Friday Open Threads Are Back, Come On In & Say Hi

This if Frankie, my BFF Alex’s pup and my perfect goddaughter, when she was a tiny puppy. You can see what Frankie’s up to now on her instagram, @sparklequeenfrankie!

Hi! It’s me, Vanessa, your community editor. I like to listen to what y’all want from this website, Autostraddle dot com, and then try my best to make it happen for you. A few months ago we tried an experiment where we got rid of the Friday Open Thread and replaced it with what we internally referred to as Pizza Party Fridays – the goal was to create a fun silly post on Fridays that might make y’all wanna chat with each other but wouldn’t specifically be an open thread because frankly, we do not have the human-power to moderate an open thread every week. However, many of you were very sad the open threads were gone, and assured me that you are adults and do not need a staff member to moderate anything – you’re pleased to be left to your own devices. To which I said: let’s give the queers what they want!

So that’s that, babes. Pizza Party Fridays are out, Friday Open Threads are back in. We’re still going to produce the fun, silly, engaging posts that were showing up on Fridays for the past few months in lieu of the open threads, our writers will just pitch them as stand-alone posts and they’ll publish on a variety of days, not just Fridays. For your purposes, we’re essentially changing nothing except restoring the Friday Open Thread (we’ve always posted fun, silly, engaging posts every single day of the week!), but since I know some of y’all like to hear behind the scenes stuff about running the site I decided to overshare. Also I haven’t hung out with another human being in 9 weeks so ya know, I’ve got a lot to say.

WHICH BRINGS US TO OUR POINT OF BEING HERE: chatting! Feel free to hang out in the comments all day / all weekend, share some details about your life if you so choose, show us your pet, just read along… we’re a community and now more than ever, it feels nice to connect, even if those connections are happening digitally. I don’t need to explain that to a bunch of Autostraddle readers, though – y’all are pro at digital connection.

One last piece of housekeeping: I think I’m going to include a cute animal photo for every Friday Open Thread moving forward. That’s what the whole post will be: just the smallest of sentences saying hi, and one large cute animal photo. However I do not have a pet so I would be most grateful if you would send me photos of your pets to potentially include as our Friday Open Thread Cute Animal Of The Week! Email pet photos to vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com and put FRIDAY OPEN THREAD in the subject line. You can include a little bit about your pet and their Instagram account if they have one! By emailing me a pet photo you are consenting to have your cutie published on Autostraddle dot com and on social media sites where we promote our posts.

Okay! Sincerely, thank you for telling me what you want and need out of this community. We wouldn’t be here without you, and I’m very grateful to have the communication lines open always. Love you, mean it, see you next week with another Friday Open Thread because baby, we’re back!

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Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 332 articles for us.

224 Comments

  1. FOT! My heart!! Vanessa I will send you a photo of Cyrus forthwith!

    This week was not bad. But does anybody else feel kind of really skittish around other people? In the market and on walks it doesn’t feel like other people are taking things seriously, and it’s kind of turning me into this glaring person who is consistently having to back away from people! Lol.

  2. I’m trying to be sociable. It’s been hella hard here. The local Rock Camp is doing an online concert, and asked me to submit a song, so here’s my gay ass isolation round done on the quick. First time I wore makeup in almost three months.
    My ex is out looking at an apartment this very moment, so maybe that particular stress will finally resolve soon.

  3. Hello! How is everyone?! Happy Friday, I thought you meant it was Thursday but I’ll take it.
    My big news for the week is I ran a mile by running 27 lengths of the garden. So now running is a thing I can do! Almost like when I was allowed out my house! Amazing to do a thing to make me feel human.
    Hope you all have a thing to make you feel human.

      • Ugh I can’t even tell which day is which anymore. Except for Tuesdays, because my work week starts on Wednesday and I spend all Tuesday dreading it lol. Glad you’re finding a way to get exercise! I live in a high-rise and have no outside space except for a small communal balcony so I have no choice but to bend the rules and go out to parks every now and then. Then again I also work in healthcare so it’s not like I’m staying home and avoiding contact anyway. :(

        • I spent 5 weeks in a flat with no outdoor space at all and it was so hard! Glad you’re staying safe at work. I will admit I’ve had 3 walks in the last 9 week, I call them my mental health walks. Do what you can, yknow! And sometimes that is leaning out of a window to put your face in the wind.

  4. Hi!!! It’s my birthday, and I’m on the road with my mom to move back to my parents’ house for the summer. I barely decided to do this last week, and I’m proud of having loaded the car by myself with room left to see out the rear window. At first, I felt that I should manage this drive by myself, but it’s a good thing that I accepted my mom’s help with the drive after all. Yesterday my injured knee ended up hurting after barely a couple hours’ driving! (I tore my ACL last year, and I guess I hadn’t tried driving for longer than an hour or so before this.)

  5. I’m so glad FOTs are back! I missed them!
    I officially graduated law school last week and now I’m stranded jobless and with no plans in the middle of a pandemic which is…completely fine…not eating away at me from the inside at all…no siree no panic spirals here everything’s great…

    My state’s bar exam has been moved to September and I might not even be able to take it because I went to law school in a different state and they’re prioritizing their own students first (of course) so right now I’m just hunkering down with my parents and missing my gay friends and social life.

    The first thing I’m going to do when we’re allowed to be out in public again and everything’s relatively okay is have a fancy brunch and then go to the art museum. What are y’all planning for post-quarantine fun??

  6. Reading thread? What are you reading?

    My favorite book of the month so far is the new Murderbot Diaries novel by Martha Wells – Network Effect. So, so good. Space opera narrated by a cranky AI / security cyborg that just wants to be left alone to binge watch its favorite media but it keeps having to solve mysteries and save the annoying humans and AIs around it. It’s not stand alone – you really need to read the 4 novellas in the series first, but it’s worth it. They’re all so good.

    Filed under SF that’s either not at all queer or queer AF, depending on your definition.

    • hi cleo! i am in the weirdest, most comforting reading rut – i am reading books i read between the ages of 7 and 11. so some babysitters club, but also some lois duncan and caroline b cooney teen mystery novels. right now i’m reading this one about a plane crash that i definitely first read in fourth grade, i remember because when the word SEX appeared in the novel i giggled quietly (it was silent reading) and silently showed travis, my seatmate! oh, man, childhood.

      • OMG. I remember reading a book when I was 14 (on an overnight bus with my church youth group, of course) – all I remember about it is that THERE WAS SEX!! More explicit sex than I had ever read before. I’m sure it wasn’t explicit by my standards now but there were spreading thighs and possibly thrusting hips and I HAD NO IDEA WHAT ANY OF THAT MEANT!

      • I love this. Adding all of these to my library request list.

        I’ve been reading the Boxcar Children, Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary but Lois Duncan was so prolific. She’s written a million books for me to plough through!!!

    • i just finished reading Poppy Jenkins for the 2nd time in as many weeks. It was recommended by someone on this very site and they are my favorite person. like, anonymously because i can’t remember when i found it, but still, lots of love your way!

    • I’ve been reading escapist speculative fiction for the most part and doing lots of rereading of old favorites! I recently read This is How We Lose the Time War, which is a sapphic love story between agents on opposite sides of a war that spans millennia and galaxies. It had gotten so much hype I was kinda worried it wouldn’t be able to meet my expectations but it was even better than I’d been told! Lyrical prose, gorgeous imagery, fascinating characters….Every word counted.
      I’ve got Memory Called Empire to read this weekend, so I’m looking forward to that.

    • Hi Cleo, please do me a favor and listen to the “We Fix Space Junk” podcast and let me know if you liked it.
      I have a newish thing for screwball space audio drama podcasts.That one might be up your alley.
      Sadly, I can’t share any books. I literally stopped reading the day covid hit.
      So literally, that I haven’t finished the last twenty pages of the book I read at the time.
      I did pick up a copy of “The Neverending Story” to give to a friend, though, which I do warmly recommend.

    • I’ve been re-reading Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad mysteries – not particularly queer (though they did inspire me to write a VERY queer murder mystery) but engaging and a fun escape from the current…situation.

    • I liked the Murderbot novellas and I’m excited to read Network Effect when the library opens back up! I’m currently reading Arm of the Sphinx which is the 2nd in a trilogy. I enjoyed the first one and the second one hasn’t been quite as good as far.

    • I just finished Girl, Woman, Other which I really liked. I also read Queenie in this quarantine time which was also very good. And then I’m planning to load up on queer romance novels for the weekend thanks to a link from the Lez Liberty Lit post this week.

    • I usually can’t get myself to reread books, but quarantine has got my internal system all messed up, so I decided to visit some old favorites. Currently going back through Fingersmith, and wow I had really forgotten how twisty the plot is.

      • Fingersmith is the book that I read when I need to jumpstart my brain to get back into reading again. It’s so fun! And twisty! And gay! ahh I love it so much maybe I need to reread it again!

  7. Yay so happy FOT is back! Will definitely be emailing you pictures of my cats. They’re weird af and love attention so I think they’d fit in well here. So far in lockdown I have:
    baked a lot of gluten free vegan treats (made cinnamon rolls for the first time…what!)
    graduated with my Master’s via Zoom (and cried over the crushed job market…yay!)
    actually got a ton done at work (my ableist director who always told us we couldn’t work from home can shove that new level of productivity up his butt)
    applied for a billion jobs that I have yet to hear from (don’t job hunt in a pandemic…it’s very sad)
    helped my mom fix up her yard and plant lots of pretty stuff and also got some veggies and herbs into pots (and some are growing and I feel like a very proud mother/nature witch)
    had a million dance parties with the mentioned weirdo cats
    sunbathed on the porch like a lizard (and graced my grumpy neighbors with my beautiful legs)
    enjoyed the ability to balance work and a chronically ill body that’s been flaring since March (I can get work done and nap! I can work from bed! I can be a member of my job and also rest my body! I’ve been enjoying watching the world understand a bit of what chronically ill and/or disabled bodies deal with and learning about how to accommodate folks not able to leave their homes but gosh I’m gonna miss that accessibility and understanding when this all lifts. don’t forget us when you all get to go back to your realities!)

    Happy weekend, pals!

  8. So so so happy the FOT is back! This is our community living room and I love hanging out with all you wonders here 💜

    I started work again yesterday…our store is closed but doing curbside pick up and deliveries. Yesterday, wearing a visor I handed a bag through a car window to a client who was wearing a scarf mask. I told him he looked like a bandit and he told me a looked like a Stormtrooper.

    I’ve been really grateful to live somewhere where there’s space to go outside whilst staying far away from others (and being allowed to) because nature has been the biggest support to me. Especially when being in a basement with enthusiastic toddlers jumping and banging things on the floor upstairs started to feel a bit much. I wish I could share that space and air and trees and ducklings and eagles and and and with all of you who could use it!

  9. I was thinking this morning FOT would be great & here it is!

    I’ve been work for 2 weeks now & I kind of hate as it’s not the same & everyone feels so burned out & tired. It’s also been about a month since I’ve video chatted with friends(tried the other day but the friend wasn’t in the mood). It’s kind of understandable as this has been new & not normal.

    A vacation would be interesting, but I also feel too numb & sad to even think about it. Same with finding another car my lease was up this month. Really thinking about living a way more minimal lifestyle. I came to the conclusion sometime in April as I was cycling from my house to Hollywood BLVD the 5 or 6 miles it is. I was just riding as an exercise regimen & to clear my mind. Didn’t help.

    On the plus side the air was kind of clean for two months & the rain we got over the winter kept things green.

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

  10. Yaay! The FOT is back! Personally, I’d think it a GREAT idea to have a FOT on random days of the week, so someone will doubtlessly end up thinking:”But WHY is it on Thursday and called FOT?”
    I’ve had the worst time, on so many levels, and it was extra hard because all of my coping mechanisms, going to the gym, meeting friends,clubbing,sitting outside in a coffee shop with a book, weren’t possible anymore.
    But!I realized this a couple of weeks ago, and also that my neurotransmitters weren’t going to kick back in by themselves and have started on a mission to get better, and that’s actually been helpful.
    Gradually lifting lockdown has also been helping.
    I was sitting outside,reading a paper, having coffee,sometime this week(it’s been allowed since Monday), and I was just so,so grateful for a moment.
    Honestly, I doubt that this lockdown lifting is going to be a permanent fixture in my big ass city, but it’s been great to realize that not everything is gone forever, and that it’s worth waiting for.
    The little things I’ve always enjoyed but taken for granted,they’re worth waiting for.
    I hope all of you are well, or at least kind of, and I wish all of you a ton of strength and fortitude, and the courage to be very,very kind to yourselves.
    xoxo
    Take Care everyone!

  11. I’d wondered what happened to the FOTs. Glad to see it back. As for how I’m doing, could be worse but could be a lot better. I have a place to live (with my parents), but I’ve been without a job for a year (130+ resumes sent out, 1 interview [last June]) and COVID-19 has caused the previous trickle of entry level jobs being listed to evaporate completely. I’m considering grad school, but one of the last things I need is more student loan debt. So that’s me; not in a good position, but not dead yet either.

    • Good lord that sounds exhausting. Looking for work I swear is double the work of having a job, but with no pay. Sorry that’s been going on for so long for you.
      What would you be considering for grad school? What would you ideally love to be doing? I feel I vaguely recollect you are in sciences but that’s the limit of my memory bank rn, and I’m not even sure if it fetched the right info…

      • It has been exhausting, and I get that feeling too. It definitely is a lot of work to be constantly job hunting.

        I’d be hoping to continue my studies in astrophysics. Ideally, I’d love to be involved in research surrounding black holes, neutron stars, or the nature of wither dark matter or dark energy. So, yes, your memory retrieved the correct info. :)

  12. Aw yay the best, gayest, and most supportive place to overshare feelings on the internet! <3 (at least for me)

    Current feeling to overshare: I'm feeling overwhelmed by touch-starvation today. And fear of basically any exertion of energy, because recovering from covid is very unpredictable and uncertain and doing too much feels terrible.

    I've been snuggling with my cat Sweetums a lot today though, so very grateful for them <3 Vanessa, definitely sent you a picture!

  13. During this stay at home situation I learned that Trader Joe’s marshmallows are vegetarian. Last week I finally found some, and I’ve had a daily s’more (or two) since! First marshmallows in over twenty years. Delicious.

  14. I’m so going to send pictures of my beautiful fur babies. I’ve got a shy tortoise shell and her sister is the most loving black cat I’ve met.
    As far as the lockdown goes, last night I got news that Colombia won’t be opening borders until the end of August… which really screws up my plan of moving to Finland to do my Master’s (Hei suomalaiset autostraddlers!).
    So I’m coming to terms with that, like… I know I can go, but still it’s annoying to have to wait more to leave this place, I’ve waited so long.
    Besides that, there was a stupid gendered restriction for going out for essential stuff: only women allowed out on even days and men allowed on odd days. Which for a nonbinary weirdo like me, meant turning myself into a burrito and crying while having gender feels. Then I settled on just ordering stuff online and going out to my balcony to sun bathe. Now the restriction was lifted and I’m still ordering stuff online and going out to my balcony to sunbathe.
    Happy to see the open thread back!

  15. Vanessa, thank you for bringing this back <3

    I was all set to enthuse all over the first returning FOT, but to be honest I'm feeling rough today. I found out last night that a friend from my gym lost her brother to covid. I live in a pretty small community in a region with relatively few cases, so this is the first time it has hit so close to home, literally and figuratively. So my coping skills are less than great today and I seem incapable of doing anything other than sitting on my couch in my pjs scrolling mindlessly through social media and I've decided I'm just going to be ok with that for now.

    In happier news.. my wife and I bought a house! Who buys a house in the middle of a pandemic? We do. We are very lucky to have been able to keep our jobs through all of this. For a long time I believed I would never be able to afford a home of my own here, so I feel incredibly grateful that this has worked out for us. Next step, integrating our three cats into one household, two of whom hate each other's guts wheeee

  16. Hi everyone. My first open thread, and probably in the first five comments I’ve ever made. Trying to put myself out there more so here I am! Thanks for bringing it back!

    It’s been a week. I’m in the midst of a divorce and while going through a divorce in a pandemic sucks on a lot of levels, I mostly miss my cat. I’d totally go for some Friday night cat cuddles right now.

    Weekend plans include: a bike ride, zoom yoga, and a lot of resting.

    • I hope your kitty crawls into your dreams tonight to give you all the cuddles!
      Welcome to FOT! We’re here to share troubles great and small, happinesses of every size and photos of loved critters.
      I got officially divorced recently ~ it was really hard without a pandemic to contend with, but on the other side now, feeling fuller and more myself. Reach out for support when you need it, and take time to yourself when you need to, as much as you can. And that support can come from unexpected places ~ wishing you a plenitude of it 🌿

  17. Hello all I wish to brag in astonishment cause I’m still
    impressed with myself for tenderizing thigh meat well enough to be shredded and be tacos for dayssss.
    The best part is I wrote down how I did in detail so I can do it again :3

      • I was going to say not onions but that’s what goggles and a mask are for.
        My dumbass didn’t realize being in pain and tearing so bad etc was MAYBE an allergy or something til The Major Medical Event had me tested up the wazoo.

        Given the right tools and research there probably is nothing I can’t cook 🤔

          • Just onions and some of the leafy members, if it was garlic I would have lost my mind.

            I make a strawberry pie I don’t even like just because I like to smash and laugh maniacally…so that’s not too much of stretch actually.

          • Oh it likely does, but eating them with my immune system as it is playing chicken with my ability to swallow and not be covered in debilitating welts.
            I cannot 100% trust the fumes they give off while cooking not to do anything either really.
            Avoiding known triggers and OTC anti-histamines is the best I can do with our cruel joke of a healthcare system and stagnant economy before covid.
            Immunotherapy expensive.

  18. Ok so @snaelle and @amidola asked if I can share my mini-poem about relation breakdowns due to COVID and other stresses, so here it is.. it’s not exactly cheery lol and it poured straight out of my head in this form and it’s scary af sharing it but here goes..
    The grief and joy of what could have been
    I still feel both when I see you cutting through my skin
    The part of me at the heart of me that I let no-one else see
    I sense myself through the way that you look at me
    And everything that ever was and never was tosses me broken upon a sea of loss
    and ground on the horizon that I would have given slides out of view
    Tired of chasing shadows…

  19. HI HI HI

    Oh FOT, it has been Too Long. Sorry this is a day late!

    So much has happened in life! I got a dog! (her name is Coral and she is perfect, thank you @carmensandiego) I got better at flowers! (but weddings aren’t happening and freelance isn’t happening and who knows when I will actually get paid to do them again) I got in a really horrible car accident during a cross country move! (car completely totaled, me and girlfriend and dog and most of my shit miraculously okay) I live in Ohio with my girlfriend Kira now! (Columbus has been a delight, even though most of my time here has been in lockdown!) (Kira is even more of a delight, and I am SO pleased and happy and lucky to be finally cohabitating after two years of long distance!)


    Here we are on our front stoop! Me, Coral, Kira–left to right. I refuse to apologize for our general quarantine dishevelment.


    This is what our house has devolved into–is it craft supplies? is it trash? Whatever just look at the thrift store painting instead!


    A few days ago I got desperate to do some flowers–I MISS it!!!–so I made a tiny arrangement out of the weeds in our very unkempt yard.


    Kira made this tiny fimo clay vase and I picked a bunch of little violets


    More violets because they’re precious. I’ve been so delighted by the blooming growing things here! They’re so different from what grew in southern california, and I’ve been very much enjoying watching new things spring up. Violets and lily of the valley are so sweet and tiny and delicate and have been blowing my mind.


    We have a mantle and I have been making the most of it! Please note the fake mangos that I brought here in my carryon bag because they are so precious.


    Here is a selfie because I finally took a shower and now I have shiny shiny princess hair


    Have been making some pretty great breakfast situations!


    Since I don’t have any flower income right now, I’ve been painting! I’m still not always sure if I ENJOY painting, but also I think I do? Maybe! Who knows! I do enjoy making pretty things though so that is good enough for me at this moment


    Foraged all these blooming branches from Kira’s old elementary school? I keep a pair of shears in my car for, ahem, well placed floral opportunities.


    Finishing this long post off with a Coral Glam Shot, because she’s perfect!!!

    Now I gotta go refill the bird feeder because the birds have been going through a suet block every three days.

    HOPEFULLY I DIDN’T FUCK UP THE HTML M <3 <3 <3

  20. Hey all, I’m late to the party as usual! Just wanted to say, glad this is back! I trust all of us to be responsible, respectful and kind to one another. I enjoyed reading about everything going on in your lives. Jane, loved your pictures! I’d share pics of my butterfly garden, but I’m absolutely clueless about how to post them, even though I’m a tech teacher at work! That paradox makes no sense! As for me, I’ve been drawing cartoon characters, playing little livestream piano concerts on Facebook, working in my new garden, and then eventually succoming to boredom and loneliness that is sometimes filled with commedy shows like Schitt’s Creek or teen dramas like Never Have I Ever. (I missed a lot of social stuff in my teen years, and it doesn’t help at all that my making up for lost time has been put on pause!) All the best to all of you.

    • Yay you’re back too @jtsoundtech!! Is it a butterfly garden because it has plants for butterflies, because it’s shaped like a butterfly or because it causes a butterfly effect?
      And what kind of piano music are you playing?? I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a digital piano not too long before, and even not being great at playing, I just love the feeling of creating music so much and playing with sound 😊

      • Hi Snaelle, it’s actually for attracting butterflies (and other pollinators too). There are two large milk weed plants. One has been pretty much left alone, but the other had several caterpillers on it, who ate all the leaves so that nothing remained but the stems. That was okay since I planted it for them to begin with. I was really surprised how quickly the leaves grew back though. And, I have some merigolds, pintas and ampatiens. I have a few herbs off to the side; some basil, rosemary and mint. As for piano music, I play a lot of somewhat modern pop ballads like show tunes, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, etc; and some American Songbook from the ’40s, but not too much of that anymore. (It was once my ambition to play a baby grand in a sophisticated piano bar, LOL!) But before the world fell apart, I had a “volunteer gig” where I played in the lobby at a children’s hospital and would often see families, staff & visitors coming down for dinner or going up to the floors, so I began to add a lot of Disney and Sesame Street music to my repertoire. It just gave me a “professional” excuse to regress back to the “big kid who never grew up” that I really am! :) That kind of music is, like, so specific that it’s almost become like a brand or specialty for me. A local bar has something called “drunken Disney series”, and I’m hoping that when things begin to open up, I can “hit them up” and try to open before their trivia or sing-along! Since I’ve been stuck inside, I’ve had ample time to play around and create a sound cloud page called Jessica’s Piano Dreams. What kind of music do you like to play, or write?? All the best and happy Memorial Day weekend! Sorry I’m a fast-typing rambler, LOL! :)

    • @jtsoundtech oh my goodness I would LOVE to see pictures of your butterfly garden and/or sit in the garden in the cool of the early evening while sipping a fancy beverage and smelling the flowers.

      I’m not usually so completely useless at internet stuff, but this time around it involved making a bunch of private tumblr posts with the pictures in them for makeshift photo hosting. Hilarious image hosting workaround tip curtesy of cb

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