It feels like we’re on some other timeline. There’s been a break in physics somehow, a slight branching off of dimensions where Autostraddle is — against all odds, yet again — still here. We’re still able to take care of our writers and illustrators and team, we’re still keeping your money gay, and still working for you. We’re writing the content we bring you normally, and at the same time, we’re learning and growing along with you and figuring out how to adapt and provide connection, information and togetherness for you in this new normal.
The thing is, this is a monumental accomplishment, a BIG GAY MIRACLE even, but it was also not wholly unexpected. We’ve always been different. Because we are you and you are us. Because we know each other, and come together in this queer space on the internet as more than a site, but an international, astonishing and downright impressive chosen family. Autostraddle was never able to depend on advertising — we’ve always relied on you, and you’ve shown that we CAN still rely on you; that you are willing to invest in the longevity of this site and in the endurance of this community.
Over the first 24 days of April, we told you we needed support, and you came through!! How many of you? Over 2,200 individual humans gave to make what we achieved a reality. We set an initial goal of $100,000, including $23,000 in match funds from some amazing humans, and you helped us get there. We set a stretch goal of $150,000 total, and you got us to $132,039. You did this with 84%, that is eighty-four-freaking-percent of contributions, coming in at $50 or less. That is a bunch of beautiful queer people coming together to make the collective decision to keep this space running. THAT IS AMAZING! LISTEN, my love, you caring, thoughtful individual: we have what we need to keep chugging along into the summer, to see where this crisis takes us as a globe of humans and as our queer community. You gave us TIME and the opportunity to do what other spaces are not able to do while battling lay-offs or shutting down. We can concentrate on serving you, on keeping the internet gay, sharing our experiences and finding joy together where possible. Right now, this is joy. We can remember what it was like when we first found queer community and be here to welcome the newcomers.
You also joined A+ in a STAMPEDE. Thank you. I’m overwhelmed in a good way. I am literally typing this amidst a pile of perks packages I am putting together for new members. We sprouted up from 3,940 A+ Members at the start of April to a dizzying 4,724 A+ Members! Incredible. A+, as you know, has long been an important part of Autostraddle’s sustainability, and to see membership grow like this is astronomically heartening!
So, what’s next? We have some milestone perks that we’ll be fulfilling for you in the coming weeks: exciting things like a To L and Back Live Recording (in quarantine) and a second Shelter in Our Place (more info soon)! We’re also going to be working on A+, welcoming new members, tweaking and improving aspects of it all and just appreciating the heck out of you in general! In addition to exploring our shared future and editorial dreams, we’re also going to be consistently looking for sources of revenue, shoring up our chances of sustainability, holding more member drives, and yes, having at least one more fundraiser before the end of the year.
I hope you sit for a moment and know that you gifted us — and so many other people — with a serious dose of hope. Whether you gave, became a member, ARE a member, bought merch, shared on social media, sent us encouraging notes, told your friends or some combination of the above, you are making sustainable, community-supported independent queer media possible.
To help you get into a head space appropriate for your level of excellence, I want to leave you with some words from a few members of our team (and also, as promised, my undying love):
“I feel so lucky to work for a community that’s constantly showing up and reminding us that what we do matters, that we all need each other and can only really succeed when we let ourselves get vulnerable and honest enough to ask for that help and then work together. Thank you for being here with us!” – Laneia Jones
“While emailing with the person who donated to the fundraiser auction and got my personalized queer book list, I realized that it is my life’s biggest joy to connect queer readers with queer books, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to do that for you!” – Casey Stepaniuk
“It’s been so affirming to see that so many people are investing in us during such a scary and difficult time — it drives me to work harder and think more deeply about what we can be providing with the resources we’ve been able to have thanks to this community, and making sure we’re earning this support every day.” – Rachel Kincaid
“I’m so deeply relieved to be a part of a community like Autostraddle — one where people come together to laugh, to cry, to mourn, and to enjoy each other’s company. There’s something deeply heartening about seeing so many lesbians and queer people come together and support each other, and I’m so grateful for everyone who sustains Autostraddle and its mission.” – Rachel Lewis
“I’m seriously floored with all this generosity. As the person who receives the notifications when someone contributes, I was there witnessing them flooding in, while cooking, or facetiming with friends, or taking a walk around my neighborhood, and seeing your notifications flowing in filled me with so much joy. Thank you!! You all are beautiful and we are lucky to have you.” – Sarah Sarwar