FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: When Did You Find Autostraddle And What Happened Next?


Okay, sorry for yelling so early on a Friday, but like, wow, right?!?! Can you believe that Autostraddle, this special magical project, has somehow survived for a whole decade?! It is truly wild! We have so much to share with you today so we can all celebrate together – a delicious birthday cake recipe, a mailbag filled with handmade cards from our dear readers (that’s YOU!), an A+ advice-a-thon, a fundraiser, and an interactive yearbook that is going to literally blow your mind!!! – but I wanted to take a moment during this Friday Open Thread to check in with you on this very special day.

How are you celebrating Autostraddle’s 10th birthday?!?!?!!!

I wanna know when you found Autostraddle. What year was it? Which article did you click on first? What did your haircut look like? Did a friend tell you about these weirdo queers on the internet who were writing posts about cereal and hot girls and books and Tegan & Sara or were you that queer telling your whole friend group about your favorite new site? Did you have a big queer friend group? Did you make friends through Autostraddle? Did you go to a meet-up? Did you meet your girlfriend through the site? What about your ex-wife? How is your life different because of Autostraddle? What stayed the same since you first read us? What has changed? Are you a new reader? Have you been here since Day One? I wanna know how you got here. I wanna know what your life looked like when you found Autostraddle, and I wanna know what happened next!

Happy 10th Birthday to Autostraddle, y’all. Let’s raise our mugs of tea and coffee and orange juice and whatever the heck else we might be drinking on a Friday morning and cheers this babe. Without her we wouldn’t be here, and life as we know it would be way less good and way less gay.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. Happiest of birthdays dear Autostraddle!!!!!! I’m so glad you are here, I am so glad we are all here <3
    I found AS 9 years ago, when I was just beginning to understand my sexuality and not quite gender yet, so I was googling lots of lesbian + (books,style,movies, etc) to find any sort of culture or history because I felt tetherless. I lived in a boring miserable suburb of Portland, with one queer acquaintance, and was just coming out of the most severe depression I've ever had. I was a freshman in high school and it's been so life changing to have this space and community for this long and from such a formative time in my life. I was thinking about my grad thesis research the other day and how a number of my sources are things I read in high school. I tried to remember how I found Audre Lorde's work in particular, I know it wouldn't have been in my school, my parents, my friends or any other sources, so she had to have been someone I read about here and then searched out her work in the library. To me that's the depth of how this website/community has impacted me, it's everything, it's everything I know and do, and the people I know and love. It's the friendships that have formed, some that have faded, and some that are still strong, but all of them have shown me what relationships can look like and what being known feels like. I've put maybe too much of my life details in the comments sections over the years, but as embarrassing as I'm sure some of the older stuff is, I wouldn't take any second or word of it back. I feel like I have a strong tether to myself, history, communities, and envisioning a better future because I have Autostraddle in my life.
    Thank you Autostraddle! Thank you Riese! Thank you all the editors, writers, contributors, and commenters! Thank you A+ members! <3

    • JAY THIS COMMENT MADE ME CRY. it feels somehow so completely perfect and fitting that yours is the first comment on this thread.

      thank you for articulating how so many of us feel. thank you for growing up with us. thank you for everything. i’m so glad you’re here and we all love you so much. <3

  2. Happy birthday! Almost certain I found autostraddle through effing dykes! Krista! Sometimes I see pictures of old site designs and go “oh! oh! oh!”. This was approximately 8 years ago. I haven’t been here since the beginning but for a very very long time. I have read pretty much daily since then! I recognize all the authors and all these little things. The other day I recommended a specific post to someone and realized it was from 2015? Which is a long time ago.

    I love you all, thank you.

    • I do this so often! I’m like “we wrote about this recently on Autostraddle” and then I look it up and it’s from 2012. Oops. What is time?!??!?!

      I also have such nostalgic feelings about the (many!) old site designs and I love that you found us through Krista. Bless the tiny queer universe, amen.

      We love you, thank you for being here for so long <3

  3. I found autostraddle by following a link at the bottom of a Thought Catalog piece Laneia wrote about cute things her kid said, and it was perfect timing for me as a shy bisexual 21-year old, in a verylongdistance relationship with an angry straight guy and a very intense situationship with a dazzling lady at my college. I was so torn about my feelings and I had so many of them!! And you were all here, being pals, loving each other and being the only place I read the comments.

    I didn’t fully feel like I got all the cultural references, but I read everything and absorbed so much of this welcoming, feminist, antiracist, antitransphobic, inclusiveasfuck and always trying to be more so, atmosphere and I’m so much better for it. <3

    • I love this so so so much. Especially because I loved that Thought Catalog piece of Laneia’s so much! And it was so long ago. Gosh we’ve all really been here together for so long, huh? Feels like forever. I am so grateful. Thank you for being with us. <3

  4. I found you from Reddit! Someone had shared the article about the fingernails (you all know the one…).

    I was in the middle of writing up my PhD dissertation and instead I read everything I could find on the site in two weeks

    Then I realised I was into women and came out ! And had sex! What a ride.


      Mazel tov on everything you just mentioned and I’m so glad you found us and that you’re still here!!! <3

  5. I believe I found Autostraddle about 5 or 6 years ago by googling “How to look like a lesbian???”

    Don’t know if I look more like a lesbian now than I did then, but I have learned so much about queer history, fashion, pop culture, and had some good laughs along the way! I simultaneously can’t believe that Autostraddle has been around for 10 years already and that it hasn’t been a part of my life forever. I would be such a different person without this website and its community. Hoping for 10 years more!

    • I feel the same way! Who would I be without Autostraddle? LITERALLY A WHOLE DIFFERENT PERSON. Thank goddess we are all the way we are instead. Thank you for wishing us 10 more years – I hope we get that, too!


  6. Happy Birthday!!! I first started coming to this site in late 2009 or early 2010 and I can’t remember what article brought me here but I think it was a google search after consuming everything I could on Afterellen and wanting more queer content. I was so excited when Heather started working for Autostraddle, her recaps for Afterellen where my favorite.

    Congratulations on 10 years and hopefully many more to come!

  7. i can’t remember exactly how i found autostraddle, but i was probably googling gay stuff in roughyl 2010/2011 trying to figure out if i was gay or not, because i was like pretty deep in denial?

    anyways i found an article about coming out, and i cannot find it now but there was a line along the lines of ‘coming out is what happened when i realized i hated myself and i didn’t know why’ and it hit me in the gut and i said OH. THAT’S ME.

    long story short, autostraddle was the final piece of the i’m-a-gay-now-let’s-admit-it-to-myself-then-out-loud puzzle. i’ve been a devoted reader ever since!

  8. I found Autostraddle at some point during an internet hole that I fell down while googling “how to know if you should leave your girlfriend?”

    Dear audience, I did leave her.

    And then I went to my first Autostraddle meet up. Where I met the lady knight of my wildest dreams.

    p.s. moved to the mountains to wear all the flannel and chop wood with axes.

        • You should hang w/my Pac-West bud N’Gok, her wife and THEIR PERFECT doggo; a white pittie that loves to have snowballs tossed over her head!

    • ummm i’m obsessed with this story???

      proud of you for leaving your gf, proud of you for finding the lady knight of your wildest dreams, thrilled that autostraddle could play a role in it all!


  9. Happy birthday, dearest Autostraddle!
    Look at you, a decade old! I’m so proud! I’m very grateful for this space, I honestly believe it has made me a better person.
    I got here 8 or 9 years ago through a link on Dorothy Snarker’s blog, which I found through AfterEllen. I lurked for a long time before creating several burner account then finally settling on this one after I won a comment award.
    Congratulations to Riese and the whole team, this is quite the accomplishment

    • And you just keep on winning those comment awards, don’t you my dear? Your wit is one of the side benefits of being a member of this community, one that I am truly grateful for.

    • thank youuuuu belatedly for this sweet comment, carmen sandiego! now i am oh so curious what your burner accounts were…

  10. Crap !! I forgot to send a Birthday card. Typical of me tbh

    Back to the topic at hand, I found Autostraddle through my ex, shortly after seeing the Academy Award-winning film Carol where we were both frantically searching the internet for stuff on Carol or her real-life alter ego Cate Blanchett. You must’ve had something on Carol, is that possible LOL.

    For me it was Love-At-First-Sight with Autostraddle ! I discovered a Spectacular website and a Sparkling community honestly words fail me. My ex wandered off to do whatever ex’es do, and I stayed and fell more and more in love. You’ve helped me through a lot in those 3 years ! And like @lundy, I too have revealed so many personal details about myself I’m astounded ! Like, I trust you all, ya know ? I’m pretty gobsmacked about that. This is one of my most favourite relationships for sure.

    Happy Birthday Autostraddle ! Hugs to all you’re so wonderful.

    • this comment is so lovely and i am going through belatedly telling y’all how much i love you because march was kind of a shit show wasn’t it but i want you to know i am reading every single story and y’all are beautiful. we trust you, too. thanks for being here. <3

  11. This is the thread that finally got me to log in and post. I’ve been following Autostraddle since before it was re-named and re-branded as such. I remember the day the new site was launched and I remember being so excited by the vision of queer/lesbian media by people who were my age and stage in life. I remember devouring the new content as “Autowin/This Girl Called Automatic Win” transitioned to the Autostraddle that I’ve known and loved for 10 years!

    I never comment, but read the articles and others’ comments daily. Autostraddle has always helped me feel connected with the queer community even when life has been too busy for much beyond work and family.

    Thanks Riese and Team for all you do! Happy Birthday!

    • I love this so much – thank you for logging in and sharing with us! I wondered how many folks who are still around were here since before-Autostraddle-was-technically-Autostraddle. It’s a really sweet feeling to be around folks who honestly feel like family. Our own little weirdo corner of the big gay internet.

      Thank you for reading, thank you for still being here, thank you for everything. We love you!

  12. Most happiest and glorious of birthdays to Autostraddle! I only found y’all last year at the beginning of my midlife crisis. I hadn’t needed a lesbian culture energy source for about a decade before that. And now it feels imperative. I probably found the ‘Straddle (may I call you that?) via…wait for it…a search for Lip Service recaps. I sweartogod I have other interests. For example, since I just saw They Shall Not Grow Old, I want to know everything about the history of dentistry.

    Returning to the subject at hand, I raise a glass to your milestone, thank the powers that be for your existence, and will, just as I do every day, hit “reload” to check for new posts more times than I wish to admit.

    • We’re so glad you’re here! Thank you for joining us, thank you for the toast, and thank you for reloading and reading!!!

      <3 <3 <3

  13. I found Autostraddle in 2017, shortly before y’all interviewed Alicia Johnston [the former SDA pastor who came out to her congregation]. At the time, I was heavily involved in the SDA church and struggling with processing my queerness, so that article [and several others on here] were such a huge help for me. I’m so thankful this space exists, yall have helped me to grow so much in the past 2 years! Happy Birthday, Autostraddle!!

    • i’m so glad you found us and so glad we could help and so so so glad that you’re here!! <3

  14. Somebody linked the Ellen Page coming out story (from facebook I think? one of my favorite things about my women’s college alum facebook group is the frequency with which autostraddle is referenced). I had been reading Afterellen for a few years by then (mostly for the TV recaps, Hi Heather) but thus began my migration to AS. I honestly don’t remember the sequence of events that introduced me to the gay internet, only that at some point it became very clear that it was more fun to watch TV shows with an eye toward how we all wanted the girls to kiss. Which then raised some questions.

    For years I had rules about when and how I could access my favorite websites. I wouldn’t search afterellen, only “glee graphed” (hi again heather) and backtrack onto the website from there. I would only go on from my dorm room or apartment, never at school or work. These were entirely self-imposed as I was an adult with my own laptop but I have a long and storied history of making nonsensical rules for myself so here we are. Now Autostraddle is my favorite bookmark, and is usually at least one tab on my phone at any time. I watch TV shows at least 99% based on AS rec’s and read books at least 50% based on AS reviews.

    Anyway Happy Bday to my favorite slice of the internet :) Not sure what the website equivalent of “entering adolescence” would be for a website, but I am excited to find out.

  15. I first came across AS in 2016, searching for gay stuff to do in DC with someone I am dating. At some point after that I started following you on Facebook, and slowly got sucked in. Last year I become an A+ member, and there is no turning back!
    This has sort of been my queer community, because there isn’t much where I live. It has meant a lot to me, really!!!

  16. I found AS by accident around the time I was realizing that I’d accidentally bi-erased my identity (after 12+ years with my cis het husband) and trying to figure out what to do next.

    That was 5 or 6 years ago. The first article I remember reading was one by Riese about sick lit – probably found it through some link on some book blog.

    It took me awhile to become a regular reader and even longer to become a regular commenter. At first I felt completely out of place – I didn’t get the millennial pop culture references, I didn’t know a lot of the queer jargon, I didn’t know the flags. I felt like Rip Van Queer-kle. I’d stopped paying attention to queer culture in like the late 90s or maybe after I got married in 2001 and boy howdy did it change while I wasn’t looking.

    AS, along with The Toast and a couple romance focused book blogs

    • Crap. Wasn’t done.

      AS was on of the online communities where I started experimenting with being more openly bi, where I started figuring out how to be authentically myself.

      I think that the very first time I posted on an open thread I said that I was about to go to my very first queer book group and that I was nervous about admitting that I’m married to a man to IRL queer people. And someone wished me luck.

      And today I am pretty fully out in my in-person and online life. And AS has been with me every step of the way.

      I’m also a survivor of CSA and AS has been a really great support for that too. 4 years ago, i saw a You Should Go mention of a
      a Monument Quilt showing in Chicago. It’s a public art project similar to the AIDS quilt for survivors of sexual violence. It was incredibly moving and inspired me to make my own square. And I’m going to the final display June 1, when they lay out all thr squares on the National Mall.

  17. Happiest of birthdays to all you beautiful people! I followed Heather Hogan (and @kristana and @CarmenSanDiego) over from the Site That Must Not Be Named, and boi howdy am I glad that I did! It all started with my obsession with queer representation in media, but now I must have my Wednesday Vapid Fluff, Reneice’s weekly recipes, and Al, Laneia, and Reise’s internet reading suggestions (You three do the goddess’s work, you truly do.). Oh, and the personal essays! Also, I’m not sure I could have survived the political turmoil of the past few decades (it has been decades, right?) without y’all. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all that you do and all that you are! I will light one up in your honor tonight!

  18. i think it was 2013 but i didn’t really get into it until 2015, and then i found out about camp, and then i went to camp and made so many friends! none of whom i ever see, because they all live far away.

    i went to camp again the next year (the spring wisco camp), but since then i haven’t been able to afford it, or it sold out faster than i had planned on, etc. sad faces all around.

    i think i am happier since having found autostraddle, and I’m glad it is here, but i don’t think i am happier BECAUSE of autostraddle. i still don’t have a local queer community (or community at all?)

    i am going to try and visit an LGBTQ group of folks who live in a sort of community in the area I’m in now sometime soon, though. They aren’t like, fully a commune, from what has been explained, but they also sort of are? I don’t really know.

    I wish I lived closer to all my camp buddies, though. That would be nice.

  19. It’s funny–I have very clear memories of reading Autostraddle during my last, like, 2.5 semesters of college, which is chronologically impossible. (I graduated in May 2009.)

    I think I actually found Autostraddle via a link to the Taylor Swift/Lady Gaga piece in 2010–I have long tried to fake my way through pop culture knowledge via other people’s criticism, so that tracks.

    • That article was a big thing that drew me to the site, too! I read Riese’s blog and had clicked through to Autostraddle a few times before, but that was the article that made me think, okay, I love this site…before I even realized I was gay! Bless TSwift/Lady Gaga/2010, amen.

  20. i’ve been here since the beginning and feel like i took part in all the sweet growing pains and phases…
    I remember katrina’s how to be gay series was influential for me, also top ten sweatpants. it’s fun to open those old articles that made such an impression and reflect how much has changed and grown. Thanks for all you do

  21. Hiiii happy birthday Autostraddle! I found Autostraddle in 2011 when someone in the comments of one of Heathers AfterEllen Glee recaps said that Riese also did them on AS, and after that I only went to AfterEllen for things Heather wrote.

    I had ONE queer friend in the Midwest, and was just a lurker on AS until I finally registered for A-Camp May 2013 and haven’t missed camp since (although I won’t be going this year 😭😭).

    A-Camp gave me a bunch of awesome queer friends, community, and my partner of almost 5 years, so it’s safe to say that I will be forever greatful that Autostraddle was created. 🖤

  22. I found AS in…2012? 2013? Honestly I can’t remember. But I do know that I found it through the Effing Dykes blog. In 2012 I wrote into this anonymous help chat thing at my college FREAKING OUT about being gay, their advice linked me to Effing Dykes, which eventually linked me to AS and the rest was history.

    When I first found about A-Camp (back when they it was twice a year) it became my goal to go. And I did in 2014! And then every year after that!

    Every year that I go back to camp it is sort of like a marker of my gay life. The first year I went, I was barely out to anyone, and had never even kissed a girl. I was so, so nervous for camp, and was convinced I didn’t belong. Another year was right after my first heartbreak, and another year the realization that I was nonbinary hit me during a staff reading.

    Now I’m very, very gay and also I tell every queer I meet about Autostraddle if they don’t already know about it. So Happy Birthday to you, thank you for existing. I do not know where I would be without you!

  23. I can’t remember the exact year I discovered Autostraddle, but I want to say it was around 2015 and I was getting tired of Tumblr and running into these lesbian feminist blogs making fun of trans women and I just wanted a safe space. I asked around lesbian and feminist sites if they are inclusive of all trans woman and someone on the staff emailed me back pointing to a trans scribe article and I was hooked. I became a daily reader after reading a porn related article(I think?) about genderqueer superstar Jiz Lee and explaining pronouns and what genderqueer is. It was then I discovered more of my self and that autostraddle is a gem of a site I should be reading daily instead of every few days or so. Happy birthday beautiful gentlebeings and this great site.

    How is everyone’s week going? I had a work place accident Friday afternoon where I banged my knee on the corner of a hard metal object, which put me out of commission for the afternoon and night. Wasn’t able to properly walk. It really hurt my bone down to my foot for a few days. Still not 100% and that bums me out as it may hamper me from hiking and seeing all the beautiful flowers that will be in bloom after all the rain we had. On the positive I spent my Sunday with friends at Cuties Coffee(The Planet) and it was great. Had tea, great convo, taste food and tea, and cute gals and nb pals all over(I have small crush on this cute Jewish girl who’s does metal work). I also had beer and then ice cream at the neighboring businesses. One of those needed Sundays.

    My birthday is about a month away and I am hoping to meet up with my best friend this weekend to plan our joint celebration(hers is 2 days before mine) in San Luis Obispo, California as they have this kitschy motel the Madonna Inn with a romance room where we plan to drink fancy drinks and be in a hot tub. A two person Dinah Shore if you will but will less pasties and bud light ads. lol Related note my bff’s mother took an ancestry test and found out they are of Scandinavian heritage on that side of the family and not Ashkenazi like my friend thought and that kind of is messing with her. How do I reassure her she still the same Bette Midler loving, Jewish atheist as I met day one? Well beside singing Wind Beneath My Wings off key.

    Flowers are already blooming nicely in town.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend. Also, don’t forget for those of us in the States(not Arizona or Hawaii) and I think Canada, it’s day lights savings.

  24. So I guess I’m still pretty much a newbie here, I found Autostraddle last year, I googled ‘lesbian advice column’ and one of those You Need Help articles was linked so I did some searching because I felt like I was the only lesbian in the world who’s in her 30s and never dated ever and no woman would ever date someone as inexperienced as me! Obviously, I’m not the only one like that. But that’s my story.

    • I’m so glad you found us! You are DEFINITELY not the only one!!! Thank you for being here, we love you! <3

    • I understand your feelings Ashley! I just recently realized that perhaps I am bi, and am also inexperienced in my 30s and worried :/

  25. I ran into the Haviland & Riese vlogs somehow which led me to autowin which led me to Autostraddle in late March 2010. I was 18.

    • FYI you and your presence on the site is such a major part of What Autostraddle Is for me, and once you didn’t comment for a long stretch of time and I emailed Rachel and all the senior editors to see if they thought you were okay and to ask if it would be weird to try to reach out to you because I was worried. <3 <3 <3

      • aw, vanessa! i know that was several years ago but even still, i’ve dropped off on commenting for quite a long time. i’m still here tho, forever lurking

  26. Happy freakin’ birthday Autostraddle!!!

    I found Autostraddle five years ago post break-up with an abusive boyfriend while trying to figure out how gay I might actually be. Turns out the answer was “very.” Autostraddle was a literal blessing in presenting a world and a community that I could belong to, and did belong to. Now I just celebrated a two-year anniversary with my love <3

    Y'all provide all the laughs, loves, and news that a lesbian in the south needs to feel connected to a community when the one where I'm at is so disconnected. I don't always comment, but I keep up with the site as my daily dose of community.

    I hope y'all are around for so many more years!!

  27. oh, autostraddle. a lot of us mention how this site saved our lives, and i am one of those folks. eternally grateful that this community exists, that i’ve found a chosen family through it, that so many of the writers and editors are so gracious and kind and open about their struggles and daily realities. i don’t know who i would be without this site.

    i found autostraddle in 2012 (i believe, possible it’s 2013) after being married to a straight, cis man for several years. i won’t get into the gory details, but after growing up in a church-planting, minister-filled conservative christian home, i was so in the closet i could barely acknowledge i was there. but i found myself sitting alone at my kitchen table one day, paging through my NKJ and reading all the clobber verses on homosexuality and feeling this absolute, complete, wretched despair. i was so tired of hiding, but i didn’t know how else to live. i googled “gay christians” and low and behold, found jana’s 2011 article “how i came out to my evangelical parents and you can, too” and just started sobbing over the pages of my bible. i was bisexual, had no idea how to articulate my queer identity or my faith, and wasn’t alone. it was a year or two after that that i came out to my husband and close friends, and almost five until i came out to my parents (and eventually, in-laws), but that first article was the piece that gave me the courage to acknowledge all of the complicated parts of myself.

    it’s been a long road, and i still don’t have a lot of answers, but reading pieces on christianity from heather hogan, audrey, mey, and alaina (along with beautiful writing on faith and spirituality from so many others) gave me hope that a community existed where i might find a home. and i did! it’s here at autostraddle dot com and i’m so fucking grateful.

    endless gratitude for everything that you all do. no matter what the future holds, so many of us will never be the same 🖤

  28. For me it was some time mid-2017 when I was desperate for queer community. I remember being at work taking any chance I could reading as many articles as I could find because I didn’t want to wait til I got home again.

    Autostraddle’s helped make me much more confident in my gayness and I’ve found so many tv shows, books and films because of your reviews or love for them.

    On Tuesday, after living here for over six years, I’m planning to finally go to my city’s LGBT group for the first time. I’m nervous because I don’t know what to expect but excited too! I don’t know if I’d have got to this point without Autostraddle. You’re all awesome and I’m so grateful to have found you. I hope we can all be here in another ten years!

  29. Happy Birthday, Autostraddle! I found the website around October/November 2009 via some link on a forum. I can’t remember what the article was about, but I’m very grateful that I clicked on that link.

    Thank you for existing!!!

  30. Happy Birthday, Autostraddle!

    I can’t remember exactly how I found Autostraddle, but it was some time in late 2009/early 2010 when I was extricating myself from a long-term straight relationship that was preventing me from being whole myself and lurking around on Tumblr and Effing Dykes, testing a hypothesis that I was queer. Autostraddle has been instrumental in helping me figure out who I am and confirming that it is totally ok and even downright rad. I loved Autostraddle then and I love it now. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. <3

  31. How I found Autostraddle is thru my libido. Saw a picture of someone that made me feel like I was on fire, researched them found their writing and looked at all the other writing then because I was in a safer space/place starting bleeding soppy feelings all over the place.
    Cried for the first time in years, let things out I had kept in since I was a child.

    Now that I feel less safe, my physical health is doing the wacky, I find myself retreating and struggling to say things I want to say. Even impersonal trivial things

    My life looked so much better when I first found AS.

    In less depressing news Mark I of mini-king cake has just finished baking, shape wise it looks like chubbiest twist loaf.
    After it cools and I glaze it I get to learn how well my adjustments and cross-referencing worked out then get to de-bugging the recipe. Applying what I have learned like this is exciting.

  32. I don’t remember when I first started coming to AS, but I do distinctly remember being over the moon when Heather Hogan joined. I’d been following Heather’s writing on AfterEllen for a while and she was my absolute fav, and then she joined my favorite website!

  33. I first came to Autostraddle as a middle schooler questioning my sexuality: part of That Teenage Phase (part one). I was a tangle-haired seventh-grader illuminated, ghostlike, by the cheap screen of her school-issued Chromebook, forced to introspect for answers way too late at night. Of course, I first turned to BuzzFeed quizzes to determine my sexuality, but afterwards I came to Autostraddle for queer dating advice (how to ask out that cutie in a trench coat) and stayed for queer news and role models.

    Then That Teenage Phase (part two) arrived, and I discovered I was transgender. I’m now an almost-out guy! I still check Autostraddle out of habit, mostly because I can’t find any gay/trans media focused toward dudes that also manages to fill the Autostraddle-shaped bootprints in my heart.

  34. I remember my first friend who came out to me in high school introduced me to this website. We would go on here after school and she would show me articles and we’d talk about tegan and sara and her tegan and sara haircut and how she kinda reminded me of reise a little bit. I remember four or five years ago autostraddle came back to me after I started googling stuff on how to figure out if you’re gay or not and reading some articles that made me cry so much. I’ve been here ever since

  35. One year ago, right around this time, I stumbled upon Erin’s “30 Days of Carol” and was blown away by her masterpiece of musings on the film’s minutiae. Her clever and hilarious daily posts and the equally funny comments were evidence that at least a handful of others on the planet still share my borderline unhealthy obsession. I felt validated and unashamed while laughing my ass off. So Happy Birthday, AS! Thank you, Erin! And cheers to my fellow Carolheads! Our Carol can kick your Carol’s ass!

  36. Compared with most of you, I am very late to this party!! I have only been “out to myself” for about six months, and have been reading Autostraddle for 7 or 8 months.
    Okay, so I never had any crushes on any boys in middle, high school, or even college, and i thought it was just because they were all too dumb, and I was always just too smart for them, LOL, no, I know that sounds conceted. :). But then, I got into a relationship with the first cis-het dude who gave me some attention, and I thought I just had to settle for it if i wanted anyone at all in my life. At that same time, I was getting a crash course in millenial-generation feminism from wherever i could find it, starting with J. Courtney Sullivan’s books, and a podcast called Stuff Mom Never Told You. From there, I began listening to Queery with Cameron Esposito as a lark. I liked her voice, and respected what she had to say. I went back through the archives and fount Kathy Tu’s interview, and her synopsis of her time at A-Camp! Though I wasn’t quite fully out to myself at the time, I had an immediate visceral reaction and said, “That’s a place I NEED TO BE! I started reading Autostraddle regularly and from the beginning, I’ve felt abbsorbed by the warmth, the diverse topics and the inclusivity! I’d regularly binge through the archives and found it all so very captivating. I enjoy the milenial writing style very much. All my life, old people (70 +) have been the only crowd to ever give me the time of day, and it finally felt good to be among my peers! I still value my boomer friends, but now, I’m branching out!

    Then after a while, my “relationship” began to unravel. One day, I was with my students doing some sort of volunteer and/or work study thing where we were outside doing lots of tedious work in silence, and I started to really journey inside of myself. I started having fantasies about dating women, and felt terribble, believing I was “mentally cheating” on my partner. And then one day, I watched the first episode of Season 1 of the L Word on Netflix, just to see what it was all about. It stirred something deep within me, and I was surprised how it made me feel. I wished I had that friend group, and wished I could be Bette. Because I felt so guilty, i didn’t watch any more episodes until my partnerr and I finally boke up a month or so later. Then I binge-watched a bunch more episodes and decided I’d ratheer be alone and dream of someday having a girlfriend than to be “together” with this crazy dude 30 years my senior who doesn’t even really “get me” or my generation!! Intimacy with him was awkward, unpleasant and downright terribble, and for a short while, I was very depressed about that. But whenever I would remind myself that I could date women in the future, the pain and sorrow would slowly lift off of my shoulders.. The change in my life over the last six months has been like night and day!! Not only am I a rabid, radical feminist with open ears who is really trying to be inclusive, I’m also very proudly out to myself, my mom, a few close friends, all of my new friends, and even my ex!!! I’ve been exploring feminine spirituality and “witchieness” (thank you Coven collumns from 2015!!!). I made white chocolate scones with my mom (Thank you Reneice, and BTW, I love sun dresses too!). Y’all must think I sound like a darn bbroken record always spilling out my soul in these comments. See you all at A-Camp in 2.5 months and happy, happy,happiest of birthday returns! You’ve meant the world to me!

    • You seem as though you’ve found your path. That’s just so good. I’m really pleased for you. Best wishes.

    • this is awesome and congrats on starting to figure stuff out! if you keep reading articles here you’ll see that your experience is shared by many and that you are most definitely not alone in this!

  37. Happy birthday, Autostraddle!!! I’m celebrating by listening to a LOT of Hayley Kiyoko and also I FINALLY became an A+ member because I can afford to now, yew yew!!! I just finished reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post the other day, so I’ve been feeling very ~angsty~ and emotional and nostalgia for my teen years.

    I first discovered Autostraddle when I was 18 and dating a girl for the first time and was newly out to everyone in my life. I spent a whole year – the year I was dating my amazing first love – on this website, looking for advice and getting my first taste of queer culture and shamefully reading Pretty Little Liars recaps because I was hooked on that show ;)

    Autostraddle was there for me when that relationship inevitably ended and my poor little confused heart was broken. I didn’t know how to identify at the time or if I would ever even date a woman again. And through a few years of “I’m just into people/I’m just fluid” (which always felt shitty to say to people, because it didn’t feel true to how I really felt or identified, but I lacked the ability at the time to articulate how I viewed my sexuality) – I finally decided that ‘bisexual’ explains it all and I have leaned VERY heavily into that label, in a way that makes me feel proud and happy and visible.

    I am a proud 23 year old queer woman today with Autostraddle’s influence. Thank you for five years of support and advice and laughter on many tough days.

  38. I can’t remember how exactly I found Autostraddle at this point, but it was probably while Googling queer things and trying to figure myself out circa 2011 or so? Tumblr links may have been involved! It’s been a long and wild ride from one identity crisis to the next, but I’ve always appreciated being able to stop by for quality content and a sense of warmth and community.

  39. This is also the aticle that finally prompts me to make an account and comment, for the first time in almost ten years of reading.
    I first found autostraddle in think 2010 or 2011. I was a peace corps volunteer in Panama and desperately missing knowing queer folks. My friends and neighbors in my village were wonderful And lovely people but I was scared to be out and I think they all thought I was this freak virgin gringa who didn’t know what sex was. When I was out of the village I would go to internet cafes or the regional university-which had privacy shades over the computer screens- and which i think is where I stumbled upon, after searching “Lisbeth Salander lesbian?” . I had just read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by my kerosene lantern and just wanted to know. It was a great discovery and really kept my hopes up that I would one day live among the queers again 💜💜

    • I’m hoping to do the peace corps and this is my plan exactly if I’m in an area with queer people. Also, I feel your story so hard!

  40. I think it must have been almost from the beginning. My girlfriend shoved a laptop with Haviland and Riese videos at me one day and said, “they’re both bisexual.” So that’s how I got into following Riese. I can’t remember if autostraddle existed but I think it was fairly new because I remember thinking it was a new domain for Riese’s personal blog at first but then there were NEW people writing and … to be honest I got overwhelmed! Then I was like… oh it’s not a personal blog it’s like a online magazine. AND NOW IT’S THE BIGGEST BESTEST LESBIAN WEBSITE EVER.

  41. I started reading Heather’s articles when she moved to here and I think at first I was mainly reading articles she had written, but then a friend would share other autostraddle articles on Facebook so I started reading those and then I think just gradually realised how great you all were.

    I love this site, it just feels like a good fit for me. I like how inclusive you are and you try to be and I think/hope I am learning more about other people’s experiences, of being trans and non binary and disabled and black etc. Because I am gay, but I am also cis and white and not disable and it is good to be encouraged to see things from people who have a different perspective (and I really wish a lot more cishet white people would even listen to and think about things from other people’s perspective).

    I like how you are learning and growing and when you get things wrong you listen and apologise rather than being defensive.

  42. Happy Birthday, Autostraddle! I’m so, so glad I found y’all.
    I’ve been hear for a month (legit) but never want to leave. I found y’all because of Kathy Tu’s interview about A-camp on Nancy and always meant to check out the site. So I finally got onto it and literally check it everyday now. It’s also super exciting that I have 10 years worth of posts to devour – I have a lot to learn and glad to have this sort of guidance and insight.
    It’s helping me understand myself and my sexuality more, and slowly be more open about myself, my thoughts, feelings and emotions, which is something I’ve always found really tough. So honestly, thank you so much for creating a safe space for baby queers like me to feel at home.

  43. Happy Birthday Autostraddle!!

    I think I’ve been a daily reader now from around ‘10 or ‘11 when I followed a link from an Australian lesbian site during History Month. Although I don’t “get” most of the pop culture references and I do find a lot of modern feminist theory a bit confusing, there are plenty of opportunities to learn, so I continue to thank you all.
    As an Older Straddler (dare I say Ancient) I’m just so impressed by the confident, quick intelligence of all of you who contribute here and of course, all of the warmth and acceptance that you all offer to each other. This is such a great place and resource for our community. Again, Thank You.

  44. I love this! I am short on time so the brief story is: 10 years ago I got into my first real relationship with a cis-het man and U-hauled with him straight into a typical relationship elevator situation. I held onto my queerness (he might be one of very few straight guys to have gone to his wife’s ex-girlfriend’s wedding with quinoa salad in hand).

    I just didn’t think very hard about my queerness or living my life in a hetero-appearing situation, and appearing straight in most situations, including jobs and a few volunteer positions in which I had a leadership role. It started to feel awful after a while to be essentially closeted and at the same time I met someone and was utterly bowled over by my attraction to this person, after almost a decade of dulled feelings.

    I started madly googling “mixed orientation marriage” “lesbian married to man” etc. and landed here. What’s funny is that I had friends in the local straddler group, and one of my friends actually told me how she had made some really great friendships through it, but I never made the connection to the website. I loved the writing and quickly connected with a lot of other people in a similar situation, or people who had left hetero marriages because of their sexuality.

    I’m still monogamous with my husband, but I come here often and read, write with and hang out with my queer friends and am completely drawn to queer folks, music, podcasts, etc. and really appreciate AS being here, and being a bi-affirming space!

  45. I don’t remember exactly when, but my wife (then-girlfriend) sent me an article from AS. (Hilariously, she doesn’t even really read the site. It’s all me these days.) Whenever it was, it was before Heather Hogan arrived, because I had seen and loved her work on That Other Website, and when she first popped up here it was like a gift from the heavens.

    At first, I used to read Autostraddle in “private/incognito” mode – what my wife and I refer to as “the porn toggle” – on my own laptop at home, so deep was my internalized homophobia. I didn’t even want my own WIFE, who hi, obviously knows I’m queer, and is queer herself, to know that I was READING GAY THINGS. Did that for like, at least a year.

    Then, as y’alls awesomeness seeped into my brain, I slowly learned to say “eff it” and started reading without compartmentalizing it; then created an account; then got a Cobalt membership; then upgraded it to Bronze; and am now sitting at Silver, reading as daily as possible, loving the fact that you are here so very, very, much, and ready to work with everyone is this beautiful community to make sure Autostraddle celebrates its 20th birthday and beyond!

  46. I’m not exactly sure when or how I found Autostraddle…I think a friend might have posted an AS article on their facebook in 2014/2015? I was out to myself then but not others, and struggling to feel part of the queer community as a newly realized bi lady. Autostraddle gave me so many resources for catching up on queer content & references, as well as a space where I could be accepted and accept myself! Now I’m a daily reader and a new A+ Member- I can get stomacheable news here, and I only have a few queer friends irl so I can get my queer content fix! Thank you so so much and I hope you’re around for another 10 years <3

    • Thank you so so so much for joining A+ –– we are so grateful and so glad that you’re here!

      I always think of AS as like, a physical space, even though it is objectively a website, so I love the idea of this being like, your queer hangout spot. Thank you from all of us for being part of our community! <3

  47. I found Autostraddle the classic way, googling “How do you know if you are a lesbian?”
    I have checked the site nearly every day since then and it gave me a sense of community and helped me understand my identity before I was out to anyone, anyone, anyone at all. I’m so thankful for all of your hard work and awesome content. Thank you Autostraddle!

    • <3 <3 <3 Thank you so much for being here, also obsessed with the idea that there are literally SO MANY OF US who all quietly googled “How do you know if you are a lesbian?” and found ourselves here. It’s magic and it’s the best.

  48. So OF COURSE bookFace served this up a day late… [Your algorithims SUCK, Zuck]

    Some of you will remember me commenting at A.E. before it turned Zombie, but after they tried to make Lez-Bro a thing, and the short version goes like this:
    I have two Moms [since 1985!], my older Sis is Bi, my younger Sis Bi [she WAS full-on Gay until ’50 Shades of Trauma’ broke her brain (Ok, prolly not)], my Daughter is Bi; so keeping up with Queer Woman Culture/Politics is something of a requirement.

    I read Riese’s blog when she kept a blog, I read Heather when she was ‘Stunt-Double’, Dorthy Snarker was an AMAZING recapper who brung ALL THE RIZZLES SUB-TEXT, and so much more.

    When A-Strad started, I was glad to read who built it, and to see a few familiar names.

    I have learned so much from the writing, both the weighty profound, and fluffy vapid silly shit. I am glad you are here, please don’t go toes up if I give you money this year. Please!

    Peace and Love and hugs [conscentual],

    • Thank you for being here, shitty algorithms aside! We are trying our best to stay alive and will have some major fundraising initiatives rolling out this year! We want to keep existing and hopefully we can make that a reality! Thank you again for following along, with love from our big gay family to yours! <3

  49. I dont remember exactly what lead me to autostraddle, probably googling things like “am i gay” in 2009, which is a thing i used to do. Then i discovered the L Word and through watching that, i think i watched videos of Riese, Haviland and a;ex. I used to read this website like a bible, i followed all the advice columns but also Glee recaps, Greys recaps, etc. Then the international Autostraddle meet ups happened and i was scrolling through the page thinking “i wish there was one in my town” and what was my surprise, Intern Hot Laura was gonna spend a year in Spain and we did indeed meet up! A few of us went to a lesbian party together on a second meet up and then I also met Quirky Rican, one of my fave writers on here at the time, and had the pleasure to take her and Laura on a trip thru my small, north of Spain lil town that i never thought would happen. I still read AS from time to time and i still keep track and endlessly long for A Camp. Y’all were a fundamental part of my self discovery and self acceptance, but also a source of knowledge of issues that bc of cultural differences i was pretty ignorant about. Here is for another 10 years of fun and knowledge.

    • Thank you so much for this, Susi. It is so so so special and heartening to read about every reader’s different experience with the site, and it means a lot to know that some of y’all have been with us for so long! And I personally love learning all the different ways our lives intersect and the times we’ve all met in person and been able to share little pieces of our lives with each other. The chart is real! Even if it’s just the queer friend chart, which in my opinion is the best chart of all. I hope you’ll be at A-Camp one day and I also hope for 10 more years. xoxo

  50. Hi All. I’m new. Very new. I found AS through a queer friend who I was bearing my soul to (only 1 of 2 people who I have semi-come out to). He sent me the Pace of Queer Time article this past January as I complained to him that I’m too old to come out. As I’ve slowly been coming out to myself AS has been my constant confidant.AS has been somewhere that feels like a safe, sanctuary in my world which feels like it’s imploding on itself. Up until June 2018 I was “sold” on being a straight cis gal. Turns out, not so much, like not at all.I’m still figuring it all out day to day, but AS has made me feel more okay with my gay-ness than anything else ever. Happy Bday AutoStraddle and thanks for being there for a late bloomer like me.

    • I’m so so glad you’re here. Thank you for trusting us and welcome – it’s really fun being gay, like really really fun, and I’m so happy you found us and found yourself! <3

  51. I found Autostraddle in October of last year as I frantically searched, “I think I have a crush on a female friend, and I’m a girl, this has never happened before, what do I do?” Or something slightly similar.

    She was a new friend, and a lesbian, and I never had feelings like this about women before, and I didn’t want to talk about it with people I knew because I was so unsure.

    So, I’m here still, reading and learning from the stories of others, attempting to figure things out. I appreciate the site so much ❤️

    • Welcome, I’m so glad you found us. I hope you’re learning the things you want to know, and I hope you’re feeling good as you attempt to figure things out. And I hope things work out with this girl, if you and she both want them to! xo.

  52. I can’t remember how I got here or when, but it was sometime late in my dissertation, maybe like late 2016? So probably, almost certainly, I was procrastinating working on that. I’ve known I was bi since early puberty but was only ever out to my ex and to my now-husband – both of them were/are totally fine with it but I grew up Catholic and we all know how that goes. Being here has been so good for me I can’t even say. I’ve explicitly come out to my immediate family and in-laws and to several friends, and made efforts to be more visible in general. (The first, and so far only, time I got The Queer Nod – from a gay older gentleman passing me in the grocery store – I think I was smiling all day.)

    I am so grateful to all of you – the essayists, the advice-givers, the queer-writing-and-history-and-music-rounder-uppers, the editors, the make-it-all-work infrastructure and fundraising people, my fellow lurking commenters – for all the time, effort and kindness you put into making this community what it is. I am grateful for the many welcoming kindnesses I’ve been shown here and for the opportunity to pass that on to others.

    Soon as I can afford it I will be upgrading to the next level of A+-membership and I hope to be here many more years. And to go to A-Camp! :)

    • Your comments totally brighten my day every time you make them, and I’m so so glad you’re here. I look forward to meeting you at A-Camp one day! Thank YOU – we are all so grateful to all the commenters and community members, we literally are only here because of y’all. <3

  53. I got into Tarot late last year. One of the blogs I stumbled across trying to learn more about this was Little Red Tarot, by Beth Maiden, who has also written for AS. It’s through her I am here. (Though I thought at first that AS was also a Tarot-site. Ha!) Mainly lurking and reading articles at random.

    By this time I already knew how I identified (bi, ace, NB), I was maybe more looking for spaces to be myself in. And this is one of them.

    • Haha, in some ways, AREN’T we a tarot site?? *ducks to avoid all the queers who hate tarot and astrology, I’m kidding I’m kidding!!!*

      I love Beth’s writing and teachings so much and am so grateful for everything she’s contributed to AS. And I’m so glad this is one of the places you are able to by yourself. We’re glad you’re here!

  54. Happy Birthday Autostraddle!!

    Been here since the beginning, crazy that it’s been ten years.

    Got here from Riese’s blog, got to that from the web of blogs around the Planet Podcast, and found that from reading the L word IMDB page message boards of all things.

    When it all began I was living my best early-twenties life – had dropped out of college and was just working a dead end job to get by, riding my bike around the city, hanging out with friends and seeing as many gigs as possible.

    Joined the military shortly after so things have been a bit different since, to say the least, but have always been glad to have Autostraddle keeping me in queer company no matter what random out of the way place I’ve been in :)

  55. I read all of your comments and you are all so so great. Like one of you so wisely pointed out, Autostraddle is the only place on the internet where I actually read the comments section. I’ve never thought about this before, but it is true! And feel happier and wiser for it. I agree with the person who wrote that Autostraddle is “fun and knowledge” (I can’t think of a better combination!) Fun and knowledge on tough days. And there have been many.

    I found Autostraddle in 2014. I was already out by then. I was living with my first girlfriend and we were having relationship issues and I was terribly sad and overwhelmed by it all and Autostraddle gave me some great advice that I guess boiled down to “You do you” (I’ve always loved this slogan, so simple and yet so true and I’m always in need of a reminder) but also, and this is so important: ”You are not wrong”. I had never before found a place where I belonged to the majority, you know? A place that made me feel like the way I, my ex girlfriends and my friends choose to live our lives is valid and real and important.

    Autostraddle gave me break up advice when I needed it. Autostraddle gave me moving advice: ”Moving 101: From Point A to Point B With Minimal Crying” is my all-time favourite post and I have read it every time I have moved which sadly is many many times and it has always made me laugh so hard and God know you need a good laugh when you have to move all the time (”There are certain truths universally acknowledged about moving, like that it sucks.”). Me and my gal pal Lovisa quote Autostraddle articles to each other all the time. Autostraddle has helped me understand my own sexuality, and by that I don’t mean the coming out bit but the ”What happens now?” bit that comes after the coming out. To use another quote me and Lovisa absolutely love:

    ”These women, all of them [… ] they came out a long time ago. […] This is a story about what happens much later, when you have your gay friends and girls leave each other for other girls.” (From ”Every Plot Of Every Lesbian Movie, Ever”)

    I guess what I mean to say is that I love how Autostraddle writes about almost everything that may be important to human beings on this planet because as it turns out lesbians are human beings and we are on this planet and I am hella gay all the time and Austoraddle thinks that it’s valid and real and important. And it is.

    During the long hours at my boring office job at a Swedish government agency I often daydream of standing up at my desk, quitting my job and creating Sweden’s first lesbian magazine (which would of course be hella feminist and fun and intelligent). Until then, I just want to say: Thank you Autostraddle! You are so fun and smart, I wanna be just like you!

    • Happy belated! I am also SO HAPPY you are here!
      I just found this whole site about March, about at your birthday! Via similar gay search requests as I’ve seen noted above in comments.
      I never liked labels and in my younger years, had ready access to queer friends and culture. I took it for granted. I was, until my recent realization of missing my queers, a mostly cis-het person (which we didn’t even say back then!) except for how that soooo hasn’t worked out. I had the luxury of living within walking or a couple hours drive of awesome dykes for much of my younger life, since college. I was always the “straight girl” the ladies made out with and who could just make out with awesome chicks “but whateves”. Until I moved, life moved, no more “random” chicks were around.
      I made out with ladies after I met this hot German chick, then back to old ways. Then fell hard and dated a pre-op trans man (I’m way into butch / masc, let me just say). But that really pushed me even farther into denial and proving he was a guy and not accepting what I wanted.

      Anyway! I realize I am WAYYYY starved for some gay gay gay and I’m so happy i found you!!
      Y’all, the Internet was being developed while I was in college (92-96) and I didn’t have my own internet at home until 2003 and the first thing I did was buy sex toys and find porn ;) I remember being angry at early chat rooms! I did a sociology paper and made an early website related to people staring at computer screens….! We had no google “am I gay”!
      But let me assure you, 20+ years later, I am hella googling “am I gay”.
      And I am SO HAPPY AutoStraddle is here to give me quality, smart, fun, empathetic queer community! Thanks!!
      I have just come out in my mind in the past few months and I’ve lurked here most of that time. I’m now a member and this is all helping me so much.
      I’m a 45 year old baby dyke, basically, with a kickass collection of art and kitchen goods. Hello!

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