Look, I have so many great memories of Autostraddle, yet the one I want to tell now is really random and definitely not like the best memory but it’s still something I think about, apparently. It’s 2014 and I’m at my first ever Shakedown, Autostraddle’s yearly senior editor retreat. At the time, it was me, Rachel, Laneia, Riese, Alex and Grace up in a cabin on a mountain for a week where we launched A+ and I think recorded a podcast that was probably never published?? We definitely launched A+ which was not met with the enthusiasm and support we had hoped for but that’s a whole different story!Yvonne Marquez
On one of those days, I think we were taking a break from work and Riese, Rachel and I were sitting on the couch in the downstairs living room and I’m not sure where everyone else was at this point. I think I was on Twitter and I saw that everyone was talking about John Legend’s new music video for “You and I” featuring Laverne Cox and Tig Notaro. I think I asked Riese and Rachel if they had watched it and then they were like no so we proceeded to watch it on my laptop. The music video is a bunch of individual frames of women and girls intimately looking at the camera as if they were looking at a mirror at themselves. It’s almost too hard to hold their gaze because it feels like you’re intruding in on such a private moment, gaining glimpses of how they view themselves in the world. Women and girls go about their days, getting dressed, working out, going to school. Some women are laughing and smiling and some are crying. At the end of the video, Rachel and I had shed a few tears and felt really emotional about the video. Riese, however, was so perplexed that we were crying and did not shed not one tear. And that’s it, that’s the memory I wanted to share! In Riese’s defense, I recently watched the video and I did not feel the same emotional pull that it had in 2014 so I think Riese is just way ahead of her time.
My favorite article I wrote for AS was a response to the finale of the Legend of Korra. I remember watching it that night (Dec 19, 2014), and freaking out when Korra and Asami walked into the spirit portal together, and immediately emailing the AS folks to see if I could write about it. It was the fastest turnaround I ever did.SJ Sindu
“I really loved being part of the Autostraddle team, but one moment in particular stands out for me. When I was facing a horrible and sudden personal tragedy in 2014, a bunch of the team sat up with me, chatted with me, and kept me calm. It’s not the happiest memory, but it meant the world to me.”
“Loved the big gay brunch at Pican (RIP) in Downtown Oakland!”
In 2014, someone plagiarised a personal essay I’d written for Autostraddle. They changed the photos to make it more salacious (yes, *salacious*) and laid out my connection to the Overlords, a conservative organisation that I was beholden to. The plagiarised version went semi-viral in some of the the worst corners of the internet back home at a time when tensions about LGBTQ rights were at a peak. I e-mailed the Senior Editors, title: “Hi I am in a bit of trouble”. That turned out to be an understatement.Fikri Alkhatib
This episode essentially ended my time at Autostraddle, so y’know, it’s not a *good* good memory. But the folks here helped get me through it. The Senior Eds were on top of the situation from day 1, taking the plagiarists to task. I don’t think my fellow writers were 100% aware of what was going on but the staff channel was a lifeline nonetheless — knowing that some very excellent people were living their best and bravest queer lives even as it felt like mine was collapsing in around me. I moved to New York later that year, and while I could no longer be a regular contributor online, my Autostraddle community materialised irl in homemade pizza and bad lesbian movie nights and spoken word open mics. I would not do it again (esp not the spoken word), but I would also not have given up any of this for the world.
So my brief time as an Internet Gay(tm) taught me that sometimes when you spill your heart out onto the internet, some fucknuggets will stab it onto the end of the pitchfork and try to burn down your door. But so many more, especially those here, will carry it with them in their own. Part of my heart still lives here, and I’m glad for it.