AfterEllen Is Shutting Down

When I was hiding out under my covers watching lesbian movies in pieces on YouTube, I was reading two things: Riese’s personal blog and In June of 2008, not very long after I came out, AfterEllen founder and Editor in Chief Sarah Warn plucked me from the comments of a Hot 100 post and offered to let me write a few blog posts a week for AfterEllen, a gig that eventually came with a senior editor title. I met my future wife because of the Skins recaps I wrote on AfterEllen. I met so many of my dearest and best friends because of the Pretty Little Liars recaps I started on AfterEllen. My hero, Scribegrrrl, became my mentor and then a deeply beloved friend because of AfterEllen. As did my hero Dorothy Snarker, the very first real writer to tell me I had what it took to become a real writer. Trish Bendix and Karman Kregloe and Sarah Warn and Malinda Lo allowed me to find my voice. The dust of AfterEllen is in my very bones, and today Trish Bendix announced that Friday will be the site’s last day.

There’s no point in pretending that AfterEllen and Autostraddle have not existed in a competitive tension for the last several years, especially as our visions for the queer community and editorial ethos began to diverge, but I will tell you truly that I am shocked and heartbroken to hear that the site is shutting its doors. Countless lesbian and bisexual women have discovered their sexuality because of AfterEllen, have come out because of AfterEllen, have found community through AfterEllen — and for a very, very long time, it was the only website that held pop culture accountable. Sarah Warn founded the website with the tagline “Visibility Matters,” and AfterEllen’s contribution to the visibility of queer women is frankly incalculable.

AfterEllen’s announcement comes during a year when the media landscape is changing more rapidly than it has in over a decade. Every week, it seems, news breaks of another site laying off dozens of beloved writers, as sites with big time capital — the Buzzfeeds and Vices of the world — suck up more of the market and more of the advertising money. And as Facebook continues to change the way websites find readers. And as fresh-from-college writers are forced to devalue their work for “exposure” and veteran writers are deemed disposable. The most vulnerable websites, of course, are those who cater to niche markets, particularly ones who cater to women, and super particularly ones who cater to queer women. AfterEllen, it would seem, has been swept up in this tidal wave of change.

AfterEllen meant so much to so many people. It has meant so much to me. It will always have a hold on my heart. I would not be who I am today without it.

When the news broke, our inboxes, comments and social media lit up with one question: What does this mean for Autostraddle? I’ll let Riese answer that question.

From Riese: 

The current online media landscape is not friendly to the type of media we create. Since 2011, the percentage of our revenue generated from advertising income has been in decline, and since 2013, the actual amount of advertising-generated income has been in decline. In order to stay afloat, we bust our asses to run events, put on massively complicated camps, print merch, provide bonus insider-y content for A+ members — and the shuttering of AfterEllen is part of that same story. I never thought we would outlive AfterEllen. Never. They’re AFTERELLEN. They were the first lesbian website I ever read, they have an archive of writing about lesbian pop culture that was unrivaled for so long. Plus, they had Viacom! They got bought by Totally Her! They had that corporate money! But corporate money isn’t the answer, is it? Even with that money, they couldn’t turn a profit. I suspect the same would be true for us — actually, I know it would be, because Totally Her tried selling ads for our site too, and that didn’t work either.

There is only one way for sites like ours to survive and it is with your support. If you can’t join A+ or buy merch or donate, share our content on Facebook or other social media, or do your online shopping at Amazon or Wildfang or Babeland or wherever through our links. Tell your friends about us. Leave comments that bring joy to the hearts of our under-paid writers. I’m proud that we still exist, but we’re often on the brink of not existing anymore, and this job has never been easy. It’s always a struggle. But we love this work, we love you, and we are more determined than ever to do everything we can not to leave you. Also because I have abandonment issues.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. O.O and to think I had to find out about this on Autostraddle because there is nothing at all about it on AfterEllen itself?!?!?

    • Trish Bendix wrote a long blogpost about it that ended with

      I am sorry they would not let me post this on AfterEllen and hope that everyone who needs to find this explanation will.

      • The advocate published the entire piece she posted on tumblr – I was happy to see that they picked it up. Afterellen was really my only queer community for a while. It helped me become comfortable with myself – reading things by and about queer women as a baby game from a conservative place was so important. I even met my first girlfriend through an afterellen message board. Places like afterellen and autostraddle are so important.

    • If you read some of the personal blogs of people involved in afterellen, they have been specifically told they cannot post their thoughts to the website. The only mention is a link to an external news source with an article about the situation in today’s Morning Brew.

    • To both sites. You have left out much about the older lesbians that fought for your rights. There are more important issues than who’s dating who and how a break-up effects your Saturday Night wet dreams. Ladies…think about the families, art,politics and literature that gave you some freedom.

      • I think maybe Lisa is referring specifically to historical culture and ‘older lesbians.’

        Lisa, have you read much of the Rebel Girls series? That’s a great place to start!

        It would definitely be great to have more content written by women in their forties, fifties, and sixties about their lives and what things were like for previous generations.

        But if you’ve actually read this site…like Miles says, it is definitely not about ‘who’s breakup affects our Saturday night wet dreams,” whatever the heck that even means. We get pretty serious here. On today’s homepage is an article about the dynamics of a poly family, an article about partners running a business together, an article about what is happening in Charleston, the list goes on.

      • Lisa, this sounds like a great pitch to make if you feel like Autostraddle is missing that kind of content. There has been a lot of content exploring our past and what took us to get to that point, but there’s never enough of it.

        Let’s not forget that it’s a GOOD thing that the largest site for queer women is able to focus on a breadth of topics, including out celebrities and queer visibility in pop culture. Is that not what queer women and allies fought for, the right of visibility in both art, politics, literature AND being able to start to see ourselves reflected in popular culture? To borrow from the labor movement, give us bread, but give us roses too.

        Lastly, I urge you stick around here and see if your presumption that none of us are thinking about the past or appreciating all the hard work by those who came before us that allows us to enjoy this space.

  2. That’s too bad. I started with AfterEllen, Autostraddle and blogs all of which helped me to learn more about myself and the world.
    This is a wake up call to read more, support more and to appreciate other people’s work more.

  3. I am sorry for the narrowing of the queer women’s landscape, because that benefits no one. AE, thanks for your years of service, and AS, thanks for reminding me to put some more $$ your way so you can keep doing this desperately needed work :-)

  4. I hope people don’t flood these comments with opinionated commentary about the relative progressiveness of AE users compared to AS users because it’s super beside the point. This is sad news.

  5. This made me sadder than I thought it would. I discovered A fterEllen before I even acknowledged to myself that I was bisexual. It was a very important place for me and it’s how I discovered this website too. Will be very much missed.

  6. This is terribly sad. I met my wife on AE years ago and have gotten most of my lesbian news from that website (just learning of Autostraddle this year).

    I have to admit, I’m not a fan of where the main editor hs taken the website, but I would’ve thought that all the insane new advertising they’re doing would help a bit.

    I am very sad to see AE go, it was such a great place for queer women to be and read about our community.

    • Ok I did some of my own research and it looks like they haven’t been AfterElton since 2013 (who knew) and they became “The Backlot” owned by logo but they haven’t posted anything new since May…

  7. This is a huge loss, and even though I don’t frequent AfterEllen as often as I used to, I’m really sad about it. AfterEllen and Autostraddle were both so important to me as I discovered myself and eventually came out. It does remind me to renew my A+ membership now that I’ve finally got a little bit of disposable income.

    On a side note, does anyone know if this will impact AfterElton any? I don’t know how much the two sites are tied together, if at all, these days.

    • Okay, a little googling filled me in on the fact that not only have they been owned by different companies for something like 2 years now, but afterelton isn’t even called that anymore. Ignore my previous question, I’ll be in the corner wearing my dunce cap.

    • Afterelton became The Backlot a few years ago. Then they were bought out by Logo who pretty much destroyed the site as we know it. They haven’t posted anything in months so I’m going to assume it’s not coming back either.

      • I’m not sure about the relation between The Backlot and NewNowNext, but the latter has definitely taken over the gay content of the former. My totally sideline guess is that RuPaul’s Drag Race has in part kept the website alive b/c it’s also owned by Logo and NNN gets RPDR exclusives.

  8. Afterellen and The Toast were the two websites that helped me come out (shoutout especially to Heather Hogans PLL recaps, it wasn’t til Heather moved here that I discovered Autostraddle at all). I’m really bummed out that both of them have shut down in the last three months.

  9. It’s a bummer. I grew up on AE, it kept me afloat before I was out for YEARS, and I respect everyone who poured their hearts and souls into the site.

    It truly does seem like the quality of the journalism changed in its later years – they continued to cover pop culture but weren’t able to move beyond kind of basic topics otherwise, and it seemed to me that they were never able (willing?) to elevate the voices of trans writers and writers of color in the same ways that Autostraddle works to do.

    But what really pushed me away and over to AS was the fact that the comment section became an absolute garbage fire (i.e., a comment section just like the rest of the internet has to deal with, I guess). It didn’t used to be like that back in the day, but at least for the past few years, it was baaad.

    So…there’s all that. But then, based on Riese’s reporting in the Business of Art Fix and elsewhere, it sounds like AE might have had just as bad a go of it even if it had stayed or become the literal best queer lady blog in the world. The Toast shut down, after all. I don’t think AE shut down because it had become mediocre, I think it shut down because as Sarah Warn is talking about over on Twitter right now, advertisers and corporations still don’t see queer women as a community worth selling to. At all.

    I don’t even know what my point is! I guess I am just processing feelings and thoughts about the end of a particular era. Thank you to Sarah Warn and Dorothy Snarker and Heather and Malinda Lo and all of the early writers at AE who wrote such smart, intentional content, and kept me company before I could ever seek out queer community in person. So much <3 <3 to them!

    • I believe that’s been shut down for a while, I went there recently and noticed there had been no new content for months.

    • Logo/Viacom put AfterEllen up for sale two years ago and it was purchased by Totally Her. They kept AfterElton, which had been renamed “The Backlot.” I guess it has since shut down too?

    • AfterElton became and Logo still owns it. That said a dip into it today was depressing in the extreme. I didn’t actually understand that it is a gay site.

    • After Elton has gone down that road a couple of years ago, too, first it was turned in The Backlot, then it was sucked up by NewNowNext, then abandoned, now dead. The users were repeatedly lied to about the fate of the website. It’s absolutely heart breaking, and the old AE/AE communities were scattered. I wonder what can be done for a new creator owned LGBT media website that is not a commercial click bait moloch.
      The worst thing is that AfterElton was taken off the web, despite promises to the contrary, i.e. you can’t find the old content anymore which is catastrophic for media historians. Wayback machine takes you only so far- I’m afraid the same thing might happen to AfterEllen.

  10. Oh WOW, …… I’m speechless.

    I haven’t been on AE in ages, but they were absolutely foundational to me when I was first coming into myself– I remember clearing out my queue on our family desktop after using it so I wouldn’t be “found out” lol. Much like Riese said, I thought they would always be around.

    I want to say more, to give them a proper “goodbye”, but I’m really gobsmacked here. Just. Wow.

    Even if my readership over there died down with the years, I’m sad to say goodbye to such an old friend.

  11. I’ve been reading both sites for several years, but remember AfterEllen when it first started up under Sarah Warn. For all of AE’s deficiencies – around trans and POC voices, for sure, but also their less-than-ideal response to the Clexa debacle this spring – this is a terrible loss.

    Anyway, this inspired me to finally join A+ for Autostraddle. We need you more than ever now!!!

  12. I’m genuinely upset by this. Many years ago I was searching for Skins news and found Heather’s recaps on AfterEllen. It was the first exposure I had to any kind of queer media and really helped me to come out. Although I’ve not spent so much time there recently, I’ll still miss the site and its writers. On the plus side this does make me even more thankful for AS – imagine if all we had left was Buzzfeed.

  13. After Ellen is my root. I discovered AfterEllen after my mother went to sleep, when I was coming out to myself, back home in South America. It made me feel less alone and, in a funny way, like I was part of something, like I had a community even if it was a virtual one.
    Through AE I discovered Dorothy Snarker’s blog and through her I discovered Autostraddle.
    I am so very sorry to see After Ellen go.

    • So sad about this. I remember reading Scribegrrrl’s recaps of The L-Word before the show was available here in Belgium. And then I remember being disappointed because the recaps were so much better than the actual show.

    • You–and all of us–we are part of something! AE was THE basis of my interactions with lesbian/bi news for years and years…
      And for what it’s worth, while I’ve never been much of a commenter myself, I’ve always noticed and appreciated your comments on AE, DS, and AS. I can’t help it: your screen name always makes me smile (I loved Carmen SanDiego as a kid, esp. the computer game!) and you always have something thoughtful to say! So thank you, too, Carmen.

  14. It is always sad to lose a community resource for queer women. I never got into AfterEllen because of its focus on entertainment, but many of you did.

    I was crushed with the loss fo Technodyke 8 plus years ago now, one more victim of the megasites on social media. I don’t often post here, but I see subscribing as vital.

  15. Now, fellow readers, the time is now. Reach for your PayPal account right now and sign up for A+
    Do not wait for Autostraddle to need your help. Be there for them like they were there for you. Remember that one night you were really sad?

  16. Utter disbelief and sadness. I’ve been a fan, a reader and commentator for over a decade and discovering AfterEllen when I did was a lifeline to a “visibility” where I mattered. Sarah Warn gave a great gift to a beleagured community and despite the loss of her much missed stewardship, I stayed with the site and continued to enjoy the television and film news, gossip, arguments and most of all the recaps. Rizzoli and Isles alone made the all the the years worth it. Golly, I’d say I looked at the site at least every other day. I am so sorry to hear this. You will be so missed. This is like losing a friend. Thank you, AfterEllen for the good times.

  17. i remember spending insomniac nights watching the archives of every low-budget vlog series on AfterEllen in the summer after my freshman year of college, when I was out, but lonely, deeply depressed, and worried that i was fundamentally unloveable. somehow, Dara Nai’s sock puppets of the L Word really helped.

    Like a lot of folks, I was thrilled when Heather came to Autostraddle (and more than happy to join A+ on a limited budget), but AE was the point of entry to her writing and to discovering so much queer pop culture.

  18. You know what Autostraddle could use more of?
    Help fund the signing of free agent Dorothy Snarker, subscribe to A+ now!

  19. I am very saddened by this news. I haven’t followed AE as closely as I used to in recent years (I much prefer the voices and content on this site) but AE was SUPER important to me during the early stages of my coming out. It helped me find a community and it helped me understand who I was and how I fit in the world as a queer woman. I found some of my favorite writers there (Sarah Warn, Heather Hogan, Dorothy Snarker, Malinda Lo, Dana Piccoli) and lots of great TV, movies, and books to find comfort in. AfterEllen will be missed, for sure.

  20. If you haven’t already, use your voices and your hard-earned pennies and support Autostraddle! We can’t afford to lose it, too!

  21. It’a shame. Afterellen was one of the earliest (and for a while only) website to with writing on identity politics in media news that I regularly enjoyed reading. Partially because the how to balance a sense of fun with a serious mission. I know I wasn’t the target audience, but they provided view points on entertainment trends and comparative history that I couldn’t find on a regular basis any place else. All written and illustrated in a way that was easily to follow and appreciate even if you don’t always agree with it.

    I especially enjoyed Scribegrrrl hilarious and sometimes even touching recaps on The L Word. It was what convinced me to give the first season a try on DVD and why I should skip renting the third. Of course by that time youtube had become a thing, which for a while allowed you to pick and choice the best parts and avoid the rest at your choosing. That she was a fellow Muppet fan didn’t hurt either.

    Like others here I’ve rarely visited the site in recent years for various reasons; design changes was making it harder to follow, comment section becoming as combatively-ugly as other sites (which I fear may soon be happening here as well), never like the scrolling approach to digital media other page turning etc. Still there can be no denying it served a valuable service in it’s time. I still can’t decide if this the inevitable result of social progress with like more like minded site there were 15 years ago making it harder to compete or an unfortunate reminded just of how vulnerable LGBT oriented businesses still are.

    I don’t what else to say. Except maybe good luck to everyone still working there. Especially anyone who was trying(?) to make things better despite all the problems. Maybe some of them will have better luck elsewhere, I don’t know. Sad to see it go!

  22. hands up if you remember watching we’re getting nowhere with jill bennett, dara nai and karman kregloe. if you devoured bad girls reviews. if you click on season 1 episode 1 review of bad girl by scribegrrrl you’ll see someone posted a comment just last year even though it was posted 10 freakin years ago.

    i honestly have no words to describe what this lose means

  23. Lol every comment be like “I used to love and read AE, not so much anymore”. Maybe that’s why it’s shutting down.
    Anyway, I hope every afterellen reader switches to reading autostraddle and buys a membership. As long as they leave those terrible comment threads behind.

    • Holy shit, I did NOT remember to whitelist Autostraddle with my adblocker and so I second C.P., I really loved all your posts on this thread!

      Long live AS.

    • just an interesting aside — right now the ad we’re running is for a sponsor who’s giving us really amazing stuff for a-camp swag bags, so it’s an exchange ad.

      the company who is supposed to be selling ads to feed into our ad network is of course, Evolve Media / Totally Her. but those haven’t been working for a while…

      butttt also we’ve had to turn down so many campaigns because we won’t do pop-ups, no mid-roll ads, no autoplay, no sound, etc. (although those still fed through sometimes, much to our chagrin)

      however we’re gonna be focusing on queer, indie, lady-owned businesses going forward, as soon as we recover from camp and get through the holidays. if huge companies aren’t willing to pay us a CPM over ten cents, we might as well sell ads to people who need the exposure and can only afford a .10 CPM anyhow. and those are ads you truly will not want to miss! and they will not be intrusive. they will be pretty! we just need to figure out a way to make the ad submission/acceptance procedure automated to a degree that approving small payments doesn’t take over sarah’s life and then we can take over the world.

      we’ve been getting so many new a+ members today! i’m so glad people are willing to invest in our existence.

      • I love learning about new indie/queer companies from the ads on here. I rarely buy things (just because I rarely buy things in general) but I always click on them anyway. The current one has some really nice looking wallets though, that I might need.

    • Not only has this made me realize that I should turn off my AdBlock for Autostraddle, but all your other comments also made me realize I now have the money to be an A+ member.

      Done and done!
      Thanks Carmen, kiss to you wherever you are :*

      PS: And the ad has cute girls that I’ve been missing all along

  24. Although I was never as big a reader of AE as I am of AS, especially in recent years, it truly saddens me to read this, and to see another site for us shut down. I hated seeing the toast go, and I honestly can’t imagine my life if Autostraddle were ever to be gone. This site is now truly the one safe space online.

  25. Aw man, AE was where I went to read up on “The L Word”-related news and gossip. And it was because of that site that I became such an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ community. :(

  26. This is such strange news. I gathered the courage to flirt with a queer girl for the first time in my life on AfterEllen.
    It really was an oasis of queerness in a world that wanted/wants to shut us up and put us all in a corner.
    May the media world be much kinder to AutoStraddle.

  27. I also stopped reading AE as I found I did not like the change in editorial voice and also felt the quality of the writers they hired declined. (With many exceptions. They still had some great writers). But any loss of queer voices is significant. And I agree the most important thing is to do whatever we can to support surviving sites like Autostraddle. Like others, this news reminded me to renew my A+ membership.

  28. AE was there when I just started to figure out my sexuality. When I watched their vlog Cherry Bomb it was the first time I felt like I could be gay and have a future. I read their recaps of the few shows that had queer female characters. I would watch the vlog Lesbian Love with the volume turned low so my mom wouldn’t hear. It’s heartbreaking to hear that the place so central to my coming out is closing. AE, thank you for all the great work you did over the years. We will never forget you.

    AE’s closing and the shuttering of the Toast have motivated me to get an A+ membership. I read an Autostraddle article almost every day but didn’t feel I could afford a membership on a grad student budget. Today’s news had made me re-examine how important women-centered online spaces are especially in a world that feels increasingly hostile.

    • Lesbian Love was the best vlog! My girlfriend and I would watch it and discuss the weeks topics
      I still follow Lacey Stone on social media because of it

      • Those vlogs were literally life saving. It felt like having a group of lesbian and bi friends when the people in my daily life were talking about how sinful gay people were. Cherry bomb was especially important to my baby gay self because it had two Black women who had attended Spelman, dressed cool, and were confident. I had never even imagined that I could be fully myself and have that type of life. I would watch those vlogs late into the night, hoping my parents wouldn’t see the light under my bedroom door. Now I have more lesbian and bi friends than straight ones and I feel so grateful. I’ll never forget how alone I felt when I was younger and just how much AE helped me like I had a community.

  29. I’ve been going to Afterellen since 2004. ScribeGrrrls recaps of L Word were the only thing going and I DEVOURED them. It took me several years to become comfortable commenting and getting involved there, but it really was the first place online that felt like home. The heyday for me was your absolutely incredible recaps of PLL Heather back when it was new and exciting and Paily was in full force. The site has declined in recent years and the ads have become so bad, but I still go there daily to catch up on news and read Valerie, Elaine and Dana’s wonderful writing. This makes me so sad!It’s the end of an era. :'(

  30. I feel Like we are all at the wake of an old friend that we haven’t seen in a while but is still very dear.
    I’ll pour a drink

  31. I only found Autostraddle because of AfterEllen. Both sites’ communities were hugely important to my coming out as bisexual. And I hope Heather’s Skins recaps survive the transition, because they were hugely important to me in realizing I wanted to be a TV reviewer.

    RIP. I only hope that there are more queer women websites that sprout up in its wake. As awesome as Autostraddle is, we need more than one!

    • I found AS through AE comments too. Without afterellen I would never have found my queer family here, I wouldn’t have gone to camp, I wouldn’t have met the awesome support group I have.

        • I know this looks like the worst help possible, but the thing is that you have a bunch of adblockers, even for different sites like FB, YouTube, Gmail, etc.

          For the majority (or the most popular like Adblock Plus, uBlock, Adblock) you just need to click the adblocker tab/extension and then “deactivate for this site”, refresh and that’s it.

  32. I’m much more shocked than I was when I found out the only lesbian bar in my town was closing. What would I have done without After Ellen? (I was reading it long before I found out about Autostraddle – I think I found AS around when it first started, and came here from AfterEllen.) It really helped me come out and feel connected to the “lesbian community” before I was able to make lots of queer friends in real life.


    • Yeah with lesbian bars you can sort of go “well our town didn’t have an active enough community” but like… the internet is everywhere :(

  33. Holy fuck. I hated what the website became recently but damn it meant so much to me in my baby queer days…

    Just updated from cobalt to silver, AS is way too important for me to even entertain the thought of it not existing anymore.

  34. One of my first memories of reading queer things on the internet was an AfterEllen opinion piece about Willow in Buffy and how Joss Whedon had unwittingly compared lesbianism to drug abuse.
    This is a sad reminder that we can’t take anything in our queer little world for granted. I despise the media pull that sites like Buzzfeed are exhibiting with their total lack of journalism or soul. But hopefully the public in general will start to get fed up with being spoon fed lists of 17 Things That Only West Coast Stamp Collectors Will Understand and sites that actually deserve our time will be on the rise once more.

  35. I’m actually crying right now. I agree with some of the critiques of the site, and I do think that contributed to some of the declines in readership and everything else but it’s still a sad day for queer women’s media and a sad day for me personally. I got here because I followed your (Heather Hogan’s) writing here and am so grateful for everything this site has given me. In addition to that, like everyone else said–it was the first thing I read coming out that made me feel like “oh hey, I’m ok.”

  36. This is wretched news. Say what you will about the differing editorial policies of the two sites but Afterellen and Autostraddle have their own specific niches and complemented one another. Where Afterellen excelled in recent years was in *access*, in using their corporate resources/big media cred/own reputation after 14 yrs to get interviews with the people telling our stories – the actresses, writers, directors etc who portray us – and being able to ask them to comment on issues of representation. I will miss their reach. I will miss starting my day with both Afterellen and Autostraddle (like so many others, I found AE long before I found this place).

    And the worst part about it is, we were given no opportunity to rally around Afterellen; it is simply being taken from us because corporate owners can do what they want with their properties regardless of what community they hurt. I’m wondering if they shopped the site around before deciding to shutter, and would be curious to know more of the story.

    I was already planning on subscribing to Autostraddle in short order, and now it will be with an added sense of urgency. I hope many others will follow suit.

    • Wouldn’t that suggest that Autostraddle might get more access now that AE has gone? I’d be pleased it it did.

      • This isn’t Game of Thrones Lesbian Media edition, there was plenty of room in the world for both sites to coexist. If you don’t understand that we’ve lost something then I can’t help you.

        • Hmm…I don’t think that’s what Caitlin meant at all. I haven’t seen ANY comments from AS members or staff that in any way implies that anyone thinks it’s good that AfterEllen is shutting down. The more representation and places for queer women on the web, the better.

          However, my interpretation of Caitlin’s comment was that there’s a silver lining to this shitty news in that Autostraddle might be able to expand their reach and coverage and provide a new home for some AE writers. I’d be pleased if that happened, too, because I love Autostraddle and more than ever want to see it succeed—even if, like everyone else here, I feel the loss of such a heavyweight lesbian site like AE.

  37. Holy shit. I never got into AE (I seem to be younger than some here and got in AS per a friends recommendation when I was a baby bi) but this is still a -huge- blow.

    This is all the more motivation to make sure I get an A+ membership when I finish grad school and actually have an income starting next year. This is really the only place online I feel comfortable being my bi, queer and sapphic, self and I don’t know what I would do if it were to disappear ;__;

    • Yay for finding queer websites as a baby bi!

      Totally understand about the grad school/no money thing. Have you looked at the Cobalt level? Cobalt membership is *super cheap*, like Netflix membership cheap, so depending on your income style, maybe that’s a better fit…?

      (BTW, I’m also in grad school, final year of PhD, so I know the monies are *tight*. Good luck with grad school!!!)

  38. This is really sad news. I spent so much time reading through afterellens forums while I was coming out, it was an integral part of the process. I haven’t enjoyed the website since the reboot, but that doesn’t make this less sad.
    Riese, this might be a question you choose not to answer and that’s totally okay and I apologize for asking in that case, but how much money does autostraddle need to break even every year? Because my new job’s going to bring paying me a lot more than this one and if there’s a lump sum amount that I could donate to help, I would like to do that.

  39. I found AfterEllen after watching South of Nowhere and google searching to find more about it. It helped me so much in my coming out process and figuring out my sexuality. I spent many hours in college watching those video blogs and even found my first girlfriend on AE.

    I didn’t read AE as much as I used to, but I still enjoyed reading the articles there from time to time. So sad to hear the news and now even more incentive to get an A+ membership like so many others have said on here already. A shame it takes something like this to get people’s attention to the importance of supporting queer media (myself included).

  40. If there’s content on After Ellen you want to save – important interviews, favorite recaps etc. it’s worth going and looking for it while it’s still online and googleable, and then checking the link is archived in the Wayback Machine (just pop the link for the page into the search box)

    Then if you have the link you can still share it with people, or look details up, even after the site is gone.


    • Naw dude…I wrote that! And I remember us chatting back then! Thanks for that tip…I guess I’m gonna wanna save some old memories…

  41. In roughly 2006, I was googling an out Broadway actress (who I looked up to and admired as the only queer woman on Broadway I knew of at the time). I found her interview/video on the AfterEllen video series Cat on the Prowl. It was magical, and I probably watched it 50 times. Said actress has now become a friend and someone I work with in a professional capacity.

    A few years ago, someone from AfterEllen came to LezCab. My inner 16 year old wanted to scream/squeal, and also thank her, for AE helped me come out, especially to myself.

    Thank you, AE!

  42. Wow – I can’t believe they’re shutting down. Both Autostraddle and AfterEllen were there for me in a huge way during my coming out process. And I checked both sites at least a dozen times a day just to get through every day when I was going through a really bad time in my life this past winter. Though I’d stopped visiting the site as frequently lately, I’m still shocked and saddened by this news.

    Just upgraded my A+ membership from Cobalt to Silver – I can’t stand the thought of loosing AS.

  43. When I first started to understand myself as something-other-than-100%-straight, one of the first things I did was Facebook stalk my very few lesbian friends. On one of their walls I found an AfterEllen article – I still remember which one, it was titled “Jennifer Aniston rumored to play gay again, approaches the Lesbian Rule of Threes”. Through that article, I began exploring the rest of the site, and very quickly I found Heather’s Skins recaps, and then Pretty Little Liars started, and I devoured those recaps too. Honestly, Heather, those recaps are pure works of art, and they got me through a few tough years. Like many, AE was the first place on the internet that helped me to understand myself and my community, it basically taught me how to be a lesbian – that’s where I learned the lingo and the history and all the pop-culture references unique to our community.

    Honestly, since Heather moved to Autostraddle I don’t go back there that much, except for the occasional recap of shows AS doesn’t cover, and Dorothy Snarker’s hilarious Rizzoli & Isles subtext recaps. I still really love the writers (and AS Editors, please steal as many of them as you can!!!!!!) but the content isn’t always what I’m looking for, and like many others, I got turned off by many of their commenters. But even though I don’t visit much now, I’ll always remember the years I DID spend there, and I’m so grateful that I and so many others had that.

    First The Toast, and now AfterEllen. I honestly don’t know what I would do if Autostraddle shut down too. I was always planning to renew my A+ membership, but now I’ll definitely be getting myself some merch as well.

    Stay strong, Autostraddle. <3 <3 <3

  44. I joined AfterEllen at the height of the vlog era and like everyone else on here it was so incredibly important for my young queer self. It was the first place I was able to see actual queer women just BE, which was hugely instrumental in my growth and self-acceptance, and it was my absolute home for many years and the one true safe haven for me and so many others. The news isn’t entirely shocking, but it’s a sad day nonetheless. Thank you AE for all you were and those you helped along the way.

  45. Can someone explain something to me? Like I get that in this case AE sold a long time ago and the corporation made the decision to close it, but like in the case of The Toast, or if Sarah warn had never sold AE, why do sites either have to, or make the decision to, shutter completely? Instead of, say, going back to almost personal blog status written part time by a skeleton crew of volunteers or whatever? Like I get that it costs real money and most importantly REAL LABOR to keep a blog or website with this kind of content afloat, but it seems like a lot of times these sites are closing completely when they could possibly go back to a WordPress-hosted blog with 5-10 articles a month from the creators?

    This is kind of beside the point here, but is there a reason that doesn’t happen more?

    • I wondered that about The Toast as well… they said there would still be the odd thing published now and then, but that hasn’t happened yet since they shut down. :(

    • because that’s actually really difficult to do as well, i imagine. like… i used to think i’d keep up on my personal blog once i started autostraddle, but even one post a month felt ambitious when so much of my writing-mind was focused on autostraddle. i guess i’m saying that i can relate to that feeling, of thinking you can keep up with something and then you just realize you can’t — like your brain can’t? And writing like a really good thing can take days or weeks, so they’re probably hustling to fill their writing time with paid gigs, I imagine, and it’s hard to fit the other stuff in — or to even have more energy for writing after doing so much paid writing — or to not want to figure out how to sell what writing you do do. but i literally have no time for most anything, really, so maybe i’m a bad person to ask! and i still fantasize about writing my blog again. but also part of that is ’cause so many of my friends work here and therefore are known people that i feel like i can’t talk about my personal life like i used to.

      but i think sometimes it just works better to make a clean break. like it fits better into your life. a thing ends and you start moving forward, for whatever reason, and even though that thing you left behind was so marvelous in its time, going back to this smaller, less important sense of it … i think it’s difficult, emotionally.

    • There’s also the issue of cost. I’ve run a fansite for longer than AE existed, and I’ve added another to the mix. Updating them is a trial, but the cost of the servers due to TRAFFIC is incredible sometimes.

      You have to handle software upgrades, network administration, security (especially if you take donations! YIKES!), and many web hosts put caps on how much traffic the site can take. If you don’t want the site to crash when people visit, you end up spending a lot of money or becoming a server admin. Admittedly, server code (and writing WordPress) all happened to me because the fansite was slow and crashed every time there was a new episode of CSI.

      Doing it on your own is incredibly hard! Forget the writing (which is hard), the administration stuff will kill you :(

  46. What a fucking year… I’m gonna go and cover my head with a blanket waiting for the end of all this shit.

    I was a 22 year-old woman when AE was founded, so it wasn’t as much as my root as it was for many others, but yes I did loved the idea of not going crazy around the web looking for some lesbian coverage. It was all there in one single place. Thank you, Sarah Warn, for making AE happened.

    The last few years were very painful but I’ve never wanted to see AE disappear because I knew how much it meant for a lot of people. So, it a very sad day for our community.

    I think I need to give a very big shout out and a big thank you to Dorothy Snarker, she brought me here.

    PD: I want to give you my money so much, Riese and AS, but I have none to spare. But I can give you my word, first chance I get some extra money it’s coming here. That’s a promise. In the meantime my ad-blocker is out and every single friend I have already knows about this great place.

  47. Damn. I never engaged much with afterellen personally – I think it’s because I came out to myself a little late, after having been deep in the internet for years, and my reading habits didn’t quite change quickly enough to for me to witness its glory days – but what a loss. It’s not as deeply personal for me as many folks, but it gives me that same pang as when I look at a list of queer bookstores, only to find nearly all of them closed, and closed before I came out. An echo of sadness at the loss of my community in potentia, I guess? On the plus side, it got me off my ass and signed up for A+. We need autostraddle, man. We *can’t* lose them all – but particularly not this place.

  48. So sad this have to happen to AE. If leaving my comments can help your
    site? I would happily to leave one. Cause this is the only thing I can do in this very tough times..

    • talk to your friends about AS
      Post AS content on social media
      Buy stuff through the affiliate links
      Turn off AdBlock

  49. Man, this sucks. I forget sometimes, but I really used to LIVE in that place. I use to go there erry damn day for years and years, having found it right in its infancy (and mine!) after surreptitiously googling Angelina Jolie Bisexual and finding online queer media for the very first time. The direction it had begun heading in a long time ago made it feel less like a home I wanted to have, so I packed my bags and migrated over here instead, but SO MUCH GOOD STUFF came out of there over the years (not least the inimitable, eternal StuntDouble), and for a while it really did feel like the most wonderful place on the web. At least to me.

    Praise be to Sarah Warn (god among queers) for creating it in the first place. Praise be to the AS team for this beautiful home we still have here. And PRAISE be to monalisa for handily posting the ‘We’re Getting Nowhere’ vlog links upthread so that I have ample opportunity to laugh/cry/say goodbye…

  50. Like so many others, AfterEllen was my first queer space on the Internet.
    The end of an era, sad to see it go.

    Also this is giving me flashbacks to Television without Pity shuttering (I’m still not over it).

  51. I was never really part of the AfterEllen community, but thanks for the reminder to buy my A+ membership! Autostraddle was my first queer online community and seriously thank you guys for everything you do it’s wonderful. Also hi from a longtime lurker!

  52. Ah, shucks.
    This is unexpected and it stings, too, unexpectedly.
    Afterellen was just what I needed, when I needed it most.
    Even though it upset me more than it did me good in the last few years, it was the most important website for me for many years, almost from its beginning.
    Fare the well, Afterellen, and its staff, may we meet again in another internet incarnation.

  53. I spent an entire week the month before I came out obsessively reading Afterellen articles thinking it would somehow “prepare” me for my new openly lesbian life. After Ellen and effingdykes taught me literally everything I knew before I came to auto straddle. So glad this place still exists and so so so upset about the magnitude of this loss. Thanks for all the reminders to get A+. I had been meaning to sign up and just subscribed for the year.

  54. I read this article, then immediately bought an AS shirt. Wish I could buy all the shirts. My fiancé was so very sad to hear about AE – that’s the site that helped her come out. AS is the site that helped me, and I know I’d be devistated if the site shut down. I’ll try to do my part and help prevent that from happening! Love you AS!

  55. I came to AutoStraddle because of you, Heather. I stayed for Mey and her comics insights plus the political, social, cultural, and just plain silly content produced by this incredibly talented team of writers. Like so many other commenters, I am saddened by the news of AE’s passing, but am also aware that I have spent less time there this last year. AS has become my go-to for queer content and coverage of things that matter to queer women. So, it’s high time I paid for this service. Add me to the list of new A+ members.

  56. While I can’t pretend AE didn’t have its problems, it’s still sad that a queer media outlet — and, for many, an important community, even if that role is in the past — is shutting down. And somewhat scary that it’s happening with so little warning.

    • I wish i’d made note of how many members we had before today because memberpress only tells us about how many transactions we process every day, not how many were new members.

      that being said… i think we’ve acquired around 150 new members so far, which is HUGE! this is the biggest boost to the A+ membership ranks since Dannielle interviewed her ex-girlfriend Allison Weiss.

      i have to be honest i was feeling really bleak this week (especially ’cause i found out i’m losing my health insurance yesterday and i don’t have a new plan) but we are so encouraged and inspired by everybody’s support and help! like my inbox has been exploding with donations and new members and every single one puts a pep in my step. we are taking the responsibility of being the last womyn standing very seriously. i hope we can make you proud. (after camp, that is. after camp!)


  57. This is really shocking. Somehow even worse because it’s not announced on the site itself – such a huge thing for the community, just like that. :(

  58. Oh so sad. I love After Ellen. Even though the content was mainly from the US and about the US it was a wonderful escape for us Aussies. AE opened up a world of tv shows, movies, actors etc that were not on the radar down under

    I introduced my partner to AE nearly 7 years ago and we used to jump into the site on weekend mornings to see what was happening. VERY SAD.

  59. What a disappointing year. Shit, at this point you could have a “Dead Websites Haunted Hayride” in addition to the “Dead Lesbian TV Characters Haunted Hayride” at camp.

    I read AfterEllen constantly during shop in high school (~10 years ago). It was time well spent. RIP both queer girl websites I read before finding AS, AfterEllen & OurChart.

  60. I remember so clearly finding AfterEllen for the first time when I was still deeply in denial about liking girls… Autostraddle has probably helped me more in the long run, but AE was still hugely important to me in working about who I am. Visibility is important, I’m sad we’re loosing some of it :(

  61. Shit. This is really hard news. I have also moved away from AE a long time ago, but that was the first and only queer website I really found I could run to for so many years. I used to start all my days off there and loved the community there back then. It was the place I’d go when I needed to feel like I wasn’t alone in the big world. It was the place that covered and highlighted moments in culture I was dying for.

    It also introduced me to Heather Hogan – someone I adore and read the hell out of to this day – and who scored me a writing job back during some incredibly dark days in my life…for AE.

    I found the cultural changes there hard to say the least, and in the end not for me, but I will be eternally grateful to AE for existing, for starting something, for giving me a bit of a lifeline back when I was really gasping for air.

    Just on my way to purchase more merch and sign up for A+.

    AS you are NEEDED.

  62. So I’ve never really used the AE website but I HAVE always followed the Tumblr, which is why when I woke up this morning I got a far worse version of the story…

    So AE is going to be held as an archive by its parent company (Evolve), using the ad revenue generated to put money into its other subsidiaries (Bro/Mommy/Makeup blogs); to quote Cloe on this one:

    Gays are buried.

    So that’s enough to make me sick to my stomach and then I go and read how much this site has meant to so many people… I think I need a lie down.


  63. I’m heartbroken by this news.

    I discovered AfterEllen soon after its launch in 2002. I’d been scouring the web for recaps of All My Children and while I found a lot of sites that went on ad nauseam about Greenlee and Kendall’s latest romances, all I wanted to read about was Bianca and Maggie. There was finally a storyline on a show I watched (and, perhaps, more importantly, that my mom watched) that showcased this part of my life that made me feel seen and AE gave me a chance to revel in that.

    Ultimately, though, AE became more than a place that cataloged those pop culture moments, it became a place where I was seen. Sarah was so intentional about making AE a truly inclusive space. Where most LGBT sites, at the time, defaulted to telling the stories of white women (real or fictionalized, queer or not), Sarah made sure that AE showcased the stories of women of color and she recruited a diverse set of writers and contributors to tell them. It was invaluable…and I am forever grateful for it…

    I’m sad the next generation of queer women won’t have AE as a resource but I’m cherishing memories of Scribegrrrl’s brilliant L Word recaps and her criminally underappreciated podcast with her girlfriend…the vlogs! (Sarah and Lori! Dee and Jenn! Malinda and Sarah!)…and the beginning of my love affair with Heather’s prose. I’ll miss it all.

  64. AE meant a lot to me. So sad to see it go. I have been a loyal reader even though the site has changed. I really appreciate the work of all the writers and editors. Loathe the profit-maximizing corporate logic that spoils everything it touches. Autostraddle has been my new home for a while and I will continue supporting it. We need these spaces.

    p.s. I think Trish wrote beautifully in her blog (which AE did not let her post).

  65. The South of Nowhere vlog era of AE was my life for a year. The forums were a lifeline.

    AE gave me Malinda Lo’s writing.

    And brought me to Autostraddle.

    And made being a homogay sound like fun instead of just this big thing to deal with.

    I haven’t read AE regularly in years and had more than a few critiques in recent years, BUT I always hoped it might turn itself back into something magical. After all, there was a period a few years ago when Autostraddle was kind of having some growing pains/burnout and I wondered if you’d jumped the shark, but now this site is better than ever. Too bad AE won’t get the chance. Sigh.

    God I wish someone could backup the entire website somewhere else. I don’t trust this company not to just erase it completely in a few months. Which would be tragic.

      • I re-watched it not that long ago convinced it was terrible and I just hadn’t realized it because I was young and there was no other show with young queer women I could watch at the time.

        But it wasn’t terrible!

    • “Autostraddle….made being a homogay sound like fun instead of just this big thing to deal with” sums up my entire coming-out experience.

      Okay, Autostraddle and the girl I really, really wanted to sleep with.

  66. I am devastated.
    Afterellen was a site I followed religiously, when I was still a teenager and they maybe put up one post a day. I am still so grateful for the vlogs, the critical articles and all the queer girl culture they fed me with.

    Plus, I would have never found Autostraddle if it hadn’t been for Afterellen.

    I haven’t really liked Afterellen for years now, but I am still so, so sad. It’s money being taken away from queer women, it’s writing gigs, it’s diversity in queer media landscape being destroyed, and that’s making me so fucking angry.

  67. I was also one of the people who read through pretty much After Ellen’s whole archive, after I found the website (which was around 2005 maybe?).
    And Sarah Warn’s articles about representation of women and especially queer women in the media was so essential to my own critical thinking and analysis of tv shows and movies and also a big basis for my discovery and ideas of feminism. So, wow…

    Seeing their vlogs when I was sooo not out to anybody gave me confidence that you can be a happy, confident lesbian in a happy relationship.

    Also, I met my very first gay friend through AE and the first girl I ever kissed! And yeah, that was the same person ;)

    I completely switched to AS around 2012, but for those years inbetween AE was so so important to me.
    And I’m even more glad now, that I decided to support AS through the membership once I got my first real job after university and I will continue to do so!

  68. If their final post on Friday isn’t titled Worst.Lesbian.Week.Ever and split into 83 pages I’ll be very disappointed.

    Slightly more seriously, like many here, I haven’t been a frequent AE visitor for a long time. At least half the site comes off as a less self-aware version of Vapid Fluff, but unlike mainstream media where there’s thousands of sites like that, for us it’s really just After Ellen.

    We need the voices and representation, even if flawed. Plus, I don’t know where I will go for guaranteed lesbian trash fixes now, when I’m feeling insufficiently evolved for some of AS’s worthier posts.

    Finally, if you need to introduce A+ Platinum level to go poach their writers, I AM READY

    • “Plus, I don’t know where I will go for guaranteed lesbian trash fixes now, when I’m feeling insufficiently evolved for some of AS’s worthier posts.”
      (It should be said, I’m so grateful to AS for pushing me and it’s readership to think more critically of our privilege and for giving us access to beautiful trans, POC, and other points of view.)

  69. I’ve never been on Afterellen- everything I knew about it was filtered through Autostraddle. Never the less, this news was enough to finally prompt me to join A+. Strange but true.

  70. I just wanted to say thank you to Heather for writing about AE with so much heart and for everyone who has commented and shared memories of finding AfterEllen and the things you loved about they site or why it was important.
    I’m very sad but these shared memories have made my heart full.

  71. Somewhere on autostraddle there is a page with all your affiliate links. Can you make that easier to find in the site navigation?

    • Currently it’s located under the “Support Us” dropdown in the header ! but yeah we can think about a better place to put it!

      • I guess that makes total sense but somehow I never look there?? Regardless I always try to go through affiliate links. Cee had some sort of extension for chrome that automatically did it for Amazon but it stopped working for some reason and sometimes I forget. Is there a way to bring that back?

  72. I went to AE maybe 10 times in the past 5ish years, much preferring autostraddle, but this is still a significant and devastating loss for our community.

  73. Hi Heather, I’ve enjoyed reading you since I found you on AfterEllen with the PLL recaps (back in the day when AfterElton had other recaps…and content, and existed). So when I heard PLL was going, my first thought was “what will Heather say”. Thanks for those recaps. Good luck here and with the future! Sad day for LGBT entertainment news.

  74. Oh God. A whole year before I came out to myself (straight people can read queer stuff too y’know!!!) I discovered the ‘How to be a Gay Lady’ series which was revolutionary in my eyes because I’d never come across people just having fun with gay stereotypes and it also have me an alternative to the word lesbian, which I’d been told was the only word a monosexual queer gal could use.

    I’ve not actually been a reader of AE in quite a few years, since they allowed anon comments of I remember rightly. This is still super sad news. Super sad.

  75. Also, I was reading this column feeling guilty that we weren’t sharing out stories in AE itself. But then I read the blog post which says it wasn’t allowed to be posted on the website. That is a real shame, because whatever you think AE became it meant a lot to do many people. And the fact that we can’t share that as a community in their space is just not right.

    • If you guys want to post things at AE, or even have an AE account any more (I do not) there is a LOT of fun to be had over there right now telling the new straight white cis dude overlords exactly where they can shove their “advertising support”

      The best part is Ali and Elaine and Erin and a bunch of other regular AfterEllen writers basically saying they will never write freelance for this company ever again.

      Check out the comment thread, it’s quite cathartic, actually.

  76. This is heartbreaking. But I’ll cry later; right now, I want us to act: we can’t lose the site, even if it isn’t updated anymore. It is all of our history!

    We know that TPTB can’t be trusted, it was obvious even during the “relaunch”. I knew the promises to restore the old forums wouldn’t be kept then, and that turned out to be correct, unfortunately. We’ve already lost tons of great stuff, so much original writing for example…

    They won’t leave AE’s archive up either.

    Can you guys (people with more authority on the matter / skill than me) reach out to the Wayback Machine so they create a full mirror of the site ?
    The folks over at also specialize in saving sites that are going off-air.
    And then, someone who’s very familiar with the site creating a map of the site as it is now would also be very useful to navigate the future mirror more easily.

    • After the redesign most of my old links — I kept bookmarked, for example, their timeline of gay milestones on television — stopped working too. I often google things and when I land on AfterEllen, it’s an error page. I hope they make it easier to find stuff in the archives. :-/

  77. Wow! I haven’t been on afterellen in years but this is nevertheless sad news. I’ve never found vloggers I enjoyed as much as Jen and Dee (Come With me if you want to live etc) I was a young, black queer woman in my first full time job with ZERO other black wlw in my small, English village that I knew. Those 2 were lifesavers, they felt like my friends so down to earth, funny, relatable and had this great reliable platform with other cool stuff on the site. Visibility matters indeed! RIP afterellen, you meant a hell of a lot.

  78. It costs virtually nothing to leave the site in place as a resource and archive. I am hoping the owners of AfterEllen do this!

  79. “Chloé”, the girl who runs the AE tumblr, seems to have gone rogue lol:

    What a mess, really… Not even allowing Trish to post an explanation on the site… What their plan to just not say anything, and block new comments/content from Friday on? That’s probably what happened with the Backlot then, which went without even a goodbye… How fucked up…….

  80. So this leaves . . . autostraddle and nothing else as far as lesbian websites? As much as I enjoy autostraddle, I’m not sure 1 website can be all things to all dykes. (If there are great lesbo sites I’m overlooking, please reply letting me know what else I can look at for my online lesbionic reading)

  81. This scared me so much that I ran straight to up A+ subscription to Silver, I’m so sorry I didn’t do it sooner.

  82. This news shocked me, but it didn’t really surprise me in light of all the other stuff that’s being going down in the media world.

    Riese, I’m so glad that you and the staff are so attuned to this business and have implemented the A+ membership so long ago. I read all your “Business of Art Fix” pieces and the landscape of digital media is really scary. I’m so grateful y’all persevere and continue to create such substantial content in spite of constraints.

    For anyone that’s interested in more of the future of digital media please read:

    Thank you to all the commenters who have recently signed up. We really are all we have in terms of financial support.

  83. Oh wow, this comes both as a shock and at the same time not at all, what with the media landscape being what it is. (Damn you, facebook and Google!)
    I can’t remember exactly when I started reading AE (probably because of Glee-recaps in high school), but I do remember that it was because of Heather Hogan’s relocation to Autostraddle that I discovered this site. And after several years as a lurker these news finally made me sign up for a silver A+ membership (my student loan can handle that, I’ll just have to buy less sushi). I also bought another T-shirt (lazy femme, already have the scissoring sweatshirt & tank top and the gal pal crop top). I’m just, Autostraddle, take all my money, just never close down aaaaaaaaah

  84. You are qualified to clean offices at night Trish Bendix. You are no journalist you are a press release writer at best. And a liar. Let’s not forgot that either. I couldn’t be happier that your dream was crushed. You could not keep it afloat. Sarah warn made a mistake with you. Anyway good luck on your path. I am sure you probably can still get a free tix to the Dinah.

      • I think that’s coming directly from L Chat. Last night that place was a big nauseating pile of crap with a bunch of biphobic and transphobic shit.

        There was also a bit of comments about AS being on the brink of shutting down. I started to panic thinking that L Chat could be our only option and I had to run screaming out of that place. That was horrific.

          • It’s anonymous and poorly moderated forum so of course many really awful people write there (including, as I’m sure of it, quite a lot of angry alt-right dudes from 4chan and similar places). But if you manage to ignore the assholes there’s quite a lot of info you couldn’t get from anywhere else.
            For example AFAIK no lesbian website mentioned anything about how the new movie La Danseuse turned historical lesbian figure Loie Fuller into heterosexual and her female lover into completely made-up man, and how Soko who plays the main role defended it by saying that “the idea was not to make yet another lesbian movie”.

          • But there’s a lot of assholes, Amelia (I’m totally whining).

            I’m gonna take your word for it because, honestly, I don’t have the patience, or the stomach, to deal with that.

    • This lady posted this exact post on an AE facebook post. I thinks she’s pissed because turning GirlTrash into a musical turned it into actual trash.

  85. I missed out on the AE website, community, forums, vlogs, etc., but reading this post & all of the comments shows that I missed out on something incredibly big. I’m sorry to see it go, especially seeing what it meant to so many of you. Much love.

    Off to buy more AS merch! <3

  86. I never actually read After Ellen but hearing that it’s shutting down is so unfortunate and made me so worried for Autostraddle! Definitely upgrading my membership from silver to gold! I love y’all.

    • This is the publically listed number for Evolve Media’s LA offices if any of our dear readers would like to offer Emrah some feedback.
      (310) 449-1890
      They have offices worldwide in New York, Chicago, etc and I’m sure those offices are interested in reader feeback as well.
      New York:
      44 (0) 203 058 1745

  87. I didn’t read After Ellen but my main internet “home” just went through some major (and kinda shitty) changes recently so I feel a little lost. I lurk here but want to make AS more of an online home for me and this has been a good reminder to finally get an A+ membership! Thanks for all that you do.

  88. Hmm, some interesting thoughts in this post. Afterellen transplant right here, and i’m signing up for a username to Autostraddle as we speak (Because where else would i go?) but i’ve never really spent any time on this website (Although i’ve been on afterellen for about 13 years…). I’m interested in this:

    “There’s no point in pretending that AfterEllen and Autostraddle have not existed in a competitive tension for the last several years, especially as our visions for the queer community and editorial ethos began to diverge”

    Like i said i’ve never really had much awareness of Autostraddle, can someone give me the cliffsnotes version of this tension? Honestly, other than the odd mention of an article over here, i’ve never even heard anything about AS from AE.

    • “i’ve never even heard anything about AS from AE..”
      right, because AE doesn’t ever link to AS.
      this is not the day to get into it

    • Autostraddle staff have generally avoided any direct mentioning of said tensions, they’ve pretty much tried to keep things positive when talking about other gaylady websites. Just saying that up front so you don’t feel like you’ve had to leave AE to come over to a big AE-bashing party or something.

      One major point of divergence in terms of editorial decisions, which you’ll notice, is Autostraddle decided a while back to focus on quality over quantity in covering LGBT representation. For a show to get a full recap on here, the queer characters have to be more than subtext or sidekicks who get an occasional/terrible story arc. The staff decided not to bust their asses trying to cover everything and just focus on the best stuff.

      I think it was a bit of an annoyance that Autostraddle would occasionally link to an AE article, but nearly never the other way around. Autostraddle stole National Treasure Heather Hogan from AfterEllen…

      I’ve read this site religiously for the past few years and can’t really think of much more to add. Maybe in 30 years we’ll get a dramatic behind the scenes history of LGBT internet that will give us juicier details, but until then I hope you enjoy it here!

    • Welcome Briony! Did you used to have a My Little Pony avatar or am I confusing you with someone else?

      Anyway, cheers!

    • AS has a dedication to intersectionality and prioritizing marginalized voices that (from what I understand) did not seem to be a focus at AE. For example, a post was recently published here that was later taken down after feedback from the AS community, and then a day or so later AE published the very same post. Also I believe there is a difference in the way the comments section is moderated here, but I don’t know AE well enough to be sure.

    • As someone who has written for both AS and AE, I can tell you that the writers of both sites have always had admiration and respect for one another…the editorial voice and content direction/priorities were different, as they always are when you compare an independently run site to a corporate owned one.

      If you’re an AE reader who is new to AS, welcome. These are good people and a kickass community. Please give them money and keep them alive. I know I will be.

      • These things that Chelsea says are very true!

        Honestly Briony we are two sites that appeal to a similar demographic so there will always be attention paid to our similarities and differences and success levels. I’ve talked to gay male media moguls who are so confused by my lack of interest in competition or “beating the competition” — in any other type of media, of course your goal is to be the best or the most popular or richest and to beat everybody else. But idk, queer women aren’t really like that. But of course we’ve been compared to each other a whole lot, and there has been drama and uncool shit has gone down, but I think that’s kinda inevitable, and I don’t intend to talk about it.

        We made very conscious decisions along the way to not overlap with AE and to do things differently in a way that made the sites complement each other rather than compete with each other.

        FWIW, a huge chunk of AE writers & editors are A+ members.

    • Briony, I’ve been seeing your comments over at AE on the straight white cis dude overlord post, and I think you’re gonna fit in just fine over here :) Welcome!

    • Hi Briony! Welcome! Make yourself at home! We are happy you’re here, Don’t mind the mess and feel free to get anything off the fridge!

    • I always felt that the main difference between AE & AS is that AE is (was) an entertainment/pop culture-focused site, whereas AS’s scope is much more broad. You will still find TV recaps & other entertainment news here but there is content on many other topics as well, all geared towards queer women.

      I first became a regular AS reader for riese’s Glee recaps, then slowly branched out into reading articles on various other topics. I’ve learned a lot here and feel like I’m a better person because of this site. So welcome! I hope you enjoy it here as well. :)

      • I too feel like I’m a much better person because of this site <3.
        Thank you AS for educating us, teaching us and entertaining us. I wanna be the best Hufflepuff I can be (badger pride!) and I'll keep giving some of my money to you as long as I can afford it <3.

  89. I almost feel like you’ll have to add this death to the list of lesbian deaths in 2016 article. I came to AfterEllen for the Rizzles and stayed for the gay. It wasn’t perfect, but there were so many genuine gems and interactions. I visited it almost every day, and I’ll miss it. Thank the universe you’re still here, Autostraddle. Keep swimming!

  90. Wow, wow. I remember reading AE all the way back in middle school. I probably wandered in because of some Tegan and Sara interview and I stayed because I felt like I was in a cool secret club where Real! Live! Adult! Lesbians! existed and talked and had friends and lives and it was genuinely unlike anything I’d ever seen or heard of. I didn’t meet a gay adult until I was a gay adult, and just seeing queer women be alive and happy and real changed my little world. I even watched The L Word even though it seemed like a weird show for old people just so I could know what they were talking about when they used the characters’ names as adjectives.
    I may not have visited AE in years, but I still follow Liz Feldman’s career. Man, now I’m getting nostalgic; maybe I should get involved with volunteering with queer youth or something.

  91. I’m wondering how business-savvy those people from Evolve Media really are, because the 2 year game-plan looks like the worst idea ever or the best idea a 3 year old boy could have. But not a great business idea.

    Ok, here is my thought process: every single day you can find a bunch of news about how many online media’s are struggling, even big mainstream sites like Buzzfeed. So, everybody can imagine how that would work for small places, especially those with a niche-market, a very limited market like the LGBTQ community. We’re evolving as a society but not as much as we like to think, just taking a look at the posts from Rachel, Yvonne, Laneia and you can always find some negative shit going around for our community, particularly involving the GoP.

    Well, the Evolve’s genius wanted to make AE profitable in just 2 years. That’s a ridiculous, crazy idea. How are gonna do that? AE, how are you going to take followers from, I don’t know, Variety, Deadline or TVline, places that shared, more or less, your preferences for showbiz? I really wish that all this could work in any other way, but if you have a niche-audience you can’t go mainstream without losing the followers you have; yes, you can broaden your niche, bringing new generations, but that’s it. Yes, I know this sound as depressing as hell; I’m sure that in the future nobody will give a shit about watching a show with an LGBTQ character, but unfortunately that time is yet to come.

    Well, AE did tried to make money; you got bombarded by ads, you could find a big amount of queer baiting trying to entice the big networks and big movie studios, and such. The end result? Your big accomplishment? You alienated your audience. We have an old saying in my country for these situations: “quedarse sin el pan y sin la torta”. And EA fits that like a glove. And what Evolve did when that bright idea obviously didn’t worked? Just pulled the plug without giving a shit about their writers, their workers and of course their public.

    I want to end this on a positive note and I think there’s no better way to make this than saying THANK YOU TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO DONATED MONEY TO AS, WHO JOINED A+, WHO BOUGHT SOME MERCH.

    I want you all to know that you’re keeping AS alive not just for you but for everybody else who can’t spare some money now and needs a place like AS in these fucked up times.

  92. Every morning I get to work.. Fill up my water bottle.. and open Autostraddle. This has been my ritual for over a year now. The very first time I stumbled across Autostraddle was when I was scouring the internet for content related to the (what seemed at the moment) to be my existential-mid-twenties-sexuality-crisis. I found the article “You Need Help: Coming Out In Your Mid/Late 20s” in Laura’s You Need Help! column and I’ve never looked back. Autostraddle is my turn to for all the new problems my straight friends can’t help with. Although I haven’t commented or engaged prior to today, I consider this website a vital life line that allows me to explore my new identity, question 25 years of hetero-conditioning and inform myself. Thank you to all the writers and artists, to everyone who has been willing to put themselves out there for us to learn from. Today I have made my first (but certainly not my last) donation to Autostraddle in the hopes that this brilliant community will never cease to exist.

  93. After reading this (and finally getting a much needed raise at work) I was also inspired to get my A+ membership!

    I don’t ever want to read the words “Autostraddle is shutting down” and I will continue to do what I can to make sure I don’t have to.

    Thank you for continuing to be a breath of fresh queer air in the world.

    • So many new yellow bordered profile pics, hurray! Welcome fellow new A-Lister!

      And welcome to any AE readers coming this way and staying for awhile, and other new A-listers and love for anyone who can’t afford the A+ membership but supports the site however they can.

      Basically welcome/hello/love to everyone.

  94. I have been a writer for AfterEllen for almost four years, and when Heather moved from AE to Autostraddle, I had to check out this new site I didn’t know much about, sort of like how you scope out the new person your friend is dating to make sure they’re going to treat them right. And sure enough this place was wonderful and welcoming to her, and I was happy for her success. And then also addicted to yet another website. (In fact, part of the money I made writing for AE went right into my A+ membership. It was a big rainbow circle and I loved it.) Sometimes a piece on Autostraddle would move me so much I had to comment, always acutely aware I was an AfterEllen writer commenting on an Autostraddle site, afraid of potential backlash since, as it has been mentioned, there are some things on which the two sites, as entities, did not align. But I found nothing but kindness and laughter here, and I found nothing but joy and acceptance at ACamp earlier this year, and now in the wake of this news that has turned my whole world upside down, I have found nothing but support and open arms. I’m very excited to be joining the Autostraddle community in a slightly more official manner, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

    • So excited to have you here officially, and that your recaps will survive! Do you know what you’ll be recapping here yet?

      • Thank you! We’re still working out the details, but we have some exciting ideas! So hopefully you’ll know very soon. :)

    • I never commented on your AE posts because I didn’t have an account there, but I’m happy you’ll soon be over at Autostraddle! I wasn’t thrilled with how AfterEllen handled Lexa’s death on The 100, but I also understand that staff writers may not have editorial control of how interviews and posts are slanted. Thanks for all your work recapping shows on AE, and I look forward to seeing your writing here :).

    • Hey Valerie Anne,
      I’ve read your stuff from the very beginning and it’s been such a joy to see how you’ve grown into your own as a writer.
      I hope that you will find great happiness here!

  95. Just went back up to silver from cobalt, holla

    And now I can read two of Mey’s pieces I’ve been dying to read

  96. I posted this upthread but figured I’d put it down here too so everyone can see it:

    If you guys want to post things at AE, or even have an AE account any more (I do not) there is a LOT of fun to be had over there right now telling the new straight white cis dude overlords exactly where they can shove their “advertising support”

    The best part is Ali and Elaine and Erin and a bunch of other regular AfterEllen writers basically saying they will never write freelance for this company ever again.

    Check out the comment thread, it’s quite cathartic, actually.

  97. Just signed up to support our community… Hope to upgrade in the near future.

    Afterellen now. It’s been a wild ride for more than 10 years for me. It helped me slowly come to terms with myself. Acknowledging being gay and opening up to the world wide web of wlw. The BLWE columns, the vlogs, the writers from the heydays (Sarah, Scribegrrrl, Dara, Karman…) and those that followed in big steps and filled them out wonderfully (Heather, Dorothy…). South of Nowhere, Bad Girls, TLW, Lost Girl, Skins – good times.

    I didn’t like the direction AE took after it was sold off to corporates – who does. But was an avid reader of the Morning Brew (and I recall a short-lived companion piece named Afternoon Delight) up to date. I was already appalled by the way that Afterelton/The Backlot was deconstructed on NNN earlier this year. But what happened to AE is even more upsetting, because it came without a warning, T.H. selling us crap over keeping the site alive (without a dedicated editor). And worst because it takes away one of two (!) websites I regularly follow for LGBT (entertainment) news. I can’t imagine yet what it’s like without AE.

    I’m glad that AS (still) exists, and hope it keeps going for much much longer. You have my support.

    P.S. And yes, pls bring over as many AE writers as you can.


    It seems that Trish Bendix has been denied her severance. So I can disagree with somebody but stabbing people in the back is not my style.

    There’s a foundraiser created by the AfterEllen Staff, with a pretty good message:


    • Was just coming here to post this. I don’t know what the laws are regarding severance in the US/CA, but as an Ontario employment lawyer, this makes my blood fucking BOIL.

      • I gave up, I can’t understand labor law’s in the US. No maternity leave, no paid vacations, no paid sick leave, except if you can find a very generous company? That’s just crazy.

        No idea how Americans will react if I mentioned the 13th salary we get in my country, half on June and the other half on December (if you’re curious Michael’s Moore’s Where to Invade Next, the segment about Italy, can give you a clue).

        • Trust me, the vast majority of USAian Autostraddlers are keenly aware of how fucked up the system here is. We get it. (And I need to say that even though we know it’s fucked up, it’s also NOT SO EASY to change it or to leave the country if we decide it can’t be changed, but I imagine many Autostraddlers here in the USA are also doing their best to improve worker’s rights.)

          • That was not a message to tell people to run out of the country, and I have some experience with fucked-up countries, mine implodes like every 5/10 years on repeat, but I will never leave it.

            The thing is that I’m always flabbergasted as to how US workers don’t have some rights that are considered the most basic on almost every developed country.

          • I didn’t read your comment that way (saying that we should run out of the country), but I do get frustrated with this sense that we’re somehow not also flabbergasted along with you. Like I said, I’m sure the majority of Autostraddlers based in the states are keenly aware of the labor issues in this country but it’s not like there aren’t a lot of people fighting to make it better. It’s a huge country with incredibly varied laws state to state / city to city.

            Sorry to get defensive, I was rubbed the wrong way by my interpretation of your original comment. It’s like how people can criticize their own family and now it is massively dysfunctional but when other people do it’s not easy to process because It’s Complicated.

          • I totally understand about being defensive about this issue and I’ve even use the same family analogy whenever somebody criticizes my country.

            Nobody (well, yeah, except employers) is happy or unaware of what’s going on. I’m also painfully aware that the fight seems too steep against workers but of course that doesn’t mean it will stop, and I know that every Autostraddlers feels the same way.

        • Ohhh, we get it. My friends who are new mothers have tried to return to jobs that were not saved for them – many are stay-at-home moms through no choice of their own. (What? That’s illegal? Yes, but it’s easy for employers to spin it in a legal way.) My friends with families have paid thousands of dollars a month just for health insurance. My friends with chronic illnesses have struggled to get even the most basic health care for their conditions while on disability. At my workplace, we have employees who work solely for the health insurance, basically. I’m actually scared to have children here – I shudder to think of what would happen if I had a child with additional health or development needs, on top of the challenges with employment. And even daycare here is often extraordinarily expensive.

          Well, that was a tangent, and now I’m depressed. Lol

          USA! USA!

          • Oh and I’m writing from the standpoint of a middle-class white girl. I recognize it’s even a privilege to be able to work for health insurance etc.

  99. I am still in the process of coming out. Autostraddle has been everything to me. I didn’t read AE much, but it scares me to think something similar could happen here. It got me to finally join, and become an A+ member while I’m at it. Representation is so important and we need safe spaces like this.

    • I wish you smooth sailing on your coming out quest!
      You know, that’s what I thought when I read all of these comments above and thought about my own history with queer webspaces:
      They’re not just my space, comfortable and cuddly.
      They’re also safe spaces for people coming out or not having a community elsewheres.
      So, actually, I’m not just paying for keeping one of my favorite websites up, instead I’m protecting a place where others who couldn’t dream of paying for it can go whenever they please or need to.
      And that’s what community does:
      It stands up for each other.

  100. Hello AfterEllen transplants! Welcome!
    Make yourself at home! We are happy you’re here, Don’t mind the mess and feel free to get anything off the fridge!

  101. I’ll echo was most everyone is saying on here – this is legitimately sad. I have never read AfterEllen, but I can appreciate what a role it must have played in so many womens’ lives because it’s the same thing that Autostraddle did for me when I was realizing I was a lesbian, when I was coming out to people, and right up to now when I need something good to read. I owe a lot to AS, and from what I’m reading, a lot of people are saying the same for AfterEllen.

  102. This is the publically listed number for Evolve Media’s LA offices if any of our dear readers would like to offer Emrah some feedback.
    (310) 449-1890
    They have offices worldwide in New York, Chicago, etc and I’m sure those offices are interested in reader feeback as well.
    New York:
    44 (0) 203 058 1745

    • It looks like a corporate CYA move, and besides that they told Trish Bendix that she couldn’t post about it on After Ellen, then fired her immediately and stole her severance pay for her posting about it elsewhere.

      For all intents and purposes, I think After Ellen is gone.

    • It actually is. They won’t have a dedicated Editor to run it, and NONE of the freelance writers have been contacted to keep writing, nor were they even told about the change. Read the comments on that- most of the writers have weighed in. Basically what the guy who owns it wants to do is keep the site “alive” by not taking it down and then making money on people clicking on the site for archived stuff- but he doesn’t want to pay the writers for it. So after Friday I will no longer be going on the site.

  103. Wow AE was my first queer website. I can’t even try to add up how many hours I was on there, reading recaps, watching original content (Vag Magazine!), commenting on topics, messaging people from around the world. It kept me going through my heavy depression years at college, and made me feel a little less alone in the world. Thank you, AE. You done good.

  104. This does not surprise me in the least. They’ve been going downhill since they were sold to Logo. Logo markets themselves as LGBTQ, but probably 95% or more of their product is geared toward men. I once wrote to them about their lack of lesbian programming & they actually referred me to The RuPaul show!

    Everything once lesbian that has been sold to male-centric companies or started including men has ended up with a majority male product. Same thing happened with Wolfe Videos & wasn’t that group of Hollywood power lesbians called Power Up? They started including men who apparently ended up sinking them too. The only decent lesbian movies anymore are either shorts or foreign, yet every d-rated men’s movie easily finds financing.

    Unfortunately it’s a mans world even in our community, they hold the financial power & don’t like to share. I for one am sick of it & for a long time now I refuse to support gay men’s issues or projects & will continue this until things change.

    One day someone is going to catch a clue that their is a huge audience for good quality lesbian entertainment here in the US & make a fortune. Unfortunately, they’re going to need a large investment up front to actualize it.

  105. Really too bad. I am (was) a long time commentor over at Afterellen. Yes, I was bluenote over there, as well. It is too bad that the corporate types ran it into the ground, under Sarah Warn it was a pretty well trafficed and vibrant site. What a needless loss.

    I am glad to hear that writers like Dorothy Snarker are going to find a home here. I guess some of the Afterellen forum users will move over here, as well.

  106. Perhaps you and a few other media sites could form some sort of union. Each with equal share of profits and equal access to writers and stories. From there you could use the union to simplify hr and editing. You could have a dedicated staff for advertising. This way you can share the loads and then prosper together and keep the media wolves at bay.

  107. I grieved this loss years ago. When Sarah Warn initially sold AE, I was genuinely looking forward to the next chapter. But when the changes finally came, so did the decline in quality. A site that one introduced us to so many promising f/f love stories, from every part of the world, began catering to teenagers. They lost their objectivity, as well as, the respect of their audience. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was the lack of support they failed to give anything that wasn’t on MTV or Logo. A few years ago, there were so many wonderful web series that I hadn’t heard about. There were also lesbian couples airing on various networks that they never covered. They told readers it was because they didn’t have the staff to do so. But they sure found time to write subtext recaps for Rizzoli & Isles and Once Upon A Time or write a new article every 5 minutes about Glee or Faking It. I eventually closed my account and became an infrequent visitor. The only thing I’m truly saddened by is the number of people who will be without a job.

  108. This is sad because another go to place is gone for us, and there aren’t many as it is. I hope the writers there can find new ventures to pour their hearts and efforts into. I’m happy we have Autostraddle, especially as I’ve only really just found it right at the time of After Ellen being shutdown! Sad that we can’t have more sites catering to non straight females co-existing at the same time. Young females need them, older ones too.

    • It isn’t shutting down but a white straight dude will be in charge. Basically no new content will be available

  109. How much would AS need to stay afloat for the next 5 years?

    I suspect all lesbian website money problems could be solved if the few affluent dykes that are out there spent less on their houses and weddings and remembered that the survival of their own community matters more.

  110. The comments on AfterEllen, and the biphobia in particular, became so unbearable that it’s a large part of why I stopped reading. There seemed to be this core group of bitter gold star lesbians that liked to take a dump on everyone else the first chance they had.

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