Top 20 Autostraddle Icons of 2009: The Future is Bright For Our ’09 Favorites

8. The Ladies of Sister Spit – Revival of the Year

Sister Spit - Michelle Tea and Sini AndersonMichelle Tea and Sini Anderson started Sister Spit in 1994 as an answer to San Francisco’s testosterone-heavy open mic nights. The Sister Spit Ramblin’ Road Show began in 1997 when most of Team Autostraddle was still in high school and therefore unable to attend any shows. Luckily for us and you and The World, Tea decided that Fall 2009 was the perfect time to bring spoken-word back to the masses with Sister Spit: The Next Generation.

Exec. Editor Laneia caught up with the whole crew (Michelle Tea, Beth Lisick, Ariel Schrag, Kirya Traber, Sara Seinberg, Rhiannon Argo, Tania Katan, Ben McCoy) in Phoenix and it basically changed her entire life.

2010: The girls will get back to it with a new lineup starring Michelle Tea, Lynn Breedove, Nicole J.Georges, Lenelle Moise, Elisha Lim, Len Plass & Annie Danger (and other yet-unannounced guests), kicking off Thursday, April 8th in San Francisco.


7. Ellen Von Unwerth: Artist of the Year

Ellen Von UnwerthDo you know who Ellen Von Unwerth is? You should, ’cause she’s responsible for 50% of your most favorite photos ever — especially the genderqueer & lesbionic ones, like the smokin’ hot Jenny Shimizu shoot immortalized in her book Couples. She’s also the favorite photographer of our photographer, Robin! 2009 brought a new book, gallery shows, and some of your favorite photoshoots of the year; Lady Gaga on the cover of OUT magazine, Lindsay Lohan’s “Car Crash Couture,” and of course the Whip It! cast’s Hot Skates for V Magazine featuring the best Autostraddle of all time.

Here’s a gallery of some of Unwerth’s homosexiest work of the year:


6. Ellen DeGeneres & Portia DeRossi – Cutest Couple

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossiWe couldn’t ask for a better representation of lesbian relationships — and on top of it these ladies are both super-smart, talented, and successful. We’ve thought Ellen was funny since like the 90s, and Portia was kickass since like Ally McBeal, and really every day waking up and seeing they’re actually girlfriends feels like a dream come true, it must be REALLY exciting for them! If they break up we will probably quit life. This year they let Americans inside their home & relationship via Ellen’s Show and put an ADORABLE face to the same-sex marriage fight.

2010: The Ellen Show will go on and Ellen will also be joining the American Idol judging panel, premiering on January 12th. In addition to her role in Better Off Ted, Portia De Rossi will be working on the Arrested Development movie.

5. Nicole Pacent & Rachael Hip-Flores: Critters* of the Year

Anyone But Me actresses - Nicole Pacent and Rachael Hip-FloresRachel (straight & engaged!) and Nicole (bisexual) are adorable, genuine, hopeful, and actual friends in the cutest geeky-ist way ever. On Anyone But Me, this ease translates into an on-screen lesbian relationship that really rings true, if often awkward. Their chemistry gives the show an emotional & hilarious kick that keeps viewers coming back for more.

But I know what you’re asking yourself — WHAT IS A CRITTER, AUTOSTRADDLE? What does it mean for these ladies to be referred to as the highest honor in the land, CRITTERS OF THE YEAR? Let us explain, as a Top 100 Critters of the Century list is surely around the corner.

* Critter: A critter is someone who does things that normal people do in a way cuter than the average person. It can be used as a noun, adjective, or a greeting. Examples of critter behavior are as follows: being super cute and fun all the time, not causing drama, wearing hoodies that make you want to cuddle no matter what your relationship is, a stranger being super nice for no reason for no personal benefit for themselves, making the best out of awful situations, always being up for anything.

Critter is totally not a sexual term at all, although obvs we’ve probs all had sex with critters, it is by no means a qualification for the term.

Examples of Critters: Ellen Page, Spencer Carlin, Charlyne Yi, Alice Piesecki, Rihanna, Brandon Walsh, Intern Emily Choo, Tegan & Sara, Jonathan Taylor Thomas in Home Improvement, Kate Moennig in a hoodie, Autostraddle Design Director Alex Vega. (definition by Cait, from here)

2010: The second season of Anyone But Me is currently airing on Blip TV!


4. Tegan & Sara – Musicians of the Year

Tegan and Sara QuinnWe want to give them this award every year, but it’s so much easier to do it when they’ve put out such an awesome album. Sainthood dropped in 2009, and we said so much about it then (the review! the interviews! the track breakdowns!) that we’re not sure we can say anything else about them now besides that our love for them grows deeper every day.

2010: Tour! From January 5th-27th, they’ll be touring Canada. Feb 12th ’til April 8th they’ll be stopping all over the USA.

3. Adam Lambert – Man of the Year

Adam Lambert - Man of the YearWe fell in love with Adam at first sight; and though his American Idol loss was depressing, we suspected he’d do just fine on his own and now he has. He’s been open about his sexuality in a way that few (if any?) male pop stars have before him, and he’s ruffled many feathers while doing so. And for that, we can do nothing but salute him! Furthermore, he’s making you like a queer sensibility and surrender to its power during a media-saturated era of oft-dashed hopes, and so is Lady Gaga, so maybe this is the year the public started to love the rowdy inverted stereotype they’ve always had of the queers. Rock ‘n roll is about deviance, and Deviance is the new Friday Night. His video for For Your Entertainment makes us feel how straight girls feel about Slave 4 U.

2010: Adam has announced plans for “a tour that pulls out all the stops with “costumes, fire, dancers” and “the whole nine yards.” ADAM WE WILL BE THERE.

2. Rachel Maddow – Nerd of the Year

Rachel Maddow - Nerd of the YearWould Rachel maintain the momentum her show earned during the 2008 Election Season? As she reminded us last month with her 30-minute interview with ex-gay leader Rich Cohen — YES. Smart, dorky, sassy, and completely unaffected by whatever people say about her, she might be the most reasonable human being on television. Bonus — she’s so geek-hot-adorable.

2010: Rachel will be mixing drinks and eliminating right-wing extremism every night at 9pm on MSNBC!


1. Lady Gaga – The Freak

Lady Gaga We actually don’t even care if she’s had sex with a woman before — her allegiance to the GLBT community has never really even been about that. It’s about waving her freak flag high, being candid, and breaking boundaries by bringing performance art into the pop cultural stage.

Gaga’s songs are merely the soundtrack to Lady Gaga: The Performance, as saucily suggested by the Gossip Girl Lady Gaga-scored Snow White musical episode a few weeks back — what pop star at the height of their career subjects themselves to a prime-time teen drama or to reality shows (she’ll guest on Launch my Line this week)? Lady Gaga! Because she’s an equal opportunity performer, finding value in every stage on every set.  She goes through incredible effort to assure universal access to Lady Gaga: The Performance, which is unique for an artist of her style. She’s appeared on just about every award or talk show and performed just about everywhere in the world. She has made herself impossible to forget and despite overexposure, is consistently memorable.

Her second album is, like the first, f*cking amazing. Even if you don’t like Lady Gaga: The Performance, the work itself is undeniably good stuff. It’s solid, quality pop music.

We love her especially because in interview after interview, regardless of who she is talking to, she is relentlessly loyal to the gay community. No other pop star at her level has so vocally supported gay rights, or done anything like citing her opportunity to speak at the National Equality March as the highlight of her career. She wore red latex to visit the Queen of England but dressed demurely & respectfully for the gays… it’s always inspiring when someone who has a voice uses it as best they can.

2010: She’ll be touring the US until the end of January, the UK in February and the beginning of March, Australia in March to April, two Asia dates, and yet-to-be determined European tour dates in May. All updates can be gotten straight away on Lady-Gaga-net.

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker 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.

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  1. Love the whole list, but the top six just made my day. If they were all in a room together I think the world might explode.

    Also, for the record, that’s one of my absolute favorite pictures of the dashing Mr. Lambert. (And almost all of the other favorites involve him sticking his tongue down boys’ throats, so, really, this one was probably a better journalistic choice.)

  2. Tegan and Sara are coming to Montreal in a week and a half and I’m so excited I can hardly bear it. I love that you included critters. I’m a critter?! Also my heart swells every time someone talks about Ellen and Portia. PS I love this post from head to toe.

  3. I’d just like to note, every time I see Rose Rollins I literally start to hyperventilate. I’m so blatantly in love it scares me. I know it’s late, Santa, but please if I could have her for just an hour, even 10 minutes, I won’t ask for anything ever again and you could give me huge lumps of coals every Christmas from now on, I promise. I’ll kneel with bare legs on a pile of uncooked grits if you like.

    There’s gonna be a GIRLTRASH! movie? Score.

    So totally thinking Ellen and Drew are cute together.

    I have some links to Kirya (of Sister Spit) within my spoken word circle.

    I am ENTIRELY too obsessed with Tegan and Sara, and when I say it’s unhealthy, I MEAN it. *sigh*

    And the number one slot on this has made me feel stupid for waiting to see who got the top spot. Ugh. I just can not deal with her.

    • Am I the only one that thought maybe she and Mia were having a fling after I read that they shared a room at The L Word convention and were together A LOT and are described as VERY close? Another fantasy? Alright, fine.

  4. That Drew/Ellen photo was my desktop background until I realized how much it cut my productivity- I would start up the computer and just fail to open anything for a while without even realizing it.

    Jill and Cathy are great, but am I the only one who can’t stand the layout of SheWired? I try every now and again, but something about it just overwhelms me and I have to close the tab. But maybe it’s just me and my own weird set of color and texture issues…

    • The SheWired site layout drives me insane! The links are confusing and disorganized, and my obsession with lists and order and continuity makes it impossible for me to enjoy that site even though I’m sure they have a bunch o’ good stuff there.

  5. Ellen Page is a tease. Her whole am i/aren’t i is ENDLESS SPECULATIVE FOREPLAY for us. The hoodies,SNL sketch, suspect itunes playlist, the sapphic rollerskating photoshoot and red carpet handholding. I want confirmation, even if I have to hook her up to the lie detector machine myself.

  6. Whoa, hold up. Lady Gaga’s crystal-encrusted heels (the ones from Bad Romance) are twelve inches high, not ten. I’m very clever, you see. *applause*

    Vogue Evolution are so fierce. So, so fierce.

  7. Ellen Page is such a tease. The hoodies, SNL sketch, gay as anything itunes playlist, sapphic rollerblading shoot and redcarpet handholding are SPECULATIVE FOREPLAY FOR US. I can’t stand it, I need confirmation, even if i have to hook her up to the lie-detector machine myself.

  8. sometimes i feel so lonely and alienated in a world where i do not understand the appeal of adam lambert. but then i go to technostraddle and talk about weird nerd shit and feel better! so it works out!

    my personal perplexity aside, this list is great! and alex the buttons are soooo cute! i want one…

    …please. i’m begging here.

  9. You make the world look bright and shiny even when the world doesn’t want to. Thank you.
    (I’ll still watch Lady Gaga with the sound turned off, but would this really be a celebration of the freaks if we had copy-and-paste brains? Obvs not. Unicorns wouldn’t be as awesome if they were smoking on every street corner… or something. Sorry, analogy fail, but you get the point.)

  10. i wanted to give my computer a high five for the last 6… but i couldn’t. i’m going to attach a hand to my computer specifically so i can high five it whilssst reading autostraddle. autohighfives!

  11. WICKED. Thanks for this article! I enjoyed every word. I especially love your top 3.

    Adam Lambert is my favorite singer. He blows me the fuck away, and I love that lesbians dig him, too. So many detractors think Adam’s fans are all horny cougars who don’t care as much about his talent as they do the Glambulge. Well, you guys shine a spotlight on the reality, and I thank you for that.

    I’m straight, but I have a crush, an actual crush, on Rachel Maddow. I think she’s awesome and sexy in a smart way. I know another straight woman (another Adam Lambert fan, incidentally) who’s also crushing on Rachel.

    And Lady GaGa… what can you say? Like everyone on this list, she makes different cool. But she does it to the nines and dares you to love it or hate it the way no one else can.

  12. Pingback: 32 Lesbian, Queer & Bisexual (LGBTQ+) TV Shows Streaming Free on Amazon Prime – T2F Media

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