Introducing Camp Autostraddle 5.0

Once upon a time we had a dream. It involved a couple hundred of you, 40 of us, a group retreat site in the San Bernardino Mountains and a weekend packed with workshops, panels, classes, meet-ups, activities and performances designed to inspire, educate, entertain and/or make you laugh — basically, it was the spirit of this website manifested in three entire dimensions mixed with a dash of old-fashioned Summer Camp goodness and an infusion of conference style. We wanted to create a special (and affordable!) space where you could be yourself, enhance your relationships within the international queer community, support Autostraddle, be a kid again and make new friends forever.

It was a dream called A-Camp, and it came true the last weekend of April 2012 and it was a total shitshow but also amazing. We’ve since held increasingly spectacular A-Camps in September 2012, May 2013 and October 2013. In 2014, we’re only gonna be holding only one A-Camp, and it’s gonna be the longest, best and most ambitious A-Camp yet!

You can get the full scoop on our A-Camp Website. That’s also where you can find the FAQ, read our camp blog and witness the gradual roll-out of our talent and staff.



6:00 PM Wednesday May 21st – 11:00 AM Monday May 26th


Alpine Meadows Retreat Center in Angelus Oaks, California. It’s two and a half hours from Los Angeles and San Diego, four hours from Las Vegas, five hours from Phoenix and seven hours from San Francisco. We’ll be running shuttles from LAX to the campsite from 11:30 AM to 2PM on May 21st and shuttles back to LAX at 10:00 AM on May 26th.


You weirdos! Our campers range in age from 18 to 50 and came from all over the world, including lots of Canadians and quite a few Australians and Europeans. Generally half our campers are under 25 and half are over 25, and 60% are first-timers. Also: Us! We are headed up by A-Camp Co-Directors Robin Roemer & Marni Kellison, and in order to give you the broadest range of programming possible, we’ve got a staff-to-camper ratio of about 7:1.  Also: HANNAH HART.


Tuition is $545 and is all-inclusive – that’s five days and nights of lodging, programming and entertainment for less than $109 a day! Just $75 down reserves your spot.

This Camp Is A Brand New Thing

We’re a restless bunch of inventive creatures, always dreaming up new ways to have enormous amounts of kickass fun. May 2014 camp is going to be our most BRAND-NEW camp yet. We’ll be hosting our first-ever A-Camp State Fair and a special last-day event that’ll surely be the sweetest evening of all time. Plus, the weather will be warm, which means you’ll get a chance to party at the pool or canoe at Jenks Lake! The extended session gives us the chance to revamp how A-Camp is scheduled, and you’ll definitely want to witness what we have in store.

Some of the many new activities we’re already developing for May 2014 Camp include Rock Yoga, Ukulele Lessons, Mixed-Race Queers Discussion Group, Self-Portrait Workshop With Rory, Kink 101, Make An Entire ‘Zine, Gamer Grog and Battle Booze, The Best Activism Panel Ever, Lez Talk About Sex (To Each Other), Sacred Queer Latina Heart Shrines and Discussion, Self-Defense 101 and Mindfulness/Meditation.


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You’ll be having the bestest biggest surprise slumber party of your life in fully insulated, carpeted & heated cabins with private bathroom/showers/baths and bunk beds. You’ll be sharing these cabins with somewhere between 12 and 18 others and you will have two cabin staffers from Team Autostraddle serving as your “counselors.” Cabin groups are designed with your best interests in mind, and you’ll also be teaming up with another cabin to compete in the camp-wide Rainbow Wars.

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You’ll get three meals a day with snacks – we now work with the chef to design a menu and options catered specifically for our group, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as meals for people with food allergies.


Daytime Programming

You’ll have full access to a variety of activitiesworkshopspanelssports, discussion groups, classes and arts & crafts. Past activities have included Party of One: An Introvert Feelings Atrium, “Ropes Course” and Kink Workshop, Hip-Hop Dance, DIYke Hardware Jewelry, Swagger 101, Ballet for Basic Bitches, Tardy for the Party: A Coming Out Later In Life Discussion Group, Car Repair, Slam Poetry, Queer People of Color Panel, Make a Thing: Merit Badges, Zine-Making, DIY Body Scrubs and Real Talk: Your Relationship Doesn’t Have To Suck.


Night-time Entertainment

Autostraddle After Dark will include crazy-fun evening entertainment from comedian Elicia Sanchez and from our musical talent including the prolific rock star Somer Bingham and esteemed actress and musician Haviland Stillwell. Every camp our nighttime programming is different — there’s always a Staff Reading and some kind of last-night dance, and other past After Dark activities have included game shows like Faggity Feud and The Strip Spelling Bee, musical extravaganzas like Lilith Flair, X-Files screenings and Comedy Night with Deanne Smith.

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You’ll get your very own A-Camp Tote bag, chock full of fun shit from our sponsors and your very own A-Camp T-Shirt. (If you’re an independently owned business who’d like to see your swag in our bags, hit us up!)

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We’re still building our Talent Roster for this camp, but who we’ve already got on board is pretty spectacular! Check it:

Hannah Hart:  One day, Hannah Hart decided to make a cooking show and get drunk while doing it. “My Drunk Kitchen” was received with much critical acclaim from aspiring alcoholics everywhere, earning over 3 million YouTube channel hits within months. Hannah has been featured in TIME Magazine, on CBS News, BoingBoing and LA Weekly. She’s the winner of the 2013 Steamy Award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy, was featured in Wil Wheaton’s board game show, Rainn Wilson’s Soulpancake spinoff and the 2012 YouTube documentary Please Subscribe.

Elicia Sanchez: Elicia Sanchez is a stand-up comedian, a comic book reader and practically an adult. She has performed at the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the All Jane No Dick Festival and is a regular opener for comedian Hari Kondabolu. She produces three monthly Seattle comedy shows and hosts a podcast about terrible movies. She also happens to be the lead singer of Seattle’s premiere Michael Bolton cover band, Lightning Bolton. Elicia currently resides in Seattle, WA where when not performing, she splits her time between panic attacks on the bus, watching creepy forensic crime shows and dusting her action figures.

Somer Bingham: You know Somer from the terrifying Showtime reality series The Real L Word, throughout which Somer remained a low-key down-to-earth human amid a gaggle of oversexed lesbians, but if you really wanna get real you’ve gotta read our amazing interview with her. Somer hosted Somer Fridays for Showtime with her wife Donna and heads up Clinical Trials, a “thrashy all-female electro grunge rock [band] with a side of angst.”

Haviland Stillwell: Haviland is an actress, singer, writer and producer, who has contributed to Autostraddle, as one of the co-creators and stars of the series “Unicorn Plan-It,” and as one half of the OG “Riese and Hav Vlogs” back in the day. She has has guest starred on lots of TV shows, performed in two Broadway shows, done a few movies, and voices some of your favorite animated characters. She has an album out and a new one on the way, full of hot dance music. Also known as “your intergalactic space siren,” she is likely to transport you to another dimension of love and light. Check out her website and twitter!

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Camperships & Tuition Discounts

Your generosity has sent over 20 deserving humans to A-Camp over the past two years, and you’ll have the chance to make dreams come true again for May. We usually are able to give 5-8 full camperships per session and this camp, we plan on also allocating donations and resources towards at least ten partial camperships of 30%-60% off the tuition price. We’ll start accepting essay applications and soliciting donations next month in a post which will feature essays from our October campershippers! But if you wanna donate to the campership fund right now, you totally can!

For More Information

On our A-Camp website, you’ll find our FAQ, our camp blogthe talent/staff we’ve got on board so far and a link to register the fuck out of your unit. For more information about what goes on at A-Camp, you can check out our recaps from past camps and testimonies from campers about the joy of the experience. But A-Camp is whatever you make of it: every camper writes their own story. Come with your heart wide open and do whatever you want.

Okay, I’m in. What Now?

If you wanna get on the saddle and trot on over to A-Camp with us this fall, here’s what you’ve gotta do:

1. For the low low price of a $75 non-refundable non-transferrable deposit, you can snag your spot for the spring festivities. Please read the instructions at the top of each registration interface page if anything seems remotely complicated. Your full tuition is due April 1st.

2. If registration fills up, you can put yourself on the waitlist. Be sure to put an e-mail address you check regularly and often, so you don’t miss our note if you’re up!

3. If you’re driving in on Wednesday, please plan to arrive between 3 PM and 5:30 PM. On Sunday, please plan to leave by noon.

4. If you’re looking for flights and will need transportation from the airport, be sure you can be at Terminal 6 by 2 PM on May 21st. If you’re getting in later than 2PM, you’ll have to make your own travel arrangements.

If you’ll need transportation to the airport on Monday, May 26th, there will be shuttles leaving at 10am. It takes two to three hours to get to the airport, so we advise against booking flights that leave after 2PM. If the 10AM shuttle won’t get you to the airport in time to make your flight, you’ll have to make your own travel arrangements. Options exists such as “getting a ride with another camper,” “bribing the kitchen staff” (no really this might be your best option) and “renting a car for a very low in-airport price.” Also, many campers stick around LA for the night or a few days or a few weeks, too, which is lots of fun!

5. If you need to cancel, you can just log back in to the registration interface and cancel!


What are you waiting for?

Register Now!

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2964 articles for us.


  1. something is wonky with the registration page, it keeps giving me an error message! namely this one:

    “you have reached this webpage using an incorrect address (URL).”

    i hope it’s just my computer, i really want to go this year :D

    • I’ve lost the ability to think of anything unless it’s in terms of how it relates to cAmp!!

      Mum: “Wanna go see the hobbit?”
      Me: Hmm maybe there will be another kickass heroines in scifi/fantasy discussion and we can talk about the made up love interest of Legolas…

  2. I really want to go, seriously … and I can afford it, and I’m 90% sure I can get the time off work (though probs will be making up a totally different reason if the boss asks why, hah).
    I’m just like … I’ve never been to anything like it before … I mean, I have the best reason to go (I really want to make queer friends — I only came out last year and I’m too shy to go to gay bars so I’m still way new to the scene) … and the lamest reason not to (first world problems, to the max, not even worth posting) … so I should probably just register, right?

    • I’ve never been, either, & i literally came out to my parents last night by showing them the camp “about” page when they wanted to know where i wanted to go so badly in CA. I’ve never been a part of a “queer community,” because i’d had negative experiences with it & didn’t like feeling like i had to be part of a new set of rules, including “you MUST label yourself & your sexuality MUST take the foremost seat in your life OR ELSE!” i’ve never felt “queer enough.” I almost didn’t join AS, much less think about going to A-camp. But i felt more & more like i wanted to go, & i’m unexpectedly able to pay for it, & i know that if i’m ever going to go, it would be now. Hopefully. I need to get time off of work, too. My mom suggested saying “i have a prior obligation & i have to be gone these days,” which i think sounds very nicely vague & important & unmovable. (i am still nervously crossing my fingers & internally screaming)

      TL;DR if you want to go & think you can swing it, do it. You can at least do the non-refundable $75 to secure your spot & you have till April 1st to make the final decision that feels right for you. (: And i don’t think any worries/reasons you feel you shouldn’t go are lame or bad or unworthy, either.

      /i hope this didn’t make you feel bad, i’m just trying to internet pat you on the back c:>

      • Omg, story of my life (not really fitting in with the queer community because it’s not the #1 thing that makes me who I am, plus my job isn’t really the most gay-friendly thing ever so I really have to be careful about what gets posted on social media). We should be friends, yo. And congrats on coming out to your ‘rents.

        So, I registered! Now or never, right? Stoked to meet some cool people!

        • Aha, high five? eheh. What are you planning on telling your job? My parents are telling me to tell my boss it’s “a once in a lifetime thing” so kind of “plz let me go” but i’m scared that won’t be enough :X I neeeeeeeeeeed to goooooooooo so baaaaaaad

          Eee yay friends yes C:

        • I will give all of y’all who are a bit scared a big ole hug once you’re on the mountain (if you’re hug people) and we will all drink whiskey together (if you’re whiskey people) and we’ll look at the stars because they’re phenomenal up there.

          See you in May.

    • I know I’m late to this thread, but I just wanted to share how awesome it feels to see that I’m not the only one who has felt a little too scared to go in the past. I kept waiting to see if I could get my girlfriend or a friend to join me, but due to their work & financial situations, it’s always been a no-go.

      I decided to just go for it & I will be going this year for the first time, even though I still don’t know anybody else who’s going. But I’m so unbelievably excited to meet all you awesome people

  3. I FINALLY DID IT! I REGISTERED! AFTER YEARS OF READING RE-CAPS I AM GOING! I AM SO EXCITED! Now I just have to figure out how I am going to get there… and how I am going to pay for it… BUT WHATEVER I AM ACTUALLY GOING AND I AM SO EXCITED!

    • Ok so there’s been a heatwave in Melbourne (Australia) for the past week, and it’s been 44C/ 110F every day, and I haven’t slept much. Lots of late night AS browsing. And then A-Camp came up, and sensible me says ‘No you can’t afford it, you just graduated, you don’t have a job, go another time’. But heat-affected late night me said ‘Go! There’s only one in 2014! You’ve been wanting to go forever, go go go!’.

      And lo, I pressed the button. I am registered. Eeeeeeek.

      See you all there!

  4. I want to go so bad and I theoretically *can* go! But I feel like I have to come out first, because how the hell will I explain to people where I’m going otherwise? A social justice women’s leadership type conference via my favorite blog of which I’m not telling you the name of? Riiiight.

    • I don’t have time to pull up the link to the post right now (I’m on my way out to a meeting) but there are myriad types and levels of lies you can tell people if you’re not quite there in terms of telling them who we are yet (yes, we did even write about that). Besides, there’s the holiday, and MOST, MOST importantly, you will want to shout who you are from the rooftops when you come back. Life changing experience. Go register.

      • So I don’t know if you’re going to see this, since you’re off farming in Israel and living the life. But I registered. I forked over the $75 to start. I guess now I should find a flight. OMG, what am I doing??? I am really excited to meet you too, Vanessa! I hope we end up in a feelings circle or something? Is that an A-Camp thing? I don’t know if you were just saying that you’ve been dying to meet me for a year, but it meant a lot! I thought my heart might burst, because I really really want to meet you too. <3 And thanks everyone for the lie suggestions, lol. I think I'm going to say that there's this excellent networking conference for women's blogs and social media people. If I make it about my job search, I'll feel less guilty! And you know what, if they ask me further questions maybe I'll just tell them it's really to meet a bunch of queer ladies. (In my mind, I'd love to just be like FUCK it. I'm going to GAY Camp.)

    • I went in October and was only out to two people. That number has gone way up since then, in no small part because of the community that I built up on Mt. Feelings. I get not wanting to lie about where you are going, but if you aren’t ready to tell the whole truth that’s okay too. You’ll be camping in California with some friends; not a lie and also generic enough to not draw in too many follow-up questions.

      Bottom line, definitely come. You’ll love it!

  5. I said that for 2014 I’d aim to go, but didn’t know if I could by May. Then I saw it’d only be happening in May and decided I would MAKE it happen. Time will tell…

    Anyway, I’ve registered! I’ve also had around 6 large glasses of wine tonight, so I’m praying I didn’t type anything ridiculous into those boxes. Again, time will tell…

  6. So I’m definitely not going this year or the next … I do aim on going by 2016, though. Hopefully you’ll still be doing camps – this is the one time I regret leaving the US and moving to London!

    Aaaah, I’m excited for all of you! (also I will vicariously live through every person that attends and posts about it, so, please do – I’m counting on you!)

  7. My girlfriend and I have wanted to go sooo bad the past 2 years. My yearly vacation time resets literally a week after camp, so it’s kind of a bummer there’s no fall session this year. I will definitely plan ahead so we can make it in 2015!

  8. One glass of whiskey, one computer, and 75 bucks later….I’m in. And terrified. And excited. And terrified.

    Whomever ends up in my bunk: fair warning- you’ll be joined by me and my BFF Jameson.

    andohmygod did I just comment here?

    See y’all in May.

  9. I hope A-Camps are still happening 3 or 4 years from now when both of my children will be old enough to stay with their grandparents for a week while their moms go frolic on a mountain with a bunch of queers.

    For now I’ll have to live vicariously through you lot. HAVE THE BEST TIME EVER AND THEN TELL US ALL ABOUT IT!

  10. Wow…this works out perfectly. I am done with school on the 17th AND have off the weekend that A camp lands on. It’s like fate is telling me to shell out the $700 I would need?!?! And A-camp or NYC over spring break to visit a friend? So many questions, but yet I think my heart knows the answer.

    Question though- When does camp usually fill up? Just so I know about when I would have to commit by. Thanks!

  11. So I registered, hoping to dear lesbian jesus that this new job (who will definitely allow me to pay for this) is going to grant me that much leave. They will. I BELIEVE.

    But seriously, I can’t wait to be off this island and on that mountain. Get me back to the mountain!!

  12. In the fall I waited until two weeks before to register because I wasn’t sure if I could afford it or handle all those new people, but I did afford it and the people were so wonderful and kind and interesting and cute that I didn’t know how to handle it. I’M SO EXCITED TO GO BACK!!!

  13. I’ve wanted to go since you guys introduced the very first “A Camp,” but I was always broke. Now I will most likely have the money to do this but the following things are holding me back:
    1) I have horrendous social anxiety. I know you are all sweethearts but I shake in my knickers when it comes to communicating with new people/ people at all.
    2) I am having relationship issues in which I love my lady, but we need to not be attached at the hip, but I also don’t know how to not be.
    3) I have a hella “I am not smart enough” issues. I feel like I will cower into my shy corner not make this the most amazing experience I’ve ever had.

    Okay…theres some honesty for ya. Someone talk me out of this hole I always dig myself into.

    • HI I HAVE PROFOUND SOCIAL ANXIETY AND AM TERRIFIED OF NEW PEOPLE AND I FUCKING STAFF THIS THING. we are all a bunch of complete and total weirdos and we welcome more weirdos and i promise you will never be around a group of more accepting and loving human beings, seriously, it’s so supportive that it makes me resent everything that is not mountain time.
      COME HANG OUT plz.

    • A totally valid way to experience camp is to spend it mostly listening to awesome people at panels and at meals and in your cabin and to sometimes wander around by yourself looking up at the sky and crying.

      What I mean is you don’t have to go and try to be like the outgoing extroverts. There’s a whole level of camp that works for introverts too. There are a lot of us there!

      If that doesn’t help let me know and I’ll try a different angle :P

    • I know these feeels. October was my first camp and I was SO FREAKING NERVOUS. I literally knew no one there. Here’s the thing, it’s so easy to make new friends there. It doesn’t matter if you’re smart/not smart, shy/not shy, or whatever. Just be yourself, do the things that interest you up there and you are bound to find people with similar interests. It’s weird and magical and very hard to explain. Just go. It’s the best decision you will ever make.

      • ahhh this is kind of comforting to me, too. i’m nervous about being really badly awkward & making a dumbass of myself & having people side-eye me & then i just get really quiet & sad when that happens. so don’t worry, Ellie, you’re not the only one who’s been nervous about this thing from the moment you heard of it. : x

    • This is kinda what has been holding me back too. I’m shy as hell at first and fear I will just stand in corners by my lonesome, haha. I also really do need more queer friends. But it’s been encouraging to read everyones positive thoughts and ALSO ALSO that they cater to Vegans as well!

      The timing is a bit off for me (as I have time off in May but I already have other plans for my vacation time). I’ll keep it in mind for the next one for sure.

  14. This is my first comment after coming to this site every day for almost 2 years. I can’t express how important Autostraddle has been for me through the process of coming out to my family and friends, being in a relationship with my first girlfriend, and just being a gay girl in the world. At long last, I have registered for A-Camp. And I can’t. Freaking. Wait.

  15. I’d really like to go, it sounds great! But I’m horribly awkward and have actually run away from parties… including an Autostraddle meetup party, once. Which is worse than not knowing anyone, I think.

    • Might I add that people are super awesome and understanding? I pretty much walked out of Klub Deer and prom on a regular basis on the grounds that I can’t handle too much social interaction. I missed discussion groups, smoked away from the smoking group at times, and barely managed through mealtimes, but somehow I wasn’t left out of the group and still made some awesome friends.

      Don’t mind me I just think A-camp is the bees-knees, and everyone who loves AS-the website should go, especially us socially awkward introvert-types. It’s one of the few places where I don’t feel pressured to “act extroverted” all the time. It’s sooo nice.

    • Ah, but even if you have to run away a little bit, you’ll be in a very picturesque setting on top of that mountain! Looking at the scenery and quietly processing your feelings a very normal a-camp activity, I’d say. Or at least, I spent a lot of time doing that last camp and it was really wonderful.

  16. So I’m seriously considering road-tripping from Canada to go to A-Camp. Is the road up the mountain as sketchy as I’ve heard? Enough to justify leaving my car at LAX and catching the shuttle? Keep in mind that I’m a prairie girl and I don’t know how to drive on hills, let alone mountains.

  17. i’ve been wanting to go since the first one was announced, and this seems like the most possible year it could actually happen, so i registered!
    also, i’m thinking a roadtrip down from seattle or portland instead of flying, if anyone else is going to be headed that way please let me know

  18. laneia’s tweet saying a-camp is already 83% full was just the push i needed after reading recamps the past few years and never feeling brave enough to join. i’m all registered and feeling excited and nervous and thrilled! can’t wait to journey down from canada to feel feelings and drink whiskey on a mountain with your beautiful queer faces

    (is that a real thing that i’m going to get to do in my real life? yes. yes it is)

  19. Aaah, this is my first ever Autostraddle post! (I’m so nervous, you guys!) I’ve been reading regularly for about a year now, and really wanted to do the last A-Camp but was too scared/shy.

    But this year, I’m doing it! A little nervous since I don’t know anyone else who’s going, but my excitement to meet and hang out with lots of awesome queers ladies far outweighs my nerves.

    If there’s any other Rhode Islanders going who would be interested in chatting or even just coordinating flight times to have someone to say hi to while waiting at the terminal, feel free to contact me!

  20. OMFG I am going to try REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to be there.


    Oh shit. My heart y’all. Palpitating. With. Excitement.
    Cuz I cannot take. Oh.

    I’ve never even been to summer camp, ever. So like I have to wonder about the possibilities of a QUEER ADULT summer camp? It’s like heaven on earth.


  21. This all sounds sooo wonderful, and I really want to go!

    BUT then i live in Europe and that makes it a expensive trip.

    HOWEVER my friend is going snowboarding for a week in europe and that costs about the same soo…

    PFF i dunno.

    Are there more people from Europe that are (thinking of) going?

  22. I’ve been on the waitlist for a week and I’ve already fallen three times lunging for my phone’s email notification! How do I, when will I get off the freaking waitlist? What if I never do??? Ahhhh!

    Also, after being an avid reader (I mean like obsessively daily) for years, this is my first comment. A-camp took my commenter v-card and now I’m left with all the feelings. Wait. Was that my email? Obsessed!

  23. May is too far away. Yes, I’m whining… I feel justified though. I need A-Camp NOW dammit! There’s nothing quite as soothing as spending several days on top of a mountain with 300 fun, intelligent, caring queer women.

  24. I know this article is super old, but I just got off the waitlist and have a very important question. Does anyone know when the full amount is due by? Is it still due on April 10th even though I just now got in? I am waiting on my tax return and cannot go if I will need to pay before I get it :( :(

    Any help would be much appreciated!

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