Skip to content

LGBTQ+ Youth Writing Contest!

The contest is now closed! Thank you for your interest. The winners will be announced by the end of July.

Contest Information and Submission Guidelines

What is the Embrace the Journey Campaign?

Studies show that LGBTQ+ youth are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide, BUT supportive parents greatly reduce this risk.

Embrace the Journey is a citywide public health campaign in Louisville led by Dr. Ryan Combs (UofL School of Public Health & Information Sciences) and Dr. Maurice Gattis (UofL Kent School of Social Work). The aim is to increase the awareness of the role supportive parents play in ensuring healthy and happy lives for LGBTQ+ youth.

The Embrace the Journey campaign hopes that parents of LGBTQ+ youth will do exactly that – to embrace the journey of their LGBTQ+ children, and also to embrace their own journey as parents of LGBTQ+ children. The campaign posters, designed in consultation with community stakeholders, will link to a website featuring educational materials and local LGBTQ+ resources for parents, as well as creative writing by LGBTQ+ youth about the importance of parental support. The campaign will launch this fall.

What is the Purpose of this Contest?

The purpose of this contest is to highlight YOUR writing and stories for parents who want to learn how to support their LGBTQ+ children. We believe your voices are powerful and your words can help them to understand the experience of being an LGBTQ+ young person.

Writing Prompts

We are asking LGBTQ+ youth for writing submissions that explore the following questions:

  • What advice do you have for parents that want to support LGBTQ+ youth?
  • How have your family experiences influenced your mental health?
  • What has your family’s journey been like?

Who May Enter?

If you are between the ages of 13 and 21 and identify as LGBTQ+, you are eligible to enter this contest!

The contest will be divided into two age groups for judging, ages 13-16 and 17-21.

What Should I Submit?

We are looking for writing submissions in response to the above prompts. This can include poetry, personal essay, personal narrative, short stories, creative fiction, creative nonfiction, as well as any and all transgenre works. Works should be no longer than 500 words. Works containing violence and/or explicit content may be entered, but we will use our discretion in choosing which submissions are published. In any case, authors should consider the public platform upon which the work may be featured. Please only submit work that has not been published elsewhere.

*Please note: non-fictitious works containing allegations of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse of a minor (under the age of 18) may be reported to state authorities in compliance with Kentucky Mandatory Reporting Laws (KRS 620).

Submission Dates

Submissions will be accepted until June 30th, 2019. Submissions will be reviewed in July and those selected for publication and prizes will be announced late that month.

Publication and Prizes

Writing submissions chosen for publication will be featured on the forthcoming Embrace the Journey website and may also appear in print.

Of the chosen submissions, six will be selected as prize winners (three in each category). First place will win the grand prize of $250, second place will win $100, and third place will win $50. Prizes will be granted in the form of prepaid Visa gift cards through the University of Louisville.

How are the Winners Chosen?

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of community partners and local writers/artists. Submissions will be judged on clarity, creativity, originality, responsiveness to the prompt and submission rules, and overall impact. The panel will notify winners in July via contact information provided. The panel will also disqualify any submitted work that is not appropriate or applicable.

How Do I Submit?

Use the link below and fill out some basic information to submit your work!

By submitting to the contest, you agree to the following:

Only original, unpublished works submitted using this form will be accepted. You are granting the University of Louisville the right to publicly display your work online and in print for an undetermined amount of time. You are indicating that you agree to adhere the guidelines of the Embrace the Journey LGBTQ+ Youth Writing contest.

Any questions?

Contact Hallie Decker, Ph.D. student at the School of Public Health & Information Sciences, at hallie.decker (at)

Thank you for your interest in the contest!

%d bloggers like this: