28 Autostraddle Stories That Were Honestly Really Good in 2017

2017 was, objectively, a hell of a year and a year from hell. (As evidence of this, the fact that this 2017 end-of-year post is being published on January 5, 2018!) Despite the many travails of the year, we published 2,040 excellent posts during it, and we’re incredibly proud of our team for all of them. Here’s a very small fraction of the great work our writers did this year that we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss and took with you in your heart into 2018.

I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah, by Kieryn Darkwater, January 26 2017

You may have read this one already — two million people have! It provided something we all really needed right then (and still do, really) — context and a sense of what the hell was happening, even if the answer was grim. A question on many people’s lips after the inauguration was “what could the people who wanted this election result be thinking?” and, well, this is the answer.

How Whitney Houston Taught Me the Greatest Love of All for My Queer Black Self, by Reneice, February 15 2017

This essay was part of our Renaissance project — a series of essays each exploring, as guest editor Aisha Sabatini-Sloan put it, “how one queer black life has been saved by art.” Reneice’s love story with Whitney and with herself is impossible not to fall for.

87 Weeks Ago: The Night Mykki Blanco Made a Small Girl Feel Big, by Peyton Dix, March 16 2017

Also part of the Renaissance series, his piece is about one concert and one experience of Mykki Blanco’s music, but also about the fragile and heart-pounding beginnings of something that isn’t love yet but feels like maybe it could be. It’s so hard to describe in an honest way but this is it, “quick kisses between guzzling cans of beer we weren’t legally allowed to drink.” It’s an incredible piece about the night and about what it meant — “a concert I wanted to see and a girl I wanted even more.”

We’ll Have Sex Again, I Promise, by Heather Hogan, March 30 2017

We got such an incredible response from readers on this piece, both because Heather is an incredible writer and because of how many of us were struggling in so many ways this year and especially after the inauguration. This is so honest and true and open, and reading it will make you feel that way too.

I Never Meant for My Hair to Be the Way Back to the Lighthouse, Alexis Smithers, May 11 2017

It’s absolutely unreal that this is the first thing Alexis wrote for us — it’s a tender and difficult exploration of so much about self and the body and the history they share, long enough to really sit with the challenging parts of those subjects and resisting neat resolution.

In Conversation With Sarah Schulman: “They’re Being Taught That Control Is Freedom,” by Riese Bernard, June 9 2017

It already feels like it’s been 15 years since this piece went up, if only because 2017 was a full lifetime long, but even so this feels even more relevant and crucial than it ever has as we sit through the swirling take storm of discourse surrounding the #MeToo movement. This is one of the longest things we’ve ever published, and it’s absolutely truly worth every word.

Why I’m Saying No To Playing (and Attending) NYC Pride™ This Year, by Mal Blum, June 13 2017

Pride, both the emotional experience and the event, are complicated! This was a piece about the specific ethical and economic balance of one potential performer at NYC Pride 2017, but is also relevant in terms of our ongoing process as a community as figuring out what Pride means to us now and what meaning we want to create for it.

That One Time The Patriarchy Blessed Me, by Dera Luce, June 27 2017

This essay is such a gift — it’s about the complicated intersection of religion and family and identity, and the kind of futures all of them encourage us to imagine for ourselves and the difficult work of discovering the future we’re actually meant to have. Also the writing is such a joy! It’s funny and wry and also like a punch to the gut.

Sorry, a 19th-Century Woman Already Has the Best Tombstone, by Erin, July 12 2017

This was one of the very first things that Erin ever pitched at Autostraddle, and while it went through its own journey in its own time before being published, it remains a crucial milestone of the Erin canon. Before we had Classic Lesbian Movies or Straight People Watch, we had “that classic love story involving a 16-17 year old meeting her 33-34 year old prince.”

Five Trans Service Members on the Glory and Agony of the US Military, by Paula, Sophia, Bunny, Bryce, Moira, July 31 2017

As of this week openly trans people are able to enlist in the US military; it’s a great time to revisit the firsthand experiences from trans people with a range of experiences with the military in their own words!

Confessions of an Undocumented African Immigrant, Anonymous, August 2 2017

As confusion and uncertainty about US immigration policy continues to swirl, this is essential reading about the day-in-and-day-out trauma of the rootlessness and murkiness that accompanies immigration to the US — and the risks and tolls of living undocumented, or in fear of it.

In Their Own Words: LGBTQ Asia Responds to Taiwan’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, by Creatrix Tiara, August 4 2017

Taiwan’s same-sex marriage ruling was the springboard for this deep dive into the status and significance of same-sex marriage across some of the incredibly diverse nations of Asia, complete with crucial insights from organizers and activists across the continent.

Mastering the Art of Coming Out (and Making Lobster Bisque), by Kayla Kumari Uphadhyaya, August 14 2017

This is a great coming out piece because Kayla is such a gifted writer, and the savory details of making lobster bisque from scratch will be satisfying for anyone who cooks intentionally painstaking recipes to deal with the messy parts of life we can’t control. Maybe the best part about it, though, is how it leans into the fact that sometimes, at some points along the timeline, the coming out narrative is that we can’t.

The Earth Is Not Doomed: A Weekend With Kristin Russo and Jenny Owen Youngs, by Heather Hogan, September 4 2017

You know the rush of relief you felt all the way through your brain stem when you read the first clause of this title? That’s how the whole post feels! I swear to God it’s like a Xanax and an ice cream sandwich. Give yourself the gift of this post and the joy it brings; you’re worth it.

Sharon Stone Crossing and Uncrossing Her Legs, by Rachel Kincaid, September 21 2017

If you’ve ever thought “has Autostraddle ever written anything about Basic Instinct, that train wreck particular to a very specific time?” the answer is now yes! This was part of our Bi+ Week 2017 content, which was pretty fucking great overall. We’ve been asked by so many readers over so many years to talk about internalized biphobia in some way, and this largely deals with that, in addition to the related topics of Midwestern gay bars, narratology, and New Year’s Eve parties.

I Made All My Friends Reenact The Planet From “The L Word” for a Week and Now Everyone Hates Me, by Stephanie Ritter, September 26 2017

You don’t need to know about the L Word or this coffeeshop to really truly enjoy this article, a return to the lovable stunt journalism of a simpler time, like 2011. It’s been a rough year and we all deserve the simple joy of taking an inside joke extremely seriously and someone fully dressing up like Shane in 2017.

How to Write a Spell Against White Supremacy, Neesha, October 9 2017

In a year that had a lot of coverage of mysticism and magic, this piece on practicing magic “for the healing and liberation of my communities” really stands out. Neesha is such a gifted writer and I’m really grateful to them for sharing such personal parts of their practice and the thinking behind it with us!

“We Have Babies, Run!”: A Lesbian Couple on Escaping the Las Vegas Shooting, by Molly Priddy, October 9 2017

The Las Vegas shooting was a nightmarish tragedy in a deeply tragic year; it was such an honor that this couple who survived wanted to share their experiences with us.

Showstopper, by Alexi Melvin, October 19 2017

Legal threats from Harvey Weinstein’s brother, Ben, required some obscuring edits before we published this piece. It still remains the first time someone wrote, in first person, about their experiences with the brother who claimed he had no idea what was happening with Harvey. Now it’s an established fact that he was definitely aware of what was going on.

How Queer and Trans Women Are Healing Each Other After Hurricane Harvey, by Yvonne Marquez, October 25 2017

This one of the many stories that really needed to be told after the devastation of Harvey — a look at how the people of Houston were taking care of their own selves and communities rather than the story of outside organizations or groups, and how particularly the most marginalized among us supported and continue to support each other. The queer and trans women of color profiled here have been taking care of themselves and each other for a long time, and the aftermath of the hurricane only emphasizes their strength and power.

With Gratitude and Struggle: Loving Butch/Femme as a Trans Woman, by Jess St. Louis, October 30 2017

A smart, generous and warm exploration of what butch/femme has meant to our communities historically and in the present, and what the dynamic means to the author personally — this is a great place to start for anyone in 2017 looking to learn more about the history and context of butch/femme!

“Do Fingers Count?” Vulvodynia, Medical Heteronormativity, and Me, by Anonymous, November 6 2017

Both a deeply relatable personal essay and a searing critique of the medical establishment and how traumatizing it can be, this piece meant a lot to a lot of our readers. “All the doctors agreed about what kind of sex I should want to have, and how much pain and inconvenience I should be willing to endure to have it. Their certainty made me feel that must be the one who was wrong about my own body and desire.”

The Mammalian Dive Reflex, S. Desirée Tiamat Cha, November 17 2017

It’s such a rare joy when we get to publish a piece that tends toward the lyric and this is that rare joy, beautiful and challenging and expertly recreating how difficult this experience was while letting us have a truly incandescent reading experience.

I Met My Sperm Donor’s Mom and It Changed Everything, by Sydney Boles, November 20 2017

This is a piece about a very specific type of familial relationship — the new friendship between the author and her donor’s mother, neither of whom she met until adulthood — but it’s also about some questions that most of us share, like what we owe family in terms of loving them or liking them, and what our realities along those lines say about us as people.

Judging Tonya, by Sally Neate, December 8 2017

Part personal essay about internalized misogyny and part cultural criticism and wholly fantastic, this is the piece about I, Tonya we all needed to read and what a blessing that it is right here on our very own website!

Emily Danforth Is Drawn Back to Montana and We’re Drawn Back to “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (the Movie!), by Molly Priddy, December 12 2017

We’ve loved The Miseducation of Cameron Post for so long — we were talking to Emily Danforth about it back in 2012! It’s incredible in both good and bad ways how much the world has changed since the book first came out, and this conversation with Emily about the whole experience is really fascinating.

The Happiest Place on Earth, by Yvonne Marquez, December 14 2017

We’ve been hoping Yvonne would write about this time in her life for so long, and when she did it literally blew everyone away. It’s a tender and difficult piece about the tenderness and difficulty and painful growth into and out of each other of first love, and while it’s the only post in this list that’s A+ content and therefore requires a membership it’s also an excellent example of why A+ exists and how special the space it creates is. Let it break your heart and put it back together again.

In 2017, Lesbian and Bisexual TV Characters Did Pretty Okay, and That’s a Pretty Big Deal, by Riese Bernard, January 2 2018

As a result of the same trend described in this very article, there are a few pieces out that summarize the year in queer women on TV, but this has a depth of analysis and nuanced understanding of the road that led us here that I think you’re really going to appreciate! Also it was technically published in 2018 but you know what, we’ve all had a long year, let’s roll with it.

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  1. This article could have easily been called 280 Autostraddle Stories That Were Honestly Really Good in 2017.

    • Well, I am either dead or just horizontal and motionless with my semi-evaporated spirit floating above my body going “whaaaaaaaaaaaat”

  2. I’m so glad the Coming Out story by Kayla was included in this list. I love her First Person articles.

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