North perspective, HIV status, and access to treatment and prevention (over time and in shifting contexts) shape personal experience? What is excluded from the glorified myth of progress that now reigns?

How does the impact of growing up with the AIDS crisis continue to affect those left out of the white picket fence version of respectability promoted by dominant 'LGBTQ' institutions? How does this apply to sex work, migration, public sex, cruising spaces and apps, abuse and survival, incarceration, reproductive health, homelessness, activism, drug use and addiction, subcultural striving, gay bar culture, HIV criminalization, and hierarchies within gay/queer/trans cultures?

Any generational frame offers only a partial truth, and I'm especially interested in the gaps between accepted narratives and lived experience. As a generation coming of age both with and without the internet, how has technology changed our lives, for better and worse? How does stigma against HIV-positive people continue today, and does the rhetoric around 'undetectability' further exclusion rather than ending it? Who is dying of AIDS now, in spite of 'AIDS Is Over' rhetoric? Has the energy around PrEP shifted the focus of public health campaigns away from demanding a cure for HIV? How could a meaningful intergenerational conversation about HIV/AIDS take place? What would communal care actually look like?

I'm interested in your most intimate stories, and your most personal fears - what you're afraid to say is what I want to hear.

Guidelines
Please submit nonfiction personal essays of up to 5000 words, as Word attachments (no PDFs, please), to nobodypasses@gmail.com. Contributors will be paid for their work, and will receive copies of the book. Feel free to contact me with any queries. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2020, but the sooner the better!

About the Editor
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (mattildabernsteinsycamore.com) is the author of three novels and a memoir, and the editor of five nonfiction anthologies. Her memoir, The End of San Francisco, won a Lambda Literary Award, and her widely hailed anthologies include Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?, That's Revolting!, and Nobody Passes. Her latest novel, Sketchtasy (one of NPR's Best Books of 2018), is about this generation between certain death and a possible future.

Copyright © 2019 Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, All rights reserved.

Courtesy of Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

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Theatre22 presents 'A Festival of Revolution'
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Sandra Bernhard brings 'Quick Sand' to SJCC on Mercer Island Nov. 2!
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Seattle Opera presents brilliant staging of Rossini's Cinderella
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Rainbow City Concert Band presents 'Let It Shine' concert Nov. 9
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Short Run Comix & Arts Festival in Seattle Nov. 9
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Cinderella at Seattle Opera: No bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, but plenty of madcap fun
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5th Avenue's Austen's Pride - enchanting and fulfilling
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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
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'Experiment in Terror' October 31
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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Eggers' Lighthouse a suspenseful maritime yarn of isolation and madness
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Gritty Black and Blue a disappointing urban thriller
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Novel Countdown a deathly ticking clock of supernatural stupidity
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