Keeping community has been challenging over the past couple of years.
As community editor at Autostraddle, I’ve struggled with how to best reflect the reality of queer community right now in our publication, as many of the events that made my role so fulfilling simply cannot happen safely for now. I know that we are all still showing up and caring for each other in inventive ways, but it’s not always easy to write about or depict online when there aren’t specific “community events” taking place. Typically every Holigay season we hosted (and asked our readers to host) IRL meet-ups, and they were glorious, beautiful. We weren’t able to do that last year and we aren’t able to do that this year. So how to celebrate the winter season together but apart? How to capture the feeling of community that makes Autostraddle feel like a home, not just a website?
This year, I decided to create an end of year miniseries called RITUALS. Though the word ritual is often thought of as something connected specifically to religion, I have always thought of rituals as highly personal and deeply human. Something that helps me feel connected to other queer people even when we can’t safely meet in person is witnessing. I want to know what you do to mark the passage of time, in good times, yes, but more importantly and more interestingly, in bad times, too. I want to know what keeps you up at night. I want to know what wakes you up each day. I want to know what you’re doing at the end of the world, who you are sharing your days with. I want to understand what you’re doing over and over and over again. I want to see you. I want you to tell me about your rituals.
That wish, that desire to witness, is how this miniseries got born. I personally am burnt out on “holiday content.” I don’t want anything sparkly or easy or saccharine. I want to know how you are doing. No really — how are you doing?
The eight writers who contributed to this miniseries will share all sorts of rituals: rituals for love, rituals for grief, rituals for forgiveness, rituals for inner peace. We’ll publish a few pieces each week through December 31. I hope you’ll share your rituals in the comments, and let our contributors know which rituals in particular speak to you.
My wish is that it will help us all feel somewhat less alone this December, more connected to our community, and more ready for whatever January 2022 delivers. Say hello to RITUALS, an Autostraddle end of year miniseries — I hope you love reading these pieces as much as I’ve loved curating them for you.
RITUALS is a nine-part miniseries edited by Vanessa Friedman. The first installment will publish on Wednesday, December 8, and additional pieces will run through the month of December 2021.