So You Want To Be A Pen Pal?

In response to last week’s pen pal post, approximately 27 of you commented that you’d like to see be a part of some kind of Autostraddle pen pal fandango. How could you not? You are such a interesting, smart and funny group of perfect weirdos and it’d be a crime if we didn’t do our part to help you all find each other.

Enter: Autostraddle Air Mail. We want queer girls all over the world to have a reason to bounce excitedly out to their mailboxes. If you want to be one of those lucky ladies, all you need to do is sign up! Send me your vital stats at laura [at] autostraddle [dot] com sometime before June 11th and I’ll match you up. I’ll need your:

Home Address
Language(s) Spoken
Desired age range/language of your pen pal, if you want
That’s all (really and truly, because part of the fun of getting a pen pal is knowing nothing about them)

Depending on how many responses we get, we’ll be getting back to you guys sometime during the week of the 11th with everything you need to know about your new friend. If you’ve got any questions about the safety of giving your address to strangers (anthrax is so 2001), how to write a good letter (a flashy postage stamp is always a good start) or my secret desire to be Patti Stranger (the answer is yes. Only without the archaic gender roles and artificial collagen) hit me up below, I’m all eyes.


If you’re a babygay or otherwise closeted, please let me know in your email! I want you to to get in on fun and not have to worry about discovering a giant gay envelope in your mailbox.

If everything goes smoothly, we’ll do a second round later in the summer, so don’t worry if you’re moving or busy right now. We’ve got ya.

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. I would like to believe I helped make this happen because that makes me feel sexy.

    If that is so, then I also feel like there should be a cabin at A-Camp called Gayvenclaw, and that I should be an honorary member since I am probably not going to go to there. This time.

    I have lots more wishes too.

      • As my BFF Natalie up there said, you probably could maybe, if our gay overlords let it be so. I mean, I think both of us started frequenting AS when we were like, fetal, so you’re not alone in your age group, and most peeps on here don’t take issue with it, so.

    • I think you can if it’s not a safety issue for you or your parents! I don’t think most people here will mind about your age… I think people who (like me) are very young adults aren’t that much older than you are and you’re probably not alone in your age group.

  2. The fact that I’m not out to my mum yet and would have to always get the post first to avoid explaining the situation wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t also own the two most convenient post offices for me to get stamps and mail them from. She is everywhere.
    It’s tough being a baby dyke.

  3. Ooh, this sounds like fun! I might just be in with this, if my paranoia about giving my address away doesn’t get the better of me. Not that I think there are any real serial killers or something on here, but that’s just how I am…^_^;;
    But ditto on the girl in high school. Can I participate if I’m not 18 yet?

  4. yay!

    “how to write a good letter (a flashy postage stamp is always a good start)” – yes, please. I need a good intro on how to write a good letter from a social perspective, not a grammatical one…although, I could use help with that, too. Some of us shy folk don’t always have the gift of gab.

  5. I actually work for the USPS, so if anyone has any questions (mailability etc) feel free to ask. With regards to the people who said their addresses change a lot, if you live in the same town or area and aren’t moving too far away from your homebase, there is also a service called “General Delivery” too, however you’ll have to actually go into the post office and pick-up your mail with ID (or until you’re familiar with the employees) as well as sign-up for that service.

  6. SWEET! This is so wicked cool! I really want to join but I would rather die than have my parents read my mail, which the mightn’t if they know it’s a penpal. Does anyone have any advice to tell them in a non suspicious way? Please?

  7. I’ll be changing addresses for summer and Basic Training, that’d be awesome to have a special pen pal during Basic. Hope she doesn’t mind the switching around!

  8. I used to have a penpal, but she stopped writing when we got email, and it’s not quite as exciting.

    Anyway, I would love to do this, but am kind of all over the state during the summer and don’t know what address I should use or if it would be possible to change my address later?

  9. Wow! It seems that AS takes suggestions and/or requests and makes them happen.

    (Opens up another window. Sends an email to AS requesting a rare kitty cat worth a million dollars. 1-2 days later receives an email from AS with a picture of a kitty cat holding up bags of money. Saves as screen saver.)

    Back to Pen pal… Hey future pen pal! You will be receiving letters written in cursive.

  10. I kind of always lurk on this website because all of the posts are just wonderfully fabulous and fill me with so many feelings I end up having no idea what to say, but this is a wonderful idea! So I hope that no one minds if I say hello and send my name into this penpal list of brilliance? It would be lots of fun to finally have a use of my box of fancy stationary!

  11. I wanna sign up, but then I’m a tiny bit paranoid I’d have nothing to say…I’m like stuck at home ill right now with no job and I’m also a baby dyke with queer experience of zero. Then again I love mail and stationery and have practically no queer friends and I need something to look forward to… *dilemma*

  12. I feel like I should tell this to everyone mailing, if you decide to mail one of those Hallmark cards, music cards, or a square shaped card at some point in the process of this penpal session, or want to add stuff that is lumpy like ribbons and other such stuff, make sure you have it weighed and make sure it’s not considered “non-machinable,” otherwise it may get ripped up in the mail through the machines, or be an additional 20 cents for each additional ounce. Also, put your return address on the letter. It is quite amazing the things people mail. Yes, people try to mail glasses in a regular sized white envelope, don’t be one of those people! Again, any other questions or concerns, feel free to ask me.

  13. I am well up for this. Posting stuff makes me feel like a real person (and also seems to amuse the lady in the post office for some reason). Plus, it’ll be fun to see if I can negate my letter-based social awkwardness with glitter and diagrams.

  14. Yay! The timing for this is excellent, since I’m moving in about three weeks and now will (hopefully) have an excuse to check my mailbox.

    It’s also highly ironic that this should occur since I just reregistered for Postcrossing yesterday.

  15. Maybe that should have been a question in the signing-up process, whether discretion is necessary as far as the outside of the mail goes.

    For the record, I am more than okay with overtly gay mail in my inbox.

  16. The last time I had a penpal was probably 19-20, which was a good 7 years ago, and I forgot how much I miss looking forward to those letters in the mail, I am probably way too eager to meet a new stranger/soon to be friend!

  17. Remember that page in Girls Life magazine in the 90s with the addresses of kids who wanted pen pals? My mom would never let me send in my address because it was super shady. This is just like that except less shady and more gay.

  18. I was super excited to do this cause I momentarily forgot Facebook existed, but, now that I’m aware of what decade we’re living in, I’m still super excited and promise not to immediately Facebook friend whoever I’m paired with. I mean, what’s the fun in that?!

  19. Can trans guys who don’t identify as “girls” be pen pals? Lots of transmen read AS and I know of a really cool person who would want to participate. He’s cool and would send awesome letters.

  20. My parents think its a pen pal project for school…
    I too hope that minors are allowed to participate, because even in the all accepting bay area, queer culture is surprisingly dim for a closeted babydyke like me..
    But anyway, This sounds like the most amazon thing!! I’m extremely exited to get started !

  21. This might be fulfilling my dream of writing out long letters like Elizabeth Bennet and then having a lesbian version of Mr. Darcy barge into the guest room with nothing but awkwardness. That I will then speedily write about to Ms. Pen Pal of SomethingFancy Abbey.

  22. Against my better judgement, I have decided to trust that you are not a psychopath who for years has posed as a queer internet blogger, all leading up to this moment, in an all-consuming plan to hunt down and kill as many queer girls as possible. I’m excited!

  23. I’ve been lurking on here for about a year and I’ve never commented on anything, but I figure this is a good a time as any … I’m in for the next round! I wish I could participate in this one, but I’m moving countries soon (and won’t be in one place during the summer), so it would be too complicated. This is a great idea! Also, hi!

    (I feel like I’ve abused the exclamation points in this comment)

  24. I just sent in my info!
    I love pen-paling!
    and I get stuff by post all the time,since I live far away from entertaining things/people.

    just a question,has anyone considered doing a christmas card thingy? ove at lj we’ve done it for years and it’s really fun to get proper mail at least once a year

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