For Them Acquires Autostraddle: An Explainer

This post was initially an email sent out to our A+ members on the morning of Tuesday August 22nd, but in light of questions shared by all our readers in response to our interview with Kylo yesterday, we’re publishing it now for all to read.


We’re gathered here today to celebrate the union of two queer-owned companies!! We’re beyond thrilled to announce that we’re merging with QTPOC-owned queer wellness and tech company For Them. Our Autostraddle Co-Founder and CEO Riese and For Them’s Founder and CEO Kylo Freeman have been talking about this acquisition for many many months now, and we’re finally making it official. This is MAJOR, Y’ALL!

Thanks to being acquired by For Them, Autostraddle will live on in all the ways that you love and so, so much more. We’re looking at a future where we’ll be better resourced when it comes to advancing our gay agenda, where we’ll have new, exciting and experienced leadership, and where we’ll have the ability to turn the queer dreams that once seemed so far off into Real Fucking Life.

What Does This Mean for Autostraddle?

  1. Autostraddle isn’t going anywhere. And neither are our archives! For Them and Kylo are committed to maintaining the queer archives of content at Autostraddle for generations to come. We’re also looking forward to, because of our new leadership and the support of For Them, having more time to dedicate to the life-saving editorial work we’re known for.
  2. We’re maintaining our editorial independence. Autostraddle remains Autostraddle. The website will remain a website, and we’ll continue to address an audience of lesbian, queer and trans readers. Carmen Phillips will remain Editor-in-Chief and our mission and vision for an Autostraddle that centers the most marginalized members of our community remains. We’re working to making Autostraddle readable on an app by the end of the year, and have already started talking about bringing events back in a real way. We’re hopeful that maybe we may even have some better work / life balance because our all queer and trans team is joining forces with For Them’s all queer and trans team!
  3. Our full-time team is going over to the other side! Some of our roles are changing and some are staying very much the same. Carmen, Kayla and Heather will be in the same roles. Nico is heading up Autostraddle’s Membership Editorial and Ops — there won’t be any more fundraisers, so they’ll be able to focus completely on making A+ membership even cooler! Laneia will remain on the team in operations where she’s helping us build bright, exciting futures and also a lot of serious databases and systems. Riese is thrilled to be moving out of leadership and away from her role as CEO and back into writing, editing, podcasting and generally playing to her strengths by working with the new CEO on strategic development.
  4. However, in anticipation of the merge and existing infrastructure on the other side to support our Brand Partnerships pursuits, our Brand Partnerships Director Anya finished up her time last month, and we already miss her so much! Building out our brand partnerships with Anya — who is brilliant and determined and hilarious — and getting to work closely with her in that process, was frankly a delight. She hustled her ass off to learn more about our place in this industry, going to conferences and industry events and getting our name out there in front of brands we were previously unable to reach — and maintained a positive attitude in the face of really sharp odds! More than that, she learned and taught us all new lessons with each deck she built and client she met with. Furthermore, her work on topics including Selling Sunset and Survivor is Pulitzer-worthy. She’s generous, kind, humble and fantastic, and we already miss her presence in our Slack every day.
  5. This was an “equity-only deal” which makes it more of a merger than a sale. No cash changed hands. What we’re all getting out of this is a leadership team with serious business acumen, a combining of resources, better chances at success, and opportunities for serious growth.
  6. For Them is ALSO member-supported, and in this time of transition, we need your support more than ever. This also means that there’s a plan to bring our member programs together. This will be a process that happens gradually, but we think it’s going to be really exciting for y’all. Your membership and donation dollars remain 100% gay and will still go directly into Autostraddle editorial and operations. AND there are going to be a host of new benefits for both A+ and For Them members. It’s the best of two gay worlds!

So What’s For Them?

For Them is a QTPOC-owned company reimagining wellness for queer and gender-expansive folks through products, community and gender-tech. They launched their startup in 2021 with their flagship product, The Binder. The Binder was designed to provide maximum compression with maximum comfort, based on Founder and CEO Kylo Freeman’s lived experiences searching for a gender-affirming chest binder that was breathable. Today, For Them is a media and technology company driving the queer revolution through product drops and services that function as direct links to queer wellness, radical self-expression, authentic connection and human experience. For Them is also at work on new products and releases that will go beyond The Binder, and has recently launched the For Them Podcast Network.

”As a queer, non-binary human-being, I saw thousands of companies focusing on products and services that did not speak to my experience. Wellness looks different for everyone. For Them understands and celebrates that.” -Founder, Kylo Freeman

Meet the New CEO

a photo of Kylo Freeman. they are a Black masc of center person with short cut hair and a fade. they are smiling and wearing rose tinted sunglasses, a gold chain, a brown tee, loose white pants and various rings. they are leaning to the side of a chair

Kylo Freeman (they/them) is a queer, Black, nonbinary and British founder, actor, producer and venture partner based in NYC. They started their career in finance (PwC, AXA Art, prehype) and then moved to New York to study acting at Stella Adler Studio.

Kylo’s acting career, which includes credits on NBC’s “The Blacklist” and “New Amsterdam” as well as AACTA nominated best indie feature film “Under My Skin,” lead them to founding their first company in 2018. After noticing the imbalance in the funding of diverse stories, they started Boycott Entertainment – production company focussed on underrepresented talent behind the camera.

Kylo is passionate about the queer community and is consistently innovating around ways to improve the wellbeing of gender non-conforming and trans folks. They have recently joined Resolute VC as a venture partner, which is another space where they strive to empower underrepresented humans with equitable access to opportunity.

When Carmen asked Kylo what they saw in Autostraddle, Kylo had this to say:

“So I’ve been a massive superfan, and a genuine fan ever since I could remember. Autostraddle helped me come out by showing me what a full, queer, happy life could look like. Then I got the pleasure of meeting Riese and we just got on really well. We realized that the way we think and the way you all think is very similar in terms of mission and what we’re trying to achieve and what’s important. I think that’s really, really rare and I haven’t come across that a lot in the business world, of two people driving towards the same goal from a different angle. Then I met the whole Autostraddle team and in terms of mission, in terms of ethos, the whole team’s incredible. And it just felt like it was a very easy decision from my end, to be honest.”

How’s the Team Feeling?

“The love that I have for Autostraddle, starting from when I used to read it daily while coming out of the closet, can barely be put in words. Now, I consider myself so deeply lucky to be a part of this beautiful, funny, ridiculously smart, hardworking, tireless team — people who day in and out, put in endless hours to keep telling the stories of our community, on our terms. Joining our team with ForThem is going to open up exciting new opportunities in front of us to not only continue existing, but also grow and serve our communities.” – Carmen Phillips, Editor in Chief

“Autostraddle has been a huge part of my life for the past 8+ years, and I’m so excited that it’ll live on and can’t wait to see what this new chapter looks like. Working under Carmen’s vision as Editor in Chief has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my writing/editing career, and I’m really proud of the things we’ve done together alongside the rest of the team. Changes are exciting and an opportunity for growth, and I’m ready to jump into whatever that might look like moving forward!” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Managing Editor

I’ve already started behind the scenes work with ForThem as we prepare to marry our member programs, and seeing their team has reminded me of just why and how I fell in love with working at Autostraddle. Autostraddle is full of smart, earnest, funny as heck queer people who are total weirdos who follow their hearts. I am starting to get the sense that For Them’s team is similar, and I couldn’t be more excited about growing our crew and about the many, unfolding and expansive possibilities for the future of this site, this community and everything we’ve been dreaming of accomplishing! – Nico Hall, Membership Editorial and Ops

Autostraddle has always been one of the most important publications on the internet, and that’s as true — maybe even more true — than ever, here in 2023. With state governments and local school boards restricting essential access to LGBTQ+ resources, with trans people under attack from both the church and the state like never before, and with so many other queer publications folding, Autostraddle remains a beacon of hope in an often very cruel world. I am excited that Autostraddle is going to join forces with a group of similar-minded people who are committed to making sure queer and trans people have the support they need to live the fullest, happiest lives possible. – Heather Hogan, Senior Writer

Change can be scary but it can also be terribly exciting, and this is definitely the exciting kind of change!. I’ve loved working with the ForThem team this year – dreaming the biggest dreams possible for the future of Autostraddle, dreams I’d long let go of. I think our whole team will benefit from the structure, experience and forward-thinking vision that Kylo will bring to the table as our new CEO. – Riese Bernard, Co-Founder

New Member Benefits Are Coming!

Right now, our teams are hard at work on a roadmap for the future of gay-marrying A+ and For Them member benefits, but we want you to know that just like Autostrddle, A+ isn’t going anywhere. In the future, A+ members can look forward to new perks like For Them’s app and member community, The Playground — and Silver, Gold and Platinum A+ members can look forward to access to discounts and exclusive product drops. You’ll likely receive more news over the next several months, and at the very least, we believe members will have access to the app by the end of the year. We’re committed to keeping pricing accessible at the least expensive tiers and to providing members with more benefits as time goes on and members willl continue to receive every member perk and the A+ content they currently access! Stay tuned, open your emails and watch this space for more!

Thank you, always and forever, for being a part of this place. You have our queer hearts.

Privacy Concerns

Apologies that we didn’t pre-empt the concerns that we received around data and privacy on our interview with Kylo posted yesterday. We want to address those concerns now.

In terms of the data Autostraddle has on A+ members: we have the name and email you signed up with. If you have received perks, we have your address. This is very similar data that any online shop might have for you. We do not have access to your credit card or other payment information, as that is encrypted via third party payment processors and we don’t have any ability to access that information. To be perfectly clear, advertisers have asked Autostraddle in the past for more reader data, and we have not collected it nor sold it.

For Them, similarly to Autostraddle, collects name, email, phone number device information and payment info (via a third party processor), as well as address when necessary for shipping products. The “gender tracking” on the app is not referring to any kind of biometric data tracking, but rather to a reflection style feature of the app. The app allows you to track how euphoric, confident or joyful you feel on any given day in a kind of personal diary, for your own personal use. It also allows you to track your outfits. None of this data is medical or biometric. Location is not tracked. They never, ever ask about medical procedures, HRT, diagnoses, medical history or anything of that matter. If anyone wishes to download their information to review, bring to a therapist, etc. then they can download their history. Other than that, this information is not shared with anyone. Users also have the option to delete their entire profile at any point they deem necessary. None of this data is sold to third parties, and never will be, nor would it be useful in any way in terms of salability to third parties. These features were developed through conversations and work with beta testers who requested these features be made available to them in the app and this “tracking” is the end product in and of itself, and is not intended as a means of scraping data. All data is encrypted and secure.

A+ members will be able to opt in as to whether they download the app and they will be able to opt into using any individual features within the app. There is no way for us to force you to download the app, and since the website will still be accessible as a website, it will not be necessary to download the app to continue to read and access A+ content. The merging of the memberships may involve migrating our data to a more secure and advanced system, but that’s not in order to sell it, but rather because we might have the chance for the first time in 10 years, to use a member database that is not made out of tape and bubblegum. Mostly, the “merging” of the memberships was just our way of communicating that members of both companies are going to start receiving each others’ perks and benefits. For Them is going to be releasing new products in the future, and for example, A+ members at the Silver level and up are going to be getting discounts on those products. For Them members will get to read A+ content. We’re working on building out the tech that will allow all this to happen smoothly, but that does not involve in any way selling your data or obtaining data from you that you don’t willingly give us.

We also want to close by addressing the concerns around the following phrase in For Them’s privacy policy: “Finally, we may also share your Personal Information to comply with applicable laws and regulations, to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other lawful request for information we receive, or to otherwise protect our rights.” While this is absolutely standard language when it comes to privacy policies (you’ll find this in many other queer apps’ privacy policy for example), we want to assure you that unlike certain other media companies we shall not name for legal reasons, we will not blanket comply with information requests, but will instead take any such requests (or orders in the case of subpoenas and warrants) through our legal team. Keeping our community safe is our priority and we will do so to the best of our ability.

We will not harvest or sell user data to third parties. For Them’s physical products and the app are our end game. Autostraddle will continue to create content which is also our end game. Our end game is not data harvesting. Ultimately, whatever we’re doing, whether it’s making gender affirming products or lesbian content, we’re here to serve our community. Our legal team is currently reviewing an updated privacy policy that addresses all the above concerns in greater depth. This will be published within the week.

We hope this was clarifying and helpful.

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+!

The Editors

The has written 146 articles for us.


  1. Question from a happy fat girl: I’ve learned the hard way that “wellness” often means “weight loss”, even in queer spaces. Does For Them sell weight loss or “lifestyle change” (another fun euphemism) products or services? Will Autostraddle ever sell or advertise these products?

  2. So basically, all the shit Laneia and Riese pulled in the past few months will be swept under the rug and they’ll still hold positions of power without concrete accountability? Cool. I guess we can simply move forward with commodified gender revolution that’s VC funded and go celebrate

    • from what I can tell, it looks like Laneia will be working under Nico, as Laneia was formerly director of operations, and Nico now seems to have that role. so, still working here, but less in charge of stuff / people

      • Hi! I can help a little with this. Riese and Laneia are no longer in their old leadership roles. Laneia being ops means that she’s doing admin / operations. In terms of my role change, it’s more like a shift to 100% membership (including the editorial for members and operations for memberships) as opposed to my old role which included fundraising. I never have and I still don’t supervise anyone or have any direct reports, though! When it comes to the chain of like, leadership, we’re being folded into For Them’s org structure. So we have Kylo as CEO. For Them also has their own COO and Chief of Staff. Carmen remains EIC and head of editorial at Autostraddle. While we all work for the CEO as one does, Carmen will have editorial independence when it comes to running editorial over here. I hope this makes sense.

    • I have no strong feelings on the merger besides the fact that if Riese was in talks with Kylo about this acquisition and all but one staff member is being retained, that means there was little to no reason to let go of Shelli, Ro or Vanessa.

      As A Black queer reader who’s kept up with y’all since my teens, Shelli’s voice was a breath of fresh air and frankly one of the few writers, who’d get me to visit the site. Shelli’s articles and social media contributions were a clear stand out presence on this publication, reminiscent of the AS in it’s early 2010s heyday. It stings to know that thru this merger + greater financial transparency/strategy she could’ve stayed. A likely affluent, light skinned Black CEO is not the come up y’all making it out to be, truth is y’all fumbled.

      I hope y’all look back on your decision to foolishly part ways with phenomenal writers that you paid scraps while regularly raking in six figure proceeds from White and non Black queer folks, with absolute honesty. This reader base, and these contributors deserve so much better.

      RIP to the QTPoC Speakeasy. I’ll be archiving all my fave articles.

      Good luck.

    • Hi Robin! Thank you for letting me know. Our tech team refreshed the links and are working on this bug. Can you try again and let me know how it goes? If it doesn’t work, please email me at nico [at] autostraddle [dot] com and I’ll get that canceled for you!

  3. I’m curious to see what will happen and grow in the future. Very happy that a solution is found that will hopefully help Autostraddle to persist, and that Kylo is a fan! Go team, thank you for your hard work.

  4. Thanks for posting the email, hopefully this helps. I’m cautiously optimistic, but I have a small worry in the back of my mind that AS could become the same terrible shell of a website just like AE. Good luck AS Team, I’m rooting for you!

    • The circumstances around the two sales are super different. AE was bought by TERFs for one! This isn’t the case for us. If anything, once we’re able to get back to our regular jobs (personally, I’m fielding a high volume of emails, cancellation requests, gathering of member questions, etc. that make any kind of normalcy in my workday difficult to achieve and I know it’s similar for others on the team), I think we’ll be able to breathe some exciting new life into the site / publication. <3

  5. I want to encourage Autostraddle/For Them to consider hiring some kind of crisis management public relations. It’s disappointing that you all are consistently on the defensive because of your missteps. For example, none of the concerns in the 400+ commented post re: the Subject Editors firings have been addressed. Didn’t Laneia remove all traces of her past work on the site? But she’s still working there? Any update on the Autostraddle Writers’ Coalition? I just cancelled my A+ subscription because I can’t support this site anymore.

    I also want to directly address the writers of color still on the masthead–Carmen, Kayla, Christina, Sa’iyda, Em, Natalie, and anyone I’m forgetting: you do not have to continue working at Autostraddle. There’s no indication that your workplace is fundamentally interested in your safety as workers and marginalized people. The landscape of paid journalism is awful, to say the least, but I promise you deserve more than what this organization has to offer. Sometimes you have to jump and the net will appear. I wish you all well.

    • since i have been referenced by name, i will comment here.

      first, i appreciate your concern, but i can assure you that any and all decisions i choose to make for myself and my family will be made by me. i don’t need someone who only sees something from the outside and has been fed one-sided information telling me about the place i’ve been working for the last year. i personally have had nothing but positive working experiences at Austostraddle and i feel quite secure in knowing that will continue through this current merger. i have been working in digital media for a long time and i have seen and been through a lot of bullshit. it’s laughable for someone to tell me that if i jump a net will appear when i have spent the last year trying to find stable employment in this field.

      obviously my fellow writers and editors can do what they wish.

    • Damage control by people who do not take the safety of twoc into account. A pithy comment from Kylo does not a sinking ship rescue. I’ve loved autostraddle for the better part of a decade and the leadership has consistently failed us. I think you should take note than most of the commenters are planning to withdraw their support. I’m sure you have conversations over vegan wine about how we simply “Do not understand the business” But make no mistake: we understand, and we are all utterly disappointed in you. Not that you’ll ever reply to any of these comments. I mean venture capitalists are the evil capitalists?? Don’t you rail against capitalism?? The “values” aren’t adding up. If you ever had them to begin with.

    • The new CEO said point blank in their interview that Autostraddle had been overspending in some areas, including personnel. We can see this for ourselves since the last few years AS was relying heavily on fundraisers and loans.

      This is not an acquisition where the acquiring company is going to pump lots of money into Autostraddle. There will be a budget, it will be based on AS’s revenue, and they will try to grow AS’s revenue through A+, since fundraisers are being done away with, there’s no talk of bringing A-camp back (which used to be a significant revenue stream), and advertising will likely always be iffy. So if they can grow AS’s revenue, then the budget can be increased and more people brought on. But what For Them obviously isn’t going to do is keep running AS in the red.

      AS’s problem, as with many companies, looks to be that they tried to grow too much too fast. They spent to build hoping that it would lead to increased revenue that would pay off the spending, and that didn’t happen.

  6. The clarification that “’gender tracking’ on the app is not referring to any kind of biometric data tracking, but rather to a reflection style feature of the app” answers the question of how the hell an algorithm could possibly measure a person’s gender, but raises a whole lot of new questions about why it was marketed as biometric in the first place, and really raises some red flags about the good judgement of the decision-makers involved in such misrepresentation

  7. I’ve chosen to keep but downgrade my A+ membership, because I don’t want perfect to be the enemy of good and for the moment it is good that AS is still going to be around.

    That said, I’ve seen this before with 2 very beloved communities (couchsurfing and a cell phone company) who were sold and then promptly gutted. The members who had sustained those communities for a decade left in droves, including myself.

    When I had only seen this email/now post, it looked like a promising deal. But having looked over that flippant interview and For Them’s website, I don’t get the promising vibes anymore.

    This is not “I’m Kylo Freeman, and I worked my ass off in finance and VC circles to make tons of money that I now use to finance and sustain things I care about, which now includes Autostraddle.” This is a business that seems to have a “throw things at the wall and see what sticks” ethos and does a shitty job of translating itself to the people it purports that it wants to serve, and that’s not a viable way to be long-term.

    I’m sticking around in the short term because I’ve loved AS for so long, and truly appreciate the work everyone has done to keep this little queer ship afloat, even with all the missteps, imperfections, and various harms along the way. And maybe, the short term will become longer if the new leadership structure can restore the trust that has been broken with its readership. But I’m not holding my breath.

    • Hey Ker, appreciate you continuing to support queer writers and AS in general! We have 0 intention of gutting or damaging AS in any way. We love this place, the mission and what AS content provides for our community.

      We will be working to restore that trust over time, and hope you’ll witness AS thriving more than ever now it has the operational support and resources it needs. Thank you for the support and sticking with us through this.

  8. What happened to Kylo’s previous companies? I have a hard time believing that a venture capitalist is prioritizing anything but making money. If AS starts making money I feel pretty confident For them will keep it around, but if not I’m pretty sure they’ll move on to the next thing.
    Also, I’m also curious about the timing of this and the layoffs, including the partnerships role. Were these a condition of the acquisition?

  9. So no apology still for the 2019 Cameron Esposito incident? The ex apologized. I still see this site prop Cameron which is unfortunate to your twoc readers(which I am sure isn’t too many these days).

  10. Reading everything, I’m struck by two things.

    1) I remember how negative the comments were when the A+ program was announced. People (and myself included) were worried that the writers and the community we loved would get locked behind a paywall. We were wrong–change is hard and scary, not always bad. A+ kept Autostraddle going, and eventually I became a member. So I’m reminding myself that even dramatic change can be good.

    2) Autostraddle has been through several scandals, and most of the time when they happened, I couldn’t get a clear picture of what had happened. I didn’t do A-Camp; I hardly followed anyone on Twitter. But this time around, when I looked to the writers I trusted and the community I loved, things seemed a little different. There were more details–on the home site, on twitter, in other reporting. Many of the writers I had trusted for this better part of a decade were raising public concerns or resigning. Some who had already moved on hinted that what had seemed like good-to-neutral career shifts had more beneath the surface. And, of course, some had been eliminated.

    And also…the insistence that there is a meaningful difference between “eliminated” and “fired,” especially on a material level, feels a bit disingenuous. And it feels like one tiny symptom of the whole. I’m looking at the messaging, I’m looking at who’s commenting–both from the reader community and the writer community–and I’m older and less trusting than I was in the last few scandals.

    It’s been a hard year, and this isn’t the first small/indie/local business I’ve seen acquired with a promise to do better by the community. I don’t know For Them, and maybe this time will be different. Maybe this won’t be like the local coffee shop that got acquired by a company that had a stronger cash flow but an equally dismal reputation among the baristas. I hope it’s different! A+ turned out to be a great shift! I grew up on Autostraddle, and I want it to be around for generations to come.

    But I’m thinking about Autostraddle’s history, and I’m looking at the writers who earned my trust, and that optimism is hard to really feel.

  11. hi, I never listened in business class (sorry) and am confused re the difference between merger/acquisition/equity only deal in this case, can you give me the explanation4dummies ?

    • I can only comment based on the honestly confusing language in this post (merger and acquisition are different things in business, but very similar) and based on my business knowledge.

      A merger is when two companies combined to form a third, entirely new and separate company. This is not what this is (unless someone with knowledge of the deal wants to correct me).

      An acquisition is when one company purchases another company, and the purchased company becomes absorbed into the buying company. The acquired company’s staff also becomes absorbed into the acquiring company’s organizational structure, which is why there’s mention of some staff taking on slightly different roles in For Them. Autostraddle stops existing as a separate corporate entity and For Them assumes all responsibility and control over Autostraddle. This is normal in business when a bigger, more financially stable able company purchases a smaller, but less financially stable company.

      An all-equity deal means that the entire organization and staff of one company is acquired by another company with zero money changing hands. For Them assumes all financial responsibility for Autostraddle, including all risk, but For Them did not pay Riese or Autostraddle for the purchase.

      The call-out about Autostraddle retaining full editorial control is a good point of clarification to make, because again in an acquisition, For Them now owns Autostraddle and therefore controls it financially, legally, and organizationally. It’s important to reassure the readership about editorial control because Autostraddle is more like a brand or imprint of For Them and not a separate company.

  12. This is what should have been publicly communicated in the first place! To +1 what a few people have said: you need a communications professional to develop your comms strategy. A good communications manager would have rolled this announcement out better. For a membership based org, it’s a huge miss not to have a community manager on staff. And if you already have one, it sure doesn’t seem like it. Where were they on this? This entire announcement was bungled from the get-go. What a train wreck.

    Also, I started looking into For Them. What is up with the woo-woo buzzword website? All the copy on the website feels like it was written by a tech bro for an audience of investors, not a community of queer people seeking connection and support.

    Words mean things, except For Them, apparently. If they weren’t collecting biometric data then why tf does the website state that? If the binder is patented, please describe what is new or innovative about For Them’s binder technology that led the government to grant them a patent! In what countries is this binder patented? What problems does the For Them binder solve that the other queer trans owned binder companies don’t solve with their products?

    Also can someone shed light on how Kylo Freeman tried to make gender themed NFTs a thing? Very interested in why Autostraddle’s new CEO is fascinated with obvious grift and scams masquerading as investment artwork.

  13. It feels disingenuous to not very openly acknowledge the dire financial situation would lead to something like this- language such as “our fundraising model isn’t cutting it,” “it was selling/merging or closing.” As this sale/merger would understandably be looked at with reluctance, sell us on its inevitability, instead of trying ti make us believe it’s just two companies with similar values just choosing to vibe together. Because a financially viable operation would have had no reason for this.
    Every sentence having a positive spin honestly gives having-something-to-hide vibes.

  14. I stopped reading the interview-style introduction yesterday because while I understand the bubbly excitement of the people involved and even think you need this excitement and optimism to move forward I as a reader needed another approach. This is that. I have my fingers crossed that Autostraddle will continue to exist because the writing is really damn good and important. Change was inevitable and necessary (I read the Defector article) and while I’m unsure if this is the next best step it is a next step and I’m along for the ride.

    • I just want to say thank you for mentioning the Defector article. I was just about burned out skimming through all these comments + the 150 on that other article with zero context for any of this chaos. I pop up here way less than I have in the past and, of course, this is both the best and worst timing to glance back in this direction.

  15. A few things –

    1. Echoing what others have already stated, this should have been the post that announced the merger/acquisition to the readership at large. When I got the email the other day I didn’t realize that it had only been sent to A+ members, so was a bit confused by all of the very negative comments on the interview post. This explainer should have been published first, then followed up with the interview. Perhaps that would have avoided some of the backlash. But what’s done is done now.

    2. Thank you for adding the information that Anya is no longer with the company. I was wondering about her status since she wasn’t mentioned along with the rest of the full time staff in the initial email.

    3. This is just one person’s impression/opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, but I think a lot of the missteps AS has made over the last few years happened because the leaders (Riese and Laneia) are not businesspeople. They’re writers. This website evolved from Riese’s personal blog and eventually grew into a full-fledged company that they didn’t have the experience or background to run well. They probably should have brought on a more experienced business leader a long time ago but, again, what’s done is done.

    As a side note, I’m also excited that Riese will be doing more writing for the site again now that she’s no longer CEO. And I hope Laneia will also still write occasionally. Some of her pieces here are my absolute favorite pieces of writing on the internet and I still revisit them when I want to feel feelings.

    4. I really have no skin in this game but as a long time reader of AS, I’m glad that it will continue to exist and am cautiously optimistic for the future of the site. 💛

  16. the tone of these comments lately been so condescending…Ppl acting like elon musk himself is taking over and everyone who stays is brainwashed and needs rescuing

    So many people seem to think they have a better plan but half are just “why didnt you take the millions of dollars from riese’s mr burns level salary to pay for financial and hr and comms professionals!” So helpful!

    Anyway kudos to the team for managing through this, excited to see whats next

  17. After what went down with Niko Stratis, I don’t trust your voice anymore Riese. I don’t want to listen to your podcasts, or read your articles. You didn’t just hurt Niko, you hurt your trans & non-binary readers.

  18. I’ve been sitting on this comment for a bit, but decided to throw it out there.

    I don’t get ForThem. I actually wear their binder, it’s comfortable and I can wear it for longer than others. But they really only have two products, both half length binders. And the kind I use is unavailable in my size in any light color (i.e. can be worn with light colored shirts), and has been for months and months. There are lots of companies run by and oriented to nonbinary people that have a more extensive product line and functional logistics.

    Which leads me to the second thing that confuses me about the company: Why does my underwear need an app? Or a podcast? Or an entire editorial team? How is a company that’s only shipping two very similar products able to help manage a media website? I’m baffled.

    And again… I wear ForThem’s product. I’m not anti their entire concept. But as a merger I’m not sure how any of this makes business sense. Unless the whole thing is about sprinkling that venture capital stardust, and making a wish.

    • “Unless the whole thing is about sprinkling that venture capital stardust, and making a wish.” Yep. And I’m not convinced there’s that much stardust to begin with. ForThem just seems like a random pet project by a queer couple without much website/graphic design training. Plus cringey Cafe Gratitude-type wellness language that makes it read like a MLM scam.

      I’d rather AS had been acquired by an actual media company with proven expertise in this area, honestly. AS isn’t perfect by any means but it’s established (unlike FT) and has produced some truly incredible work over the years. It deserved better.

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