What is Autostraddle?

About

Founded in March 2009 by Riese Bernard and Alexandra Vega and still run by a dedicated team of indentured masochists, Autostraddle is an intelligent, hilarious & provocative voice and a progressively feminist online community for a new generation of kickass lesbian, bisexual & otherwise inclined ladies (and their friends).

Autostraddle is a serious labor of love — a personal dream that one day became a co-op-style start-up and then somehow became the world’s most popular lesbian website with over one million unique visitors and 3.5 million views per month. But popularity doesn’t equal profit in this industry for indies like us, which’s why we still rely on volunteers and the financial support of our readers to stay standing. On the regular we compete for eyeballs with websites who are flush with corporate support and venture capital, and we manage to get by on pennies. Just imagine what we could do if you joined A+ right now.

We are also extremely proud to be the winners of the 2012 Bloggies’ Weblog of the Year Award, the most prestigious award of its kind, and a nominee for “Outstanding Blog” in the 24th and 25th Annual GLAAD Awards.

Autostraddle has thrown parties, arranged worldwide meet-ups and launched a very successful line of t-shirts, calendars, stickers, bags, flasks, hoodies, boyshorts and ‘zines. In April 2012, we took the website to the next level with our very first A-Camp event, which involved 200 queers on a mountain for a weekend chock-full of panels, activities, performances, feelings and love love love. It was a transformative and life-changing experience for all involved, and we’ve since held five total 300-person A-Camps. We also host meet-ups, give you penpals and launched one of indiegogo’s most successful fundraising campaigns of all time.

If you’re new here, you can get acquainted by checking out some of our very best articles.

Wanna get your brand noticed by this untapped demographic? Advertise with us.

Our business model involves multiple revenue streams: primarily, donations and our A+ Membership Program. Secondarily; advertising, merchandise sales, affiliate commissions and events.

Ultimately, we’re a very big thing running on a very small budget, without the backing of a corporation or advertising conglomerate or anything other sites of this size or complexity have. We don’t have full-time administrative support, we do everything ourselves, even the accounting, marketing, merchandise-shipping and advertising conversations. Your patience/understanding is always appreciated!

We like the macro and the micro, the international and the close-to-home. We take a queer sensibility to everything — ’cause something doesn’t have to be GAY to be, you know – gay.

We owe everything to our incredible team.

We are a trans-friendly website and aim to make Autostraddle an accepting and supportive environment for queer trans women. Although Autostraddle is a website created for and primarily aimed at queer women (cis and trans) and always will be, as the community evolves we also are starting to include work by and about non-binary-identified folks in our community.


 

illustration by rory midhani

illustration by rory midhani

Content:

Daily Fix: Autostraddle publishes breaking news stories anywhere from 2 to 8 times a day. These posts both inform and analyze queer and feminist issues including Marriage Equality, Coming Out, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Adam Lambert and the whereabouts of Kate Moennig. Articles we don’t approach in depth appear in the AlsoAlsoAlso.

Features: We regularly debut five magazine-style feature articles per week and between 2-8 shorter feature articles per day — video, roundtables, personal essays, recaps, top tens, interviews & more in categories including politics, television, feminism, style, books, technology, sex & relationships, social justice, herstory, cyberculture, travel, business, comedy, music and DIY culture.

Galleries: Sometimes you need things, you know? Like you need 50 Pictures of Rachel Maddow, or 50 Pictures of Curvy Sexy Femmes or 50 Pictures of Cute Girls on Bikes or 100 Lesbian Kissing Scenes From 100 Movies.

Get Baked: Solo recipes or a roundable of recipes for persons of all dietary persuasions, with a theme — LemonsComfort FoodDipsValentine’s Day!

How to Be Gay: How to date and come out and break up and survive the holidays with your girlfriend and combat airborne homophobia. Stuff like that.

Interviews: Autostraddle has interviewed and done photo shoots with tons of super-important people, including Jennifer Beals, Toni Collette, Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara, Tila Tequila, Kim Stolz, Amos Mac, Liz Feldman, Dani Campbell, Marisa Meltzer, Sandra Bernhard, Michelle Tea, Erin Foley and Kaki King.

Listling Without Commentary

NSFW Sunday: NSFW Sunday provides you with things related to fingerblasting and sex.

Playlists: Playlists for all your feelings and desires such as mourningexercisingheavy rockhaving a shitty daycampingbeing the shitdating someone you really like and having no fucks to give.

Queer Beauty Bar: Queer Eye for the Queer Girl, from bathing suits to perfume to fall style.

Read a F-cking Book: Also includes Autostraddle Book Club and our famous Pure Poetry series, which aims to open your eyes to the magic of poetry.

Recaps: We recap lots of things, including The Real L WordGleePretty Little Liars and Orange is The New Black.

Roundtables: Firing off on issues like religious upbringing/sexuality, the lesbian generation gap and getting fired from work.

Team Picks: Just stuff we found on the internet that we like.

Themes: In 2012 we started doing “Theme” Issues, starting with Art Attack in February, followed by Here/Queer in March, “On Camp” in April/May, The Way We Were for Summer 2012 and Trans*Scribe in 2013.

Video: We are the proud owners of Julie & Brandy in Your Box Office, starring Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard and their dog Nacho. Autostraddle’s first narrative video series, Unicorn Plan-It, premiered in the summer of 2010 and stars Haviland StillwellAshley Reed and Sarah Croce. In 2012 we added the hilarious Words With Girls, starring Brittani Nichols and Hannah Hart.

You Need Help: Seriously you have a lot of problems, so we’re just gonna try and help you out with that.


 

Columns:

Blog Anything: In which Riese and Laneia take turns writing about whatever the fuck they want to. They will be writing as if they’re writing for their tiny personal blogs and not for a giant website, because otherwise they will get really self-conscious and never write anything at all.

BPM: Booze Paired with Music. A brief exposé on artists, popular or obscure, to suit your need for beats. Along with it, a little treat to make for yourself while you bask in the sound of glory and a drink well done.

Brittani’s Video Party: Have you ever gotten to a video and it already has 33 million views and you wonder where the heck have you been? Well I’m here to help you so that you see it when it only has 32 million views. Aim low, world. Aim low.

Captain’s Log: A column that harkens back to the footloose and fancy-free early Autostraddle days when Stef used to head down to SXSW and painstakingly document all the new bands I could absorb in one whiskey-soaked weekend.  Nowadays, while glorious paid vacations are a bit more difficult to come by, new artists are fortunately still popping up all the time.  Here are some new songs she thinks you might enjoy.

Cheers Queers:  A series on queers and craft beer.

Comedy Crush: Comedy Crush will highlight the work of current comedy writers and/or performers in hopes of encouraging a queer lady following so they’ll pander to us for the rest of their careers. Hey, at least I’m trying.

DeAnne Smith is Funny: World-famous comedian DeAnne Smith shares laugh-out-loud funny columns of pure hilarity.

Dear Queer Diary A column about the joys (and occasionally, the pains) of journaling. We crack open our tiny notebooks and break out the rainbow-colored pens on the regular, so get ready to limber up your writing hands and document all your beautiful feelings!

Drawn to Comics:  From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.

Hearts and Crafts: Hearts and Crafts is where we talk to artists and crafters about their amazing work and they share a craft tutorial with us! It’s the best of every world.

I Just Now Saw: A column in which I attempt to conduct conversations about television shows you watched ten years ago and I just now saw, in their entirety, for the first time.

Lez Liberty LitBooks! They are really great. You just won’t believe how great they are. You may think that the Internet’s great, but that’s just peanuts compared to books. Lez Liberty Lit is our column about literary shit that’s happening that you should probably care about.

Liquor In The…:  Ali writes to you about all the different ways you can liquor. She really really likes beer, wine and liquor and wants to share that love for the artistry of alcohol with you all, her favorite queers. Let’s lift a pint to alcohol and our Autostraddle community– they go together like wine and soft cheese.

Make a Thing: Where we make handmade gifts for people. Or ourselves. Now that the holiday season is mostly over, I think it’s high time we start spoiling ourselves with gifts of our own.

Movie Nights: We pick a movie and food that goes with that movie and then we all eat and watch it together.

Notes From A Queer Engineer: The subject matter may not be explicitly queer, but the industrial engineer writing it sure is. This is a peek at the notes she’s been doodling in the margins.

Saturday Morning Cartoons: A segment where four artists take turns delighting you with their whimsy, facts and punchlines on Saturday mornings!

Sunday Top Ten: A list of completely random and undoubtedly self-indulgent things that may or may not be published on a Sunday or number “ten.” This feature is a continuation of the Sunday Top Tens Riese used to write for her earth-shattering personal blog Autowin, where she talked about herself pretty much constantly from 2006-2008.

Things I Read That I Love: Weekly roundups of our editor-in-chief’s favorite #longreads.

Queer Girl City Guides: The lowdown on lady-gay life where you live from people who know the territory.

Queer Your Tech: About customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to web sites you have to favorite to any other fun shit we can do with technology.

Wilder Hungers: A Florida girl living (and eating) the dream in New York City. She cooks, she eats, she explores, and she tells you all about it, with recipes and glorious photography!

You Can Take It With You: The path to becoming a lunch box buddha isn’t so hard. All you need is a good balance of inspiration and improvisation. Every week, we’ll make one or two packable recipes so that you have something new to fill your lunch box and your stomach.


 

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Previous Columns:

Annika’s Diary: Just your typical Urban Hipster Femme Twentysomething Trans Lesbian!

Almost Famous: A weekly segment where we ask up-and-coming queer musicians some hard-hitting questions about music and life and maybe even convince them to show us photos of their pets. Get to know intimate details about your new favorite artist or band before they hit the Big Time and become too famous for us to interview for real.

A Prairie Homo Companion: A regular column that celebrates the Canadian prairies, canola fields and big skies, and the paradoxes of being a fine-ass lady prairie homo.

Butch Please: Butch Please is all about a butch and her adventures in queer masculinity, with dabblings in such topics as gender roles, boy briefs, and aftershave.

Calendar Girls: Photographer Robin Roemer shoots a new hot/smart lesbian every month for our annual calendars.

College Lesbianage: In which brand-new college students take you through their formative years at University, grappling for meaning in this wild, wild world.

Going Down (South)A regular column about y’all being a gender neutral pronoun, how red states are actually more of a purplish color, boiled peanuts, and the trials and tribulations of being a rural homo — with an emphasis on the tribbing.

High Femme: Calling all Homoganjas! Let’s talk about anything and everything Marijuana related, from legalization to pop culture to how to your own bong using a box of Diva cups and a broken lamp.

Idol Worship: A biweekly devotional to whoever the fuck Carmen is into. This is a no-holds-barred lovefest for her favorite celebrities, rebels and biker chicks; women qualify for this column simply by changing her life and/or moving her deeply, which sounds only slightly harder than it is in real life.

More Than Words: Where Cara takes queer words of all sorts and smash them apart and sees what makes them tick. Every week she dissects a different word, trying to figure out where it came from, how it has evolved, where it might be going, and what it all means.

Ode to My Pantry: Learn to navigate a grocery store without having a meltdown in aisle three. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a queer to cook and stave off malnutrition for another semester.

Straddler On The Street – Where Vanessa celebrates all of you incredible Autostraddle readers by hunting you down, demanding you chat with her, and then writes about you on the Internet so we can all crush on you. Get excited, because butterflies in your stomach 24/7 is a fantastic way to live.

How To Own It: Where store-bought fashion meets DIY crafts. Each week Gabrielle explores an aesthetic theme, showing you some of the best ways to wear it and how to make it for yourself.

Lez Get Dressed For Work: Because you deserve to be the best dressed homo in the office.

Style Thief: Where Lizz steals the clothes off queer style icons’ backs. Metaphorically, that is. She’ll try to figure out just exactly what makes queer style icons tick by breaking down their look into itty bitty bite size pieces. She get a lot of questions about how to look like different celebrities/characters, so she’s finally tackling the question “How the hell do I dress like that?”

Queer Outfit of the Week: Lizz envisions a scenario where you or your girlfriend or your best friend or your mom or your cat could wear it and talks all about why it’s a great outfit for that event. Every week will be a different style, gender presentation and event so there’s a little something for everyone — even the person who just wants to look at pictures of stylish queers!

Queered Science: A series of profiles meant to highlight queer science and tell you what you need to know about it, for your intellectual edification and so you don’t feel excluded from a major and predominantly heterosexist subset of academia and industry.


 

Our Mission

Autostraddle’s girl-on-girl culture is rooted in basic social values and ideals — we want women to feel good about themselves, we want equality and visibility for all marginalized groups and ultimately, we’d like to change the world.

We seek to be a fresh, energizing voice for queer women, one that takes the reader seriously and encourages intelligent discourse, one that entertains with funny, uncensored & brutally honest conversation & content and one that also provides photos of hot girls.

We endorse an “it takes a village” approach to the GBLTQ webiverse. We encourage community and support amongst women on the web and do not encourage competition between websites or other media outlets. We believe change is best accomplished when we are working together as activists, artists and thinkers.

We’re here to listen, to change and we do not ask what our users can do for us, but what we can do for our users!


 

Autostraddle’s Values

Honesty: ‘Cause at this point anything but sincerity just makes us all look like clowns. Honesty is progress, trust is essential and transparency is elemental, especially for our core audience. By living openly and visibly, promoting and endorsing genuinely and speaking frankly; we endear our community to do the same. We do not censor, obscure or compromise.

Community: We build community by eradicating shame and showing open doors towards pride. A strong community of self-confident and self-aware women who feel comfortable with each other and with themselves? That’s what we call revolution.

Furthermore, We’re aware that many of you live in areas where talking as openly as all this simply isn’t an option. We hope to encourage compelling discourse on women’s rights, racism, feminism, homophobia and transphobia, media visibility, gender flexibility and Shenny. Although we do our absolute best to make this a safe space, we cannot ever promise anybody that this will be a ‘comfortable’ space. You won’t agree with every idea published here and that’s fine — neither do we!

Courage & Integrity: We stand up for what we believe in, no matter what the odds. Accurate and positive representation of our lives in the media is a crucial tool to shatter stereotypes, gain social capital and show universal connections of common human emotion and experiences.

Laughter & Fun, Fun, Fun! Because life is fundamentally kind of ridiculous … and we’re really f*cking funny. Our number one value is LOL.

Art: Art is necessary. Our creative team represents designers, musicians, writers, visual artists, actors, dancers and other creative innovators. We want raw, uncompromised perspectives. The internet isn’t the end of an era, it’s the beginning of a new phase in creative development.

Inclusiveness: This isn’t a website exclusively for queer girls. We hope there’s something here for peoples of all orientations and genders.

We don’t wanna be your guilty pleasure: At the risk of sounding like a diet snack food, we want to be a place where quality rules over quantity and where we can make an active attempt to even out the seemingly arbitrary relationship between Fame & Success and Actual Talent & Goodness. We wanna hear about and talk about the raddest things going on out there, big or small, radical or fringe. High-brow and low-brow are tired categories; almost anything can be talked about with intelligence. [See, that's what one learns from years of L Word recapping. One would hope.]

Have a story for us? Check out our writer’s guidelines.

Meet Our Team.

You will see the following rules applied to all our content and discourse:

  1. Never criticize or make fun of a woman’s physical appearance.
  2. Always source, unless the source is like a Neo-Nazi website or Westboro.
  3. Everything must have a point.
  4. Quality over quantity.
  5. Aim to be as diverse and inclusive as possible in imagery and written content.
  6. We do not ever and will not publish paparazzi photographs of anybody. We occasionally will make an exception for photographs that suggest Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson are getting back together as long as nobody appears intoxicated in said photographs.

Mission Statement: