It’s Official: We’re Becoming A Religion

With all the horrors revealed to a shocked world this past Sunday in the HBO Scientology documentary Going Clear, there was one that stood out to the staff of this fledgling queer website: an ingenious business model. After last week’s passing of the Religious Freedom Act in Indiana, which gives ordinary human beings permission to pretty much do whatever they want to anybody because religion, our minds were made up.

We are proud to introduce Scissorism, a cult-like religion that gives queer women the official “non-profit” status they’ve already been living for so long.


Honestly, the idea of becoming a religion has been on our minds since 8: The Mormon Proposition, a documentary film that explained how the Mormons convinced a ton of people to avoid the apocalypse gay marriage would surely rain down upon us by giving the Mormon Church millions of dollars. This worm of an idea blossomed into a caterpillar and then became a beautiful butterfly a few months back, when A-Camp Co-Director Robin Roemer read (or so the legend goes) Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief and informed our CEO Riese, “I’ve been reading a ton on cults this year so I know we are a cult, DON’T LIE!!!!!”

Riese raised the issue with her team of Thetans.

“I think we’ve had this train of thought before,” argued Managing Editor Rachel Kincaid. “The cult one? Which isn’t bad, I’m just noticing how often this theme recurs for us.”

“We have some cultish qualities,” Riese reluctantly acknowledged.

“But none of the money that often comes with them,” Rachel pointed out while drinking tea in her underwear in a cold Milwaukee bedoffice (combo bedroom/office). “Which I agree seems like a raw deal.”

“The only element of being a cult leader I’ve attained is having a hot young girlfriend,” noted Riese.

“Which, mazel tov,” Rachel commented.

“Thank you,” said Riese while watching aforementioned girlfriend singing along to Drake on the couch while eating gummy fruit snacks from a tiny pouch.

“Hannah Hart could be our Tom Cruise,” Laneia suggested while balancing two slices of bread against each other to make an Apple Damn Sandwich in her 32 square feet of tax-deductable office space.

“That’s what I was just thinking!” affirmed Yvonne while attempting to get her dog to stop barking.

“Do you want me to e-mail her?” asked Heather while tweeting with one hand and fixing her bicycle with the other. “Maybe Stacy has her info.”

“Robin can ask her,” responded Riese, in Hebrew.


This initial meeting of the minds was just the beginning of what would become a full-scale vision, the kind that occupies several IMAX screens and rivals the heart-pounding thrills of a good episode of Treehouse Masters. We imagined sitting on piles of money we could then safely distribute to feminist and queer causes, including the funding of Carmen Rios’s trip to Mecca (the Drake tour), debuting a glossy magazine and getting Words With Girls on the air.

The theology was a no-brainer: you do you, be nice to people, don’t talk shit about women’s bodies, don’t link to Bustle, don’t use the word “problematic” or else the goddesses will cry (that’s code for “your water bottle will explode in your bag”), memorize the HTML for adding an image to a comment and do not covet your best friend’s wife or girlfriend.

A pantheon of goddesses have assembled themselves for worship: our Lordess Ellen DeGeneres, Jasika Nicole, Wanda Sykes and Rachel Maddow. Religious texts would include This Bridge Called My Back, Sister Outsider, Bad Feminist, Susie Sexpert’s Lesbian Sex World and OMG I’M GAY. We would immediately apply for state-sanctioned religious holidays such as The Day Orange is the New Black Comes Out and International Autostraddle Brunch Week. Worship services would feature a gospel choir lead by Dannielle Brooks and Samira Wiley, dance performances by Kaylah Wilson and Alex Vega, inspirational speeches from congregants and that part where they pass around a plate and everybody puts a bunch of money on it.

Scissorsism intends to revolutionize the field of religious cults. For starters, members will not be obligated to discard their present religious affiliations, because that’s mean, most religions are pretty rad, and Riese’s Mom would be unimpressed if her daughter abandoned Judaism just before Pesach. However they will need to profess their devotion to Scissorism regularly enough that nobody starts to feel insecure.

Rather than being reminded of how Jesus died for their sins, Scissorists will be reminded how Heather recapped for 80 straight hours for their sins and Riese sacrificed her mental health, social life, financial well-being and youthful disposition for their sins. Rather than being asked to believe in a G-d they cannot physically see, Scissorists will be asked to believe that Kristin Stewart and Alicia Cargile are girlfriends, even if they won’t admit it to the press for some insane reason.

Rather than being helpless when a wedding venue discriminates against us because we’re gay, we’ll now have the power to discriminate against them in return, which could get really creative. For example, Laniea’s Institute Of Midwifery and Ritual would only be open to Scissorists and Jasika Nicole will sew dresses out of driftwood for Scissorists only.

Rather than being subjected to endless “audits,” followers will instead be granted free and confidential therapy, 24/7, because lesbians love talking about their feelings. This will take place in the Super Powers Complex to be constructed in rural Tennessee with a satellite campus in Indiana. Rather than gathering information to use against you shall you choose to deflect (Because what kind of monster would dare to deflect, amirite?) (please don’t leave us) (everybody always leaves please don’t leave), we’ll gather information about your ex who broke your heart, just in case she tries to fuck with you later.

Followers who wish to advance beyond the present highest level in Scissorism — an A+ Gold Membership — will be able to, with the introduction of A+ Diamond Immortal Championship Level. At this level, Heather Hogan will tell you how great you are every single morning, reminding you that you exist at a transcendent and possibly immortal state of relative superiority over the rest of humynkind. You’ll also get a certificate printed on cardstock.


On the first day, Alex created the logo and Tess built the website and Riese saw it, and said that it was good.

We intend to proceed rapidly with various legislative initiatives, such as a requiring schools to acknowledge the existence of homosexuals in all their textbooks, even math. Queer students who feel erased or invisible would be free to leave the classroom in favor of silent prayer or chanting Indigo Girls lyrics to the sun goddesses. Imagine a world where kicking a trans woman out of the women’s restroom or refusing to grant a couples membership at Lucille Roberts to a snazzy pair of femme lesbians was protected under the law as encroaching on the religious freedom of our people. Imagine the ability to strike with lighting every bitch who asks a butch lesbian if she’s in the right bathroom. Imagine a world in which family members who refuse to accept their daughters’ Scissorism will be declared Suppressive Persons.

Sisters, we have already imagined that world.

And sisters, it is glorious!


That world is so close at hand that Mal Blum is already writing it a theme song. Rabbis are already producing hummus and Franzia in line with the strict dietary guidelines set forth in The Book of Rachel.  Our West Hollywood Studio is already putting the final touches on a script celebrating our Creation Myth, which happens to also be true.

Will you come into the light with us, sisters?

Will you surrender to a higher power and walk barefoot over hot coals into the dusty recesses of our caffeinated hearts?

Because if you do, you will be rewarded with many riches in this life. (For example, you will be able to walk on water, enabling you to bypass whatever lies beneath the water at a Dinah Shore pool party. )

Recruitment will be an early goal we expect to achieve swiftly by sending Scissorists door-to-door with pamphlets extolling the virtues of cunnilingus and communal farming. We will erect folding tables offering FREE STRESS TESTS in shopping malls and subway stations, offering hope and a hoodwink to women who are stressed out about the patriarchy.

Many aspects of the Gay Agenda have been stalled by things like our inability to wage war on an entire class of human beings and our overwhelming desire to be courteous and accepting towards those who trespass against us. Fortunately, Scissorism offers exemptions, if you will, from such constraints. Aside from the financial benefits of brainwashing an entire sexual orientation into taking out second mortgages on their homes in order for us to buy more shipping labels, develop an app and provide camperships to under-privileged LGBTQ folks, another key benefit of Plan Religion is to justify declaring an all-out war on men, as our kind have always wanted to do.

Empowered by founding documents like Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto and incoherent rants from MRAs on reddit about what the lesbians are up to, Scissorists will be encouraged to CRUSADE CRUSADE CRUSADE, unleashing buckets of lesbian feminist rage upon masses of innocent cis men (if you are a bisexual with a feminist boyfriend or a queer with a really nice Dad, you will be required to slaughter an animal or a tofurkey and mark your door to have your man passed over when the Amazons arrive with axes). At this point, we feel we’ll be in prime position to do what so many feminists have dreamed of doing for years but were unable to because they weren’t a non-profit: create a world run by women, inhabited by women.

We call it “the land of Lactaid & Honey” and it will be celebrated by L. Riese Bernard engraving the Autostraddle Comment Policy on two large pieces of rock and lifting the stone tablets into the air atop the San Bernardino Mountains.


Most importantly, the financial influx we expect to experience as a non-profit religious institution with 2.6 million brainwashed members will finally enable us to do the one thing our followers have been praying for for so long: host an A-Camp on the East Coast. Mazel Tov!

Although we’ve yet to ask the IRS to cement our religious status, let alone receive confirmation of this ideological conviction, we suggest you get in on the action and join A+ or purchase a sweatshirt featuring our religious motif now if you don’t want to end up burning in eternal hellfire with Ted Cruz and everybody who’s ever said anything bad about us on the internet. We’re sure it’ll all work out eventually, it did for the Scientologists!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, 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. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3198 articles for us.


  1. Just one question: Can Rory design the TV ad for the Scissorist version of “Dianetics”? Maybe a volcano spewing out rainbows, unicorns and kittens.

  2. Can the otter stay forever? My Otterstraddle experience will never be the same without it.

    • Lux and I are celestially sealed in the CLS (Church of Latter Scissorism), so we will not fail to ethically share our otter nurturing responsibilities (perhaps using a grain-fed timetable) once we get our own planet.

    • Vanderjesus must be a deity or at least a patron saint of Scissorism. In fact I assume the whole BooRadleyVanCullen group is a respected subcult of Scissorism who daily pray to the Vanderjesus to give them Emily’s arms, Spencer’s brain, Hanna’s attitude, and Ezra’s death.

  3. My mom -did- say she wants me to have faith in her life, even if it’s not what I was raised with. I’m going to make her so proud!!!!!

  4. How does this work for non binary identify folks? Can we get on to the goodness that you mention here?

  5. So when someone donates a large tract of land for out commune/church it’s now tax deductible? Ottersome!

  6. I volunteer to lead the First Scissorist Crusade. If you need me, I’ll be sharpening my labrys.

  7. Well, Hannah Hart is short, like David Miscavige, and would totally rock a suit as pictured.

  8. Sometimes I forget that there are people who DON’T believe that Kristin Stewart and Alicia Cargile are girlfriends. Now I’ll never have to leave my little queer bubble ever again, Praise Tinkerbell!

  9. As an organized religion we can create a health sharing ministry as an alternative to giving our money to the health insurance industry. We can all contribute and our ministers can give their okay for our health care needs. (My wife and I looked into the current offerings for health sharing ministries and you had to be a Christian and your minister had to okay your health care needs.)

  10. I didn’t even read this article, I just need to thank you for the Otter and Otterstraddle today, so I found a place to comment and this was it


      (I mean I say that about a lot of things, but seriously I might print this out and reread it whenever I’m feeling sad about things like the idiot running Indiana right now and all the homeless queer kids… there will be SALVATION! Praise!)

      “memorize the HTML for adding an image to a comment”… my new mission… must be the most devout follower….

  11. Nobody expects the Scissorist Inquisition! My new life goal is to be a Scissorist Cardinal because I am used to wearing red.

  12. Okay, I realize this is April Fools day and all, but honestly I would totally be down with this. Can I get one of those metal stick-ons (like the christian fish) for my car?

    Also where is my butch misandrist shirt?? I would make one myself but then you don’t get any money, which would make everyone sad D:

    • SCISSOR-FISH!!!!!

      • >
        Above please see my proposed scissorism symbol for the internet until we have a graphic. Simple, yet elegant. Classy, yet somehow appropriately down-to-earth? Should we put it on a rainbow field?

  13. Does this mean we get to form some kind of knights of templar/ order of the garter esque posse of lady knights… go around being all chivalrous and having ultra secret quests to find mythical lesbian artifacts from glories past… like statues of amazon warriors or secret temple graveyards of viking shield maidens…. because i’m pretty sure some of those fancy lady suit companies that do camperships could branch out into Armour. Also, flaming unicorns frolicking on a rainbow field would look pretty swell on banners and shields and such.

    • Yes! And flaming unicorns on a rainbow field is beautiful. I can just see it. I know someone who does graphics, maybe she’d be willing.

    • Just realized that we can drink ceremonial man tears from the chalice of misandry as one of the scared rites of the lady knights.

    • We should have some sort of exorcism ritual for such beings and perhaps warding symbols as well.

    • Oh my god. I didn’t know who Cathy Brennan is so I looked her up.I feel awful now. What a hateful, spiteful, misinformed and misinforming individual.
      I live in the UK and we’ve got Suzanne Moore and Julie Bindel, who I thought were bad, but this is another level of horrid altogether.
      Trying to think of happy scissorism! And otters!

    • Ofc. Also, Sheila Jeffries. And we shall burn the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival to the fucking ground

  14. I forgot what today was. To be fair, I had a colonoscopy and was sedated for a while. : )

  15. Can we choose tequila instead of vodka for our communion beverage? And potato pancakes instead of lame ass wafers? Ooh or maybe liquid chocolate and Maria cookies instead for the sober folk or just in general.
    I was the kid who prayed to Diana for the safety of my gestating relatives so I’m in either way. Also if anyone could come up with a pass over mark for when the Amazons come a swinging it’d be me and my witchy chalk.

  16. I’d gladly buy all the Scissorism merchandise and go knocking from door to door with our holy scripture, for the good of all womankind.

  17. Oh.
    It’s April Fool’s Day.
    Well, it’s gonna be just a little bit awkward explaining the otter tattoo I ran out and got after reading this…

  18. [is busy slaughtering a tofurkey and marking the door of her asexual feminist little brother]

    • I was so glad that their was a tofurkey option. Now my bisexual feminist little brother is also saved!

  19. I sincerely wish this wasn’t an April Fool’s post because this is the best thing I’ve read on this site. Embarrassing snort-laugh at “(if you are a bisexual with a feminist boyfriend or a queer with a really nice Dad, you will be required to slaughter an animal or a tofurkey and mark your door to have your man passed over when the Amazons arrive with axes)”, and I will pay for A+ Diamond Immortal Championship Level.

  20. nice Passover tie-in! I will have to sacrifice many tofurkeys this Passover, apparently.

  21. This was the best and I love it forever. Plz make it real.

    (Also, it took me forever to figure out why there was an otter.)

  22. British so its been the 2nd for a while and definitely post midday for even longer so I did a double take with the link to this. It’s perfect and I wish it was real. I’d make a great scissorsist scholar/warrior. Holy zeal would gird my loins and I would battle on in the name of Otterstraddle and our lady of the blessed spectacles Sue Perkins.

  23. Also I would buy a stupid amount of Otterstraddle tshirts. I would, I would, you know I would.

  24. Wait… is this for april fool’s day, or did you just choose to announce this on rachel maddow’s birthday?

  25. Will the Super Powers Complex be near Dollywood? If so, you may have just uncovered my life’s purpose.

    Blessed are the cheese makers.

    • Laura, one day could we please have a post of gifs from your archive because you always seem to be able to whip out something appropriate for every occasion

  26. can I be your therapist on retainer but then maybe have like a therapist wig so I can take it off and come hang out later or that would probably be weird huh.

  27. It was on my bucket list to start my own cult, but this is just fine.

    I vote that everyone tweets this article, causing the widespread conservative panic that generally comes with the lack of a sense of humor or irony.

    –chaos and mayhem 4ever

  28. I mean I get that this was an April Fool’s day joke but
    but guys
    this is also REAL LIFE
    I vote for the formation of a heretical yet still beloved sect of gnostic AUTOWITCHES

  29. I would for real join this cult. If I had any kind of income, which I do not, I would also contribute financially.

    Also, this might be relevant(?):

    Blessings and peace be upon the Ottergoddesses.

  30. I propose a subcultural version of the Christian Fish and the symbol of Scissorism:

    Two fish, with triangular tails, scissoring, facing outwards. We can infiltrate slowly, everywhere. nya ha ha.

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