My favourite outlets to write for are independent, feminist publications that prioritize queer, Black and brown voices, but they’re few and far between.
As Western society becomes overrun with fascists, there’s no doubt that journalism is more important than ever. The media, especially online publications, are an incredibly important tool for everyday citizens to hold people in power accountable for the crimes against humanity they commit on a daily basis. Yet journalists are constantly undermined, belittled, and harassed for their profession.
Looking at just this year alone, its been rough for the journalism industry. In an eye-opening piece for Medium’s Gen publication, writer Maya Kosoff reports that over 3,000 journalists lost their jobs in 2019. Earlier this fall, freelance journalists pushed back against California’s AB-5, knowing that publications wouldn’t employ them in full-time positions once they hit the 35-article cap, but simply find other contractors to do the work. As predicted, Vox Media announced just this week that it would be ending contracts with its California freelancers ahead of the bill taking effect in the new year.
Not only do we lack job security, but for freelance journalists of color, we’re also underpaid and tokenized. There was a collective shock amongst my colleagues last week when freelance writer Andrew Zaleski revealed that he made $94,000 before taxes this year just from 31 pieces of writing. In contrast, I’ve made about $4,000 from 15 pieces since I started freelancing again in February 2019. My favourite outlets to write for are independent, feminist publications that prioritize queer, Black and brown voices, but they’re few and far between, often struggling to cover their operating costs and pay staff.
As we head into a new decade, I hope that people, but especially white journalists making 20 times more than I do, invest some of their earnings such that independent publications can uplift the voices and causes of marginalized groups. Our stories deserve to be heard, and we can’t do it without community support. This past decade has made it exceptionally clear that keeping journalism alive is a community effort. When the mainstream media purposely excludes the communities that need to be heard the most, whether it’s by refusing to hire us or cover our stories, it’s up to the privileged to support and amplify our work.
Recommended: INTO’s Closure Reflects the Brutality of The Media Industry Towards Queer and Trans Writers of Color
Here are 6 independent publications that you can support right now:
Helmed by Editor-in-Chief Evette Dionne, Bitch Media runs incisive feminist cultural critique. Their work challenges mainstream perspectives on gender, sexuality, race, and power, using their platform to nurture the voices of emerging writers from underrepresented communities. Become a member of The Rage or make a donation here.
Black Youth Project is a resource center for Black youth founded by Professor Cathy Cohen. Managing Editor Amber Butts curates the voices and ideas of Black millennial Americans, publishing pieces that examine how their identities influence the way they interact with the world around them. Make a donation here.
Color Bloq was co-founded by four queer people of color: Niq D. Johnson, PhD, who serves as Editor-in-Chief; Chief Esparza, who serves as Executive Director; Nic Perales, who serves as the Communications Director; and Sean-Paul Rocero, who serves as the Design Director. The platform is building a safe community celebrating and uplifting the voices and experiences of QTPoC. Empathy reigns throughout their organization, where they curate a quarterly digital magazine and small community events like panel discussions and parties. They feature non-fiction essays, cultural critique, and visual art media by queer and trans artists of color. Donate here.
Through online and print publications, Gal-Dem tells the stories of women and non-binary people of color. Their content spans across essays, opinion pieces, politics, lifestyle, and culture critique with an overarching goal of addressing inequality and underrepresentation in media. Check out their online store here.
As Editor-in-Chief, Hari Ziyad aims to create a world outside of the white supremacist cisheteropatriarchal capitalistic gaze. RaceBaitr educates its audience on anti-Blackness, feminism, and queerness, and explores how we express our racial identities. Become a monthly sustainer or make a donation here.
Wear Your Voice
Last but not least, us! Our Editor-in-Chief Lara Witt works fearlessly and diligently to center and uplift the voices of Black, brown, and Indigenous QTPoC. She’s built an amazing staff and works with the best and brightest contributors to curate a publication that critiques the white supremacist patriarchy in all its insidiousness. Check out our shop or become a Patron today.