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


memories

I think Rodeo Disco, Autostraddle’s first Pride situation, is my fondest memory. The whole weekend, actually. The Intern Army crammed sardine-style into one hotel room (and one cab, once, which horrified the driver!) Meeting everyone in person for the first time, but feeling like we already knew each other. For me it was my first accepting queer community, and I was a new baby queer, even then in my late 20s.

Elli Bradshaw

the sarahs we met along the way

  1. Sarah Palmer
  2. Sara Medd
  3. Sarah Croce
  4. Sarah Hall
  5. Sarah Fonseca
  6. Sarah Kasulke
  7. Sarah Hansen
  8. Sarah David
  9. Sarah Dufrau
  10. Sarah Sarwar

I met Riese because I commented on her blog in 2007. I was living in Orlando and had just gotten fired from my job and was going through a breakup and was about to move to NYC and thought we could be pals.

I had no idea we’d become such good friends and had no idea we’d try to create a TV show together and had no idea I’d get to be a part of the Autostraddle founding team in 2009 and had no idea we’d still be in each other’s lives in 2019.

When the site launched I was writing TV recaps. Eventually I had to leave but I was always part of the family, getting to contribute to occasional roundtables and then getting to be a part of A-Camp. Autostraddle has been a huge champion of my work and has supported all of my comic books and films and allows me to be a DJ once a year and I can never properly express my gratitude for that.

Because of Autostraddle and A-Camp I’ve met some of my favorite people and made some incredible memories. I am so, so proud of what Riese has created and what we’ve all gotten to be a part of. This is such a special community and it will be a part of my life forever.

Carly Usdin

2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


2010

riese: let’s just be about fingering
the whole website
we’d get more traffic
sarah palmer: that would make my mother very unhappy
riese: i have long fingers
laneia: i don’t
riese: so it would be a moderately sized website

GCHAT, JULY 9, 2010
see the website in 2010
see the cast of the real l word parody
see riese’s quotes

freshmen

“There’s nothing better than having AS in the real world, particularly when Laneia agrees to drive with you from Phoenix to Palm Springs, towing a large inflatable pool shark in the back of a convertible.”
Read Sarah Palmer’s memory >

Although Dinah Shore is decidedly one of the worst things lesbians have ever created, it is also the source of some of my best AS memories. There’s nothing better than having Autostraddle in the real world, particularly when Laneia agrees to drive with you from Phoenix to Palm Springs, towing a large inflatable pool shark in the back of a convertible. (That was in 2010.) I’d forgotten about that time Riese met Jennifer Coolidge at the White Party, but I found some photo evidence while digging through old files for this yearbook. So I guess that happened! I am still glad that y’all decided to do A-Camp instead of ever returning to Dinah, though.

More than anything else, I loved being a part of early Autostraddle and getting the chance to build a platform where queers and weirdos can express themselves and create our own culture. I’ll always be thankful to Riese for letting me play a part in AS’s journey!

Sarah Palmer

most popular posts

  1. Ten Hot Movie Sex Scenes for Lesbosexy Sunday, by Riese
  2. Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos, by Riese
  3. Hey Lesbians, Did You Take a Girl to the Dance/Prom? We Want Your Photos! (Now, WITH GALLERY!), by Riese
  4. How to Cut Up Your T-Shirt, DIY Style, by Laura
  5. Rosie O’Donnell on Howard Stern (FULL AUDIO): ‘Hitachi Magic Wand Could Numb Vital Organs.’, by Jess
  6. Kristin Chenoweth Stands Up for Gay Actors, Calls Out Homophobic Newsweek Article, by Sarah Palmer
  7. The HTC Evo 4G vs. the iPhone 4G: The Next Generation, by Taylor
  8. Jillian Michaels: First Lady to Ever Come Out (Bisexual) in “Ladies Home Journal”, by Riese
  9. Romi Tells Us What It’s Like to Be in Real L Word’s Lesbian Strap-On Sex Scene, by Jess
  10. Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” Video: Even Gayer Than Actual Dance Clubs, by Alex

I remember hanging out and dancing with so many readers and team members at Pride in NYC the summer of 2010! I’m pretty sure there was even mechanical bull riding. I remember my girlfriend at the time thinking it took me way too long to write about circle scarves. She was totally right. I remember the many awesome e-mails back and forth where we would say ‘hello your hair looks amazing today’ before proposing our article ideas, not to mention getting to ask all of those cute girls to participate in the “I’ll Have What She’s Wearing” segment (Hi Ericka!).

Most importantly, I remember feeling like I was a part of something real. It was real, and it was big, and it mattered, because it mattered to us, and we mattered. Actually scratch that. The most important part was feeling cool. So Cool you guys!! ALL OF YOU GUYS. Thank you <3

Becky Fonticoba
see a list of potential autostraddle tags
see collages of feature images
see lil writeup of riese in go mag

the year of us

this year we did a lot of…

  • Real L Word Content
  • Obituaries for suicide victims
  • Actress interviews by Jess Rothschild

awards

most prolific writers

  1. Riese Bernard
  2. Rachel Kincaid
  3. Jess Rothschild
  4. Sarah Palmer
  5. Laneia Jones
  6. Taylor Hatmaker
  7. Laura Wooley
  8. Crystal Silvester
  9. Emily Choo
  10. Alex Vega

the year of…

tv

pop culture

  • Kristin Chenoweth stands up against Newsweek reporter who said gays shouldn’t play straight characters
  • Portia DeRossi releases her memoir “Unbearable Lightness”

movies

politics


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


memories

When I think about the one single moment that fully encompasses my love for, and belief in this website and the people who run it, it’s this:

We were in Riese’s Harlem apartment. “We”, I’m pretty sure, was me and the editors of the time: definitely Riese and Laneia, probably Sarah Palmer, too. Alex was maybe there, or maybe en route, or maybe she’d just left. It was June 2010.

I recall walking into Riese’s bedroom to discover that everyone was mad. [Other website] had just unveiled a new-look daily news column which had taken on the same format and schedule and everything of Autostraddle’s news column. It wasn’t the first time something we were doing was either ripped or coincidentally started later by somebody else, but they were well-established and funded and we were too small and too broke for anyone to accept it as flattery.

My stance was fuck ‘em, it was our thing, we should keep doing it. But Riese was adamant that we needed to change, so we did. Her instinct was right, per usual, because the next iteration of how we delivered news content was totally different and better than ever. That’s what Autostraddle does, and why it’s survived when others have not. It fights and perseveres through innovation and critical thought. I believe in Riese’s vision and talent more than I believe in most things, always have, and in Laneia’s creativity, and in the brilliance of every editor who has led us here. I’m just so proud of them all.

Crystal Silvester
see taylor’s lil comic

2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


2011

“I mean I try to come off as more or less professional in emails to the outside world but for the most part, I feel like we’re just a bunch of crazy girls in combat boots running around in mud puddles.”

LANEIA JONES, MAY 5, 2011
see our 2011 hot 100

freshmen

2011 was hard. Our traffic was exploding — but so was the website itself (as in; it broke frequently) and we were barely making enough money to barely support me and Laneia, let alone anybody else. Alex had just moved to L.A. and I’d just moved to Oakland and we hadn’t yet figured out how to work well long-distance, and with Alex working another full-time job. Laneia and I went through our first (and last, hopefully!) major fight as best friends, which threw things off for a few months. At Dinah Shore, I passed out for TBD reasons and the $8k ER bill landed in my mailbox the same day I did my income taxes and realized the Autostraddle project could continue no longer.

So we asked for help — and we got it! We raised some funds and also got ourselves a management consultant who basically gave me and Laneia business couples counseling every day for several months. We learned how to manage people and organize our workload. I wrote 461 posts in 2011. FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE. As you can imagine, there wasn’t room for much else.

Riese Bernard
see laneia’s to do list
👀
see riese’s requests for grace

the year of us

this year we did a lot of…

awards

most prolific writers

  1. Riese Bernard
  2. Rachel Kincaid
  3. Carolyn Yates
  4. Jess Rothschild
  5. Carmen Rios
  6. Laura Wooley
  7. Lizz Rubin
  8. Laneia Jones
  9. Crystal Silvester
  10. Brittani Nichols

the year of…

tv

pop culture

movies

politics


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


memories

I’m so lucky to have been part of this community since the beginning. I met Riese before Autostraddle’s launch through my wife Carly, who was my very new girlfriend at the time. We were all in our mid-20s and had no fucking clue. We would hang out in a weird apartment in Trump Tower of all places, sitting around a large table with a pole running through the middle and talk about what this website would look like, what it would do and who it would serve. We threw pride parties and got drunk doing L Word recaps. In the beginning, I wrote a few articles and did photoshoots with folks like Kate McKinnon.

Early on I co-created (shout out to my stylist partner Sara Medd) a project called The Calendar Girls, which was a yearly photo/video project where we highlighted queer women each month. Most of these took place over a REALLY fun weekend in CA and queers would come in from all over the country to participate. My dream is to relaunch this project and make it more inclusive and get it funded!

Thank you to Riese, Laneia and all of the editors and writers and camp staff and designers and illustrators who have dedicated so much time and talent to building this incredible place!

Robin Roemer

Riese: i feel like i’ve been pretty calm about the website being broken
so far
Laneia: you have, yes
Riese: sometimes i feel like
we’re doing something wrong
like there’s something we do that other people don’t do that is the cause of all our problems
what is that thing
Laneia: i also feel this way
Riese: i think it might be that our business is growing
a lot, getting bigger and more complicated
but because of the nature of the industry
our income is not growing at that same pace
but our business is growing so fast!
Laneia: but our growth isn’t monetary
Riese: right
it’s weird that a business can grow without making more money
Laneia: like the internet isn’t set up for this
Riese: when will this feeling stop laneia
Laneia: camp
it will stop with camp
Riese: ok

—gchat, 2011


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


2012

“At some point you have to get your shit together, right?”

RIESE BERNARD, APRIL 25, 2012

see riese’s mock-up for cee of what she wants author pages to look like
see 😈
see riese’s big ideas

freshmen

“I was there when the legendary “Klub Deer” was born.”
Read Carrie Cuy’s memory >

I was an Autostraddle Moderator / Community Manager from 2011-2016ish. It was a dream job and I felt unbelievably lucky to attend a bunch of A-Camps and get to know the staff and ‘straddlers pretty well. I have loads of Autostraddle memories but the one I’ll tell my queer grandchildren about is how I was there when the legendary “Klub Deer” was born.

To be honest, Klub Deer really only happened because karaoke night failed and somehow it turned dance party (credit to Cee’s portable speakers and a poppy playlist on the nearest phone). But it was definitely an “If you build it, the lesbians will come” scenario. In the nights that followed, campers lined up outside Deer Lodge to join the party. I don’t know whether it was the highly technical headlamp strobe lights, the handwritten event flyers, or the “bouncers” who asked campers to show them photos of their pet cats before entering, but we were onto something! The fact that we called it “Klub Deer” was always so funny to me. Of course it wasn’t a club, it was small rec lodge in the middle of the mountains. And yet it wasn’t. It was a queer zine come to life, the inclusive gay homecoming dance of your dreams and absolutely the most fun underground party in California for a few magical nights a year.

Carrie Cuy

most popular posts

  1. The Autostraddle Hot 100 2012: The Hottest Queerest Women in All The Land, assembled by Riese and Intern Grace
  2. Epic Gallery: 150 Years of Lesbians And Other Lady-Loving Ladies, by Riese
  3. Jillian Michaels and Heidi Rhoades Become Two Mommies With Two Kiddies, by Riese
  4. 50 Adorable Lesbian Couples Having Adorable Lesbian Weddings, by Carolyn
  5. Texting Your Ex-Girlfriend In Five Easy Steps, by Lizz
  6. 50 Queer Women With Outrageously Good Hair, assembled by Lizz and Riese
  7. 15 Ways to Spot a Lesbian, According To Some Really Old Medical Journals, by Riese/Tinkerbell
  8. The 21 Most Lesbianish Cities in the US: The Autostraddle Guide, by Riese
  9. The Real L Word’s Nikki and Jill: The Autostraddle Interview, by Jess
  10. My Little Pony: Lesbianism is Magic, by Rose

When I first began working for Autostraddle in 2012, a family member expressed concern that I was suddenly “on the radical fringe.” I scoffed but it turns out that person was right! Autostraddle radicalized me in pretty much all possible ways. Working there introduced me to brand new political and social ideas. It brought me into a group of friends more interesting and diverse than I’d ever had before. It convinced me that a mullet—itself a radical fringe, if you think about it—could work for me. Most of all, it taught me that a group of dedicated people can make something amazing and keep it alive. All of these lessons have energized me ever since. Long live Autostraddle and long live queers.

Cara Giaimo

the year of us

this year we did a lot of…

  • Herstory
  • So Many Columns from our first solid Team of Writers
  • Camp and fundraising-related content
  • Fashion, especially suiting
  • Queer Girl City Guides

awards

most prolific writers

  1. Riese Bernard
  2. Rachel Kincaid
  3. Carmen Rios
  4. A.E. Osworth
  5. Kristen Ford
  6. Sarah Hansen
  7. Gabrielle Korn
  8. Carolyn Yates
  9. Vanessa Friedman
  10. Laneia Jones

the year of…

tv

pop culture

movies

politics


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


memories

I’ve been here for so long! I was here before we even existed! I was the Music Editor when we first launched. I quit for a couple of years because I was in the midst of a years-long sexual identity crisis and I wasn’t sure this was a place where I could really feel my specific queer community, but I’ve found it, helped build it, and have never once regretted returning. Every time we hold an A-Camp I am SHOCKED by how many people come to this weird world we built! Every time someone signs up for A+ I am blown away. I’m amazed any time someone I’m talking to has heard of Autostraddle, even though like, of course they have. We’ve come a long way.

There is nothing I do all year that’s more gratifying than A-Camp, or playing in the Family Band. It’s something that evolved so naturally, and I get to live out my dream of being the Donnas playing the prom at the end of the movie Jawbreaker.

Stef Schwartz
see laneia’s letter to ellen page

After getting to know the Autostraddle community mostly online, meeting so many members of the team for the first A-Camp in 2012 was a really incredible experience. Hanging out with Carmen Rios, feminist powerhouse extraordinaire, to organize an activism panel was basically the best. Another highlight was aggressively representing monogamous relationships on the lesbian sex panel. I wrote being a part of the Autostraddle online community and the first two A-Camps in a book chapter, “The Revolutionary Possibilities of Online Trans and Queer Communities” in 2016.

Working as a Contributing Editor as a part of the Autostraddle team gave me the courage to approach human rights activist, and founding member of the Furies Collective, Charlotte Bunch for an interview. Bunch’s activism continues to inspire me in the work I do today.

Jamie Hagen

I was a contributing editor for Autostraddle in 2012, which, lucky for me, was the year that people were creating Tumblrs dedicated to the simple lovely idea of butches doing things. Inspired by the legendary “Butches and Babies,” I created a list of my other favorites—butches baking, smiling, holding pets—alongside a staff-generated list of butch Tumblrs we wanted someone to make, which included truly brilliant things like “Butches Leaning On Things” and “Butches Driving.” We were doing really important work.

Gabrielle Korn

this is a way to title a post

Early on in my Autostraddle days (I started in Spring 2012), I decided that Crystal was super cool and I wanted to be friends with her. If you’ve ever met Crystal, she is really REALLY shy and a tough nut to crack friendship-wise, so I decided that if we co-wrote music reviews together, that would surely make her want to be my friend. Looking back, I don’t know why I thought co-writing an article would cement our friendship? I really like music and reading music reviews, but do I know how to intelligently talk about music? NOPE. Autostraddle was a much more Wild West/Why Not?/Let’s Try It situation back then. Anyway, somehow I weaseled my way into co-writing a Kaki King review. But then we really did enjoy co-writing that and started reviewing music more. This led to our infamous Bad Review of Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob (sorry, world!) but it also let me review Mal Blum early on, which is awesome! And, for the record, Crystal is my Actual Friend now and I read a poem at her wedding, so I regret nothing.

Also, thank goodness we stopped those reply-all staff emails.

Sarah Hansen

“I loved connecting with so many other dope interns – and seeing all the amazing things they’ve gone on to do!”
—Hannah Pingelton

“As an intern for Autostraddle, in 2012, I mostly just lurked the email chains, (poorly) edited pictures, and transcribed things. Just basking in the glow was enough for me.”
—Niamah Nash


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


2013

five years from now when i’m living in a tree writing tracts about how monsanto is part of the illuminati cabal on recycled seventh-generation paper bags, you can pinpoint this as the moment it started.”

RACHEL KINCAID, MARCH 31, 2013
see rory’s astro illos

freshmen

“I was such a good straight ally! In 2013 I got my shit together, came out as bi, pitched a one-off article, and that turned into 130 articles”
Read Audrey White’s memory >

I first started reading Autostraddle in 2012 for the political commentary, I’m not even kidding you. I was such a good straight ally! In 2013 I got my shit together, came out as bi, pitched a one-off article, and that turned into 130 articles, four A-Camps, some of my very best friends, finding out I am trans, occasional heartache, and a whole lot of joy over the last five years. Life is a highway!

All that to say, it’s hard to choose a single good memory. Is it the time I did Justin Bieber strip drag and made 300 of you scream? Is it the time I got to interview Mara Wilson or Danny Ortberg or some of my most admired bisexual elders? Is it still to come, when I get to share space with Roxane Gay at A-Camp 11? Is it those long-gone pre-Slack days of 150-email threads every day where we shared story ideas and the minutiae of our lives from across the country and world?

When I am an old genderqueer grandparent on a front porch looking out upon my goats, I am going to remember being part of Autostraddle as one of the greatest things I ever did. That is for damn sure. Love y’all <3

Audrey White

most popular posts

  1. How To Own It: The Queer Grrl’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Gabrielle Korn
  2. 22 Kickass Queer Women Who Came Out in 2013, by Riese
  3. Your Completely Queer Guide To Horoscope Hookups, by Kate Severance
  4. The ALTERNATIVE Autostraddle Hot 105: Hotties You Will Like Who Also Like Girls, by Riese
  5. How “Real” Is “Orange Is The New Black”? Comparing The Show To The Memoir To The Numbers, by Riese
  6. You Need Help: Real Talk About Your First Strap-On, by A.E. Osworth
  7. Fat-Booty Butch Wears Leggings — Confuses World, Confronts Self, by Gabby Rivera
  8. Let’s All Write Open Letters To Miley Cyrus And Also Your Mom Forever And Ever, by Rachel and Riese
  9. How To Have Lesbian Sex 102: Cunnilingus Edition, by A.E. Osworth
  10. 14 Genuinely Awesome Times We Saw An Actress’s Boobs [NSFW], by Riese

I wrote Dear Queer Diary from 2013-2014 while teaching English at a boarding school. I lived in a tragically carpeted dorm with about 20 eighth and ninth graders, and I used to write my columns in between helping them write papers and reminding them to brush their teeth. Autostraddle was my secret identity and my first regular writing gig, and I’m still proud and grateful.

Maggie Cooper
see old school planning

the year of us

the year of…

tv

pop culture

movies

politics

  • U.S. Supreme court rules Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional
  • California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Hawaii, Illinois and New Mexico join the same-sex marriage bandwagon

2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


memories

Working for Autostraddle (2013-2015ish) was always a delight. I loved writing the site’s first marijuana column, High Femme (with a beautiful illustration by the lovely Rory Midhani), and and being an A-Camp counselor for Camp 5.0. with Carolyn (Bloody Valentines!).

Some of my best memories include giggling with Carmen Rios and Rory Midhani, hosting the Buffy Once More With Feeling Singalong, and getting high as a kite and reading tarot cards. Also, to all my fellow bisexuals, yes you ARE queer enough!

This community is truly special, and I feel lucky to have been a part of its growth and legacy. Here’s to decades more of AS, until technology advances enough for it to be beamed directly into our brains/souls.

Chelsea Steiner

most underrated columns OF ALL TIME

see rachel’s beautiful drawing

It’s crazy to think how much time has passed since I first wrote for AS back in 2013. At the time I was still in college in Tallahassee, FL counting down the days until graduation with no idea of what I was going to do afterwards and still trying to make Betty Page bangs work. And here I am now, in Athens, GA with a community of lifelong friends, a job I love and a really nice hairdresser. Haha!
Even though I don’t cut my own hair anymore, I definitely still daydream about hanging out with Taylor Swift.
I always had such a fun time writing for AS. I felt comfortable writing about all the dorky things I was into and knowing that there would be a friendly community who would connect with it. Thank ya’ll for including me in the AS family, I would not have been able to survive my early twenties without it.

Nina Guzman

I wrote for Autostraddle between 2012-2014 right after I moved to Montreal. I remember starting each morning with a daily link email, which quickly exploded as other writers woke up and fired off rapid replies full of political insight and witty commentary. Those 50+ reply email threads and writing days were hectic, but I remember feeling like I was part of a movement.

Kristen Ford


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


2014

“If I never type the word problematic again, I will die the happiest bastard on the planet.”

KATE SEVERANCE, JULY 2014

freshmen

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what an impact it would end up having on my life.”
Read Chelsey Petty’s memory >

I started working for autostraddle as an Intern in 2012. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what an impact it would end up having on my life. In 2014, I was tasked with the unique opportunity to be the bee keeper of both the A-Camp Bee and the A+ Bee, where I got to work directly with our readers and our staff to create weird and wonderful newspapers with Grace. I will always cherish my time at Autostraddle and think fondly of all the hilarious and heartwarming messages that would grace my Gmail inbox every day during my time there. What other job would have you working with Brittani on a Dear Sour column for the Bee and adding an article about anal sex to WordPress all in a day’s work?

Chelsey Petty

see this email from rachel

most popular posts

  1. 25 Pictures Of Lesbian Sex According To Stock Photography, by Riese
  2. And Now, Every Character From “Orange Is The New Black” As They Appear On “Law And Order,” by Stef
  3. Flawless Trans Women Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox Respond Flawlessly To Katie Couric’s Invasive Questions, by Mey
  4. BREAKING: Michelle Rodriguez and Cara Delevingne Confirm Relationship, Are Probs Scissoring As We Speak, by Riese
  5. Lesbian Films You Might Have Missed in 2013, by Kate
  6. 9 Totally Normal And Not Gross Things That Happen During Sex We Promise It’s Normal, by Carolyn
  7. Ellen Page Is Gay: Ellen Page Comes Out, Makes Best Valentine’s Day Ever, by Riese
  8. Before You Know It Something’s Over, by Riese
  9. 100 LGBTQ Black Women You Should Know: The Epic Black History Month Megapost, by Riese
  10. Nicki Minaj’s Feminism Isn’t About Your Comfort Zone: On “Anaconda” and Respectability Politics, by Carmen

My very favorite thing I got asked to do as an intern was photoshop the L Word characters into an IKEA shopping scene. In fact, this may be my favorite thing I was asked to do at any job.

Liz Settoducato
find out if cecelia wanted to be riese’s intern!
click to read
see heather’s musings on this fortune
see this graphic

the year of us

this year we did a lot of…

awards

most prolific writers

  1. Riese Bernard
  2. Carmen Rios
  3. Mey Rude
  4. Carolyn Yates
  5. A.E. Osworth
  6. Brittani Nichols
  7. Rachel Kincaid
  8. Maddie Taterka
  9. Audrey White
  10. Stef Schwartz

the year of…

tv

pop culture


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memories

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!

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.

Yvonne Marquez
see what intern emily & intern laura doodled on riese’s bed one night in 2010 while we were all talking about our dreams

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.”

Mari Brighe

“Loved the big gay brunch at Pican (RIP) in Downtown Oakland!”

July Westhale

see brunch month

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.

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.

Fikri Alkhatib

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2015

“Show up. Stop making excuses, it’s killing people. Stand up to your friends and your colleagues and your family members. Support each other when you see someone standing up to racism. Power in numbers works both ways — use yours for good. Quit coddling ignorance because it’s easier, or because you’re afraid, or because it feels better.”

AJA AGUIRRE, JUNE 2015
see riese’s sex survey notes
“We had a whirlwind trip filled with hikes and goats and gay shit.”
Read Maddie Taterka’s memory >

In 2015 Fikri decided to go visit Audrey where they were living in Nicaragua, and I decided very spontaneously that I would go too. I had never met either of them IRL at that point, and so it was a real gamble that we would all get along outside of gchat and slack?? The answer, it turned out, was yes. We had a whirlwind trip filled with hikes and goats and gay shit. Since then, Fikri and I have been to the top of the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, and Audrey and I are going to be in each other’s weddings! It’s the friends we made along the way amirite?

Maddie Taterka

most popular posts

  1. The 100 Best Lesbian Movies of All Time, by Heather and Riese
  2. 12 Women They Didn’t Tell You Were Queer In History Class, by Riese
  3. Saturday Morning Cartoons: Baopu #15, by Yao
  4. This Is How Fox News Brainwashes Its Viewers: Our In-Depth Investigation Of The Propaganda Cycle, by Heather
  5. Lesbian Prom Gallery: Heartwarming Photos Of Girls Taking Girls to Prom, 1985-2015, by Riese
  6. 22 Hilarious Excerpts From Scathing Reviews Of “Stonewall,” by Riese
  7. How To Be A Girl Who Dates Girls: Your Syllabus for Lesbian Dating 101, by Riese
  8. 10 Theories About How Lesbians Have Sex From Straight People In History, by Carolyn
  9. 11 Lesbian Couples Who Don’t Mind The (Age) Gap, by Riese
  10. 41 Feelings You Had About Scissoring, by Riese
see what yvonne resolved

I was a new-ish writer. I was a brand new camper and a first-time camp staffer. I’d never met anyone from the team IRL. I was 32 and felt like maybe I’d be too…old? I felt like I was joining a queer frat or…a cult…and I was the new initiate. Once I got there, though, I felt right at home, not just with these folks who’ve become fam, but like, in my body. I’ve never felt so free to completely be myself. There’s something about 100% queer-normative space and not having to interact with straight people for whole days at a time that just releases you. (A-Camp is a kind of cult, though, just to be clear. I was right about that!)

KaeLyn Rich

the year of us

download this otter paper doll by rory midhani

the year of…


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memories

When I first started writing here in 2014, right off the bat we were asked to film ourselves lip-syncing to “Because You Loved Me” and “Crazy in Love” for two A+ team videos. I was, truly, like WTF have I gotten my queer ass into?! Not that I don’t love delivering a good lipsync performance in the bathroom mirror, but the prospect of doing a filmed lipsync for, like, THE WORLD was MUCH TERRIFYING. I kept procrastinating on it and Riese was so encouraging about it. Then I did, in fact, film myself and had a good silly time and another writer’s wife said they had a crush on me from that video and my eyeliner really looked perfect and, like, I ended up feeling really good about it! Still hella’ embarrassed, but also like…hot.

KaeLyn Rich

I first joined AS as a lowly baby intern while I was living with another AS writer, Audrey White, having a pseudo life breakdown in Nicaragua! I was so excited to get the news I was accepted!! Since then I’ve photoshopped some amazing things, my favorite being Kristin Stewart partying on a beach with a bunch of queers when she came out. A true masterpiece of mine, tbh.

Since then, I’ve been able to almost become a real writer, even a staff writer! I wrote pieces I’m super proud of about capitalism and speculum design. When I joined I was basically a graphics intern, and while I always wanted to be a writer, I never thought I could, especially while also trying to figure out my career. The senior editors saw more in me, and I’m so grateful to them even as I’ve struggled to write. I’m especially grateful to Rachel for taking the time to talk me through the piece on Yona’s speculum design — something I thought was dead in the water — which came out to be one of the pieces of journalism I’m most proud of.

Happy birthday, Autostraddle, thank you for giving me a chance and believing in me when I didn’t!

Raquel Breternitz

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2016

“I don’t know how to be hopeful right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing or working or fighting, and I know everyone at Autostraddle stands firmly with me.”

MEY RUDE, TRANS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE, NOVEMBER 2016

If I had to pick my favorite thing about working here over the last decade, I’d really have to say it’s how fucking gay Kristen Stewart has become and how busy she keeps me. I am ever grateful for her pivot to Shane. I owe her my livelihood. The day Alicia Cargile held her shoes on the red carpet at Cannes was a day I will never forget.

Stef Schwartz

freshmen

“I really do feel like it’s here where I found my voice”
Read Kayla Upadhyaya’s memory >

Remember that time I essentially live-blogged the deterioration of my longest and most fulfilling relationship right here on Autostraddle dot com? I sure do because it’s all still happening right here right now as part of my For Your Consideration series!!!! In all seriousness, I am so appreciative of Autostraddle because it feels like one of the only spaces where it would even be possible for me to open up in the ways that I have with my writing here. I mean, I was still pretty freshly out of the closet when I started working here in 2015, which is crazy to think about. Even though I write full time all over the place, I really do feel like it’s here where I found my voice. And I’ve made incredible friends here who have helped me through the worst year of my life, so not to be dramatic but idk what I would do without Autostraddle!!!!! Happy birthday, bb!

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

the year of us

this year we did a lot of…

awards

most prolific writers

  1. Riese Bernard
  2. Heather Hogan
  3. Mey Rude
  4. Carolyn Yates
  5. Laneia Jones
  6. Carmen Rios
  7. Rachel Kincaid
  8. A.E. Osworth
  9. Stef Schwartz
  10. Erin Sullivan

the year of…

tv

pop culture

movies

politics


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


memories

read a f*cking book by an autostraddle writer

Getting to have my work published on Autostraddle was like the first time I wore a sleeveless hoodie out in public. I HAD ARRIVED. Also getting to creep on the AS Slack for the better part of 2016/2017 — I have never been so entertained and so intimidated. Happy birthday, you beautiful internet queers you.

Maree Hamilton

“In 2013 I was living in New York and I knew I needed to break up with my girlfriend and move away but I didn’t know how so I used to go to my day job, and spend the day emailing the Autostraddle group email (haha remember before Slack when we had a group email? Miss you, daily 100+ email chains!), and Riese and Laneia teased me that I had to share every feeling I’d ever felt with the group in real time, and they weren’t wrong. I was developing a huge crush on another Autostraddle writer, who would become my girlfriend after I broke up with the girl I was dating at the time (oops, sorry, etc) and she and I would gchat all day, too. I’d stay up until 5am writing articles and I’d sleep for a few hours and then I’d go back to my day job. I’d come home and we’d all hop on Google Hang Video (is that what it was called?) and we’d just like, hangout! Sometimes Marni and Riese would join and we’d watch Marni cook Riese dinner, Lizz and I would often talk about our vaginas, I had like 30 crushes on everyone so I was always flirting with someone (we run a very professional operation here, y’all), and we would just hang out on our laptops and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.

I think maybe to a certain type of person this sounds pathetic, or lonely – a bunch of queers spread out across the country, video chatting each other late into the night every day – and it’s true that I’m grateful to have queer community I can hang with irl now – but I know I don’t have to explain to a bunch of Autostraddle readers how good it felt to be in community with a bunch of weirdos just like me, even if we could never hang out irl. We built a home on the internet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a real home.

Anyway I was 23 so I was never tired even though I never slept, I was just happy, even though objectively everything was falling apart. Except that it wasn’t? I think that was the first time in my life I realized my friends were gonna be it, you know? I don’t know that I knew it yet – I went on to have three more failed monogamous relationships before admitting to myself that maybe that is Not My Journey – but I know that even though I cried about needing to breakup with my gf every day, even though I was miserable in New York, even though I knew everything was about to shift and I was terrified – Autostraddle was home and I felt safe and happy and good and loved, and that was enough.”

Vanessa Friedman


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2017

“Life is tough all over,” is a thing my Mom used to whip out as a hyperbolic response to our childhood protestations over small injustices like being asked to clean our rooms or eat an apple instead of a cookie. But that line came up again and again for me this year as an ultimate truth, not hyperbolic at all. This team has been through it — messy heartbreaks and breakups including actual divorces, the deaths of humans and beloved animals, frightening surgeries, health scares, crushing mental breakdowns. Then, over all of it: the daily tragicomedy of our current President and This F*cking Country… it has been a year of figuring out what it means to resist, a year of humility and panic, a year that seemed impossible until it turned out that it was in fact entirely possible, because here it is and here we still are. A year that brought tragedy in spades but reminded us of what and why and who we love, too.”

RIESE BERNARD, DECEMBER 2017
  • Campers and staff enjoying the A-Camp Family Band Audience
see erin’s magazine covers

freshmen

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that that workshop literally changed my life.”
Read Abeni Jones’ memory >

My fave memory is of going to a workshop at my first A-Camp (in 2017, that I only got to go to because of a Campership) about how to pitch online publications. I’m not exaggerating when I say that that workshop literally changed my life.

I majored in writing in undergrad but never really did anything specific with it (besides becoming an English teacher because I love being a cliche). After the workshop, though, I pitched Autostraddle, then wrote for Autostraddle, then became staff at Autostraddle and A-Camp. I leveraged that into other writing gigs, used my clips on Autostraddle’s website to build my portfolio, and essentially survived for two very difficult years in between careers by building a life freelancing, as a result of what I learned from my Autostraddle experience.

I eventually leveraged that freelancing into a real job, and I am now full-time employed and doing well. I think getting that Campership, and going to that workshop was like, hugely important to the fact that I am, like, alive right now? Writing online didn’t turn into the career I thought it would, but that push in a certain direction made the life I have now seem possible. And it is! I’m alive, and thriving. Thanks y’all :) <3

Abeni Jones

most popular posts

  1. I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah, by Kieryn Darkwater
  2. Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice, by Frances Lee
  3. 16 Lesbian Power Couples From History Who Got Shit Done, Together, by Riese
  4. 75 Lesbian Ken Dolls, Ranked By Lesbianism, by Riese
  5. Help Stop Betsy DeVos from Becoming Education Secretary With Your Phone And Your Friends, by A.E.
  6. Winter 2017 TV Preview: All The Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans and Queer Women To Get Excited About, by Riese
  7. Surprise! Samira Wiley And Lauren Morelli Got Married And Everything’s Perfect, by Stef
  8. “American Horror Story: Cult” Centers On Michigan Lesbian Horrified by Donald Trump, A Little On the Nose There Ryan, by Riese
  9. Summer 2017 Gay TV Preview: Some Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Characters For Ya, by Riese and Heather
  10. BREAKING: Demi Lovato Almost Maybe Possibly Has a Girlfriend Now, by Riese

I feel so honored that I got to be an intern for Autostraddle from 2014 – 2017. I loved that I got to witness some really great conversations via Slack that were insightful and made me think. Or just make me laugh. There are so many very smart and very funny people that work at Autostraddle. I love that I got to be a part of it with you bunch of weirdos.

Nikki Smaga
i know who you did last summer
see how senior staff procrastinates
see bisexual gaby dunn’s situation
see carolmas

the year of us

this year we did a lot of…

awards

most prolific writers

  1. Riese Bernard
  2. Heather Hogan
  3. Laneia Jones
  4. Carolyn Yates
  5. Mey Rude
  6. Erin Sullivan
  7. Stef Schwartz
  8. Al(aina) Monts
  9. Valerie Anne Liston
  10. A.E. Osworth

the year of…

tv

pop culture

movies

politics


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


memories

Working at Autostraddle is quite literally a dream come true. Everyone is so talented, everyone is so supportive, everyone is so freaking attractive! There’s so much to love!! That makes picking a favorite experience/anecdote difficult but I’d have to say it’s probably the number of times that Laneia has stated she had to pick herself up off the floor after seeing what’s up next for Femme Brûlée. There are truly few compliments that I’ve received in memory that make me feel as proud and appreciated, and it makes doing my job so so so much easier.

Reneice Charles

“One of the highlights of working here has definitely been the creation of the TV Team. Recapping can feel a little like shouting into the void sometimes, so it’s nice to have a safe space to work things out (and/or shout about TV characters’ terrible decisions) or share hot takes. I love brainstorming content and making really niche references only people who have watched an absurd amount of queer TV would get.”

Valerie Anne

In 2011, Riese and Marni came to me with the idea of A-Camp and asked what I thought about co-running it. A literal dream. I did that for 7 sessions and still work closely on senior staff helping with the execution of what I think is the most important queer event happening currently. A-Camp has become like a family to me. At A-Camp 2018, my mom had just died and I showed up in Ojai and felt so incredibly loved. It took me months to realize a lot of the people showing me such great kindness and support didn’t even know I had just been through tragedy.

I’m so grateful to this amazing community for all that they do for others and all it has done for me.

Robin Roemer

famous ppl who wrote here


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2018

“Ultimately, what does anyone say to someone who’s just met anyone? More to the point: what does anyone say to anyone? The other day I overheard a guy ask the cashier at the grocery store if she was having “fun today.” Hello? We are all searching and failing.”

ERIN SULLIVAN, FEBRUARY 2018
“as soon as Riese saw me at registration, she gave me a big hug and welcomed me to the team.”
Read Valerie Anne’s memory >

Autostraddle took me in from the cold when I was unceremoniously not invited to continue working at the website I was writing for because of a change in management. I was immediately welcomed and not treated like an outsider. The half-camp A-Camp in Wisconsin happened right after I got asked to work for Autostraddle, but before I actually started, and I was feeling a little nervous, but as soon as Riese saw me at registration, she gave me a big hug and welcomed me to the team. That’s when I knew I was home. My first full A-Camp as staff, I was also nervous, because it was experiencing camp in a whole new way, and I also was still feeling a little like a Freshman in a camp full of upperclasspeople, but I was immediately made to feel welcome there, both in official meetings, and also on the first night of pre-camp when my roommate made sure to let me know where Staff was hanging out after staff duties were done for the day. It’s little things like this that make my anxious, shy self feel truly welcome.

The creation of the TV Team was also a turning point for me, because it’s been really fun to work on shaping content and making team decisions about which roundtables we do and which shows we cover and how. (It’s also great because between the lot of us, we pretty much watch every show ever, so I don’t feel as much pressure to watch ALL THE GAY CONTENT but can still be keeping up on the goings-on.)

Overall, also, seeing the behind-the-scenes has been a real eye-opener. I already respected everyone involved in Autostraddle so much, but seeing JUST how much work, conversation, planning, compromising, (talking, crying, dreaming) goes on makes me all the more impressed by these dedicated, genius humans that keep the show going day in and day out.

Valerie Anne

most popular posts

  1. 52 Queer TV Shows To Stream on Netflix, by Riese
  2. Your Hot Wet XXX Summer: 2018 Queer Porn Preview, by Courtney Trouble
  3. The Intensely Detailed Janelle Monáe Tessa Thompson Timeline You’ve Been Waiting For, by Carmen Phillips
  4. Why I Got Off the Pacific Crest Trail After 454 Miles Instead of Walking All the Way to Canada, by Vanessa Friedman
  5. Summer 2018 Lesbian Bisexual TV Preview, by Riese
  6. 25 Streaming Movies With Hot Lesbian Sex Scenes, by Riese
  7. The 14 Best Lesbian and Bisexual Movies of 2018, by Heather
  8. Winter 2017/2018 TV Preview: Some Lesbian and Bisexual Content for Y’all, by Riese
  9. Janelle Monáe’s Queer “Pynk” Music Video Is Here To Wreak More Havoc On Your Heart and Body, by Carmen
  10. Starstruck: What Your Moon Sign Says About Your Romantic Compatibility, by Jeanna

The Queer Lady Magician playlist article in 2018 was the first proper public articulation of that idea, beyond “lol should I do this thing y/n”. It ended up being a useful piece of support material for applications to do this project, and Queer Lady Magician became a REALITY. I’m not sure it would have happened at all if it wasn’t for that one suggestion by Mey to do 2018 playlists.

Creatrix Tiara
see this graphic
see riese’s brainstorming

the year of us

the year of…


2009201020112012201320142015201620172018


where are they now?

Elli Bradshaw: “I’m just a boring old lady now. Married to a wonderful woman, we have a (foster-to-hopefully-adopt) baby, I’m a retail manager at a battery/ phone repair chain (like the work hate the bureaucracy).”

Becky Fonticoba: “Be my friend on Instagram if you want!”

Taylor Hatmaker: “I am living the dream/nightmare, writing on the internet for a living. I report on tech, politics and other stuff at TechCrunch, an internet website. I also do photography and sell some of my prints at noxnw.com. I don’t live in New York anymore. Now I live in Portland with my fiancee Evie who I met at A-Camp (!!) and our two cats who are trying their best. “

Sarah Palmer: “I’m a lawyer now, which is largely great, though sometimes feels like selling out. But I feed my soul by suing other people on behalf of journalists and newspapers.”

Cara Giaimo: “I’m a freelance writer! I often write about animals and plants, and the unexpected ways in which they influence the world. I’m on twitter @cjgiaimo.”

Gabrielle Korn: “I’m the editor-in-chief of NYLON. Come check us out, I’ve made everything really gay. Find me on Instagram and Twitter.”

Sarah Hansen: “I married a cute girl I met at A-Camp and we live in Denver with an entire herd of rescue pit bulls. It’s a really gay situation.”

Naimah Nash: “@naimahmnash for all social media.”

Hannah Pingelton: “In addition to a day job in higher education, I moonlight as the LGBTQ writer over at Girls in Capes. You can find me at hannahpingelton.com, and on Twitter @hannahpingelton.”

Jamie Hagen: “I finished my PhD in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston last year. Now I’m a postdoctoral fellow working on turning my dissertation Queering Women, Peace and Security into a book! I also organize monthly Feminist & Queer Happy Hour events in Boston and Providence.”

Vanessa Friedman: “I am right here, again, still, serving as Community Editor of the Straddleverse. I’m also in grad school getting my MFA in creative non-fiction. I have a personal website, vanessapamela.com, and I also write a bi-weekly newsletter about HOME that you can subscribe to here. Oh, and I’m emotionally vulnerable and also half naked on Instagram a lot: @vanessatakesphotos.”

Chelsea Steiner: “I’m now working as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, which is filled with lovely queer writers. I also wrote and directed the web series ‘Thank You Come Again’ which won Best Web Series at ClexaCon. You can watch it on YouTube, and follow it on socials @TYCAShow and you can follow my ramblings @ChelseaProcrast

Kristen Ford: “Nowadays I’ve hung up my writer’s hat and am a remote project manager at silverorange, a web agency out in the maritimes. We work on meaningful projects and I get to shape our culture and champion changes in diversity and inclusion. All while wearing sweatpants.”

Nina Guzman: “Hey everyone! I am currently the Art Library Assistant at the UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art Library. You can follow us on @uga_artlibrary. I am also currently working towards a Masters in Library and Information Science and playing cello in the Athens Symphony Orchestra. “

Maggie Cooper: “I’m still keeping a (very occasional) queer diary, but I’ve also gone to grad school, gotten engaged, and changed careers (teaching->publishing). As ever, I’m tweeting book recommendations, hot takes, and recipe tips @frecklywench.”

Audrey White: “I’m still an AS contributor, but otherwise this is another hard question to answer because my whole life is going to change in 2019! Follow along at @audreywhitetx on insta and twitter.”

SJ Sindu: “My first novel came out in 2017, called Marriage of a Thousand Lies. I’ve just accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. Website: sjsindu.com, Twitter: @sjsindu, Facebook, Instagram.”

July Westhale: “I’ve written a few books (Trailer Trash, Via Negativa, Occasionally Accurate Science), & now spend my time as a professor by day & columnist at The Establishment by night. www.julywesthale.com

Liz Settoducato: “Currently I’m a librarian and I live with my wife and 3 cats. You can find me on Twitter at @l_setto.”

Chelsey Petty: “I’m working for an academic publishing company as an Email Marketing Manager.”

Mari Brighe: “Last year, I completed my Master of Arts in Diversity and Social Justice Education and LGBTQ Studies at the University of Michigan. I’m still out here in the writing world, though my pace slowed down during grad school. I’m on the hunt for a job in educating, but still working in healthcare full-time until then. Twitter + Instagram

Yvonne Marquez: “I’m currently figuring out what’s next for me in my career. But in the meantime, I’m writing, working at a bakery, and reading all the queer YA novels for research purposes! Stay in touch with me via Instagram or Twitter or my website.”

Fikri Alkhatib: “I work for the Overlords now. I still get into trouble.”

KaeLyn Rich: “Find me at kaelynrich.com, and my book at quirkbooks.com/girlsresist.”

Maddie Taterka: “I am co-owner and coordinator of Bonfire Media Collective! Find out more, follow our work, and if you’re in the Philly area, hire us!”

Raquel Breternitz: “I’m a senior designer and accessibility expert, trying to help the often-awful tech world be more inclusive. And I spend a lot of time on twitter: @raqueldesigns. “

Maree Hamilton: “These days I’m still faffing around the internet, mostly on Instagram, and always looking for book recommendations. “

Nikki Smaga: “I’m on twitter @nikkidots

Abeni Jones: “Now I’m a “Digital Content Manager” at an online nonprofit, making a salary and shit. I also do workshops and trainings, and still do graphic design work on a freelance capacity. More about all of that here: www.abenijones.net.”

Creatrix Tiara: “Find me at my website or follow me on twitter. Still working on a billion projects including QLM on occasion”

Robin Roemer: “Photography and Producer in LA. Find me at robinroemer.com and at Scheme Machine Studios.”

Carly Usdin: “Filmmaker. Comic book creator. Find me at carlyusdin.com and @carlytron on socials.”


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  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. 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. ❤️)

  7. 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

  8. 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.