FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US ALL!!

Happy birthday!!! Did you know it was your birthday? Well it is now! Hope you’re excited! The last full day of A-Camp 8.0 was a birthday party for us all and that made me feel GREAT so I wanted to bring that gift to all of us here at Autostraddle. So happy happy birthday! I hope you’re having a great day, and also, here’s some cake!

Also here’s a really cool Pride video to celebrate both Pride and our birthday!! It was edited by Heather Hogan’s very own girlfriend! Happy Pride and happy birthday!!!

Okay, I’d also be lying if I didn’t choose this theme because this week was my real life birthday!! June 7, to be exact. I am now a fully uninsured 26 year old adult! Did you know that every single Gemini born on June 7th is very, very powerful? And many are queer icons! Like Prince! Speaking of Geminis, have y’all read this thing Kristen Iverson wrote about Geminis? I don’t like a lot of the language, especially the throwing around of the word psychopath, but boi oh boi, if you want a look into my head, take a gander at that.

Anyway! Back to our party!! I’m so happy you’re here another year in this world! I think you’re super neat! And I want to keep celebrating with each and every one of you in the comments! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!

Happy birthday from me with a dental dam!

Happy birthday from A-Camp co-directors Kristin and Marni and also Karen from work!

Happy birthday from three jumping queers!

Photos by Molly Adams and Robin Roemer


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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

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82 Comments

  1. At work it was rebate check week, so I replaced my old faithful headlamp with a new one as bright as the sun. My roomate made fun of me for my flashlight enthusiasm, then I blinded him! So I am def celebrating our birthday properly

  2. Happy birthday Alaina! I’m a Gemini too.

    I was supposed to head out on a roadtrip to the coast this morning, but I’m still a new enough driver that I get anxious about long trips and I hardly slept at all last night. So I’m lugging all my heavy bags of stuff onto the overnight Greyhound instead. I really fucking wish there was an on/off switch for sleep. I am so frustrated by how my brain tries to sabotage me like this.

  3. Happy Birthday, Alaina! Happy Birthday, everyone! Sunday is the TONY AWARDS aka the Oscars of Broadway. It’s going to be a tight race for Best Musical, and I’m so excited because Broadway is alive. I saw an Off-Broadway musical last night called Bella, which was written by one of my grads school teachers. I highly recommend it to anyone who may be in NYC this summer.

    Jonathan Safran Foer came to speak at my work the other night, and he was incredible and inspiring. I haven’t read any of his books, but now I must! I might go to the library today and get “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

    I’m trying to get into reading more. I have a learning disability which (combined with attention issues) makes reading very difficult for me. Because of this, I generally don’t read too many books – I prefer online articles. But I want to read books! Books are awesome!

    • happy birthday! yay tony awards!!!!!!!!! have you tried audiobooks? i have found them to be amazing helping me to “read” more, and often libraries have subscriptions where you can just download them onto your phone which is v cool.

  4. Happy birthday Alaina! And I guess its great that I get another birthday because I was too stressed over final year essays to celebrate my actual birthday back in May (I just got the results back from those essays and I got a FIRST in the two I was the most worried about, and high 2:1s in the others. I guess all that blood, sweat and LITERAL tears paid off.) Today I went to an exhibition at the Tate Birtain about Queer British art.It was so interesting and for the £13 I paid, it was good value for money (I was in there for about 4 hours looking at every single painting and reading all the inscriptions.) There was another interactive exhibition on QPOC I wanted to see but it was only when I got there that I realized it was over :(. I still had a good time and I guess it was a good way to spend my ‘birthday’.

  5. Happy birthday Alaina!

    I am not doing gr8 right now because my body freaked out after PT because it decided that the slight relaxation from PT was bad and just everything cramped up. But I’m going to a friend’s wedding tomorrow so I’m gonna soldier through and have a good time anyway.

    I am doing like slightly better mentally though because I bought some more compression socks including some rainbow ones bc like it’s pride month and I gotta wear compression socks for health reasons so yeah gonna war GAY compression socks. I’ve also got some rainbow underwear coming, and a (not gay) but boater hat coming in the mail to look forward to. Also earlier in the week Adrienne Levknecht posted this photo from training for the GoPro games and it has recomfirmed how fucking gay I am (esp when considering that like boater are MY TYPE and Pat Keller is a dude of similar kayaking skills/slightly more fame and not bad looking at all but I’m far more interested in his adorable dog than him)

    The only downside is that I feel uncomfortable with approaching boater ladies because I know how it is with dudes hitting on you all the time when you just want to be boating and I REALLY don’t want to be THAT PERSON (plus like not even sure if the person in question isn’t straight), but it’s also w/e.

    • I think we are all scared of being annoying creepy dude who hits on people who arent interested. Because we know how that feels.

      So I guess the solution is to hit on someone in a way that would make you feel comfortable, y’know? So like, being super clear about what youre asking, explicitly saying that youre interested and then handing the power over to them, so that they can decide whether to take up your offer. Or not, and know that that is a cool option too.

      …im the worst person to give advice on this, but i hear you and maybe thats a good idea?

  6. ALAINA if it’s everyone’s birthday then everyone is a gemini. i ABSOLUTELY cannot handle that. nothing will ever get done and honestly i only have so much patience for listening to someone go deep on foucault if i’m not getting paid and/or class credit. i do love the idea of celebrating everyone and yes the birthday party was, tbh, one of the best days of my life, but please can we all keep our signs? the world needs virgos or it will all fall apart.

    -sincerely, extremely a capricorn.

  7. Happy birthday Alaina!!

    I’m sitting at the station right now to go to the airport. I’m going to Chicago for the weekend! It’s my first time planning and taking a trip like this by myself, so I’m really looking forward to it. If anyone will be at CAKE I hope to see you there!

  8. Happy Birthday Alaina! I hope you had a great one!!!

    Eugh I’ve had a really difficult week but I’m trying to put it behind me now…..I’ve come away for the weekend with my LGBT women’s drumming group so I’m in the countryside surrounded by gay women which is awesome!!
    Buuuuttttt……the teacher had convinced me to give a salsa class tonight, and I’m completely consumed with nerves because it’s the first class I’ve taught in 2 years, I have to teach it in Spanish, and to 70 people!! In combination with the fact my anxiety this week is really bad, it’s making me very panicked!! But at least I get to do it and have it out of the way tonight so I can enjoy the rest of the weekend!

    Hope you all have a great weekend! <3

  9. I’ve decided to endeavour to date again last week, so I’ve downloaded ok Cupid, which is an app now(?) and started liking and writing people, only to be ignored, ghosted or not passing facial inspection.
    The environment is severely lacking in common decency.
    I feel like I’m in a shark tank.
    But then, that was my impression anyway.
    I have this plan to just go ahead and meet people and this romantic notion of having deep conversations with strangers over red wine outside on balmy summer evenings.
    All of the “other things”, like whatever happens on second or third dates will be up for careful and cautious evaluation later.
    Possibly much later.
    This is really far outside my comfort zone.
    Maybe instead of “gay” I ought to be answering “nerd” for sexual orientation in the future.
    Anyway, wish me luck.

    • I feel like despite all the gender and sexuality options on OKC is still can be weird/tough to navigate even more so on mobile. As another person suggested, I’d look into Her. I’d also look in to tinder. I’d also suggest, if you feel comfortable, to ask friends, and other queer folks you know what some of the opening lines they use. Archie(who also writes the Grease Bats comics for this site) and Ethel had some interesting ones mentioned on their podcast and social media pages.

      Also, having deep romantic conversation over red wine on a Summers evening sounds delightful. You will get to have it!

  10. Happy birthday! Thank you for the bonus birthday, I’ll put it on my shelf right next to my natural birthday, also known as National Cereal Day.

    Hmm, open thread topic… well, my external life is relatively sedate, but internally I feel very raw. It’s a little silly though. I’m re-watching Skins and I just got to series 3 and I forgot how deeply this show pierced my heart. It was the first show I watched after I graduated from a women’s college and rejoined the bleakly heterosexual real world. Naomi and Emily made me feel happier, less alone… less lonely. I’ve never been able to go back and re-watch more than an occasional viewing of a particularly beloved episode because of the cruelty that happened later (I will not speak its name). But I think that’s finally far enough in the past that I can ignore it. Now I feel like I’m seeing old friends for the first time in a very long time and it’s lovely and heartbreaking all at once.

    Also TIL that a cat co-authored a physics paper in the 70s and that’s just amazing. A round of appawse for F.D.C. Willard, everyone.

  11. Happy birthday to you! I hope all the cool people you like gave you fun gifts, and lots of love and the cute people asked if they could make out with you! Or something.

    I am right now just dreaming of being a body of water taking a nap(say a warm tub, cause it’s too hot to be in a hot tub). Kind of had a long week of moving boxes, going up and down the stairs, and dealing with people. On the positive side of things I got to hang out with a super lovely queer at this cute Italian restaurant and we just ate a lot of food, drank wine, and talked. I was dressed up a little with a classy shade of red-lipstick, & my AS they/them pin(which I still think needs to glow in the dark).

    On Sunday I went to a queer bazaar at Everyone Gym that AS profile last month. I spoke to a couple of lovely lgbtq people, drank mimosa and ate vegan donuts. It was great! I had a chance to walk by the equipment to get to the gender neutral restroom/changing room, and to quote George Takei, “Oh, my!” The gym has a wide variety of machines, with again gender neutral options for stalls, and changing rooms, and cute outdoor section(where the event was held). If I was closer to the gym(or they opened up a location near me), I’d definitely be a member. If anyone live or works close by to the Everybody it could be the place for you.

    I need a little advice, I kind of like this person, but they keep canceling because of depression and sadness. How much effort is too much effort to keep trying to make place to hang out with them? Also, can someone explain queer Republicans to me, cause I got asked on tinder if I am Caitlin Jenner trans or Lavern Cox Trans(after that question I re-looked at their profile to noticed they had a Trump shirt on). I was pretty offended that I unmatched them.

    Anyone straddlers to LA pride this weekend? Is there a AS meetup for it?

    No nature shots this week, but do have more positive graffiti I’ve done.

    Also, saw this the other night outside a fitness studio.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

  12. Happy Birthday! My birthday isn’t until next month, but I celebrated a huge milestone today: I got to go to my first graduation as a teacher! Watching my students receive their diplomas was a heartwarming experience. They’ve been working hard for years for this moment, and I was so proud to be there with them. This weekend I’ll keep celebrating with three softball games on Sunday, and a haircut tonight. Anyone else playing sports this weekend?

  13. Woo happy birthday!! Let me know how 26 feels, I will be joining you in age and insurance status shortly.

    I’m celebrating by heading to central Europe for the first time this weekend. Does anyone have any tips for queer places to go/see/eat/drink in Vienna, Budapest, or Prague?

  14. Tonight I am seeing Wonder Woman, an activity synonymous with drooling over Gal Gadot for two and a half hours. As an old as fuck closeted baby queer, allowing myself to fawn over another lady is, like, kind of a big deal. It’s the gayest thing I’ve done in weeks! I’m excited!

    I know everyone’s heads are exploding over Antiope, and maybe I’ll hop on board after I see her in action, but…Gal, tho. Right? Ladies? Back me up plz?

    <3

    My Pride month has consisted mainly of things like this — being secretly gay in my brain and my heart. It's not ideal, but it's something. :)

  15. Happy birthday Alaina :) cool that’s two birthdays for me in the last 3 weeks then. Geminis are best :) I don’t want to be thirty yet though… Happy pride everyone :)
    I’m loving Handmaids Tale right now. I finished reading it on Monday and watched the first two episodes on Wednesday and yesterday. Anyone think they’re rushing ahead too much w Ofglen (no spoilers please, I’m on episode two). Her tale spanned almost the whole novel. It’s great to share tv with most of the ppl in my extended family.
    Then I read Neverending Story which was a bad idea as I don’t tend to enjoy hard fantasy & this was no different. I’d only recommend it for big fantasy buffs and then only for clever kids or ppl past the target age (which I am but I struggled). Apparently it’s more readable in the original German though? I loved the film both as a kid & when i rewatched a few years ago.
    Now I’m reading Alice Walker’s poetry. Probably preaching to the converted but I love her work and these poems are great. The book’s called Revolutionary Petunias and other poems.
    I’m going to get my own poem published soon :) my editor asked me about a pseudonym due to my anxiety issues. I might give her the name I use on here. But, the poem she chose was one I wrote while feeling female. That probably doesn’t make sense to others – I go through phases with gender. I’m also scared in case she’s terf and only wanted another female name for it. Probably an ageist fear, just my own mother thinks she understands trans ppl and then uses transphobic language so I don’t know if a cis woman of the older generation would ‘get it’.
    Anyone else on the left in the uk not thrilled about the fact we’re prob going to get a Tory and DUP government? Like, yeah it’s great that the left turned out in such numbers that the Tories lost their majority. But I can’t see anything great coming from Tories and the DUP…
    I wrote three queer poems this week, good way for an introvert to celebrate.
    I’ve spent the last few months purely hedonistic but I feel like serious emotions will be around the corner soon.
    Happy pride everyone :) And birthday lol. And real birthday Alaina and anyone else whose birthday it really is.

  16. I reported someone at my work to admin and theyre response has been to hide The Squeaky Wheel in other classrooms!

    I stayed late today to help paint faces at the “Summer Kickoff Party” Anyway!

    I’m MAD and I’m SAD!

  17. Hey lovely people! I just finished reading the Handmaid’s Tale for the first time and I am….shook. I was really really nauseous at times.

    BUT. 10 Things I Hate About You is on and then it’s Drag Race time and I have a cocktail in hand so things are looking up.

  18. Happy birthday to you! We all live in a zoo!
    Yesterday, I had a brutal Precalculus Algebra test. My sister has a weird rash that’s still spreading, but at least she isn’t missing school. Tomorrow Mom and I are taking are old, deaf Parson Russel in for kidney treatment.
    On the bright side, I got to sleep in today. I got some chores done, finally made an AVEN account, and started imputing my elected officials’ contact information into my new phone. For dinner we enjoyed barbeque meatball subs!

  19. Happy birthday! that floral embroidered denim shirt you’re wearing is THE SHIT where did you get it? i need it in my life.
    commencement is next week and i just realized that most of my friends are graduating seniors and i’m very sad about it. but the bright side is that now the friends i have left are all my age or younger so now i won’t be left out when every event/party/get-together happens at a bar that i can’t get into. and i’ll make lots of younger friends and then i’ll have lots of people to cry over me when I graduate, so there’s that.
    i won the English Department essay prize, y’all! a professor encouraged me to submit a paper i wrote (“Came From a Woman, Got Our Name From a Woman: Female Bodies as Sites of Identity, History and Narrative in ‘Absalom, Absalom!'”)for her Lit, Sexuality and Gender class. i didn’t think it was anything to write home about but she liked it and apparently the department did too! most of my life i’ve been plagued by intense imposter syndrome, and college exacerbated it for a while, but lately i don’t feel it as strongly.
    Operation Just Come Out Already, It’s Not Like You’re Really Fooling Anyone is on track for sometime this summer. updates to follow.

  20. I feel really good with the label lesbian on the inside, but on the outside not so much. I cut my hair and I feel like I look too gay, it scares me.
    Anyways, life ain’t bad. My garden is boss, I bought a crystal pleasure wand, and I’m working on my writerly skills. It’s really hard, I’m good but no one knows it! :o I temporarily deleted Instagram and I FEEL SO GOOD.
    Can I just say Jane the Virgin and One Day at a Time, CHANGED me as a amixed blatina. I just need some more Indigenous and Afro Latina representation because latinx aren’t just white women or white passing women. I write more and believe in myself because of Jane the Virgin and I feel more at peace being queer because of One Day at a Time, I tear up EVERY TIME I think of that show.
    Also I thought this girl was queer, got a crush and SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND. What?? I have her number and we’re going to hang out, but it’s not really fun now. I know I shouldn’t judge, but ever see someone with a boyfriend and you’re like “you’re straight?” *squints eyes* lol. I have to deprogram myself from that, but sometimes that’s exactly how I feel.
    Anyway that’s it.

  21. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET CHICKADEES!

    I hope everyone is having a great week! That video is GREAT, but(!) I wish that they didn’t have “ally” for A. What about Asexual? Or other things that start with A?

    Last week I wish I had written in, but how time flies, so I will write for last week and this week.

    Essentially, I am spending the final two months of my long distance relationship working my little butt off at my job trying to finish a big project and I had just the worst week ever two weeks ago. It’s like everything I said just came out wrong and everything I did just didn’t work and I was working too many hours, worked through the whole weekend, wasn’t eating very well, etc etc. a recipe for disaster!

    Well, I stay home on memorial day and (I live with my girlfriend’s dad) my girlfriend’s dad says “You have a package! Come look at this large box!”. So, I go over to said large box, unfold the flaps of the box, and who do I find curled up in the box is MY GIRLFRIEND WHO IS THE BEST PERSON EVER! She flew to the East Coast all the way from California without telling me and was in total cahoots with her dad/siblings to come and surprise me! By some act of god she found extremely cheap tickets on Thursday and just decided to come and surprise me! She also brought a whole bouquet of fresh sunflowers (my favorite) from california for me!!

    She stayed for the whole week and it was just the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.

    This week was the last week of my bike mechanic class but the teacher decided to hold another session starting next week so I’m going to retake the class and cement my knowledge. I can now true a wheel (the final class topic). The teachers are holding a movie night for everyone who came to the class, so I’m finally going to see peewee’s big adventure!

    I’ve still been working 10-11 hour days this week but it feels like a whole new me ever since my girlfriend visited.

    I also got my haircut today, which I’ve been sorely needing and I feel 100000000x better about my appearance since I am no longer in that awkward short-hair-growing-out stage.

    love and light to everyone! T-minus 25 days until I’m finally back with my boo :)

  22. This actually got written last Sunday but I saved it for Friday Open Thread. That’s how much I loved this movie —

    We saw Wonder Woman!! It was fucking awesome! We were dazed and confused as we left the theater, that movie-dizzy feeling, the disorientation of suddenly leaving behind Diana of Themiscyra flying through the air and stuff blowing up and her fighting evil and being generally wonderful. And then you’re just on the street again, in Brooklyn, across from the park. It’s a Sunday afternoon.

    We talked about it as we walked toward Hildy, our car — we’d gotten lucky, parked only a block away and on a Sunday so no parking meter fees — and how we were blown away by the film. Saying shit like, “Holy fuck” and “That was amazing” and trying to not collide with other pedestrians. And I spotted one clever little queer reference in the background, “Bunbury & Co.” on a sign; it’s a name from an Oscar Wilde play; there must be others, it’ll be fun to look for them when it’s out for home use. Only gradually did the spell wear off.

    I wore this beautiful shirt I basically stole from my sweetie. I love it. It’s from India, long sleeves, some kind of cotton-rayon mix I think, over a blue tank, and this blue scarf I brought along because it was of course freezing in there. I found the shirt in my basket and didn’t recognize it (this is no real excuse since I do nearly all the laundry, and by definition all of it if she’s out of town) and tried it on, and it fit, and I really needed a shirt exactly like that because the weather keeps going back and forth from summery to crappy and I needed something to keep me warmish during the low-sixties and windy and drippy days. Another chilly June. So I thought, it could be one of the ones she gave me, it fits, how could it fit my arms so perfectly unless it didn’t fit her? And so on. I kept desperately rationalizing. She was out of town.

    I really really love it.

    When I first came out in public, a few months ago, and we were busy ordering lots of basic stuff online, we agreed — she insisted, really — that we not mix up our wardrobes (it’s doable really, there are lots of things that fit us both), even though I love it because I think it’s really gay. (I love all those lesbian stereotypes or tropes or memes or whatever the fuck they’re called now. I’m really from the Nineties, in lots of ways.) Plus I needed the clothes, ffs, more so at the start (in February). I’ve gotten some nice stuff from her that really truly fit me but not her.

    And so, I’ve just spent $72, basically. We moved the cost of the shirt from her monthly personal-stuff ledger to mine. It is kind of perfect for me, it really is a look (I need a look, and quick, something suitably fashionable for a tall and rather stout woman around fifty) and I do look great in it, she says, which is why I wore it to see WW, tbh, that and she was out of town when it mysteriously appeared in my basket. It was an honest mistake originally. And it helped keep me warm and it really is beautiful, dyed blue cotton with some kind of tie-dye pattern. I more or less apologized a lot for stealing her shirt. She’s very nice about it, says I look great in it.

    This also worked with a pair of pants I flat-out knew were hers, but borrowed anyway because of weather compatibility while she was, yes, out of town. (She’s a math professor and also not just “a” but the math games expert, by this point in her career; she recently ran the featured workshop at a conference near Baltimore, while I was rationalizing to myself the theft her shirt. She has fans, even.)

    She didn’t like the pants, however, so I could just have them. I’ve been building a wardrobe in fits and starts for months, I came out publicly trans in February and have been learning basics like what to do with a scarf and why. Kathleen’s help is invaluable. She was very nice about me stealing her shirt and then rationalizing it away, which made me feel even guiltier about it. So I promised not to do it again. I mean it, too. I only need one shirt like that.

    But anyway, that film, with Gal Gilad, playing Diana, she is fucking awesome. Patty Jenkins, the director, is fucking awesome too. Like Kathleen (my sweetie, partner, and wife) said about watching Supergirl after dinner, “We can keep that superhero dazzle going!” The film is just full of dazzle and Diana, and Patty Jenkins made that happen for us.

  23. It’s the second week of my new job. I’ve been adulting hard by getting my 401k and W4 in, setting up autopay for all my bills, and socializing with my coworkers, plus trying to you know, do my actual job. I’m starting to get a handle on the technologies I’m using, I think, and learning more about REST APIs than I ever really wanted to know. I still don’t ever really want to be a Web Programmer.

    In other news, I upgraded my Autostraddle membership, since I am somewhat less poor now. Please keep existing, Autostraddle, I would miss you if you were gone!

  24. I always immediately bristle when people try to come for Geminis, because I firmly believe 84% of us are just trying to mind our business and have weird fun, but then I think about Donald Trump celebrating his birthday the day before mine and I’m like yeah…maybe…there’s…something…off.

    I do regularly consider myself the human equivalent of soft and beautiful suede, though, so maybe Kristin Iversen is really onto something here ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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