Welcome to For Your Consideration, a series about things we love and love to do — and we’d like to give you permission to embrace your authentic self and love them too.
As a writer here for nearly four years and as a reader for much longer, I can say without a doubt that Autostraddle has changed my life for the better. I could tell you all about how, at A-Camp, I met lifelong friends or about how an article I wrote actually led me to meet someone I’d go onto date or about how, last summer, Riese became one of the very important friends who was there for me while I went through an incredibly Bad Time. Those are all nice stories, and none of them would have been possible without Autostraddle dot com, that’s for sure. Autostraddle births friendships and families and community every day, and yes, that’s incredibly important. But fundraisers aren’t about friendship; they’re about money. So let’s talk about money!!!!!!!!!
For the past five-ish years, I have worked in the hellish, uncertain landscape known as the media industry. I have written for well over a dozen publications. None have made me feel more valued for my work than Autostraddle. Keeping an independent media company alive for a decade is an incredibly hard task. Keeping an independent media company whose audience and content is specifically queer alive for a decade is even harder. Autostraddle has managed to keep on doing it without punishing the people who create that content.
Any freelancer knows the horrors of trying to get paid on time (or, in some cases, at all). Never once has Autostraddle missed a check for me or sent me on some wild goose chase of email chains and invoice systems just to get my money. Every year since I started working here, pay rates have increased. My editors know I get paid more at other publications, and they continually work with me to make that gap as small as possible and to make sure they are supporting me in the ways I need. They check in. They have real conversations with me. Because they care. THIS IS A BIG DEAL!!!! There’s a reason so many newsrooms and media companies are finally organizing unions. This industry — like all others under capitalism — does not fairly value its workers.
I’m also more willing to take a pay cut here because I strongly believe in Autostraddle’s continued existence. Young queer women need Autostraddle. Young trans people need Autostraddle. Lesbians going through dramatic breakups need Autostraddle. The world of television and film criticism needs Autostraddle. The other reason I can accept a lower rate here is because of the strength of the writer-editor relationship. I trust the editors here with my work, and that’s another thing I can’t say about every publication I’ve written for! They also have genuinely made me a stronger writer. Because, again, they care!
Donating money to Autostraddle means directly investing in emerging queer voices. Not many publications value us. I have written for so many places where I was the token queer writer, the token woman of color. Expectations placed on me in these situations felt more like burdens. At Autostraddle, I’ve never been a token. I’ve never been used as a way to flaunt diversity. There isn’t another publication out there that would have taken a chance on me when I pitched an admittedly vague column idea called For Your Consideration, which has turned into a series about the fallout of an affair that fractured my life. Every time I receive a comment or a private message about what this series means to someone who has been through a similar experience, I’m reminded of how important Autostraddle’s reach is. Not only is the editor-writer relationship special here, but the reader-writer one is, too.
Donating money to Autostraddle means giving a platform to underrepresented narratives. It means giving other young writers a chance to find their voice the way I have here. It means continuing to close that pay rate gap so that we can hopefully, eventually get paid what we deserve.