Hello, hello, I’m Kamala Puligandla, and I’m the new Deputy Editor at Autostraddle!
If you’ve read the call for the first-ever Deputy Editor, you know it’s no less than a total honor to be invited behind the screen of Autostraddle! I’m excited to be in this role because I’m so appreciative of the tight community, plus the range of hilarity and vulnerability that unfolds daily on this site. Queer people are so important to me — our minds, bodies, erotic yeses, hard no’s, anger, hanger, dreams, futures, pleasures, all of it — and writing, as the expression of all of these things, is my lifeblood. So please allow myself to introduce myself.
Basics About Me
+ I have a background in writing literary fiction and essays, and my first novel Zigzags is coming out in April with a really cool small press in Los Angeles called Not A Cult.
+ I also have several years of experience working in marketing and copywriting. I’m sometimes shocked to find out how much I’ve learned about those things, as an artist with disdain for capitalism, but I am happy to use them for good at Autostraddle.
+ A few things I live for beyond queerness and writing: inventive deliciousness of food and rad aesthetic styles. You can follow me on Instagram for visuals of those things, or on Twitter for my intermittent bouts of observation.
+ This was my bio from 10 years ago. It’s still mostly true, though I now live in LA and plan to wear elastic waistbands forever: Kamala Puligandla is 24 and lives in North Portland. She can be found in her sweatpants eating at Burgerville, playing the one song she knows on her keyboard, making paper dolls of her friends and toiling away on her short stories. She plans to continue this lifestyle with the hope that one of these activities will lead to fame, fortune and occasions to wear pants without an elastic waistband.
+ When the original The L Word first came out, I was in my first year of college and my best friend (with whom I was madly in love) would put on their finest skin-tight, denim jumpsuit and drag me to the softball/rugby house to watch the show and drink PBR, but mostly to see who they could sit next to, because it was a SCENE. And I was always in a mood about it because I’m a princess who doesn’t love sitting on the floor and is not hot for jocks, but was absolutely hot for Carmen.
My Vision for Autostraddle
I didn’t identify with the term “lesbian” for a long time, because I felt it was synonymous with whiteness in a way that I couldn’t relate to. I still call myself a dyke because the reclamation has always felt politically accurate for me. More than explaining whom I’m attracted to, I intend for my identity to be challenging and dangerous to the dominant structures that be — though I aim to do this thoughtfully, with elegance and compassion. And that’s what I hope to do more of on this site!
I am moved by the strong personal connections that built Autostraddle and that transpire in our community today. It’s still a meaningful place on the internet, in a time when most of what’s online is basically a collection of virtual mall kiosks, and I have reverence for this oasis.
I want Autostraddle to continue to grow and reach new readers. I want this to be the place where the most relevant discussions on the things affecting the lives of LGBTQ women and non-binary people are happening. And I want to invite people of color, especially Black and Indigenous folks, to lead that conversation, to redefine what we read and recognize as queer and lesbian culture. I want to look to a diversity of writers, artists, and thinkers, as well as pop culture icons to show us what’s up in our world.
I’m hoping to discuss our shared future, and so our pasts too. I believe Autostraddle is a super versatile place, where we can talk about uncomfortable truths, where we can respectfully hold differences without threat, where we’re open to reconsidering things we thought we knew — and also poke fun at our poly lives, get the most relevant L Word recaps, and dish on who just came out. I just want a gay utopia, okay?
Which I know is asking a lot. But I believe that if it can happen in a significant way anywhere, it’s going to happen on Autostraddle. We’ll need your help, all of you, so I hope you stay tuned and that you’ll let us blow your mind a little.