Also.Also.Also: First Footage of Brittney Griner Leaving Russia Shows Her Safe, Whole, and Smiling

I’M BAAAAAAACK. And what a day: Brittney Griner was freed from Russia, the Respect for Marriage Act is going to Biden’s desk to be signed into law, and… is this what good news feels like? Do any of us remember?

Queer as in F*ck You

You’ve probably heard by now that after 294 days — longer than is imaginable for any of us —  Brittney Griner is finally coming home. I have watched this footage, released from Russian state television, of Brittney Griner getting on a plane and leaving Russia no less than five times now, from five different edited clips. And in each one she is safe, her body is whole, and when they tell her she’s going to the U.S. — she allows herself the slightest smile. And today, that is enough. It is the whole world.

Welcome home, BG. I am glad that you are safe. You are so loved. Please know that you are loved.

I already mentioned this but the Respect for Marriage Act has been passed in the House of Representatives and the next stop is Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

This is a hard read, so please take care of yourselves. I Was Sexually Assaulted When I Was 16. Penguin Random House Canada Published a Memoir by One of My Assailants Claiming It Was Consensual.

Ro would like you to know about this new trans-affirming Spanish J&B commercial.

Saw This, Thought of You

The Beauty and Freedom of Black Punks

From former Autostraddler Managing Editor Yvonne Marquez in The Guardian, Why Knowing Your Neighbors Could Save You in the Next Climate Disaster. “Across the US, communities are relying on mutual aid as a safeguard against extreme weather.”

Romance Novels About AFLW, the Housing Crisis and Teaching? Turns Out They’re More Popular Than Ever. “There’s a tight-knit group of authors forging a new path through publishing by writing for a loyal audience – and being paid for each page being turned.”

BuzzFeed Announces 12% Reduction Of Workforce

And related to that, New York Times Journalists, Other Workers on 24-Hour Strike. Remember kids, no Wordle! Friends don’t let friends cross picket lines! (You can follow the strike along here and here)

Political Snacks

Former President Donald Trump’s Company Is Found Guilty of Criminal Tax Fraud

The Court Case That Could Legalize the Next Coup. “If the Supreme Court reaches the wrong decision in Moore v. Harper, it could legitimize a dangerous new theory of who decides how elections work.”

And One More Thing

If you’d like a cherry on top of the joy that is today, please enjoy this clip of Amber Riley deep laughing as she tries to hold it together re: Lea Michele’s noted racism

*shrieks in Black professionalism*

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Join AF+!

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 709 articles for us.


  1. I have been crying tears of joy on and off since about 6am. I’m not a religious person, nor am I someone who prays, but today, I finally understood a little bit of the feeling that makes religious people say “God is SO GOOD”.

    I’m so happy Relle and BG will be reunited soon, if they haven’t been already. That’s the love story that will keep me going.

  2. I couldn’t believe it when I heard I heard the news this morning, stuck in traffic on the way to work. I was so relieved.

    This is my first chance to check AS today and my heart is just full reading the celebration. It’s so nice to have something to celebrate together.

  3. Also, thank you for the Zoe Greenberg sexual assault article and also for the warning. I read it when I felt prepared and I’m glad I did – it’s a hard read but also says powerful things about supporting survivors.

  4. this comment section of this post is for people who want to celebrate that brittney griner is coming home, if you want to be negative about her coming home by sharing your sudden international relations expertise regarding the person who was swapped (who by the way was named as the potential swap person for months, so this is not new news!), please visit anywhere else on the internet. we simply cannot with this today.

    thank you so much.

    • I tried to delete my comment in that thread but it doesn’t seem to have worked so I apologize for my contribution to the derailment of this comments section. There are many spaces to discuss the geopolitical aspects of this exchange, and given the hatred directed at Brittney Griner for the past 10 months, I totally understand why we need a place just to be thrilled and relieved that she is home, with no qualifiers or political speculation, the latter of which I am guilt of here.

      Brittney Griner’s return to her wife and family is nothing short of a miracle, full stop.

  5. I am not going to in engage in political volleyballing in our comment section, particularly because I want to maintain these comments (and our website) as a space where Black queer people can come and have space to feel relief, in an internet that has not provided such relief for them in the months since Griner’s wrongful detainment.

    That said! And precisely because of that reason, I am also going to say this:

    There’s a tone of comments on this post along the lines of, “there’s no right choice/only bad choices” or invoking the philosophical trolley problem.

    It’s my belief as the author of this column, and also as the Editor-in-Chief of this website, that there was absolutely a right choice. And it was the choice that brought home Brittney Griner, a Black masc lesbian who was being held in Russia as what nearly every expert agrees was a political hostage. Who is a multiple time Olympic gold-medal winning athlete and the most famous Black lesbian athlete in the world, though she does not need any of these accolades to be worthy of being brought back home, or to not have her humanity or the “rightness” of the decision to bring her back home, to be discussed in abstract theory as if her humanity can be readily discounted. Especially not on a queer website — and certainly not on this one.

    We’ve discussed this as an editorial leadership team, and collectively we’ve decided that comments that are negative about BG’s return or are adding to a conversation that implies there were choices beyond the decision that brought her home, will be deleted.

    We are protecting space for Black queer people to feel relief, especially given the tenor of conversation in spaces outside of our website, and that is our priority. Other conversations are happening all over the internet right at this moment, and you have multiple spaces to engage in them if you choose.

    • i am a displaced syrian queer person. russia has been bombing my country for years without the international outcry for ukraine. arms dealers are the biggest terrorists. if this arms dealer is responsible for weapons that kill your family and community maybe you reconsider your opinion of absolutely right choice. easy to say when you’re not the target.
      otherwise i don’t comment. i know you delete my comment. your censorship here (write something happy or we delete it) means you ignore brown people from countries in war. including queer masc brown people. disappointed in your american one-dimensional point of view. bye autostraddle

      • We discussed this comment and agreed that we want to leave it up, because it is never the intent of our comment policy to silence people of color directly impacted by violence. What we are asking for is to be able to maintain one space, for a finite amount of time, in an otherwise very cruel, often racist internet, where queer Black people can find relief in Brittney Griner’s return. We are affirming Brittney Griner as a person, and not as an abstract political volleyball that can be thrown back and forth — which is what was happening in our comments previously. I believe we can enforce a comment policy that discourages white supremacist framing without it being called censorship, which is what we’ve attempted to do here. We did not delete comments because they weren’t happy, but rather because those specific comments come from a white supremacist viewpoint that often reduces the lives and lived experiences of Black people to theoretics and “philosophical” debate.

        I am sorry this response made you feel like you weren’t welcome in this space. Truth be told, this was a response directed at white people, and was never intended to make Brown people feel excluded. Your experiences and viewpoints certainly are welcome here, and thank you for speaking up.

        • Thank you, Carmen and AS team, for your discernment and wisdom on this issue. Being able to hold multiple complex things at once is hard and necessary work. Thank you for showing us all what’s possible.

  6. As a Black queer woman I find the assumption irritating and troubling only white people would think about what releasing a weapons dealer might mean.
    I appreciate that this site intends to be a space for Black queer people to feel relief. Thank you dear team for your efforts and care in trying to accomplish that. In this instance I disagree with your methods as you silence people who point out that is multilayered. Usually Autostraddle deletes hateful comments… Here the deleted comments were by people who noted both joy over BG’s release and concern over this weapons dealer let out thus acknowledging complexity… I agree with you that Brittney Griner is no abstract political volleyball… But I add that neither are other people’s lives. Having this conversation has nothing to do with white supremacy… Black and Brown people in my life talk about questions of ethics and morals too… I find it problematic and reducing to propose only white people would think/speak about it.
    I understand that my comment will be deleted like all the others but wanted to propose this perspective regardless, this bugged me for weeks

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