Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Sexual Identity Anthology

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2,000-4,000 words
Payment: upon publication
Editors: Candace Walsh and Laura André

As Dr. Lisa Diamond’s recent ground-breaking book Sexual Fluidity
makes clear, women’s sexual desire and identity are capable of
shifting. Cynthia Nixon, Carol Leifer, Wanda Sykes, Portia de Rossi,
and countless others have left the fold of heterosexual identity to
enter into or pursue same-sex relationships.

Although this book will evolve as we receive submissions, we welcome
first-person essays from women,

1. who were aware that they had always felt robust same-sex desires,
but wanted to try to make it work in the straight world, and also

2. women who identified as heterosexual at one time, but found that
the situation they were in just naturally led to embarking on an
intimate romantic relationship with a woman.

(We also welcome essays from women who don’t fit precisely into the
above descriptions, of course.)

Here are some questions that we’d like answered in your piece. It may be one of the questions, or you may touch on most of them, and throw
in some extra, great stuff that didn’t even occur to us.

How did you come to your moment of truth?

Did your perception of yourself change?

Do you feel that others’ perceptions of you changed? Did they surprise you with either an unexpected positive or negative reaction? How did this affect you? Did their reactions change over time?

Do you feel like you surrendered heterosexuality or elements of
heterosexual privilege? Do you feel like your new life with a woman
has yielded rewards? What were the rewards you expected and which ones were surprises?

What do you miss? What do you not miss? Everything from in the bedroom to out at dinner, at a wedding, as a parent, as a family member, at the gym, in the workplace, on a picnic—whatever comes up for you.

What is this journey like, in general and for you? How did you feel as you were setting out on it and how do you feel now? How do you mark your progress? Were there stages? Illustrative moments? Looking back, do you feel like you went through certain phases?

What is it like to shift your identity? What about you is the same and always will be? What about you has changed or altered?

How did you feel as you began your relationship with a woman? Did you get flak from individuals who second-guessed you? Did you feel like
you had to prove yourself? How did you keep your internal balance?

How did your socialization as a straight woman prepare you (ill or
well) for pursuing a woman or being in a relationship with a woman?

Do you like, or are you attracted to certain things that your partner or girlfriend, or gay women do that are traditionally labeled as
masculine? Feminine?

How do you define yourself? Do you feel like the current “labels” work for you or that what you are is not yet defined by a word or phrase?

What paradigm do you imagine?

Are you still with the woman you left your previous relationship for?

Was she just a catalyst, or a rebound, or something else, or “the one”?

As editors, we value specificity, detail, “showing, not telling,”
honesty, epiphanies, clean, polished, yet real writing, and the
sharing of insights.

Amy Stockwell Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and three sons. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing from Queens University, she writes about art and artist profiles for Charleston Magazine, The City Paper, Charleston Art Mag, and Art Papers. Amy also writes about living with chronic illness, and is finishing a book about women with diabetes for Demos Health. When she needs to get out of her own head, she teaches college students how to write the 5 paragraph essay. You can read more of her writing at her website.

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