The Autostraddle Yearbook: A Decade Of Gay Work

2009

“i love everybody! today is the day i understand the internet! i feel like that girl in mean girls who just wants to bake a cake with rainbows for everybody, but she doesn’t go to their school, but i actually do go to this school.”

CARLY USDIN, AUGUST 5, 2009
Autostraddle's original logo
see the website in 2009
"It felt important."
see laneia’s story

freshmen

In the beginning, Autostraddle.com was just Riese and her friends. Nobody got paid back then (and it would take many years for everybody to get paid), we just all did it because we believed in it. So did you — and that’s where the “Intern Army” came from — readers who wanted to help, and did.

“I’d be like hey, hold on a sec I have a patient and go like literally put a lab coat on and draw someone’s blood… then come back to my desk and draw some weird cartoon about fisting”
Read Taylor Hatmaker’s memory >

When I first started writing for Autostraddle back in 2009 I still worked full-time doing something that wasn’t putting words on the internet. I met Riese at a Halloween party at Robin and Carly’s place in midtown that I went to with Kip. Back then I still thought I was going to go into something related to clinical psychology (that was the plan!) so I was working doing clinical neuropsych research in a hospital in Manhattan, gchatting with Riese and everyone else most of the day at work. I’d be like hey, hold on a sec I have a patient and go like literally put a lab coat on and draw someone’s blood… then come back to my desk and draw some weird cartoon about fisting or write something for Technostraddle (RIP). I honestly don’t remember why I told Riese I would launch a tech vertical for Autostraddle when we were drunk at that party, but it accidentally changed the course of my career! Also I made a lot of really weird friends and now we all see each other at our annual mid/quarterlife proto-retirement gathering, A-Camp.

Taylor Hatmaker

most popular posts

  1. Top Ten Best Lesbian Movies: Queer Girl Movies That Don’t Suck, by The Team
  2. Top 10 Lesbian Fashion and Style Icons, by Riese and Alex
  3. Maine and Washington Gay Marriage Election Day “Live-Blog”!, by Riese
  4. Top Ten Queer Girl Movies That Don’t Suck: Top Ten Lesbian Movies Part 2, by The Team
  5. The Top 10 (Okay, Top 15) L Word Sex Scenes of All Time, by Riese
  6. Boyshorts 101: Your Complete Guide to Successful Underpants, by The Team
  7. Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert on American Music Awards: Performance Art and Dirty Talk, by Riese
  8. The Sweet Cruise Live-Blogged by Alex and Riese For Autostraddle, by Alex and Riese
  9. A Shot at Tila Tequila: The Autostraddle Interview, by Lola
  10. Reviewing Tegan and Sara: Sainthood Track-by-Track, by Emily

To Marie [Riese]: you are a visionary and a writer’s writer and oh so kind, and curious and smart – she’s always paying attention, isn’t she? – and all the beautiful people that were there at the beginning and continue to be apart of Autostraddle: you did it! I am soooooo honored to have been a little part of the beginning, to have contributed to this amazing space, and I support it with all my heart. Happy Birthday! Here’s to another 10!

Natalie Raaber
see riese’s schedule
see the team’s “roles” from am early draft of a business plan developed to get investors (we didn’t get investors)
see the dramatic note riese left for alex on her notes for a post about lesbian movies

the year of us

this year we did a lot of…

awards

  • Sisters Talk Radio Best Lesbian Website
  • Golden Kitty Award for Best Lesbian Website (from Lesbian Lounge)
  • Lezzy Award for Best New Blog
  • Mashable Open Web Awards: Best Online Magazine

most prolific writers

  1. Riese Bernard
  2. Carly Usdin
  3. Alex Vega
  4. Emily Choo
  5. Crystal Silvester
  6. Laneia Jones
  7. Robin Roemer
  8. Jess Rothschild
  9. Sarah Palmer
  10. Stef Schwartz / Taylor Hatmaker (tie)
see rachel’s prophecy

the year of…

tv

pop culture

movies

  • Jennifer’s Body
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish version)
  • Whip It

politics


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 See entire article on one page

auto has written 471 articles for us.

74 Comments

  1. True story: my senior year of high school I signed everyone’s yearbooks “You know how I feel about you” which I didn’t realize was harsh until recounting it years later to new friends. I almost commented “Autostraddle, you know how I feel about you” but then I realized maybe you don’t.

    When I opened this yearbook I scrolled immediately to 2014. 2014 is the year we met, AS, and it was also the year I was desperately falling in love with the first girl I ever fell in love with. It’s also the year that Faking It came out, which is what brought me here. I watched Faking It because I knew it was about a girl falling in love with her best friend, and then I needed to read everything about it and luckily Riese was recapping it or who knows where I may have ended up. In 2015 I went to A-Camp where I had gay sex for the first time in a tiny bunk bed and then in the back of a Subaru (I KNOW), and where I met the first queer people my age who didn’t go to my school and know everything about how I’d had my heart broken over and over by the same girl for two years. When Riese and Laneia asked me what I was leaving at the bottom of the mountain and I said “my straight best friend” everyone in my cabin shook their head knowingly and I felt like actually maybe I wasn’t an idiot after all. I was still doing finals that week, which I tried to blow off for camp, but I ended up needing to submit something and Chelsey let me use her laptop to do it, and I’ll never forget how kind she was about it when I felt like the biggest dweeb alive. I read a horoscope in the A-Camp Bee that I can recite from memory and got part of tattooed on my hip the day after I came down from camp–“You have to understand– when it hurt to love her, it hurt like light hurts your eyes in the middle of the night, but I had to see.” Sarah wrote that, and I’d never felt so understood in my life.

    Autostraddle, you gave me a place to go every morning to read about news that mattered to me. You gave me silly quizzes and deep personal essays and one million crushes. You inspired me to write more, to try more, to say more. You introduced me to so many people, and in turn I’ve tried to introduce you to anyone who will listen to me. When my ex, now living in NY, cut all her hair off for an Autostraddle article, she told me she knew Autostraddle was “my thing” but she couldn’t pass up the haircut. I wish I could claim any bit of AS, and the community you’ve created for me and around me. I am so thankful every day that you exist. We’ve known each other 5 years now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Now that you know how I feel about you, THX FOR THE MMRS HAGS etc etc

  2. Dear Autostraddle,
    So glad we got to know each other! HAGS!
    -Caitlin

    (ps when the first cute girl in junior high put HAGS! in my yearbook i assumed it was an insult and was devastated for all of third period before learning it meant have a great summer, at which point i swung wildly over to elated/gay panic)

  3. I read the Heather Hogan fortune cookie and instantly started crying so, you know, Happy Monday.

    I don’t have a lot of words for this particular thing on this particular day except I really love y’all, please keep taking my money forever.

  4. Wow. I went right to 2013, the year I think I started reading and why yes, I recognized so many writers and pieces.

    I still think about Gabby Rivera’s Big Booty Butch essay – so well written and it took me somewhere I wasn’t expecting to go. Much like AutoStraddle.

  5. This was an amazing trip down memory lane, so many names and faces that I hadn’t thought about for years. I love hearing about the history of this site and seeing how much it means to so many. This must have been a lot of work to put together, thanks to everyone involved.

    However you missed the most important staff member of all – where is Tinkerbell????

  6. Omg I was clicking on each year at the bottom of the page, not realizing that the little hearts in between each year are their own pages chock full of content (?!?!) This yearbook rocks!! 💜

  7. Dear AS,

    holy cow we’ve known each other since 2010!! I mean, I was too shy to talk to you until like, a year ago, but I remember you all the way back then and we’d see each other around. I think you really got on my radar around 2012? and ever since then I’ve just been watching your success and cheering you on from the sidelines. i should have sat with you at lunch more and struck up a conversation!! but i’m so so glad we’re friends now and I can’t wait to see you at camp!!!! see u soon, HAGS!! haha xoxoxo you rock

    (i didn’t have a yearbook until college because i was homeschooled, so thanks for giving me a chance to write in your yearbook ^_^ those early pictures are *so* 2009… the haircuts alone! props to everyone who worked on this beautiful retrospective.)

    • (As I’m reading through the pages, I’m realizing that it was more like I was aware of AS in those early years but it was on the periphery for me for a long ass time and I only started reading regularly in 2014, when I followed Heather Hogan here. Reading that fortune and HH’s musings… I’m so glad things turned out the way they did. ❤️)

  8. Dear AS,
    I’ll never forget when we met freshman year! September 2009. It felt like you were already so much older and cooler than me then but I guess you were just a freshman too! A froshwomon, is that how we talked back then? Anyway, love you! So glad we have sat together in the cafeteria every single day since then. Stay cool!
    Love,
    me

  9. Omg. Today is my birthday and I’ve had three glasses of wine and half of a huge cupcake and I just read this whole thing and now I’m SO EMOTIONAL. This is like when I started crying when my friends and I were signing each other’s yearbooks senior year of high school. I just can’t get over how much Autostraddle has given me in the past 7 years. It’s the little things, like recipes, music and TV recommendations, and celesbian updates. And it’s the big stuff…the confidence to come out to my family and friends, the solidarity after I went through my first real breakup, and the exhilaration of going to A-Camp. And most of all the feeling that it’s more than OK to be gay, it’s actually the best thing ever. Because now it’s like I get to be part of the #1 coolest club in the entire yearbook.

    • it took about 2-3 days a week for around a month to gather everything we needed and for sarah to design the layout, and then last week i think it took cee like 40 hours to code the new block editor so we could do what we wanted to do with it. sarah, laneia and i worked 16+ hours tuesday, wednesday and thursday to get it up friday morning (sarah and i barely slept thursday night!) but then the (not approved by cee) strategy that had been employed to be able to work on it all the same time failed, and the entire post crashed on friday afternoon when we were about ~2 hrs away from completion. so then laneia spent the weekend re-building it from scratch, and i spent maybe ~12 or so hours over the weekend re-building the galleries, plus another howevermany hours yesterday morning/afternoon.

      so you know. TEN YEARS

  10. This was really cool and awesome to see autostaddle’s history and how it’s evolved, also really funny to think in 2009 I was 9, I was an innocent kid who had no clue yet. So glad to have found this wonderful place.

    • we talk about it in the yearbook!

      we’d like to bring it back, but we had to stop b/c like so many things we did in the beginning, it cost money and took a lot of time and you can ask a bunch of people to do that once or twice but taking on that huge money/time expense year after year is a lot. so basically doing the kind of shoot we’d want to do now costs more than we ever made selling calendars, so we’ve been actively trying to find sponsors to re-launch the project.

  11. This is amazing! And I am only on 2009!

    Incredible job on the format!

    It feels like a cross between an oral history and that Tonya Harding museum that those crazy people made in their tiny NY apartment.

    In case you were in any doubt, this is the greatest compliment I have ever paid in my life.

  12. You guys are all sooooooo amazing and the work you’ve done is epic. You rock <3

    Can anyone tell me if Kate/Kade is still writing on some online medium out there? Butch Please has always been one of my favourite columns.

  13. Ok now I need to sign the yearbook for real:

    Dear Autostraddle,

    You changed my life. I would say “never change,” like we used to in school, but that’s not right. What I really mean, is, keep growing and changing and evolving and being your glorious, organic self. Whatever you become, whatever the way forward is, we support you, and will always honor what you did for so many of us. I am so proud to have my own little photo in the freshman class of 2017! Thank you for being you, and for showing me that I didn’t have to hide any parts of me – that I could be my own glorious, complex self among a bunch of queers, and that that people would want to know what person. I love you!

    – Darcy

  14. So grateful for this, thanks for making it. I’ve been reading since nearly the beginning – Autostraddle is inside me, it’s made me who I am. I love you all so much, and it’s been an incredible treat to be reminded of so many alumni that moved and inspired and taught me so. many. vital, things over so many years. This yearbook must have taken so much work, blimey! Yet one more example of how hard you guys work giving and giving to us. Thank you.

  15. I have been reading autostraddle since 2009. When i first discovered it, i was living in my parent’s house in st. louis. i was desperately seeking queer community, but way too shy to go meet people in real life.
    from the very beginning, i was drawn in by the incredible and personal writing by riese and others.
    I went to the first (and second, and fifth) A-Camp. i loved getting to meet the writers i had been following so faithfully. I have grown up with autostraddle, going from a 24 year old still figuring shit out, to now, a 34 year old, frankly still figuring shit out.
    AS has been like a close friend, i can lose touch for a while, do my own thing, but you’ve always been there when i need to feel connected and like i am a part of something.

    Thanks for being a friend.

  16. I’m sooo grateful to you all and for the amazing work you all have done! The yearbook has been an amazing thing to read through. I probably ran across AS articles in my college period (2009-2 013) but only because I serious AS follower in 2014, so I guess my relationship with AS was a slow burn. Thank you for helping me be the best version of myself <3

  17. This is so wonderful and feels so lovingly made. Thank you for all the hard work this must have taken, and also for everything you do for us all out here on the internet. Happy birthday, Autostraddle, I hope there are many many more birthdays and memories and articles to come!

  18. Ugh thank you for bringing me back to the days of Kate Severance. Butch Please being around when being a newly Figuring-It-The-Fuck-Out queerdo helped me out in so many ways.

    Even though now I’m just a 7 years older Figuring-It-The-Fuck-Out queerdo.

    What a trip reading about the pop culture and political climate and going back and rereading their letter to Baby Butches and about getting their first butch haircut.

    I don’t identify as butch anymore and I’m a little less lost than I used to be, but that Autostraddle writing was fundamental in me discovering some things about myself and making me feel not alone in the process. I found a lot of confidence and comfort in between the lines of so many of these articles.

    Thanks for all the writing since then and all the writing you will do!

  19. dear autostraddle,

    thank you for all the memories!!!!!! This is an incredible piece of hard work and live and art — just like so many things you’ve created over the years. I started reading autostraddle I think daily in 2013, when I was in high school, even though I didn’t realize I was gay until 2015. In retrospect, wild!! anyway I have treasured so many personal essays and pieces of autostraddle writers and editors lives and pop culture and advice and laughter and everything else that makes autostraddle the wonderful home and community it is. You guys showed me what queer adulthood and love and marriage and friendship looks like and I’ll never stop being greatful. I was so happy when I graduated college and could join A+ and when I upped my subscription in January. HAGS and thanks for the memories!!!!!

    love,
    em

  20. Dear Autostraddle,
    This yearbook is absolutely the coolest, greatest, loveliest, and gayest thing I have EVER seen on the internet!! Over the past week, I have been starting from 2009 and journeying through the herstory of this loving community into which I’ve somehow accidentally stumbled. There are just no words… I hope that we will all exist for ever and ever, and that I can somehow be a part of it. You all are goddesses, and I “worship” your boundless creativity!! 🙂 Much love!

  21. i’m so late to commenting on this because i like, was overwhelmed by how much i love it and how much i love us for a long time? and now it’s april 3 and i’m like…okay it’s been almost a month since this published, is now the time to comment? i guess???

    thank you riese and laneia and sarah and cee for building this gift for us. thank you readers and writers and lovers and fighters for keeping this space alive. i love everyone and i wish i could say more but that’s kinda all i’ve got. i love us for forever.

    xoxo have a great summer see u in the fall jk see u right here for 4eva

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