Autostraddle Hot 100 2013: Girls You Like Who Also Like Girls

2013 Autostraddle Hot 100

(as voted on by the 987 weirdos who submitted ballots)

It’s totally getting hot in here, isn’t it? That’s because the oven is on, we were broiling some toast. It’s also because it’s time for the Autostraddle Hot 100, a yearly ritual in which various magazines publish lists of the 100 hottest ladies in the universe, because why anything! In the past, we’ve honored hot lava and published user-submitted hotties, but this year and last year we just asked you to vote for the hottest lady-loving-ladies in the ladyverse of lady-on-lady love. Nearly 1,000 of you cast your super-important votes in this prolific election and now it’s time to survey the results.

Although the urge to fantasize about fingerbanging these intelligent, well-rounded, dynamic and interesting women might overwhelm your urge to click links or read their smart words, we’ve added those links and words where appropriate to emphasize their well-rounded qualities.


Because so many people had the same number of votes, this year’s list includes 110 people in order to include everybody who tied for spot #100!

100. Bevin Branlandingham
Writer & Founder, Queer Fat Femme

Contributor, Team Autostraddle

[autostraddle interview // tag: bevin]

Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein

Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein

“Now that I’ve developed a consciousness about it, I like to call myself a body liberationist because it’s not just about fat acceptance. I think everyone who has a body in this world is subject to scrutiny that’s really unfortunate and unfair. My friend Glenn Marla says there’s no wrong way to have a body, and that’s the truth… everyone should have the liberty and luxury to feel good about themselves and to dress themselves in a way that makes them feel good and to just be free to have a body without worrying about what people are going to say or do about it.”


100. emily m. danforth
Author

websitethe miseducation of cameron post

[autostraddle interview // tag: emily]

Photo via emdanforth.com

Photo via emdanforth.com

“Sometimes when people ask me why I write, I tell them that it’s because I grew up gay (very gay) way out in the middle of cowboy country in the windswept and dusty badlands of Eastern Montana.”


100. Natasha Kai
Athlete, U.S. Soccer

105-Natasha-Kai


100. Dani Shay
Musician

website // music

[tag: dani]

Photo by JR Foto

Photo by JR Foto


100. Amber Rose
Model

103-Amber-Rose


100. Tucky Williams
Actress

website

[girl/girl scene]

tucky-williams


100. Lana Wachowski
Writer & Director

[tag: lana]

101-Lana-Wachowski


100. Tasya Van Ree
Photographer

website

Photo via tasyavanree.com

Photo via tasyavanree.com


99. Casey Legler
Model & Artist

portfolio

[tag: casey]

Photo by by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

Photo by by Jean-Baptiste Mondino


98. Malinda Lo
Author

website // books

[autostraddle interview // tag: melinda]

PHOTO BY PATTY NASON

PHOTO BY PATTY NASON

“Those labels that other people apply to me are their attempts to understand me. But my sense of self is independent from others’ categorizations of me. So these days, I don’t care what labels people apply to me. They can still label me whatever they want, because I am still the person I am inside.”   (via)


97. Mey Rude
Writer

Writer, Team Autostraddle

tumblr

Mey-Rude-478x640


96. Brandy Howard
Actress, Writer & Model

Video Talent, Team Autostraddle

[photoshoot // idol worship // tag: brandy]

Photo by Elaine Reid Photography

Photo by Elaine Reid Photography


95. Mia McKenzie
Writer, Founder of Black Girl Dangerous

website // books

[contributor // book review // tag: mia]

photo via miamckenzie.net

photo via miamckenzie.net

“By loving other black and brown queers, in all the ways I love them, I am also loving my Self, healing my Self, rejecting all the bullshit that tells me I’m not worthy, that love is not for me. Every time I trust my friends enough to fail in front of them, every time I commit to some activity of self-care, every time I take a lover’s hand when the voices are telling me to just give up because I cannot really have this thing, I am loving all of us.” (via)


94. Haviland Stillwell
Actress & Singer

Video Talent, Unicorn Plan-It

website // music

[autostraddle interview // tag: haviland]

PHOTO BY Sabrina Bringuier

PHOTO BY Sabrina Bringuier


93. Kristanna Loken
Actress

[tag: kristanna]

photo by james sorensen

photo by james sorensen


92. Melissa Etheridge
Musician

website // music

[tag: melissa]

Photo by James Minchin III

Photo by James Minchin III


91. Abisha Uhl
Musician, Sick of Sarah

website // music

[autostraddle interview]

photo by Nat Olive

photo by Nat Olive


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250 Comments

    • Thumb up 0

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      Yup, ex aequo with Sara! Will I be able to live the moment when the people will understand that Tegan and Sara Quin ARE IDENTICAL F-TWINS so they are outside exactly the same? Really guys, you are depreciate Sara and underestimate her with saying “OMG I could die for Tegan”, FYI – Sara’s got exactly the same body and stuff as Tegan has. She’s had enough hard time as she’s the younger twin ;]

      After my speech I want to say – SARA’S SO HOT OMFG :D

      • Thumb up 8

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        How is one WoC votes going to change the list? And frankly speaking when one the pet commentators here is in another thread telling WoC this site isn’t for them do you really expect WoC to vote in this list/participate here?

        • Thumb up 8

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          that never happened. a pet commenter did not tell women of color that this site isn’t for them. but by commenting that here, you’ve done your part to make matters worse rather than better! a commenter, who happens to be a woman of color, said that she didn’t like that the media critiques on this site were so sensitive and that therefore maybe this site isn’t for her. another commenter replied that maybe that commenter was correct in her self-assessment. that’s what happened.

          • Thumb up 15

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            Jessies comment was unnecessary but it did not deserve the vitriol she received. As I said on that thread, white women make worse comments (including a number of racist and derailing comments!) and aren’t told to leave. Instead they receive guidance and are told to open their minds. If you can’t see the obvious racial connotations of a white woman telling a black woman that ‘this place is not for you’ maybe you should do some reading into racist dynamics. And thank you for admonishing me for complaining about racism on this site. Really says a lot about you.

          • Thumb up 3

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            i’m sorry it came off that way, i didn’t mean to sound dismissive and i’m sorry. the distinction i was making was singular vs. plural, not about whether racial dynamics were at work. i just wanted to say that there’s a difference between a commenter telling women of color that they aren’t welcome here and a commenter telling one woman of color that maybe this site wasn’t for her. i absolutely defer to your expertise on racial dynamics and whatever might have been behind it. it just seemed like an unfair characterization of a conversation because i don’t think a commenter saying “women of color aren’t welcome here” would be tolerated. (or “you aren’t welcome here because you’re a woman of color.”) i’m really sorry if i just made matters worse myself. i’m sorry.

          • Thumb up 13

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            I don’t know where everyone has been, but I’ve definitely seen white women on this site receive some pretty rude, strong replies when they’ve slammed AS. I don’t disagree that we should consider how open the site is to other marginalized communities such as women of colour… BUT to say that white women haven’t received harsh replies is simply untrue and detracts from your point. ALSO, the commenter herself had said that AS perhaps wasn’t for her, and the reply she received cited another biphobic comment she’d made in another post and said, well, maybe it’s not.

          • Thumb up 11

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            To L and Janelle – well done ladies you have nearly got the white women tears bingo. All you both need to do is declare we are in a post-racial society and then burst into tears to complete the card.

            To L- The issue I had with PaperofFlowers comments doesn’t mean I supported Jessies’s biphobic comments (which were in another article and I do not tend to review peoples comment history before commenting). However I don’t think its appropriate to be racist in any context. You would not support a black man being sexist/homophobic in response to a white woman’s racism. A white woman telling a black woman that, yes she should leave this website and having 20+ people support that message is evidence of the aggression that WoC commentators face here. It’s evidence of the privilege that women like you wield over WoC here. Paperofflowers is immensely popular here and knew that she could make those comments without any consequences and have women like you supporting her. I resent you attempting to explain what is and isn’t racist but then I suppose I should defer to your exceptional wisdom. White women receive blowback to their comments however those comments are usually deleted – I’ve seen homophoboic/transphobic/offensive comments about fat people be removed while racist comments do not get deleted in the hope of having a full conversation as Riese/Vanessa seem to put it. I’ve also seen other white women gang up on WoC and tell them that their opinions are wrong, much like you both are doing now. I have been personally told by a whole group of women in another thread that I was making up instances of racism. I have also seen racist women receive links to educate themselves and they are told to stick around to educate themselves. I have also seen white women defending the use of the n word by other white women to black women and escape censure.The fact that you purposely chose to ignore Chrisseyes excellent comments in the article you mentioned also proves which side you are on.

            To Janelle you only apolgised after seeing Marika’s apology which were much less egregious than yours. Thank you both for reinforcing why I will not be returning to this site in the future.

            To Riese/Vanessa I could not be bothered to reply to your comments because right now frankly it seems like lip service and with commentators like L/Janelle around I think you will have a lot of difficulties attempting to implement any changes in your approach with WoC.

            To bra, theia, pamelasm, emily leticia, lora and the others who appreciated our conversation thank you for your kind words. I hope for your sake that the website shows some improvement with respect to QWoC issues in the future. I’m not going to bother to hang around to see it.

        • Thumb up 9

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          @kwijibo. You ain’t said nothing but a word. I really appreciate all of your imput on this site. And I appreciate all the comments on this topic from QWOC and our allies.
          I looked at that post and Jesse’s comments and how several white women ganged up on her like a bunch of bullies. Then I went through other articles and followed the trends. Popular (white) posters never have their rude/unnecessary comments censored. No one tells them to take themselves and their rudeness to another site. I will say though, when a non popular white poster says some that many don’t like, she’s more likely to be offered links and if someone tells her to leave, other white will step up to deend her ignorance. I have seen it. Very few white women will defend a brown woman.
          To Riese: I’m getting the impression that this QWOC series is only going to temporary. That’s what I got from your response. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. I REALLY don’t understand how y’all have been talking about this for months with very little outcome. How hard is it to call for READERS, QWOC, to submit it their work? I’m sure people would do it for free, since according to you, most of the AS staff write for free. I absolutely cannot wrap my mind around this. This issue must not be that important because QWOC have been complaining for months. You still have a predominantly white staff and very limited articles covering serious QWOC issues. It almost seems as if it’d be easier for this site to admit that brown feelings and experiences are not important. If that’s the way it is, cool. Just don’t hide behind the mask of inclusiveness because you’re just hiding your true attitude of indifference and casual racism.

          • Thumb up 8

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            I think these comments are excellent and while they pointed to deeply sad truths, I’m relieved they were spoken. I never bothered making any of them because a) I figured there was no point and b) like others have said, I expected to be marginalized or chased off the site. We are, ultimately, grateful for so fucking little. But Kwijibo’s right. If AS is going to achieve all the grand aspirations it’s set forth for itself, then that needs to change. Frankly, given the blessings of mind, education, and most importantly, the experience of having been born a queer at this moment in time that the staff possesses, yesterday was too late. How did this not occur to anybody before?

            I’m rarely critical. I think in three years posting here I’ve posted 2-3 comments that could be categorized as sharp. That’s not to ingratiate myself. I just like to sit back and listen and reflect on what’s being said. But I agree; I feel, well, not unwelcome, but welcome on conditional terms. I feel both on the site and off that white women with characteristics/ preferences that ally with those of the editors are more readily absorbed into the fold, while others have to spend more time proving themselves. And it’s poisoning the well – really warping the possibilities of the site in a way that, if not addressed quickly, may doom it.

            And yes, submissions have been open to QWOC – but with the proviso that there be a resume and evidence of other writing on the web. Which makes sense, in that you don’t want cis male, heterosexual Bob posting an article for shits and giggles. But I think the impact of this is exclusionary. It presumes that all would-be authors have the time or resources to operate their own blog, or sufficient entree to be published somewhere. And that is going to effect the race and class of your submissions and staff members.

            A last note on a particular micro aggression I see when QWOC submit to the site. There is usually at least one comment about the quality of writing – be it “language,” or “editing,” or something. But it’s always there. A little coded jab to remind the writer in question she’s not the norm. Which is so fucked up. People are putting themselves out there and all some people can think to do is react with shit and jealousy.

            I’ll try to find some time in my schedule and moderate if you want.

          • Thumb up 1

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            yes, please email us about modding! please please. email laneia [at] autostraddle dot com, but cc me and rachel and laura because laneia is sort of off the grid right now.

            this:

            ” I feel both on the site and off that white women with characteristics/ preferences that ally with those of the editors are more readily absorbed into the fold, while others have to spend more time proving themselves. And it’s poisoning the well – really warping the possibilities of the site in a way that, if not addressed quickly, may doom it.”

            fuck, i’m sorry. i’m constantly saying to laneia that i fear this is happening, but we’d never heard anybody directly tell us that it is happening. so, thank you for checking us, really really thank you so much. and thanks for your input w/r/t submission guidelines as well.

        • Thumb up 10

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          Honestly I apologize if that seemed flippant, that was not my intention. It is a crowdsourced vote, I didn’t vote, less than a thousand people did, so if one WOC got five more votes it could probably bump her up the list and basically that is the only thing that I meant because I tend to think analytically so my mind goes to the math. In retrospect it seemed dismissive which was not what I meant and I’m sorry.

          Queer culture is super white and I think that’s super fucked up. More than I wish there were more WOC on this list, I wish that there were more famous, out WOC to be included on this list and in my opinion that’s a major cultural issue that needs to be worked on (note that the top 20 are relatively famous) but they won’t even make the list unless people vote. Which again, I didn’t, because I didn’t think I had the time to put the proper thought into it, so maybe I shouldn’t say anything.

          • Thumb up 11

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            Marika – I didn’t feel you were being dismissive. The reason I got annoyed because I felt its easy to say that more WoC should vote for WoC but I think that shifts the responsibility of representation again onto WoC. Whereas it should be more the responsibility of Autostraddle to create an environment in which WoC feel comfortable about participating in.

          • Thumb up 4

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            yeah it’s true when you get down into the 90s, you’re looking at people who got 4 to 5 votes. 75% of the votes went to like the same 30 people and 50% went to the same 15 people, from what i saw.

          • Thumb up 12

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            Marika, I think you make a very important point. The nature of this list is that it is compiled from the pool of “famous” people we know to be queer. Therefore, it is indicative of the larger trend of WOC/QWOC being represented (or not represented) in pop culture, media etc…

            kwijibo, I also hear you on feeling annoyed that the responsibility of representation is being shifted to the WOC themselves. I am dealing with that in a major way right now. I’m not sure what the solution to that is though.

            Personally, I voted. I thought it was a fun…and to be honest racial politics didn’t factor into it for me at the time. Some of the people I chose were white and some of them weren’t. I still think they’re all fine as hell.

        • Thumb up 5

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          Could you clarify your first sentence, please? It’s my understanding that QWOC have been initiating the change on this site. The AS staff are well aware of the lack of diverse content. So, what else should we QWOC do? Please, do tell.

          • Thumb up 9

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            if you are a writer, please submit. i mean that sincerely. we rarely get any submissions from QWOC. if you’re not a writer, please encourage any talented QWOC writers you know to submit. it’s really difficult to solicit work for free. the content we do publish from QWOC (outside of our contributing editors and staff writers, who all work for free) is mostly sourced directly from riese. she seeks out the writers, asks if we can republish work, asks if they will submit original work, etc. we are well aware of the lack of diverse content and we are trying to change it — whether anyone wants to believe that as lip service or not, it’s the truth — but it is actually impossible to change if we do not receive submissions.

            also, if you see comments that are out of line, please tell us. the best way to do that is to email an editor, though we’re in the process of setting up an account specifically for the mods so you can report things there. we are becoming a huge site and the moderators we have do not have time to watch every comment thread. almost all of us work for free and have other job(s) so we can’t do it either. that doesn’t make it okay. it just means if you see something you believe we’re ignoring, it is really helpful to tell us. we are never willfully ignoring fucked up comments. and if we are ignoring a comment and you believe we should not be, we honestly want to hear from you. i don’t know how else to say it. we really, really want to make this a space that feels safe for everyone. i agree with taylor. we need all of you.

          • Thumb up 1

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            Thank you for responding. I was not aware that AS accepted submissions of works from QPOC. And I’m willing to bet that most QWOC were not aware that they could freely submit their work to this site. It would be amazing if there were an occasional call for works by QWOC. Has there been anything like this? Honest question. And I’m not referring to the mod search that happened a few months or so ago. Like, there should be a link at the top of the screen that says Submit Here! along ith guidelines and what not. Like, do y’all honestly expect for QWOC to come on to this site and assume that they can just submit whatever they want?

          • Thumb up 14

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            @thiea – our general submission guidelines page says the following, and has for over a year: “We’re especially interested in… pieces from disabled women, trans* women, women of color and women over 35.” our call for submissions for trans*scribe also specifically noted wanting work from trans* women of color. in july 2012, we put out our call for new contributing editors and also for new interns, again specifically asking for women of color. we had 78 applicants. 69 of them were white. 9 were women of color. anyone who has asked me face-to-face if we need new writers or more content has gotten the same response: we need more writers of color and trans* writers and writers over 35. but no i’m not looking to hire more white girls.

            yes yes we accept submissions from queer women of color! why wouldn’t we? are there websites or magazines that don’t? we do have women of color on our team, we require our imagery to be racially diverse (and writers aren’t allowed to make lists/galleries that are over 50% whitecisthin) (this hot 100 was reader votes, so that’s different and unfortunate), we want diversity! this conversation here has been helpful because the continued lack of submissions i think means that some of our culture here must be inherently hostile. the fact that you think we don’t want work from WOC means our culture here is fucked. i don’t want our culture here to feel that fucked. obviously our comment moderation policy is a huge problem. we’re listening, we wanna change that.

            this is why i think an essay series could help if we were to do it (eta: i’ve been discussing this possibility and others with the WoC who work here, nothing has been decided yet). not just temporarily — with trans*scibe, the call for submissions got our name out there to people who’d never heard of us, got our name on trans* tumblrs that brought more trans readers and writers to the site. ’cause we offered payment, it was circulated widely and broadly. and now a lot of the writers we found for trans*scribe have published more pieces with us and several are writing already on a regular basis. mey even joined our A-Camp team! so i think the same would happen with this — it would get new voices onto the site who could then hopefully keep writing regularly. like with TS, we’d mention in the call for submissions that we’re also looking for regular contributors.

            i’m not interested in a mask of inclusivity, or lying or appearing to be a certain way. i want the women who read this site to feel included and welcome and empowered, and i want women of color to know their feelings/stories are wanted. desperately wanted. that’s why i’m engaged in this conversation.

          • Thumb up 4

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            yes!! it’s linked in the comment but the formatting is weird SO here is the URL:

            http://www.autostraddle.com/contact/

            basically just shoot an email to us — to laneia [at] autostraddle dot com (you can cc riese, rachel and laura [at] autostraddle dot com if you want) — containing your story pitch and a brief description of your background. attach a resume, and give us a link to where we can read your writing online or send a writing sample as a PDF attachment.

            i look forward to reading these submissions!

            EVERYBODY SUBMIT PLZ

    • Thumb up 8

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      Its the same every year. For a list that claims to be totally different from other magazines hot 100 women lists, it does seem to uphold the same white beauty standards year after year.

        • Thumb up 23

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          Maybe have more articles about WoC on the actual site? The vast majority of articles are about gay/trans white women of all types while WoC articles are one in twenty and barely get read/commentated on. This list is also funny though because it shows that in queer circles a wide variety of white women be they butch/femme, fat/thin are considered attractive while WoC have to have a certain look.

          Autostraddle could also foster a safer community for WoC to comment on here which would make WoC want to vote on polls like these. Any article about race here always ends up in white women telling WoC how they should feel about racism. I was told on one thread that its not offensive that I’m constantly questioned about my origins in my country of birth by irritating strangers because people like learning about other cultures.

          Also if transphobic comments are removed then racist comments should be as well.

          • Thumb up 26

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            we are working really hard at fixing this — seriously, it’s a major topic we talk about a lot and we want to fix things in a serious way as soon as possible (not to imply that it’s a quick fix or that just doing one or two actions can make the change, just to say that are actively doing things to make autostraddle a genuine safe space for WoC asap and we plan to do more things and take your thoughts and feelings into consideration to execute these actions) — the comment thread you referenced in your previous comment — where a commenter was told to “leave” — actually sparked a big conversation for us behind the scenes and i think @riese explains everything we’re all feeling really well in this comment: http://www.autostraddle.com/on-sex-positivity-my-weirdo-feelings-about-lesbians-reacting-to-lesbian-porn-178666/#comment-315093

            i’m not trying to minimize your anger or pacify you with empty promises, i just want you to know that these concerns ARE important to us and we recognize them and we are working on making things better here, honestly. i think i can speak for the whole staff when i say thank you for commenting and thank you for being here and i hope you’ll stay and i hope you’ll notice an improvement in the days and weeks and months to come. sincerely.

          • Thumb up 16

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            ps if this sounds vague it’s because i’m not a senior editor and i don’t want to speak out of turn / divulge too much of the behind the scenes stuff because i’m not sure what is allowed to be said and what isn’t re: changes for the future, but sometimes i feel compelled to jump in because riese and laneia and the other senior editors do a million things every day and can’t always respond to each and every comment, but it’s really important to me and to all of us for you guys to know that WE HEAR YOU. seriously. we read all the comments and we care. we really really hear you.

            that’s all.

          • Thumb up 10

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            I would just like to thank you, Vanessa, for always responding so fabulously to these discussions. It’s such a personal, feelingsy thing and it’s so easy to be defensive and then offensive and you always handle it like a rockstar, with a sense of willingness to listen, understand and improve.
            Just wanted to throw that out there. You rock and I appreciate you.

          • Thumb up 17

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            I’m speaking for myself when I say this is that while I love AS, it’s like going to Smith or some type of really white liberal arts institution. I’m used to being in spaces that are occupied by majority white people (I went to Penn State) so it does not faze me BUT yes, it would be nice for a space that is not “white only” actually reflect that. I have friends who are woc that go to Smith and love it but find it lacking (in diversity and especially TALKING about it). There is room for growth.

            With that said, I do appreciate kwijibo for bringing this up! I do see AS trying to become a more inclusive space because no were it says “cis white girl-on-girl” culture, you know?

          • Thumb up 20

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            Its like being in all white feminist groups – having to explain why race/gender intersect is so draining. It’s annoying on here because the women here can see the intersection of sexuality/gender but race/sexuality/gender seems to be too a far concept. I’m glad that other WoC agree with me, I’ve been feeling like this space isn’t safe for WoC for a long time and stopped visiting the site daily as I used to initially. This site has helped a lot with accepting my sexuality but I don’t feel I should have to deny my identity or ignore racism in order to fit in. I was worried about speaking here because I didn’t want to be seen as the ‘aggressive’ WoC but the frustration has been building up for a long time.

          • Thumb up 13

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            “Its like being in all white feminist groups”

            Oh god it’s like Penn State all over again!!! How did I make it out?

            “…having to explain why race/gender intersect is so draining. It’s annoying on here because the women here can see the intersection of sexuality/gender but race/sexuality/gender seems to be too a far concept.”

            *nods*

            “This site has helped a lot with accepting my sexuality but I don’t feel I should have to deny my identity or ignore racism in order to fit in.”

            For everyone who reads this side thread this is important. This site has helped me with not only accepting my sexuality but becoming more empathetic to trans* issues, non-monosexual/bisexual people and made some real friendships but when race is brought up…*sad face*

            I’m usually too frustrated and I have no time to “race 101″ so in way I guess I find myself passively accepting the bull shit (just like at Penn State). I honestly do believe in AS so there’s that, I’ll start by putting in more work to help cultivate a space for WOC by speaking up and participating more. “Hey this place is cool don’t mind them, just sit back and listen!”

          • Thumb up 5

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            I don’t have anything constructive to add but I just wanted to say that I really appreciate this discussion, all sides of it.

          • Thumb up 9

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            “Also if transphobic comments are removed then racist comments should be as well.”

            Thank you.

          • Thumb up 9

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            This is to Kaylah ‘Cupcake’ Wilson:

            http://www.autostraddle.com/a-prairie-homo-companion-prairie-homo-racisms-156797/, number of white women derailing and trying to explain how things aren’t racist to WoC. If they had made similar comments to transwomen saying that transphobia is all in their heads and ‘everyone is prejduice’ as ‘Lucy’ put it, the comments would have been removed.

            http://www.autostraddle.com/open-thread-racism-in-the-queerest-most-feminist-of-places-114096/
            This whole thread is a clusterfuck and when I showed it to a black queer woman friend of mine, she decided autostraddle isn’t for her.

            Those are just two artiles that spring to mind. There have been numerous other instances of race fail here.
            It actually isn’t overt racism in most instances but more the the constant dismissal of white women of WoC feelings towards race. Its white women telling black women that this site isn’t for them and escaping criticism for their behaviour. Articles on homophobia/sexism do not have this issue because the white women here can idenitfy with those issues.

          • Thumb up 8

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            I totally agree with you about racist comments and the lack of WOC voices on the site… but I don’t like the comparison with removing trans comments (I’m seeing a few comments on this thread which are going in the direction of “trans women get respect on AS but WOC don’t.”) First, the two groups aren’t mutually exclusive. Second, there are LOTS of transphobic comments (and comments which erase or disrespect trans women) which are not removed from AS. It’s very much done of a thread by thread basis.

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            @ginapdx. I get what you’re saying. I know that the two aren’t exclusive. My highlight of a sentence was not an attempt to say that white trans women are higher on the oppressin pole vs. non trans QWOC. My point is that QWOC (including brown trans women) are never defended with the same amount over vigor on this site.

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            Oh my goodness, yes, Thiea. Readers just don’t care quite as much it seems. I think part of it might be that people really do assume racism isn’t that big of an issue or that we live in a post-racial society, which is bullshit. They don’t see microaggressions. A LOT of white commenters speak for and over women of color; that annoys me most of all.
            For me, I compare it to the trans comments due to sheer numbers. There are about as many First Nation women as trans women in the US, give or take (I realize that there is crossover) Is that reflected? Absolutely not, and it won’t be. And I bet most of the commenters that know so much about trans issues and care so passionately about them don’t feel the same or know the same about First Nation issues, or issues of the African diaspora, or Latina issues, or Asian issues. That’s frustrating to me.

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            You get it, Sela. Brown women can’t even come to a site like this, let their voices be heard, without white women telling us that we’re wrong or that we’re reading too much into something or that white people are trying (though I fail to see the outcome of all of that trying).
            I made a comment about the lack of censorship over harsh words towards brown women and those trying to silence those voices. It is beyond irritating. Most don’t want to acknowledge the weight of their privilege.
            I feel so strongly about your last comment. I agree so much. And it’s white trans issues, not the experiences of brown trans women that they know so much about.
            Anyone who believes in a post racial America is just as bad as someone calling me the n-word to my face.

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            This is where Autostraddle was at on trans* issues 4 years ago: http://www.autostraddle.com/how-the-michigan-womyns-music-festivals-topless-womyn-changed-my-lesbian-life-forever/

            It has been a long slow battle to change things. And it feels really dismissive to say that “oh yes, everyone defends trans* people here.” No, not really. Mostly trans* people are defending trans* people. The trans*scribe series is littered with the wreckage of dozens of battles over transphobic language and statements. And that is the first time the mods have taken an active stance in policing transphobic comments.

            And I can’t count the hundreds of comments that have been posted to Autostraddle over the years saying explicitly that trans people and content have no place here.

            Yes, the website has a serious issue with under-representation of WoCs and casual racism in the comments. The relationship between that and trans* folks is nil. Please don’t do that. Not without at least having some awareness of the history of this website.

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            I’m also not sure how I feel about Reise having removed her own transphobic comments from that article. At what point does moderation become historical revisionism?

            I kinda feel there should be a cap to how far back in time moderation can reach. Since we are talking about moderating.

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            @ sarah

            Why quote an article that is 4 years old when you can quote this one, which is only 2 months old – http://www.autostraddle.com/the-radright-and-the-restroom-needs-feat-170417/ ?

            Although we’re being told it’s entirely inappropriate to address in any way how white trans women seem to be treated compared to how cis women of colour are, in that article a white trans woman repeatedly said, more or less, that white trans women are now oppressed the way people of colour were during the segregation – in one of the comments she almost let it slip that she thinks the KKK have oppressed her for being a trans woman more than they’ve oppressed people of colour. A small bunch of people tried to address this – and the ensuing discussion was predictably horrible, but the overwhelming majority of comments praised the article – and, of course, the article was first read over by staff who must have thought it’s entirely appropriate for a white woman to say she’s experiencing segregation?

            Of course, women of colour and trans women are not mutually exclusive – but on this website it feels like they are. I’ve only seen one article addressing race in the context of trans experiences although we all know that trans women of colour bear the brunt of transphobia. Just like usually “queer cis women” is “white queer cis women”, “trans women” often reads as “white trans women”.

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            @Andreea — that was one of the most frustrating arguments I’ve ever had in the comment section of AS. Anytime a WoC would call Cristan out, she’d shoot them down and call them names. Everyone had to sort of give up. It was infuriating.

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            @ Andreea

            Which you rightly pointed out was completely inappropriate.

            So, I agree with you. It is totally inappropriate to make those kinds of oppression Olympics style comparisons.

            Which makes my complaint exactly as valid as yours. Or are you trying to argue that two wrongs make a right?

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            And I honestly can’t believe that people are holding up trans WoCs as a way to cover their inappropriately cissexist behaviour.

            Do I really need to drag my girlfriend into this mess so you can hear directly from a trans WoC how horrible and invalidating it is to have two pieces of her identity pitted against each other, or can you extrapolate from your own experience as a queer WoC and recognize what you are doing is deeply problematic.

            Yes, the racism and invisibility of WoCs on Autostraddle is shitty and needs to be fixed. I agree 100%. The transphobia and hostility towards trans issues on Autostraddle is also shitty and needs to be fixed (and no absolutely don’t need to reach back 4 years, I was pointing out that we’ve made some progress–but go look at the comments on the dating a trans girl article if you like, they are super fun to read). Why you imagine that contributing to one problem will fix the other I have absolutely no idea.

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            Thank you for your comments Kwijibo. I’m not a WoC and tend to lurk on this site if anything but I have been educating myself on intersectionality and have also put off/disappointed by some of the article topics and comment discussions I have seen.

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            Thank you for the support. It means a lot that its not just QWoC who have noticed this disparity and are willing to speak out against it.

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        @kwijibo. Seriously, thank you for posting all of your comments and providing those links. I definitely cannot frequent this site as much as I used to. Whenever a QWOC voices her opinion about the lack of diversity AND offers solutions to fix the problem, so many QWW chime in about how race shouldn’t matter or how brown women don’t need their own articles how brown women are being too sensitive or how maybe this site isn’t for them or blahblahblah.
        The amount of hatred (yes, hatred), ignorance and arrogance queer women display towards other queer women is absolutely disgusting. The Transcribe articles are absolutely wonderful. Can brown women (including brown trans women) have a series where our experiences are included on this site? If not, Autostraddle needs to update their About section and admit that they’re only here to serve certain queer women.

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          I’m glad you and bra feel the same as I didn’t want to be the sole WoC here making these comments and be accused of making mountains of molehills. The issue isn’t just about this list but what it represents. As WoC we will never be able to adhere to the white beauty standards and this list is saying that even in alternative circles we are the ‘ugly sisters’ to the white queer women Cinderellas.

          I completely agree with the rest of your comment. Each article on here regarding race is full of dismissive behaviour which is remarkably similar to the dismissive behaviour of straight white feminists on issues of racism/homophobia/transphobia in the feminist movement. It has gotten worse rather than better. If we complain then we are told off for not being pliable enough or not supporting our sisters in the movement. If we don’t allow other PoC to be homophobic towards us, I’m not going to give white women a pass on racism because we share a sexuality. It is hard enough to ‘straddle’ these intersections of race/gender/sexuality without having to put up with abuse in supposedly safe spaces.

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            Seriously. I saw very little difference in this compared to People’s 50 Most Beautiful People bs. Here, in the queer world, this lists presents the idealization of what queer women should look like, with a few brown faces sprinkled in.
            Today was my first time commenting on here. I’m not sure why, but this post just put me over the edge. I went back and read the comments from posts that I had missed and… just wow. You just can’t win as a QWOC. You come to a place that is supposed to be inclusive to all queer women, then you spend your time wading through both casually and blatantly racists comments.
            I absolutely don’t give queer white women a race pass. I plan to comment more within this site.
            Seriously, Autostraddle should have a series for QWOC to submit their work for the site. Like stories, essays, poems, etc. Maybe more QWOC would feel more welcome here if they had more of an opportunity for their OWN voices to be heard.

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            I agree. I’ve been very impressed with the trans* scribe series, and would love to see more something similar done for other groups as well. Queer trans* women represent a small segment of the population, yet Autostraddle was able to find many courageous and talented writers to contribute to this series (I recognize that a few contributors were WOC as well, which is great). Surely it would be easy to find many more QWOC who would be interested in sharing their stories?

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            I also have loved reading the trans*scribe articles and was hoping that the next series would be about QWOC. I am a longtime lurker but I need to comment because I feel very strongly that this site needs a series on WOC asap.

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            yes! that is the plan! we’ve been talking about doing that (a series for QWOC writers) for months now, but wanted to be sure to do it right? we still have like two more trans*scribe things to publish and then that will be the next thing. the fact that you’re specifically asking for it means that you also think it’s a good idea, which is really encouraging! that will be next!

            okay so: first i’m really sorry that this space has felt hostile and unwelcoming and for the unmitigated racism on those threads. you’ve really opened my eyes even wider to the importance of more conscious moderation. i am sorry for the hurtful dialogue that must have felt very alienating and alienated the women of color in our community. that is the last thing that any of us want. this issue is of great importance to us and that is reflected by our specific requests for submissions from WOC when we do calls for writers and submissions, and by the work we seek out and republish and even buy, and the writers i’ve found and brought here to enhance our community. by no means is our work done, or anywhere near done, but we are committed to this.

            and well, i appreciate the favorable representation of our moderation of trans comments but unfortunately historically we’ve not done that well there either and we have been criticized consistently all over the internet for transphobic comments that we didn’t remove. and biphobic comments. our former comment policy was super-liberal. as in — for about three years we deleted maybe one or two comments a month at most, usually threats of violence or racial or homophobic slurs. everything else was “uncensored.” readers said they appreciated it when we left the transphobic, sexist, homophobic and even racist comments on site because of the “important conversations and dialogue” that ensued. readers said they liked the way the site felt “self-policed,” with readers (like you!) who called out assholes when they saw them. we felt like those were our people, the ones who were calling out that ridiculous girl on the post about sajdah’s magazine, those were the true autostraddlers, the ones calling out the racism and the transphobia and the sexism. it’s rare for writers or editors to be involved in comment threads at all with websites of this size. for posts by WOC or trans writers, we deferred to the writers to decide what comments needed to go and what could stay. sometimes we’d wonder if something should be deleted, but as soon as somebody responded to tell them off, we would be like, “okay, then it can stay.” which is stupid, obvs that was easy for us to say! those posts you linked kaylah too are examples of that — there were racist comments, but there were also people calling out those commenters. (often you!)

            it wasn’t until trans*scribe started and trans readers were very upset by our lack of conscious moderating that we realized something had to change, that we needed to stop moderating only extreme hate speech and moderate to cultivate a productive and welcoming space. we realized that our white privilege had blinded us to how the very existence of these conversations alienate the readers we’re not hearing from, who are tired of having to call people out. we were short-sighted and i’m sorry. in our call for comment moderators we requested applicants who were women of color and trans specifically. and except for kaylah, everybody who applied was white and cis. so we are still looking for more mods! there are heaps of empty unmoderated hours! please apply!

            also i don’t know if this is common knowledge but we don’t have a budget. we rarely sell ads. we’re independently owned, we have no investors or corporate support. we run on reader donations and merch purchases. we run a camp we barely profit on, we’re working on changing that though. all our amazing writers and all our mods are all unpaid volunteers who work long hours for fun and for the community. we have one editor besides me paid full-time. i work 60-80 hours a week. so that’s our major limitation in achieving all of our dreams. i’m telling you this not as an excuse but just to be sure you knew, because obviously if we had money, it’d be easy for us to find and hire any writer we wanted and there would be no reason whatsoever for us not to have the most diverse team ever. that’s why when we had a little money from our fundraiser, we put it into trans*scribe, and our still-unpaid team was okay with that b/c they care about diversity too.

            please know that this issue is of utmost importance to all of us and we are dedicated to fixing it. i’ve loved how many trans* writers we’ve been able to bring into our world via trans*scribe, and if a similar series could do the same for QWOC writers, then hell yes we will do the fuck out of that series. i think being able to offer small payments for trans*scribe writers really impacted the quality of submissions, and so i wanted to be able to do that for this but we’re kinda broke right now. so i’m working on that. i think that situation will be better within a few weeks. i wanna do this right if we do it.

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            Not to make light of the situation, I just have to say I <3 the fact that the Hot 100 comments are a 50-50 split between two things:

            1.Woo! Hot girls are hot!

            and

            2.You, guys we really need a more meaningful dialogue about the intersectionality of our community specifically w/r/t how we create a more welcoming space for QWOC.

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            KWIJIBO!

            I don’t think I adequately thanked you in my previous comment for bringing this up!

            Firstly, you are not making mountains out of molehills. (which I’m sure you know, but I just wanted to reiterate that)

            Also: “As WoC we will never be able to adhere to the white beauty standards and this list is saying that even in alternative circles we are the ‘ugly sisters’ to the white queer women Cinderellas.” Fucking YES.

            The more I read your insightful comments the more it hurts my soul because I realize just how often I put aside my racial identity to participate in this community… (I think I even inadvertently admitted that in my previous comment)

            It becomes so routine to compartmentalize all these different identities, but at the end of the day it leaves one feeling fractured and incomplete.

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            Thank you for your kind words. You shouldn’t feel bad for having to compartmentalise your identities. As QWoC our entire existence is an affront to societal norms and we are used to having to hide a part of ourselves in order to fit in with certain circles.

            My situation was the opposite of yours – I used to hide my sexuality in order to fit in better with people from my race/cultural background. It got too much for me though mentally and once I came out to my friends (who did accept me – some with ease, some with difficulty) my life became easier. But I find most queer women circles dispiriting because I can’t keep my mouth closed when I see/hear racist behaviour from fellow queer women and I get attacked as being over-sensitive. These are the same women who throw fits if non-white people are being actively homophobic. I don’t blame you for not wanting to make a fuss about racism, I didn’t before when my relatives would make homophobic comments because I just wanted to belong with people I thought were like me. Much as straight people (white or non-white) should bear the burden of working against homophobia, I feel queer white women should do a better job of policing their racist behaviour/thoughts (and I’m including Autostraddle in this) rather than expecting QWoC to constantly educate them. It’s tiring and unfair. The onus shouldn’t be on us to explain why we deserve to be treated like human beings. I want to see more articles from WoC about WoC here but I don’t want to see articles in which WoC have to tell white women how to be less racist and or white women requesting pats on the back for not being racist.

            I have been feeling like this for days and the reason I chose this post was because of what the attitudes it reinforces in queer women circles. QWoC aren’t as attractive as their white counterparts because we don’t have the desired look – our eyes/lips/noses are too big, our skin too dark, not androgynous enough etc etc. I don’t want to play oppression olympics here but its you see lots of articles here about how fat queer women/trans women are deemed less attractive in queer circles but you don’t see the same articles for QWoC. Which is jarring to me because we do suffer a great deal for not adhering to white beauty standards.

            I apolgise for the long arse essay.

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            “The more I read your insightful comments the more it hurts my soul because I realize just how often I put aside my racial identity to participate in this community… (I think I even inadvertently admitted that in my previous comment)”

            YES YES YES YES YES YES!

            I felt that way too! I felt like I was in Penn State which was fun but boy did it leave me with issues about my fractured identities. It was talking to a bisexual WOC that made it “click” for me. Not only she had to deal with her racial identity but also her sexuality where she felt that being bisexual made her feel broken because had to be super queer or super straight, parts not a whole. PEOPLE THIS IS BULLSHIT! THIS NEED TO STOP! MORE INCLUSIVE CUPCAKES!

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            This is a really interesting and important conversation and I’m glad people are having it. I thank all of you for making me think.

            Off topic: I also have to say I was drinking coffee when I read, “MORE INCLUSIVE CUPCAKES!” and I almost choked and died. I now want to start a queer bakery called More Inclusive Cupcakes. The cupcakes could be colorful. And representative of the many dietary needs/desires/ethics that exist.

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            solemn nods to “I realize just how often I put aside my racial identity to participate in this community”

            This happens so often, and more times than not, when I become conscious of it, I feel like if I share my feelings and experiences within a queer space, the (predominantly qhite {queer+white, I’m clever I know}) people that I value as my community will give me a speech about how “we are oppressed because we are queer therefore we know oppression and therefore we do not oppress because intersectionality what is it really!”

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            Kwijibo, thank you so much for opening this conversation and going back to find those links etc.
            (I see from one of your previous posts, you’re also from London! *waves*)
            Your post almost made me cry because YES. It’s so soul destroying when you can’t be fully yourself anywhere. I can’t be myself around people of my race/culture and I have to sit through the disgusting things my family say about queer people and to participate in queer spaces I have to sort of ignore my race and that sinking feeling I get when there’s nobody else who looks like me. AS has its problems (there was an occasion months back when I saw a few WHY DO QPOC NEED THEIR OWN SPACE IT’S JUST DIVIDING US MORE type comments and had to leave because I didn’t expect it on AS.) but it’s really heartening for me to see this discussion and how honest the dialogue is.

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            Hi Kwijibo,
            Thanks for saying something. As a WOC and as someone who doesn’t comment here often, when I do see racefails, I don’t end up speaking up as much as I should. I remember once there was a triggering series of comments, and instead of addressing it, I was too tired and shut down (since I don’t comment that much, I felt scared that it wasn’t my place or space to come into a thread and lend support which is kinda messed up). I don’t remember the details, just that a WOC was shut down by someone with the “but I’ve dated x people thus I am not exoticizing/racist, how dare you imply that” and then it was the WOC who apologized because a bunch of other commenters came to the other person’s defense.

            But I understand that AS is trying to address these issues to the best of their abilities, and I guess I’ll do “my part” in speaking up. And to the people making the problematic comments, many of whom I call friends, own it, don’t be defensive, and learn from it. I’ll try my best to do the same if I say problematic things, too.

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        I really appreciate your comments here. I’m white, but I was also a little flabbergasted at some of the icky things said to Jessie in that other comment thread the other day, and some other things I’ve seen around here (especially in regards to representation), and as much as I can see where Autostraddle was coming from with the self-policing, liberal comment policy of the past, and I know we all appreciate having these dialogues at times, it’s also nice to come to a place where you don’t have to educate other people about the way you’d like to be treated. I think that’s why we all come to Autostraddle in the first place, to find a place where we can speak about being queer without having to argue over our basic humanity. To put it in perspective for me, when I thought about it, I realized I would stay away from AS comment sections if there was chronic hatred against fat people, because it would stress me out to constantly have to be on the attack and to explain why I should be treated like every other human, especially in a place where I think EVERYONE knows what it’s like to be treated as “other.”

        I think the lack of representation on this list (which is still probably at least a bit more diverse than I’ve personally seen most anywhere else) speaks to a larger societal problem with our traditional, white-washed, thin perception of “beauty”, which is terrible. But I’m sure everyone would agree that what Autostraddle wants – the readers and all the people behind it – is to create a super safe, inclusive place. So I have a lot of hope that when they say they’re concerned about it and want to fix it, they will fix it. And with that being said, I hope you do stick around if you feel comfortable, because smart people who aren’t afraid to speak out like you are always more than welcome to cross my path on the Internet.

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        @kwijibo

        this is late to the game, but i wanted to get out here and thank you for saying what you’ve said.

        its funny to me that the white lady cries always fall along the lines of “my community, nay OUR community, should be better than this!” when ive been following this site for three years and as a woc have rarely felt recognized or welcomed. more often than not im sitting in front of my computer wishing that i was a kinder, more articulate, and less hot-headed version of brown person because i’m internalizing all this crazy shit that i’m reading in spite of everything. personally, it’s helped me in a big way to tell myself that this ain’t my community. this was a waystation in my search for a QPOC home where my job isn’t to be the token, the race police, or the shoulder where white guilt can rest its tired little head.

        so thank you thank you thank you, for firing your guns and sticking to them.

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      So I’m reading this discussion, and the one below about people feeling icky in general about women being ranked by hotness, and I’m thinking maybe the Hot 100 could be presented without ranks? In alphabetical order instead, or something? Obviously this won’t change the underlying issue of unequal representation in the wider media, but at least it won’t contribute to further reflecting and perpetuating that unequal representation.

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          (This comment is in regards to the complaints/concern regarding the title “Hot 100″ and is not about the QPOC discussion.)

          Are people reading the articles?  Or just looking at the pictures?  Because in the post calling for votes this year you clearly state Autostraddle’s definition of the word hot in the following paragraph  

          “The only difference this year is that we’re emphasizing that this isn’t just about being hot, but also about being cool, because “hot” doesn’t only mean “good-looking”! Think of it as an umbrella term that encompasses things like being smart or funny or good at making quiche. “Hot” means whatever you want it to mean.” 

          You also tell us in the same post, in bold print, to vote for the “hottest/coolest lady-loving-ladies in the galaxy.” Additionally, the very last line of this results post strongly advises the readers against taking this list too seriously.  

          I mean, it’s your website, and if you want to dump the Hot 100 concept or change the name that’s your call.  (Side note: I found the voting process kind of informative, personally, because I had to research all my queer choices.  It was fun and educational.)  This comment section has brought up important points about what we say and how we say it, but if you can’t even use the word “hot” around here, even after the many explanations you gave regarding what this list was all about/not about, then I don’t even know what’s going on anymore.  

          What I’m saying is, you very clearly stated what you meant by “hot,” and I hope you don’t feel like you have to change something just because some people chose not to read what you wrote.

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            I understand and agree with what you’re saying, and I don’t personally have any problem with the word “hot” in the title myself (and having hung around here long enough, I knew AS wouldn’t have intended this list to solely reflect physical beauty), but the fact is that 95% of people will skim through articles without reading all the fine print. So whether the intent is there or not, it will end up being at least to some degree a reflection of status quo beauty standards.

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            I think I remember that the voting link didn’t have much information on it, other than the ballot. Maybe they should reiterate the concept on the actual voting page?

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            yeah Vunderland, you’re right
            my thoughts are having trouble straightening themselves out right now

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        What about something called (please forgive my 90s slang) The Cool 100 or another word that is hip & trendy? Then we don’t have to rank by hotness (and some people’s vary narrow scale of attractiveness) and can vote for the coolest/awesomest queer ladies??

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          we said really clearly in the voting post that hotness isn’t just about looks though, i feel like the title is tongue-in-cheek and i don’t wanna change the title because nobody wants to read anything beyond just the title?

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            I think I suffered a brain fart when I voted and now I feel like a dork for only pointing out who I find attractive. What really stuck in my mind was that I could pick people who weren’t necessarily famous and that the limit of 5 people wasn’t enough.

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    The craziest thing happened, I was wearing pants at the beginning of looking at this list and by the time I was done, my pants are gone. Witchcraft? The power of Hot 100? Brittney Griner?

    Seriously I still have very very strong non PG-13 Megan Rapinoe, feels.

    Guess where? :D

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    i would like to state for the record that i really wish charice and zoe saldana had come out before this year’s hot 100 election happened and in the future it’d be great if hot famous queer ladies could coordinate their comings out to occur before may 3rd

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    AHHHHHHHHHH Sia? She’s into women? yes!!!!!!!!!!! This list is golden…although I would of put Jess from the Beaver Bunch in there or AJ or Angie Evans *swoon* – can you tell I love me some butches?:)

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    Okay again, has Clea DuVall come out? I’ve never heard her say anything about it but it’s totally awesome if she has.

    Kick-ass, Brandi Carlile made it this year!

    I just have to say thank you to everyone for such an amazing and inclusive list. It’s why autostraddle rules. <3

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    Sue Perkins! Amanda Palmer! Rose Ellen Dix! Heather Peace! I am eloquent!

    I just remember squeeing with coincidence/delight – I’m listening to Amanda Palmer after just watching a butt-ton of Rose Ellen Dix videos. And I was watching Great British Bake-Off yesterday (I am really really cool), and Lip Service the day before.

    Does this just make me really queer? xD

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    Point #1: I was drawn to a lot of these musicians’ songs, without quite knowing why, before I knew they were Family. Actually, I still wouldn’t know most of them were queer but for this list!

    Point #2: Autostraddle writer Kate, #1 butch in my heart, I’m adding you on Facebook because you are just my absolute favorite. I hope you’re not creeped out.

    Point #3: Rachel Maddow 4eva.

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      yeah, I agree that issues with this list are hard and have everything to do with the voters and not the staff. but also unrelated, wtf with lesbians and dreads. it matters if sarah croce is biracial because otherwise it’s pretty appropriative and rude.

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        Does it matter? Why does it matter? With respect to race and dreadlocks? I used to have dreadlocks and I’m white… The reactions I got from black and mixed race persons was that they were pretty cool and often formed the basis of me being able to bond and connect with people otherwise different from me. Also its fair to say that dreadlocks are a common choice for fashion in certain alternative subcultures and I think that’s legitimate and allowed and not inappropriate appropriation.

        I have a lot of feelings about dreadlocks and I would like to know if you have a different opinion? Cheers!

        Sidenote: I think its kinda cool that a traditionally non white style is associated with being fashionable or cool (in certain circles) in a traditionally white culture (ie. England, where I’m from). And my peers at the time I had dreads were very racially diverse, so to me it always felt more like inclusion than appropriation.

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          Hi person with hairfeelings,
          I have a very different opinion. It does matter because race, power dynamics, appropriation, autonomy, and who gets to determine standards of beauty matter.

          Just because individual black and mixed race people “gave you the pass” on dreads doesn’t mean that it wasn’t problematic to have them.

          Your sidenote kinda nicely sums up appropriation: you can take on dreadlocks for fashion, style, coolness, supposed “bonding” with other people, but it’s precisely because it’s not your culture which makes it so. You don’t carry the weight of understanding what dreadlocks means, you don’t need to deal with the legacy of colonialism to the extent of someone black or African or African American. You haven’t even (it seems, I could be wrong) done the research into why your actions might be problematic. That is, in essence, appropriation. It’s taking on someone else’s culture with little idea to its historic context and doing it for cool points. It is in essence everything that is so wrong with appropriation. Someone’s struggles should not be racked up for cool points.

          Here are some articles that might lend some insight into why it can be really messed up to don dreadlocks as a white person:
          http://specialcommunion.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/white-people-with-dreadlocks-no/
          http://zinelibrary.info/files/dreads.pdf
          http://www.racialicious.com/2011/02/09/blacking-it-up-hip-hop-race-and-identity/
          http://www.racialicious.com/2013/02/04/the-least-happy-jamaican-on-volkswagens-super-bowl-commercial/
          http://www.racialicious.com/2008/03/04/glamour-magazine-on-women-race-and-beauty/

          And I’m sure there are many more.

          But it’s comments like these that usually make me just close the site, and I’m trying to engage more. But know that it shouldn’t be WOC’s burden to do the educating, and I shouldn’t have to find a bunch of links, but I know this is something that I need to do to validate my viewpoint.

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            Sonia: firstly, thank you for replying, I really do appreciate the discussion. I commented because I want to educate myself and have a meaningful discussion, so thank you, and please don’t let my comment cause you to leave autostraddle.

            So, dreadlocks. When I decided to get them I was concerned about appropriation, but I justified it because I saw others around me, in the media, in camden town in London, in bands I liked, all wearing dreads and seemingly it was an acceptable thing to do. Whether or not that’s an acceptable thing in itself I didn’t really consider. I was trying to emulate that alternative culture. (note that I was 16 at the time, so it felt pretty important to make an identity for myself).

            I saw people of all races with dreads and so I felt that perhaps dreadlocks had evolved to mean different things to different people, and that that was ok? I liked that if I met another person with dreadlocks we’d immediately have something in common, and so many times I felt the dreads were a unifying force.

            I grew up in east London, so I have always been surrounded by myriad different cultures. whilst there’s obviously a lot of complex racism and disparity between cultures and class, for the most part what I saw were people being open and engaging with each other. I went to an all girls grammar school (it was free, run by the government but you have to pass an exam to get in) where less than half the school was white… So the culture there was very privileged in that everyone was relatively intelligent and respectful. There were always events involving traditional clothing/ food/ dancing etc etc. Which was so great! So, in a roundabout way I’m trying to explain how I felt it was ok and even encouraged to engage and participate in cultures that weren’t my own. It felt good to be able to join in with my friends, especially as my own white British heritage seems so plain by comparison. So when it came to getting dreadlocks it was with a similar spirit.

            I never fully researched the history of dreadlocks, which I regret because I should have been more sensitive… part of the reason I commented in the first place, so I could reconsider my actions and hopefully become a better person.

            So that’s the point of view I’m coming from. And I really appreciate other points of view, because it is important and it was never my intent to be offensive or insensitive.

            I haven’t read your links yet because I’m on my phone and I wanted to reply right away but I will read them.

            Id like to think that dreadlocks in white culture could be a way of integrating cultures and showing appreciation rather then appropriation, but i guess its not that simple when you’ve got the weight of history to consider too.

            Well, I’m gonna read those articles now and have a think about the issues.

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          It matters, and is very much not “cool” – everything that Sonia said to you is relevant here.

          Your entire comment is an example of why it matters. You are reducing and conflating part of a culture that is not yours to something you put on and/or discard at leisure, saying that you will be/were considered “cool” or “fashionable” when you wore your hair that way. You don’t suffer the discrimination and/or other negative attitudes that get directed to people of ethnic groups of whose culture such hairstyles are part – discrimination that they don’t have the institutional privilege/power to brush off and/or not encounter in the way you do. (Also, the lack of a “no, not okay” does not equal “yay, how awesome”.)

          Whether or not *you* feel like you were being appropriative or not is frankly of little/no relevance, because you are/were not and will never be someone who will suffer or be hurt as a result of your appropriative actions.

          (Disclaimer: I’m white & from the UK.)

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            Yeah ok, I can understand that. I thought a lot about what dreadlocks meant to me and what they portrayed in the context of my life then, and the area I was living in, but I never really considered the wider implications.

            I mean, I had dreads from when I was 16-18, so there’s some ignorance and naivety on my part for sure.

            I could talk about dreadlocks all day really, because they were really significant to the formation of my identity at the time.

            Bee, it wasn’t just that no one told me it wasn’t ok, it was also that I occasionally would get compliments from black men (typically) with dreadlocks too (strangers on the street that I didn’t know) that was another factor in why I felt what I was doing was acceptable. I know that’s a very small sample size, and they don’t represent everyone else, but still, it implied to me that it was acceptable.

            Let me be clear though, I’m not saying that I was/am right, but I definitely felt at the time that having dreadlocks as a white girl was acceptable, as I wouldn’t have done it otherwise, so I just want to explain my point of view. I welcome all criticism to anything I say though, because I realise I’m not an expert on the subject!

            But, serious question, when does an action turn from taking inspiration from another culture to appropriation? For example, it would be ridiculous to say that I couldn’t eat traditional foods from other cultures because I’m white. But equally, I understand that say, going to a fancy dress party in someone’s traditional clothing would be offensive.

            Where do dreadlocks stand on the spectrum? Is it ever ok for white people to have dreadlocks? What about a stereotypical surfer with dreadlocks, or a stereotypical environmentally concious hippy? Could one argue the point that perhaps dreadlocks already have a cultural place amongst white people and history, or is that just an another form of appropriation?

            so many hair feelings… I really do appreciate this discussion though, so thanks to everyone who’s replied!

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            Why are you comparing people to food?

            The point here is that what you do/wear/say/etc. is always going to be icky and appropriative if you are going to do/say/wear/etc. it because “white British heritage seems so plain by comparison” – because that is using other people’s lives and cultures as decorations for yours.

            Saying how “plain” your culture seems to you is also an attitude full of racial & ethnic microagressions. For a start, it’s exotifying & dehumanising groups of people as Other. Secondly, perhaps your culture seems “plain” because it’s the dominant one in your society and the media and is thus seen as the default and the ‘norm’. That’s how deeply racism & white colonialism are entrenched in the media/society of places such as the USA & the UK.

            I’m not going to answer any of your questions in the “but which white people are allowed to wear dreadlocks” paragraph as: a) it’s not my place, because like I told you I am also white; b) Sonja gave you several links to articles.

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            Dear sweet Levi jeans and American hamburgers lord….

            “white British heritage seems so plain by comparison”

            I can’t. This right there sums up feels on why I couldn’t with white people in America appropriating other cultures BECAUSE THEY WERE BORED, BORED! BOOOOOORED!

            Seriously thanks Bee because sometimes I’m just too tired to deal with that kind of hot messiness.

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    A great list. Happy to see Jasika Nicole on there especially as she is my favourite crush (it’s the drawings! She is so talented!) However there are sooo many beautiful and talented queer ladies on here!

    Also, nice to see Sue Perkins on there, next year I must remember to vote for our other amazing British queer comedienne, Susan Calman.

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    Brandi Howard!!! #1 Lesbian Lurker, love her.

    But wait… also a “girl we like who also likes girls”? This is brand new information?

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    No First Nation hotties. Sigh. I don’t know if you guys know of Shawnee She King, but she is a BABE. And her voice will slay you.
    There are as many First Nation women in the US as there are trans women, give or take. I wish AS would reflect that, as well as the plethora of other excellent women of color that are also raging homos out there.
    Beyond that, I though the list was okay.

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        Yeah, I remember that too. I suppose it might be common knowledge, but I still think AS dropped the ball here. Clearly she wants to keep her personal life under wraps, and I don’t think proclaiming her an out woman when she’s never stated it openly before is okay. Not cool.

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    Yesterday I moved 400 miles away from every human I know for grad school and unpacking and feeding myself today seemed overwhelming and I miss my family and thank you for posting this today so I can stare at it and not be so stressed out for five minutes.

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      Aw hun. Hugs and good vibes to you! I’m heading to the other side of the world for a year at the end of the summer and I’m excited but also a little terrified about the moment when I get there and everything I own is in a bag and everyone I know is far away. Hope its going great for you. Best of luck :)

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    May I nominate Angel Haze and Emilie Autumn? Because reasons.
    But between Brittany Griner and Rachel Maddow I am meeelting over here halp.

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    I wonder if a different voting system might help? Like a list provided by the editors t hat we can vote on – that way a more inclusive list would probably result even after voting. And we’d get to discover more interesting people, our be reminded of them.

    I realise that by only voting for kate/kade that I’m a contributor to the lack of diversity on this list. It now seems a bit lazy, and I’ll try to do better next year.

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      I was thinking something like this could be helpful. Or maybe an open thread that gets summarized (going through a million comments takes awhile). Because to be honest, I am like the least culturally aware person ever, which is why I didn’t vote. I don’t even know 90% of the people on THIS list, and of those I do know I had no idea some of them were queer. And I know there are more amazing, diverse, beautiful women who probably should be here that I just don’t know because I live under a rock called law school.

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      I think it’d be a shame to limit it to just women the editors are aware of/think of. Plus that’d be a lot of work for the over-worked editors.

      But a different system isn’t a bad idea. Or perhaps, given the statistics Riese mentioned, before voting ends start asking those who voted for someone outside of the 30 people who got 75% of the vote to write a short profile of their favorite hottie and why they deserve votes to give a broader range of queer ladies more exposure.

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    I am glad to see Wanda Sykes on the list, but even more glad to see her in top 30. I know I am going to get some hate, but I like her comedy and acting work more than most of the others contemporaries on this list.

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    Ahh Danielle Owens-Reid. I totally had a dream about her last night :)

    4 out of the 5 ladies I voted for are on the list which is kinda cool… I noticed the lack of WoC too and I worried about that when I cast my vote. I love butch women but I had a hard time thinking of any butch WoC. That’s the shitty thing about the media, it’s saturated with white queers. I can’t even name 1 Canadian WoC queer lady. WTF… that is pathetic. I hope that AS features more butch WoC ladies on the website. Hart is a good start ;)

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    Rose Dix is so fucking hot! She’d be tied at number 1 on my list with Jessie J and Angeline Jolie! That being said all these women are total babes, and totally awesome in their own way! Yay for hot, intelligent, funny girls who like girls!

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    Whew! For a moment there I almost thought Rachel Maddow had been left out, especially after seeing Ellen at #7. Huge sigh of relief :D

    What kind of photoshopping is going on with Anna Paquin at #60?

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    ok there’s something to be said about me caring for news stories of this decaying world. As in i don’t read. don’t kill me but i was clueless Linda Perry and Lana Wachowski were queer.

    Now that explains why i like them that little bit extra – on the top of being cute and awesome at what they do.

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    Rachel Maddow hit #1! The whole time I was reading through this I was looking for her rank. After I hit #10 I thought, “Did she not make it?!” Of course she did! I am kind of surprised that Tegan or Sara didn’t take #1, though. I figured Heartthrob’s recent success would catapult them to the top.

    And there were so many people I wish I would have voted for! I completely forgot about Ruby Rose and Brittney Griner when I went to cast my ballot!

    I suppose Katie Miller was a long shot to make the list. Boooo.

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    I don’t think all of these women are all “hot”. However,they are certainly all strong women and role models in one way or another.

    Riese and staff takes such great care as far as I can tell to make everyone feel welcome and inclusive that I have a bit of an issue with some of the petty bickering. As to the modding the comments that’s a challenge to which I’m not sure there is an easy answer.

    But,as to the concern that AS is showing some sort of bias to “white” women who “interest” them is absolutely ludicrous.The gay female media representation is surprise surprise more white orientated.Is that because of some bias toward women of color?

    In some cases absolutely. But not here. One of the main reasons we see this (not the only one)is that being white in society means there is a better chance for opportunity and acceptance in general.

    This is a privilege that a lot of women of color don’t have.How many gay or bi-sexual women of color who are hip-hop artists are there that have been indifferent or hostile to suggestions of being gay? One or two quite hostile to the gay community itself.
    Is there a cultural issue here? Yes. Do these women feel as “safe” as they should to be who they are?

    This hostility also means that we have to define “hot”.

    Personality would exclude those sorts of people from my list,if I had made a list of such people regardless of their “physical” attributes. There are a ton of women on this list that have a lot of their “hotness” tied up in personality,like say perhaps the Quin twins.

    Would the people who are interested in them as people dislike them if they were of color? I doubt it.In fact since they put out the new record the amount of women of color who seem to tweet or social media stuff about them seems to me to have significantly increased.

    Also the other rather obvious point is that there are more gay white women. And there are more gay white women who are out. Also,the most visible role models are gay white women. This is a fact. Ellen,T&S,and Maddow are arguably your top 3.

    Some might ask would women of color been afforded those opportunities as easily ? Not as likely. But also realize someone has to come first and knock down the doors.

    Gay women are doing that in general.Have we noticed some of the younger gay male actors just starting to sneak out of the closet? Who made the ground safe for them? It wasn’t John Travolta or Tom Cruise.

    So a list like this which is supposed to be fun presents Riese and her AS staff with some concerns,when Riese as far as I can tell went well OUT of her way to make this list as “politically” correct as possible.In particular the links leading to their profiles.

    Doing a list without an order isn’t really a list is it? It’s basically what the rest of the website is already doing. Scrap it or leave it the way it is. I vote for leave it the way it is.

    On,a slightly lighter note I forgot to vote,but if I did it would have been for Tegan Quin and Mia Kirshner. So Mia I hope I didn’t keep you out of that log jab at 100.Ha!

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      I know I said I was leaving but I need to respond to your repugnant comment before I do. Firstly well done for an expert class in whitesplaining and derailing. Here are some links to explain how you have attempted to derail this conversation:

      http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/resources/mirror-derailing-for-dummies/
      http://stfuconservatives.tumblr.com/post/4424216786
      I’m sure you won’t bother to read it but it may be useful for others.

      Secondly the issue wasn’t just about the lack of QWoC on this list. It was the website’s approach to QWoC in general and the fact that list ignored QWoC much like the entire site does. The debate was also about when we complain about racism and queer white women burst in to tell us how and why we are wrong. It’s exactly what you are doing right now so thank you for exemplifying everything that is wrong with this site. It also proves that Riese/Vanessa’s comments above were lip service as I expected as they have left yours. L and Janelles racist derailing comments up whilst transphobic/sexist/homophobic comments would already have been deleted.

      Thirdly the fact that you actually blame the lack of QWoC on rap culture is entirely hilarious and says everything about who you are as a person. I know your idols Tegan and Sara blamed society’s sexism and homophobia on a 19 year old black working class man, but in actuality its white men and women who are responsible for laws and pervading rules of society. No gay marriage? That’s down to the government which is majority white. The protests in France against gay marriage? White conservatives/far right groups. The House of Lords in UK attempting to down the gay marriage bill? Old white men. Maybe before blaming a culture you know nothing about for societys ingrained homophobia you should do some self-examination and research. The fact that you can only think of rap culture as the reason famous WoC choose not to come out also shows that you think that this is simply a black women vs white women debate when in actuality there are a number of races other than white/black. Who like black women are routinely ignored on this site. Also maybe QWoC aren’t interested in coming out due to the ingrained racism of the white queer movement. Maybe they don’t want to identify with people like you or Dan Savage or Tyler Oakley or Tegan/Sara who view them as less than human due to the colour of their skin. Maybe it’s because when QWoC interact in queer groups they are subject to racism like when I first went to a queer group I was asked if I was a terrorist by women like you and have been called a fucking Paki by a gay man. Maybe that restricts WoC in wanting to come out. Just a thought.

      Fourthly the fact that you think it’s easy for QWoC to just knock down doors shows a fundamental lack of knowledge about white privilege. Straight WoC are sidelined on television and film so what chance do QWoC have. If it were that easy to make it on talent and chutzpah alone straight WoC like Kerry Washington would be in the Avengers instead of Scarlett Johannson, Lianne La Havas would be selling out concerts like Taylor Swift and Issa Rae would have her own tv show while Lena Dunham (another favourite of the editors here despite her rampant racism) would still be at home living off mummy and daddy. This doesn’t happen so what chance do famous QWoC who have to deal with racism/homophobia and sexism have? Instances where QWoC here have knocked down doors and posted articles on here, they receive no support/response or are torn apart for not having the right tone/language usage. So what else can we do?

      Finally the aggressive nature of your response, by readers like you is also another issue.our dismissal of racism, your fangirling of the editors, the fact that you ignored the numerous comments above from various QWoC which said that environment here is hostile towards QWoC and allows racism to continue unchecked shows everything that is wrong with this website. Paperofflowers knew that she would escape censure for her comments because she is a fave of the editors and has a ton of support from her fellow commentators just as you know that your privilege here will mean the other white women here will support you and attempt to chase off QWoC who air valid grievances. I sincerely hope that just like the dismissive way you dismissed QWoC’s feelings about racism on this site, someone someday will dismiss your feelings about casual homophobia or sexism. Maybe then you can feel a little bit of the hurt and pain QWoC feel every day in visiting this site. I sincerely hope you succeed in your goal to make this site white-only, I mean with commentators like you its not too far a dream. I do not feel sorry for myself because I do not need this site’s acceptance anymore (if this had occurred a few years ago I would have been gutted but I’m now completely jaded by casual white queer racism) however I do feel sorry for the young/confused QWoC who come to this site hoping to find acceptance and realise that this is another place not for them. Well done in alienating people who could make this site a much more inclusive and accepting place. Riese – Melanie’s comments nailed it. The culture here is only accepting of white women as the vast majority of editors/writers/moderators are white women (of all types). Nothing you guys do will fix that unless the commentators like Slappy Jones receive a lesson in white privilege. But I don’t think that will ever happen so I wish QWoC everywhere the best of luck and hope you find the acceptance and community you so desperately need somewhere. It’s not going to be here.

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      Your comment comes across as implying that homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and heterosexism are much less common in white communities and/or white-dominated media – which is both gross and not true. Your comment also comes across as telling lgbtqi+ women of colour to ~wait their turn~ because ~their time will come~ because ~not everything can be dealt with at once~. Again, that’s pretty gross. Feminism needs to include ALL women, or it’s not worth a hill of dirt – feminism needs to tear down the old system, not just modify it so a limited number of additional groups join the most socially valued strata.

      Hip-hop & rap artists that are supportive of lgbtqi+ rights and/or who are lgbtqi+ exist. There are also plenty of music genres which are not hip-hop & rap that are full of -ist jerks.

      Maybe more white women are out, maybe they aren’t – but although all lgbtqi+ women are (to varying degrees, depending upon numerous factors including how socially acceptable their particular life/body/etcetera is) subject to a subset of oppressive actions, lgbtqi+ women of colour are by an order of magnitude far more likely to be wounded/killed for being out (or not “passing” enough for whichever passing jerk decides to inflict harrassment/abuse upon them). Who inflicts a majority of this upon them? Not other lgbtqi+ people of colour. (For an example – how about the ridiculously disproportionate number of lgbtqi+ poc involved in stop & searches by [straight cis white guys working for] NYPD?)

      Also it’s oversimplifying to basically an absurd degree to ignore the role that colonialism and proselytisation (on the part of white people, especially white Brits of the Regency & Victorian eras) had/continue to have in countries across the world on attitudes towards same-sex relationships, gender, and related issues.

      Additionally, why use the term “politically correct”? Why should any attempt to acknowledge, include, or celebrate marginalised groups be seen as ~pandering to liberals~? Shouldn’t it be that ignoring, excluding, or denigrating marginalised groups be seen as lacking basic human decency? (Because it is.)

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      I agree that a lot of the lack of diversity on this list has to do with people not being exposed to QWOC as often as they are exposed to queer white women. But just because it isn’t rooted in overt racism doesn’t make it OK. I think this is an important discussion to have – I know the Autostraddle staff is doing their best, and I truly appreciate their hard work, but obviously more work needs to be done to make this at truly safe space for all queer women. There is nothing wrong with people making suggestions for improvement.

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    So, I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s been going on in this thread since shit started to go down and I have a couple of points I’d like to make.

    First of all, I’m not sorry that this list happened. I’m glad it did actually, because I think it’s kind of the perfect illustration of who are the queer women that are on our radars. And hey, whatever your definition of “hotness” is… that matters because who doesn’t want to feel like they could be attractive to someone else? I know I do!

    Secondly, I’m curious as to what the real reasons for the lack of WOC on the list. Is it because we don’t know who the QWOC are? In that case, yes, it would be nice to see AS (as well as all other media things ever) to feature QWOC more. Because of course, why would we vote for someone we don’t know about?

    But also… How much of it has to do with bodies of colour not being seen as being beautiful/hot/attractive in general? And again, that matters. Most of us here are products of the same culture that uphold white standards of beauty. I don’t think a QWOC should have to feel like a race-traitor if she happens to find Tegan and Sara attractive, but it would be nice if QWOC were also consistently upheld as equally attractive.

    The actions towards change cannot be left solely up to QWOC. The emotional work that that requires hurts and is exhausting… QWOC are constantly dealing with that in their day to day lives as it is. I commend Riese and the other editors for recognizing that this is a huge issue, and although some may be critical that they are not doing enough, I think personally, I’ll stick around a little longer and see what I can also do. Help me, help you!

    And just as a last little thought… When we’re having these difficult and uncomfortable conversations, it would be really nice to hear less “I didn’t MEAN it that way, so sorry if you took that as aggressive/flippant/disrespectful”. I know that sometimes it’s hard to convey tone via text, but to me that sounds a little too much like “I don’t mean to offend, but…” Or “I don’t mean to sound racist but…”

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    All the discussion on representation on this list made me wonder:

    I remember that one year where you nominated yourself or people you knew, so not anyone famous – I got on the list, as well as this chick I was trying to woo (it ended badly, but not because of anything related to Autostraddle). For this year’s list and last year’s, AS encouraged us to nominate people we know and/or non-celebrities too – though obviously because our votes may be the only one for that person they won’t get enough to make it on the list.

    What I would like to see is a list made up of the outliers. The 1-2 votes. The ones that were nominated by their girlfriends (*koffkoff*). More likely than not, we would see a much more diverse representation – and get to know some awesome people that we would have never heard of otherwise.

    Would it be possible to make up a list from this year’s voting stats of everyone else that got nominated? I don’t know if that could be a major resource-intensive endeavour, but I’d be curious to know who else is in there that I don’t know about.

    As far as the possible QWOC series:
    (A) huh, I didn’t realise you could submit anytime, I was under the impression that you had to wait till call for submissions were open because y’all had enough material to work with. Maybe I should mine through the stuff I’ve written and find something!
    (B) In addition to/as part of the QWOC series, I would LOVE to read a series with articles from outside North America. We do have the occasional round-the-world snippets, but not really from a personal POV. God there’s so much going on with LGBTQ issues in Malaysia that I know awesome Malaysian writers have done something about, if I knew more than just third-hand information I’d send something in.

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    hey my beautiful WOC! I encourage yall to check out Elixher.com made FOR us and BY us. Where we can be celebrated visible and loved, a site that values our experiences, opinons and desires, unlike here on Autostraddle. We don’t need none of this crap.

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    while I agree theres always room for improvement. I just want to throw this out there as another WOC, I’ve never felt unwelcome at autostraddle. Also, I really appreciate how responsive the staff are to hearing feedback and their willingness to grow and improve. thanks guys :)

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