Autostraddle March Madness: Fill Out Your Better Halves Brackets Now!

The idea for this year’s theme of March Madness actually started percolating in my head three years ago.

We’d made it to the Elite 8 of the March Madness contest celebrating the best coming out stories and voters were faced with a choice between the two sides of one ship: Juliana Valdés and Valentina Carvajal of Amar a Muerte. It had always seemed inevitable that Juliantina would make the International regional finals but how were fans supposed to choose between the two halves of their favorite ship? Turns out, there was no clear answer: though Juliana would win the contest, the lead volleyed back and forth through the 48 voting period. Had the contest even gone on 30 minutes longer, it’s easy to imagine Valentina having won…that’s how close it was.

I started wondering how someone chooses between two halves of a ship. Is their overall favorite the character that they see themselves in the most? Or is their overall favorite the one that they’re most attracted to? Is your favorite the character that excites you more or who gets more screentime? What makes one character the better half?

And that’s how we got to this year’s theme: Better Halves.

We began this year’s March Madness competition earlier this week when we invited our A+ members to join our selection committee. Their job was to sort through some of our favorite ships, from recently aired shows, across four different categories: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Baby Gays, GROWN and, as a special addition for this year’s tournament, Gen Q. It’s not an easy task and our A+ members did an incredible job. Their picks are going to make for some of the most difficult choices in the history of Autostraddle March Madness.

But this isn’t a couples competition, this is about finding the better half…so I took the members’ picks and split them down the middle. One half of the pairing is on one side, the other half on the other wise. Which half of some of your favorite pairings do you like the best? Is there a pairing that the fandom loves so much that they’ll meet in the Finals? We’ll find out starting next week… but before we get there, it’s time for everyone to make some predictions!

That’s right, after overwhelming success last year, we’re bringing back the bracket challenge!

For the uninitiated, the bracket challenge is an opportunity for our readers to predict the outcomes of the tournament before a single vote has been cast! Be particularly alert in the Generation Q section, as A+ members some characters are featured in multiple pairings.

How do you pick? There’s no secret recipe…if there was, my bracket for the NCAA men’s tournament wouldn’t be in shambles right now (*shakes fist at Kentucky*). You can pick the cutest character to advance or just pick your favorites. You can look at what fandoms are trending on twitter or which fandoms are producing the most fanfic. Whatever helps you make a decision.

Get your picks in now! The bracket challenge will close on March 21, just before the first round of March Madness voting begins. With each round of new voting, I’ll update readers on who’s leading in the bracket challenge.

Register for the bracket challenge now at:

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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 396 articles for us.


  1. I love this, as I always wonder these same questions!! I feel like I go so back and forth in my ships between which character is my preferred.

    I’m always curious what drives shipping – I read once someone said “your favorite ship is just the character you identify with and your type” but I often feel like that’s an over simplification! (But maybe I’m just saying that because my #1 OTPs – sinley & hattidina 4ever <3 – didn’t even make it on the leaderboard and don’t want to know what that says about my own love life!!

  2. An intriguing concept. I think I prefer the Gigi with Bette over the Gigi with Dani even though Bette was the worst, because we got to see her really stick up for herself.

  3. I feel a little attacked this year but reading through other people’s bracket titles has me shaking!! “Dani’s Back Muscles”?? “Sophie #1 Defender”? “I know Emily won’t win, but she’s won my soul, and that’s enough” “power dynamics” “Gigi wins everything, because of course she does” yall are killing me!! I’m still staking my predictions on Wildmoore and I know I’m not the only one despite seeing lots of gigi stans.

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