Welcome Autostraddle’s Newest Writers!

At the start January 2022, we had 11 regular writers and contributors at Autostraddle. Now we’re close knit, and we work hard, but we also knew that if we’re going to sustainably keep Autostraddle around for the future, it was time to grow our team again.

It’s six months later and we have MORE THAN DOUBLED that number. Welcome to the 14 (!!! yes, you heard that right!) new writers who are helping to make Autostraddle brighter and sharper. Some of our newest writers have been with us since the winter, and some have only been here a month. But already they’ve all become such valued and important members of our small team. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have them here.

Below you’ll see some familiar faces and people we are excited for you to get to know better. We asked everyone to introduce themselves with a few fun facts and their favorite piece that they’ve written for Autostraddle so far. Here we go!


A.Tony Jerome

A. Tony Jerome is a Black nonbinary person creating on the East Coast. They’ve volunteered for Winter Tangerine and currently are a Web Development Student at Bloc. They’re a 2015 Pink Door Fellow & 2016 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer.

a drawing of A. Tony shows a Black person with a Caesar cut and glasses and a pink and black jersey in front of a teal background

Twitter | Instagram

  1. I used to be a dog trainer.
  2. Moonlight was the first movie I’d seen in a theater by myself (like I intentionally went in without anyone else).
  3. My newest favorite podcast is Girl, That’s Scary!

You should absolutely read: The Black Lesbian Movie Project by A. Tony.


Amari Gaiter

Amari Gaiter is a writer, educator, creator and a lover of music based in New York and Los Angeles. Grounded in compassion and love for people, they love utilizing their various strengths—particularly their abilities to write, educate, organize, facilitate, and create—to help change our world for the better. On a given day, you can find them watching television, reading theory, ranting about astrology, singing loudly and doing mutual aid work.

Amari is a Black person with long braids that have gold details outside in New York City at night

Twitter | Instagram | Website

  1. I was an Ice Skater for like… two years when I was a kid? It feels like a random fever dream now, but I competed and everything (won 3rd place, call me the Black Ice Princess).
  2. Solange liked a video I made for Halloween of me recreating her music video for Binz on twitter, and I am forever honored by it!!!!!
  3. I currently have 8 tattoos! My favorite is my most recent one — a line drawing of my grandmother’s front yard!

You should absolutely read: By Fighting Gender Expectations, My Mother Made Room for Me to Be Myself by Amari.


Analyssa Lopez

Analyssa Lopez is a co-host of the To L and Back podcast: Gen Q edition. She lives in LA, works at a TV studio, and can often be found binge-watching an ABC drama from 2008. 

 Analyssa is a mixed race Latina with ombre blonde highlights in her hair, she’s giving a confident look sitting in her car.

Twitter | Instagram | Website

  1. I could not survive one week without my weighted blanket or my Letterboxd account.
  2. I am on level 2485 of Candy Crush.
  3. My freshman year of college I watched 9 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in 10 weeks.

You should absolutely read: Every Young Queer Crush I Had As A Baby Ballerina by Analyssa.


Ashni

Ashni is a writer, comedian, and farmer’s market enthusiast. When they’re not writing, they can be found soaking up the sun, trying to make a container garden happen, or reading queer YA.

Ashni is a South Asian person with shoulder length hair in black sunglasses and black shirt sitting outside on the grass

Instagram

  1. I’m a (new-ish) ceramicist! Growing up, I loved getting my hands dirty, so this isn’t the most surprising turn of events. I’m currently working on a bunch of mugs with funky handles to give to friends (turns out everyone wants a mug when you tell them you make ceramics now).
  2. My ideal meal is a dozen oysters, heavily salted standard-cut French fries, and a glass of sparkling wine.
  3. I use Google Maps to store restaurants I want to check out. Unfortunately, this means that I have 1580 locations stored in my “Want to go” list…

You should absolutely read: Shucking Oysters Is Super Hot! Here’s How You Do It by Ashni.


Darcy Cooper

Darcy Cooper, a.k.a. Queer Girl, is your number one fan. She’s a fat feminist from California who doodles hearts in the corners of her Gay Agenda. They think you should drink more water! She also wants to make you laugh.

Darcy is a white person with a brunette bob in a grey and black henley shirt, standing in front of a dart board that is lit in rainbows.

Twitter

  1. I have a new hobby this year: every time I finish a book, before I return it to the library, I hand-bind a 1:12 miniature version with an identical cover. The pages turn and everything. It’s ridiculous and it brings me SUCH joy.
  2. I used to bring a cardboard cutout of a queer celebrity to A-Camp every year! I still have Sara Ramirez, dressed like Kat Sandoval, hanging out in my garage. Only Heather Hogan knows what happened to Sarah Paulson — the last time I saw Sarah, Heather was waving good-bye to the busses with one arm around her shoulders!
  3. Every year on my birthday, which is in December, I do a cold water plunge with anyone who wants to join. Jumping into a very cold lake or creek is SUCH a good way to feel awake, alive, and ready to say FUCK YOU, LAST YEAR, THIS YEAR IS GONNA BE GREAT! It’s a tradition that started with the pandemic, but I think I’m gonna do it forever.

You should absolutely read — You Need Help: Will I Ever Feel Comfortable in My Own Skin? by Darcy.


Em Win

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Em Win now lives in Los Angeles where she does many odd jobs in addition to writing. When she’s not sending 7-minute voice messages to friends and family, she enjoys swimming, yoga, candle-making, tarot, drag, and talking about the Enneagram.

 Em is a mixed race Southeast Asian person with round dark sunglasses, their hair swept to the side, in front of water

Twitter | Instagram | Website | TikTok

  1. I really love dolphins, so much so that my aim screen name was “hungrydolphin1.”
  2. Growing up I had three career aspirations: 1. Dolphin trainer (obviously) 2. Disney princess (more specifically Pocahontas because she was the only brown princess that looked like me, but I am not Indigenous and obviously didn’t understand that at the time). 3. A singer-songwriter “like Taylor Swift” (in her 1st/2nd album days)
  3. I’m deeply knowledgable about the Enneagram and will probably ask you what number you identify with (I’m a 4). I’ve been known to do this on dates and not-so-accidentally reading people to the depths of their soul so I can better understand if our motivations/fears/beliefs are compatible. This might be my toxic trait…

You should absolutely read: I Was Supposed To Be Good At Math by Em.


Julie Gentile

Julie Gentile is a writer by night and marketing bot by day. She enjoys long video game playthroughs and pretending like she didn’t internalize every single episode of Glee.

Julie is an East Asian person in glasses and blue shirt underneath a black coat drinking a large fruity drink

Instagram

  1. I can fit 25 average sized grapes in my mouth — please don’t ask for a demonstration if you cannot provide said grapes.
  2. I have a perfect square of moles around my left eye.
  3. I played bass in a kid rock bank.

You should absolutely read: I Beat My Girlfriend at Scrabble and We Never Played Again by Julie.


Katie Reilly

Katie Reilly is a disabled queer writer, creator, and activist who spends her days fighting online misogyny, hate, and disinfo and her evening playing with her dog, designing for her Etsy, reading 5 books at once, or collecting too many kinds of tea. After a brief time writing about and working in the music industry, Katie became a full time activist, leading campaigns on online disinfo and extremism, climate change and pollution, Indigenous rights, corporate accountability, media representation and accountability, and gender equality.

Her proudest moments as an activist include working alongside leaders at Standing Rock to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, working on the massive Peoples Climate Marches, and collaborating with GLAAD to ban deadnaming and misgendering on TikTok. Katie has been published in Teen Vogue and LGBTQ Nation.

Katie is a white woman with blonde hair and ombre pink highlights, she has pink lipstick and is in front of a green bush wall.

Twitter | Instagram | Website | TikTok

  1. I have a mini goldendoodle dog child.
  2. My first job was dressing up as Yogi Bear for kids events at a campground.
  3. I met Tegan and Sara’s mom.

You should absolutely read: I Have To Choose Between Being Disabled and Queer by Katie.


Lily Alvarado

Lily Alvarado is a queer Boricua who was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Outside of Autostraddle, she works in youth empowerment and development as a literacy educator. When she’s not writing or working on a lesson plan, she could be found doing yoga, reading, or mindlessly scrolling through Tik Tok.

Lily is a Latine person laying on the ground with their hair flared around them like a halo

  1. I love reptiles! Animals like snakes and lizards are the coolest and I love learning new things about them. For over five years, I had a bearded dragon named Riley (he died this past February).
  2. My go-to Starbucks order is an iced matcha latte with oat milk and a pump of chai.
  3. I am a former cheerleader, tap, ballet, and salsa dancer.

You should absolutely read: Measuring My Queerness By Different Therapists I’ve Had by Lily.


Niko Stratis

Niko Stratis‘ work has appeared in outlets like SPIN, Bitch, Xtra, Catapult and more. Her work primarily focuses on culture, the 1990s, queer/trans topics and as often as possible where all those ideas intersect. 

 She wrote that piece about Jackass that you liked and also the Gin Blossoms one. 

 She is also the creator and host of V/A Club, a podcast about movie soundtracks.

 Niko lives in downtown Toronto with her fiancé and their dog and 2 cats. She is a cancer.

Niko is a white trans woman with long blond hair covering her face and a red hoodie sweatshirt

Twitter | Instagram | Website

  1. When I was 10 years old my bowling team won second place in a city-wide tournament. Our team name — The Hot Crabs.
  2. I used to run an independent record label, back when I lived in the Yukon. that’s two facts in one, baybeeeeeee.
  3. I lost a bet, so now on my left shoulder blade I have a tattoo of a hot dog, with Beavis’s face (from Beavis & Butthead) and he’s saying the name “Jenna”. It’s one of my better tattoos.

You should absolutely read: Telling a Lie, One Black Coffee at a Time by Niko.


Sa’iyda Shabazz

Sa’iyda Shabazz is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and three adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn’t like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

 Sa’iyda is a Black person with a high top fade and glasses, a grey sweater, smiling in front of a brick wall

Twitter | Instagram

  1. My two dogs are named after characters from The Golden Girls.
  2. I spent most of my youth training to be an actor; I have a degree in Theatre Studies from Emerson College.
  3. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be french fries.

You should absolutely read: The Millennial Boy Band Fan to Queer Girl Pipeline Is in Good Hands With BOI Band by Sa’iyda.


shea martin

shea martin (they/them/theirs) is a fat, queer, gender-expansive writer raised at the intersection of gospel and go-go (shout out to the DMV). With southern roots and Black queer magic, shea writes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry that smells like your grandmama’s kitchen and sounds like a deep blues moan. No matter the genre, shea’s work centers and explores the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nature within and beyond our society. shea dares readers to imagine and redefine what is possible – worlds where joy is infinite, justice is imminent, and pleasure, abundant.

shea is a Black person with a Caesar cut and glasses in a denim coat with the collar up around their neck over a Yellow shirt

Twitter | Instagram | Website

  1. When I was in high school, I was wildly obsessed with jazz music so much so that I first went to college to study jazz vibraphone. It is my favorite jazz instrument by far.
  2. At least once a week, I devote time to a long-term mission I have to move to Iceland permanently. It is, by far, my favorite place I’ve ever been.
  3. During my first year teaching, I asked my girlfriend to help chaperone the Valentine’s Day dance at my middle school. She said yes, but it was all a ploy. She’d coordinated with my principal, coworkers, and students to pull off the most epic teacher proposal ever. There’s video evidence of it out there — it was as adorable as it sounds. I haven’t been to a better dance since.

You should absolutely read: Wrestling With Kamala and Beyond: Reckoning With Blackness, Womanhood, and What Comes Next by shea.


Stef Rubino

Stef Rubino is a writer, community organizer, and student of abolition from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. They teach Literature and writing to high schoolers and to people who are currently incarcerated, and they’re the fat half of the arts and culture podcast Fat Guy, Jacked Guy.

Stef is a white person in black jeans and a black t-shirt with a graphic on it, standing outside.

Twitter | Instagram

  1. One of the only things I really collect is old postcards. In the first half of the 20th century, there were so many different kinds of postcards that were printed. I’ve really enjoyed learning about the different techniques and going out and finding specific postcards. Mostly, I try to collect ones from various places in Florida, especially where I’m from in South Florida. I usually look for ones that are a little bit obscure or from establishments or sights that are no longer around anymore. To me, they feel like a reminder of what used to be and how people used to communicate. Our communication took more effort back then, so our ways of communicating were also very thoughtful.
  2. I’m a bit of an ice cream enthusiast. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m from a hot place or what, but no treat fully excites me as much as ice cream. Unfortunately, I’ve morphed into one of those people who’s constantly looking for the next frozen confection high. If there’s an ice cream place doing interesting things with their flavors, I’ll travel a long way to get there. I’m always looking for some wild flavor combinations to try. Peach ice cream with ricotta, fried sage leaves, and black pepper? I’ve had it. Peanut butter curry ice cream with black coffee swirl? That, too. A place is putting stuff like deviled eggs or mustard in their ice cream? I’m going to try to find a way to get it. There’s just something about the mastery and control it takes to get that perfect balance of sweet and savory in something that’s also supposed to be cold and creamy. What can I say? I’m in awe of it. (P.S. Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, if you’re reading this, PLEASE hook me up!!)
  3. I don’t like to pick favorites, but I’ve rewatched The X-Files more than any other show. I’m drawn to weird, creepy, paranormal shit in general, but I also deeply relate to Fox Mulder’s search for the “truth” (whatever that means for us all) and Dana Scully’s skepticism. People are always surprised that I like the show so much because I’m an abolitionist and I hate the government, but out of all the shows, I can see the anti-government through-line in it most clearly. Mulder and Scully just stay traveling all over the country, spending SO MUCH of the FBI’s money on all of Mulder’s whims without asking for permission and without apologizing. Mulder is constantly trying to expose the shit the government does in secret and bring down the bad actors involved in these covert operations. He views everyone as accountable, and operates with that principle in mind. Of course, I know you can’t dismantle institutions from inside of them, but there is something riveting and cathartic about watching Mulder and Scully try.

You should absolutely read: I Thought About Leaving Florida — Learning About Our Queer History Convinced Me To Stay by Stef.


Yashwina Canter

Yashwina Canter is a reader, writer, and dyke putting down roots in Portland, Oregon.

Yash is a mixed race South Asian person in a grey baseball cap and a grey shirt over a white one, they are smiling.

Twitter | Instagram

  1. I collect dyke novels for fun, and my proudest finds are signed copies of Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, Rude Girls and Dangerous Women by Jennifer Camper, and Beebo Brinker byAnn Bannon.
  2. My cat is named Moomin, and I’ve had a lifelong obsession with Tove Jansson’s work. Her books and illustrations are iconic, but if you haven’t seen her paintings already, you definitely should, she’s got some truly amazing self portraits!
  3. My favorite comfort documentary is Last Call At Maud’s, a retrospective about the adorable and loving community at a SF dyke bar.

You should absolutely read: Which Historical Lesbian Bars Would American Girl Dolls Have Visited? by Yash.


Please follow our new writers everywhere! And hey — maybe say hi in the comments while you’re at it. ✨


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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 478 articles for us.

29 Comments

  1. Welcome everyone! You all sound truly amazing. And I am excited about the prospect of having articles on Tove Jansson maybe? I, too have a lifelong obsession with her work and sadly, few people seem to know her, so I am amazed that an Autostraddle writer loves her work as well and might write about it *fingers crossed* (if you want, that is).

      • Thanks! Yes, I read it a while back, it is brilliant, AND I would love to see more about Tove Jansson because there is a lot that could be addressed!
        For example:
        – Some creatures that are neither male nor female in the books (at least in Finnish) and readers until today ask “Is this a boy or a girl?”
        – The notion of chosen family.
        – Her anti-facism.
        – The way her niece still plays down that Tove was a lesbian** and states that “well, there were few men after the war, she didn’t want children, so it was basically just common interest that she and Tuulikki were together”.
        – How she was out with Tuulikki in a time and place that criminalized and institutionalized queer people. She was not out in a way that she declared “Hey Finnland, I’m a lesbian!” but that she went everywhere with Tuulikki, including very official receptions, premieres, dinners etc. it was basically an open secret.
        Also, it would be great to write about the movie “Tove” (2020) that depicts her and Vivica’s love story. (Actually, I thought the movie was not very good, it was not accurate and I probably would have enjoyed it more had I known less about Tove Jansson, Vivica and Tuulikki).
        … So yeah, I would be amazed if there was more than this article about Tove Jansson on Autostraddle!

        • **I wrote that Tove Jansson was a lesbian based on biographies about her, her diary and letters to her friends. When she fell in love with Vivica, she was confused and believed it was just a one-time-thing, that she could never love a woman other than Vicica. However, for the years thereafter, she wondered about “going over to the spook side” which was a coded expression for gay/lesbian at a time. She planned to get married to Atos, her male partner, hoping that it would put the “spook side” to rest once and for all. And when she decided to take the step to “go over to the spook side,” she never looked back.
          That being said, I can see why many people are happy to have her as bisexual representation due to her relationship with Atos (the character Snufkin is based on him) and I won’t challenge you because yaaaaaay for every bisexual person who is excited for Tove Jansson as a bisexual hero!

  2. I’m so excited for so many of these voices, and especially for Shea Martin. Their piece a year or so ago about reckoning with and celebrating Kamala Harris’s election is one I go back to and read at least monthly and have sent to so many people. Go Autostraddle! Thank you for this good news.

  3. Absolutely obsessed with everyone here now. So many fun facts! Tiny books! Jazz vibraphone! Tegan and Sara’s mom, for some reason! I’m looking forward to reading all of your varied and wonderful contributions.

  4. Hi and welcome to everyone! I’m so excited to see more of your work – I’ve loved everything I’ve read so far!

    Stef Rubino, if you ever find yourself in Germany, one of my favorite ice creams is the Luicella’s chain, which might just be in Hamburg but could be elsewhere too. Half the flavors are vegan! They have a bunch of creative ones, and one I had was flavored with some sort of south american fruit that is illegal in the US (tonka maybe?)

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