Hey there Autostraddle,
Maybe you know me, maybe we’ve met before around the website (if we have, your hair looks great today! I hope you remember to drink some water, hydration is key!), just in case, let me go ahead an introduce myself – my name is Carmen Phillips. Today marks my very first official day as an Associate Editor of this little pocket of queer feminist sunshine on the internet that we all know and love.
Last month, when I found out that our former Senior Editor Yvonne Marquez was leaving the editor team to test new brave horizons, I was terribly sad. Yvonne’s written some of my favorite pieces, from her ridiculously fun and informative series on tacos to her loving tribute to La Virgen de Guadalupe, not to mention the heart-wrenching investigative deep dive into how queer and trans Latinx communities were healing after Hurricane Harvey. She also edited a series spotlighting the work of queer Latinx writers following 2016’s Pulse nightclub shooting that held my hand and tucked in tight against my side, walking the road beside me. I’m broken up to lose Yvonne as a key Autostraddle voice. I know she hasn’t left our community or hearts. I’m also very excited to be here with you today as I make the jump from staff writer to the editor team.
So, who am I? First, I’m a person who’s re-written this letter 4x because nothing makes me more nervous than having to talk about myself! I’m hoping some of you can relate. I’m a mixed race, black Puerto Rican writer. For those of you who are wondering, I identify as femme and queer. Let’s see what else?
I love Beyoncé and the color purple (as in the actual color, though the book and movie are also both fine and I’m a very big fan of Prince). I’m the proud daughter of a single mother, which comes up a lot in conversation. I recently received my PhD in American Studies from New York University. I’m allergic to both cats and dogs. I bake when I’m stressed. This list could probably go on forever; there’s so many layers to all of us, you know? Have you ever heard of Ana Castillo’s Peel My Love Like an Onion? It’s a bit like that. Hopefully we can continue to peel back our layers together while I’m here.
My relationship to Autostraddle started as a reader nearly a decade ago. Some of you still think of me first and foremost as “CP” from our time together in the comments section! Nothing makes me happier, so any Straddler who wants to call me by the nickname – please feel free! In 2017 I joined the team as a contributing writer to help with television coverage, a few months after that I was bumped up to a staff writer, and now, to woefully paraphrase Drake (haha, y’all I’m sorry I’m like this), “started from the comments, now we’re here!”
Want to get to know me better through my writing? Here’s a little of what I’ve published with Autostraddle in the last year that I’m proud of and think says something about me:
- My commentary,“I Love Black Panther with All My Heart, and I Deserve to See My Queer Self in It Too”
- This playlist that doubled as a brief reflection on being Puerto Rican after Hurricane Maria and being a black Detroiter in the years following the Flint Water Crisis, The Boss Bitch Mermaid Who Bites Back
- This interview with my Mamí inspired by our time watching One Day At A Time
Let’s be real, at least a few of you probably also know me from the fun we had last year covering Janelle Monáe and Tessa Thompson’s possible relationship. It’s all love. As you can tell by now, I’m a massive fan of pop culture. And check this out! That’s not going to change! If we’ve gotten to know each other from my television writing, you’ll still find me every week getting my geek girl on writing about Black Lightning and helping to round up our TV Team coverage in Friday’s Boobs On Your Tube column.
I’m also incredibly proud to bring my voice to Autostraddle’s Speakeasy collective, a gathering of our writers of color. I am Autostraddle’s first black senior editor and second Latina senior editor. Those are not responsibilities I carry lightly. I want to prioritize those voices that aren’t always heard and help make sure that our readers of color see themselves fully on our pages. They shouldn’t feel as if they have to check part of their identities at the door (that goes for our writers, too!). Personal essays, cultural and political writing – I love our team and I have some mighty big dreams for us. Watch out ya’ll, we’re coming!
So my digital heartbeats, here we are, starting a new chapter together! Looking to find me beyond the pages of this website? Follow me on twitter (I’m sooo close to my first thousand followers! Yes, I know it’s small, but I’m still super excited. Help a sista out!). You can also follow me on instagram. I haven’t posted on IG in years, but that’s all changing starting this week! Go ahead and follow right now! You’ll have front row seats for the revolution of my social media.
￼That’s it from me! Please, hop in here and tell me about yourselves! I can’t wait for us to get to know each other.
Sending you all my love! (And I was serious about drinking some water!),