Thursday, October 2, 2014

Call for Submissions: What Is Neuroqueer?

Over the past year, a conversation has developed around the word neuroqueer and its adjacent uses—neuroqueer theory, neuroqueer literary interpretation, Neuroqueer (as an identity), Neuroqueering (as an activity)...

All of the early discussions about the word seem to invoke the meaning of the word in context rather than attempting to explain a concrete, single definition of that word. As a result, it might be said that we know what neuroqueer is about, even if we (the people who use the word) have not found a clear consensus supporting its definition.

Rather than attempting to argue for a definition, the editorial staff and board of NeuroQueer has decided to ask the community for a wide representation of the definitions that people engaged with the topic actually work with. The goal is to fill in our ideas of what neuroqueer is about with conversations rather than limited definitions.

To that end, we are seeking text-based projects (poetry, personal narratives, articles, participant-observer research, literary interpretation, etc.) that define, challenge, interrogate, or otherwise work with the idea of Neuroqueer. The only restriction we are placing on submissions is that the definition used in the text be discussed in some way that relates to what neuroqueer has been about, so that we can see how new ideas comment on, alter, and/or refine existing uses of the word.

The major areas of conversation so far have been (very broadly):
  • Neuroqueering, as the action of people who are intentionally “queering” their neurotype through a refusal to conform/assimilate, personal resistance, an assertion of identity, or as a way of asserting an accommodation need without invoking the usual procedural legal channels.
  • Neuroqueering, as the action of a critic who is intentionally reading a text or interpreting art using a neurodivergent or neuroqueer point-of-view.
  • Neuroqueer as the identity of people who are neurodivergent (under the widest, most inclusive definition of the term) and who engage in the practice of neuroqueering.
  • Neuroqueer as the identity of people who are both neurodivergent (under the widest, most inclusive definition of the term) and LGBTQIA.
  • Discussions of the relationships between the four definitions listed above.

These are not the only areas of discussion that Neuroqueer could encompass. They are just the areas that have been discussed widely so far. We'd love to see people push further, and we are hoping that this call leads to new and innovative ideas about what Neuroqueer means.

So, here's the call for papers:

What does Neuroqueer mean to you? And how do you relate that to what you think it means to others?

Language Guidelines

As proponents of the neurodiversity paradigm, we regard neurocognitive variants such as autism, bipolarity, dyslexia, etc., as natural manifestations of human diversity, much like variations in race, ethnicity, culture, gender, or sexual orientation. We reject the currently dominant “pathology paradigm,” which frames these neurocognitive variants as medical pathologies, as “disorders” or “illnesses.”

The pathologizing of neurominorities contributes to the oppression of neurominorities, just as the pathologizing of sexual/gender minorities has historically contributed to the oppression of sexual/gender minorities. We are not interested in contributing to the pathologizing and oppression of any social minority group.

Therefore we will not accept submissions in which neurominorities are spoken of in the language of medical pathology, any more than we would accept submissions in which minority sexual orientations like homosexuality, asexuality, or bisexuality were spoken of as medical pathologies.

If you need further guidelines on avoiding pathologizing language, you might find this article helpful:

If you’re thinking of incorporating terms like neurodiversity, neurodivergent, neurodiverse, or neurotypical into your submission, and you want to make sure you’re using these sometimes-confusing terms correctly, you might find this guide helpful:

How to Submit

Email your piece to our Review Committee at

There is no deadline – we’ll be accepting and publishing pieces on an ongoing basis, as we receive and review them. We’re aiming to start getting the first submissions online by sometime in November, and to continue posting submissions regularly for as long as we keep receiving them.

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