While I firmly believe in the necessity of minority groups having spaces specifically for them, and the worth of such spaces, I think we often forget the impact of a "general interest" project started by marginalized people.
The benefits of a "Mainstream" endeavor:
- It signals to disabled/neurodivergent writers they're more likely to be read by accepting editors.
- It puts disabled/neurodivergent editors at the top immediately. No working for years, hoping ableism doesn't rob someone of their promotion.
- There is room for everyone. Exclusive spaces are important, but we also need to be inclusive... encompassing.
- The press might have a flavor or slant not often experienced by "normies" who are more likely to read it.
- Writers and editors are less likely to be pigeonholed or tied to certain expectations beyond quality.
- A wider pool of submissions for editors/publishers to choose from.
- People will spread the word (more often) on social media. A press with an open reading period for all writers gets more attention (and free promotion).
- An editor can change a literary magazine's mission or feel easier when there are less restrictions/expectations on it. Rebranding is difficult, but it's harder when a publication has a narrow focus.
- Built-in diversity. The literary community is inaccessible (and segregated) to so many minorities in so many ways. An inclusive, diverse project has integration at the beginning.
There are more perks, I'm sure, but these are the ones I think about.
Are there drawbacks? Yes, but I feel the positives overwhelm them. What do you think?