Queer Adventurers LGBTQ Writing Contest 2023: Firsts

Queer Adventurers was started to balance media representation and inclusivity within travel writing.

When we don’t see images of queer travelers in a destination, we don’t know whether that destination is LGBTQ friendly. When we don’t know other queer people who hike, kayak, rock climb, backpack, etc., we sometimes hold ourselves back from taking part in these activities. Or we go on a backpacking trip but leave part of our LGBTQ+ identity behind, because we aren’t sure if we can be fully ourselves in a mixed setting.

This year’s LGBTQ writing contest theme, FIRSTS, is an opportunity to share your own queer travel adventurers with an LGBTQ audience. Your essay just might inspire someone to stretch their comfort zone and try a new activity!

Read on to discover what we’re looking for, how to submit, and prizes.

LGBTQ Writing Contest Submission Guidelines

We are looking for 1,000 to 1,500 word personal essays on the theme of Firsts.

Specifically, we’re looking to hear a true first-person story of the first time you tried an outdoor activity and how it went.

Trying something new outdoors builds skills and breaks us out of routine. It can lead to new friendships, confidence, and growth.

Like that time I got lost in a Florida swamp and had to call 911 to get rescued, it can also go spectacularly wrong!

Stories of the good, the bad and the never-doing-that-again kind are all welcome!

All submissions must connect to the chosen theme and center your LGBTQIA identity. This means more than a passing mention of a sexuality or gender identity. We want to see LGBTQIA identities woven into the stories.

All submissions must come from an LGBTQIA author.

At Queer Adventurers, we take an expansive definition of outdoor adventures. We love hardcore stories of multi-day trips and treks. We also appreciate the gentler activities: urban nature walks, birding, garden tours. We believe spending time in nature is healing, regardless of the level of activity it involves. We’re deeply excited to hear your stories of LGBTQ travel firsts.


This LGBTQ+ writing contest accepts submissions from writers anywhere in the world aged 18+.

Stories must be previously unpublished. Stories that were previously published on a blog, Instagram, etc. are ineligible.

Stories must be in English.

One submission per writer is allowed, thanks! Submissions that exceed this work count will be deemed ineligible, as will multiple submissions from a single writer.

2023 LGBTQ Writing Contest Deadline and How to Submit

Queer Adventurers Writing Contest 2022 is accepting submissions from June 30, 2023 to October 31, 2023.

Submissions are accepted via this Google Form. You’ll be asked to upload your essay as a Google Doc, provide a brief bio, and complete a demographic survey so we can understand how our authors identify. So that we can read your essay, please make sure permissions are set to “anyone with the link can view”

Note: All writers who enter will be added to an email list for communication purposes. That’s where I’ll announce the winners.


The winning writer will receive a $150 cash prize, payable via PayPal or Venmo.
One runner-up will receive a $50 cash prize, payable via PayPal or Venmo.
Winning and longlisted writers will have their essays published in Queer Adventurers.

Next Steps 

We are so excited to read your submissions!

Submissions will be received as they come in. A longlist will be announced on the blog in November 2023, with announcements of the winners following shortly. Contest winners will be published beginning in December, 2023.