OPEN THREAD: Let’s Talk About How A-Camp Rocked Our Socks Off

Hi! I’m super confused right now because we’re not at camp. Specifically: we’re not at A-Camp. See, the past week has gone by faster than any other week in the history of time, I swear it.

(photo by ariel)

(photo by ariel)

Maybe it was the Super Moon, or maybe it was the slap to DeAnne Smith’s vulva or the Klub Deer stamp you’ve yet to wash off or the Lilith Flare songs you can’t get out of your head or maybe it’s that quiet spot in the woods you found or how we carry you in our hearts all the way down the mountain and how we can’t stop talking about you and what we’re gonna do next.

photo by ariel via twenty-something

[photo by ariel via twenty-something]

Marni’s sleeping beside me and Crystal’s gotten into bed in the other room and we’re in Los Angeles and we’re not at camp! There’s not always a lot of time to sleep at A-Camp so the fact that they’re both sleeping means we’re definitely not at camp. You guys, WHY AREN’T WE AT CAMP? I’m so fucking tired but I had to write a thing anyhow because I want to be right there, right at camp, and this is how we make it last a little longer.

getting ready

getting ready

It’s really beautiful up there and when you show up with your hearts wide open, pretty magical things happen and fun is had.

photo by amy g. via facebook

photo by amy g. via facebook

One of you told me that going to camp was like going home, and everybody who’d been back and forth once or more said it felt that way too. I feel like A-Camp is becoming different things for different people, and I like that. How some girls just wanna have fun and others wanna completely transform how they see themselves as a queer lady in a weird weird world and others just wanna be outside without internet for a minute or 500.


I’m proud of our team who worked their asses off for free, threw themselves completely into creating workshops and panels and performances just because they believe in you, believe in this, and wanted to have fun. It kinda seems like we’re finally getting our shit together, and maybe that’s why every time it becomes more and more and more apparent that YOU are camp.  Thanks for hanging out, weirdos. You’re really fucking fun to hang out with.


There will be the feedback survey for all of your feelings about how things got done and could be done better. There will be the recamps to pretend like we’re still there forever and finally see all the photos you haven’t shown me yet, which is almost all of them.

by stephanie via instagram

by stephanie via instagram

So, for now: what’s your favorite memory of A-Camp? How do you feel at the bottom of the mountain? HAS ANYBODY FOUND THE SUPER GLUE???

somer bingham is slaughtered by camp (via instagram)

somer bingham is slaughtered by camp (via instagram)

A-Camp 4.0 will take place from October 9th-13th. Registration will open in mid-to-late June. Stay tuned for more details.

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian 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 2844 articles for us.


  1. I can’t deal with finally being back in St. Louis, y’all. I can’t.

    I got rerouted twice, I’m home nearly 24 hours after I was supposed to be, and my luggage still hasn’t shown up. Alice fucking Motes took me in for the night, and I can’t thank her enough for responding to my emergency HELP! facebook message.

    I would go through all that again for A-Camp. All of it.

    Also, Marika kept trying to find handsome bowtie wearers for me to make out with at the dance and afterparty. Best wingqueer ever.

  2. I also just finished my first day back at work. It was made easier by listening to Songza’s “Top Dance Pop Party” playlist and reminiscing about Klub Deer. I long to be back on the mountain, soaking up the sun and meeting all you amazing queers.

  3. Looking good, Runaways.

    I typed out my feelings and that ended up being 2 single-spaced pages so that’s a lot for a comment… but really, I love you all, and thank you for making this the most amazing week of my life. I’ve never felt so included, safe, and loved. I’m so so so grateful to have had this experience.

    I really wish I was in a feelings circle right now, or at Klub Deer, or just drunk on the swings. I miss the mountain.

  4. so can we please talk about Courtney’s Cuntry Store and the possibility of raising $1.2 m for land for a commune where the A-team could live with their families and work and have camps there will be a pitbull rescue/queer lady cat circle etc?

  5. Ialsodidn’tgotocamp BUT my heart swells and my mind and heart travel to glorious places upon reading these comments. Yay to AS and all that you do and are. It is a good Straddlin’ week.

    Also, on that note

    a) my You Do You pin finally arrived, which was freaking exciting (also because *Parcels from Alex Vega*).

    b) the pin appeared to have a mark on it, prompting feelings of ‘oh hell no!’- but upon closer inspection it appeared that this is glitter, which is freaking amazing and makes the pin even *GAYER* than before / gayer than hell (which, if the conservatives are right, is pretty damn gay already)

    c) I Breakfast Clubbed that pin and have been wearing it as a single earring for all of today, because You Do You

    d) I wore said earring/badge/shield/beacon to work tonight, because You Do You

    e) At work, this occurred:

    Customer Girl: “Sorry if this is rude-”
    Me, anticipating a question about the location of certain chocolate/some other product/ some info about a special sale we’re having: “no it’s fine-”
    Customer Girl: “..I just wanted to say that you’re one of the most beautiful people that I’ve ever seen”.

    Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

  6. As the Outlaws know, I don’t have many feelings and I prefer to end most things with a joke BUT I will say this: A Camp was the only place in the entire world that I could 100% be myself. I didn’t have to think about my hair or bathrooms or my boxers showing. I could just be. And that is the greatest gift I have ever received.

  7. Kind of hoping Camp 4.0 is on the first set of proposed dates, that falls over Columbus Day in the U.S. which several of us have as a holiday so one less vacation day off work.

    Is there a central repository (facebook? twitter? someplace else?) for posting/sharing/submitting photos from camp? Have a few I’d like to share but not sure what’s best.

  8. Can’t choose just one favorite memory, but here are a few that will always be with me:
    -After the non-monogamy panel, hearing from people that my voice resonated with them. Hearing from folks that my story gave them confidence that there was a “place” for them in the AS community to be open about their relationships (openness about relationship models as well as relationship partners/gender of partners).
    -Getting to perform a campy, gender-bending, sexy/silly act at the talent show–I was not at all prepared for the enthusiasm from you ladies and will always cherish that.
    -Hearing the very honest stories of people I admire and respect who’ve been through fire and risen like phoenixes (both in formal avenues like the “your relationship doesn’t have to suck” panel and in individual conversations.) So much inspiration and love.

    There are many other moments and conversations I carried home with me as well. The Lauryn Hill cover from Lilith Flair has been in my mind today, I hope someone recorded it :)

    Huge thank you to the Autostraddle team for your vision and work, and to everyone at camp for making it magical.

  9. guys. i can’t even. i can’t real world. once i got off the mountain i think i seriously melted. anne-marie almost shoved a guy off of a bike because he was the first cisgendered man she saw and she panicked.

    this camp was incredible. they’ve all been incredible, and i can say that i am just going to keep going back forever because it’s the thing that fuels me to get through every day, knowing that mountain exists and you all exist and i love you all more than you know.

    this camp i felt brave and happy and really in the moment. i wore a two-piece swimsuit in public for the first time. i danced. i formed uncomfortably close bonds with those around me. i did a panel! i was so nervous for my panel that my hands were shaking when i tried to hold the microphone, but eventually i became comfortable and so many of you came up to me afterwards and thanked me for sharing and asked me for advice and my heart exploded a little each time.

    i am proud of all of you and i am so in love. and autostaff – you guys are life changers, and i’m sincerely and overwhelmingly proud to call some of you my friends, because you made magic happen and i pinpoint autostraddle and camp and the staff and the things you write and say as the entire reason i became the happy, confident, okay-with-myself person i am today.

    but really – am i humaning?

  10. One day I really want to go to one of these things, if I’m ever in the US – or arrange a holiday just so I can come. Although I’m probably too socially awkward to truly benefit from it, but I’d love to lurk among you wonderful queers.

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