Your Comments Showed Me I Wasn’t Alone

In 2018, I was on the beginning of my journey as an out queer woman in her 30s. Being out was uncharted territory for me; I didn’t have any friends who’d been down this road before and could talk me through it. So I turned to my good friend Google, and an Autostraddle article popped up (there’s a good chance I googled something about sex). That first night, I spent hours reading every essay I could find to answer the growing number of questions I had. I knew I’d found a place that would become very important to me.

Shortly after discovering Autostraddle, I saw they were looking for merch models in LA. I love free merch, so I applied. If you’ve ever shopped for merch, you’ve likely seen my face. The black scissoring tee is a personal fave, but I wear my “who’s all gay here” tee ALL. THE. TIME. It’s really trippy to be reading an article on fisting and see your face at the top of the page, let me tell you.

One of my main goals as a writer was to write for Autostraddle at least once. As a person who processes a lot of my life through writing, I wanted to be a part of this writing space. I pitched once or twice to no avail and figured that it’d happen when it was supposed to. That leads me to February of this year. I saw on Instagram that Autostraddle was looking for more regular writers. “Now’s my chance…” I thought to myself. I’ve never been as nervous as I was to put together my application. Even though I’d been writing professionally for six years, I was worried I wouldn’t be good enough for this site. The caliber of writing is so high, I wasn’t sure they’d think I was up to snuff. But I fought through the imposter syndrome and hit send.

I’ll never forget the shock when I got an email from Laneia saying that I’d made it to the interview round. I’d recently left a writing job that I really loved for mental health reasons, and I was in the process of applying for new writing jobs. For my interview, I wore one of my Autostraddle tees to suck up. I talked to Carmen and Kayla for almost an hour — they really valued my previous experience at a parenting website and my perspective as a mom. One of the things I had been searching for when I first found Autostraddle was articles or essays on life as a queer mom, especially one who came out after having kids. While queer moms have always existed, no mainstream parenting sites have the bandwith to address our needs. I know, I used to work for one of the internet’s biggest parenting brands. Sharing my stories with that audience never felt right — I always felt like I was explaining, never that I was just telling my truth. I knew that at Autostraddle, I would be sharing my story to people who not only understood, but who felt the same way.

The only way that it’s possible to keep an indie queer space like Autostraddle around is through community support. That’s why I’m asking you to support our fundraiser by joining A+ or giving a one-time gift. Every bit counts.

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My first assignment after officially joining the team was an essay called “Are All the Queer Moms Hanging Out Without Me?” Maybe you’ve read it. It was an essay I had been ruminating on for almost a year, but I couldn’t find the right place for it. I didn’t want to run it on a mainstream parenting site because I didn’t want straight moms to co-opt my experience as a comparison to their own. And no other mainstream queer sites really cover parenting, especially from such an individual perspective. Let me tell you, I couldn’t have ever imagined the response I got from that essay. So many of my fellow queer moms felt seen by what I said. It was really awesome to read so many comments that showed me I wasn’t alone. And I hope they felt that way too. I actually had more than one mom slide into my Instagram DMs and offer to be my friend! We’ve met up with one of them and it’s so mind-blowing to think I’ve made an IRL friend because of Autostraddle.

As a writer and reader of the site, that’s the thing I love most: the community. I’ve written for a lot of sites before, and it’s rare to find such a vibrant community. I have never met a funnier, kinder, more brilliant group of queers in my life. My fellow writers have quickly become some of my favorite people in the world. I look forward to checking Slack and seeing what kind of conversations are happening. The Autostraddle Slack is my favorite place on the internet.

If you’re reading this, that’s because you have engaged with Autostraddle in some way. Whether you’re a casual reader or someone who reads the site every single day, there’s something that brings you back. And I think I know what that is: the heart. There is so much heart emanating from every single piece of content that we produce. You, dear reader, feel that heart. You’ve connected to some little kernel of something in one of our pieces and you’ve come back to find that spark in another piece of writing. Maybe you’ve found yourself nodding your head to “A Letter to My Ex-Best Friend This Pride” or read “I’m a Lesbian and I Want to Hate-Fuck These 9 Men So Hard Their Kindergarten Teachers Forget Their Own Names” and said “this is me.” Perhaps something has clicked in you and you felt the need to support us financially because of that spark. Maybe it’s made you sign up for an A+ membership to support us in the long term, or maybe you’ve donated to a fundraiser in the past. Either way, I’m grateful for you.

At a time like this, where us queer folks are losing our spaces and media left and right, we must fight harder for the spaces that still exist. Think about all of the incredible work Autostraddle has put out in the last few months alone: Horror So Gay, Diner Week, all of our coverage of “A League of Their Own.” Those things don’t happen without your financial support. I hate to sound like a PBS telethon, but we can’t make all of our amazing content without Viewers Like You. Your financial support means that I get to continue to help a generation of queer moms find their community. Your support today means that someone who is currently out there googling, “am I gay,” “coming out later in life” or “fisting 101” will be able to find Autostraddle because of it. Know that your financial support has made it possible for queer women, trans and nonbinary people to find their community. Know that by donating to Autostraddle, you’re changing lives.

Will you help? Every dollar counts.

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Before you go! It costs money to make indie queer media, and frankly, we need more members to survive 2023As thanks for LITERALLY keeping us alive, A+ members get access to bonus content, extra Saturday puzzles, and more! Will you join? Cancel anytime.

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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 21 articles for us.

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