In 2018 I was at the beginning of my journey as an outqueer woman in my thirties. Being outdoors was new territory for me; I didn’t have any friends who had walked this path before and who could explain it to me. So I turned to my good friend Google and an autostraddle article popped up (maybe 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 had found a place that would become very important to me.
Shortly after discovering Autostraddle I saw that they were looking for models in LA. I love free merch so I applied. If you’ve ever bought merch, you’ve probably seen my face. The black scissoring t-shirt is my personal favorite, but I wear my “Who’s all gay here” t-shirt on EVERYTHING. THE. TIME. It’s really freaky reading an article about fisting and seeing your face at the top of the page, I can tell you that.
One of my main goals as a writer was to write for Autostraddle at least once. As a person who processes much of my life through writing, I wanted to be a part of this writing space. I’ve pitched once or twice to no avail, thinking that if it was going to happen it would happen. Which brings me to February of this year. I saw on Instagram that autostraddle is looking for more regular writers. “Now is my chance…” I thought to myself. I’ve never been so nervous as I was putting together my application. Although I’ve been writing professionally for six years, I worried that I wasn’t going to be good enough for this site. The caliber of the writing is such that I wasn’t sure if they would think I was up to date. But I fought through imposter syndrome and hit send.
I will never forget the shock of receiving an email from Laneia saying I made the interview round. I had recently left a writing job that I loved very much for psychological reasons and was in the process of applying for a new writing job. For my interview, I wore one of my autostraddle t-shirts to suckle. I spoke to Carmen and Kayla for almost an hour – they really appreciated my previous experience on a parenting website and my perspective as a mother. One of the things I was looking for when I first came across Autostraddle were articles or essays about life as a queer mother, especially one who came out after having children. While queer moms have always existed, no mainstream parenting site has the breadth to meet our needs. I know I used to work for one of the biggest parenting brands on the internet. Sharing my stories with this audience never felt right – I always felt like I was explaining, never just telling my truth. I knew that with Autostraddle I would be sharing my story with people who not only understood, but felt the same way.
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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 read it. It was an essay I had been thinking about for almost a year but 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 co-opting 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 could never have imagined the response I received to this essay. So many of my queer mothers felt seen by what I said. It was really great to read so many comments that showed me I was not alone. And I hope they felt the same way. I’ve actually had more than one mom pop into my Instagram DMs and offer to be my girlfriend! We met with one of them and it is It’s so overwhelming to think that I’ve found a real friend because of autostraddle.
As a writer and reader of the site, this is what I love most: the community. I’ve written for many websites and it’s rare to find such a vibrant community. I’ve never met a funnier, friendlier, more brilliant group of gay men in my life. My fellow writers have quickly become some of my favorite people around the world. I look forward to reviewing Slack and seeing what type of conversations are happening. The Autostraddle Slack is my favorite place on the internet.
If you are reading this, it is because you have been involved with autostraddle in some way. Whether you’re an occasional reader or someone who reads the site every day, there’s something that will bring you back. And I think I know what that is: the heart. So much passion goes into every single piece of content we produce. You, dear reader, feel this heart. They have connected to a small core of some in one of our pieces and you’ve come back to find that spark in another piece. Maybe you’ve nodded your head to “A letter to my ex-best friend, that pride” or “I’m a lesbian and I want to hate these 9 men so hard their kindergarten teachers forget their own names” and said: “This is me.” Maybe something clicked inside you and you felt the need Support us financially because of this spark. Maybe it made you sign up for an A+ membership to give us long-term support, or maybe you’ve donated to a fundraiser in the past. Anyhow, I am grateful to you.
At a time like this, when we queer people are losing our spaces and media left and right, we have to fight harder for the spaces that still exist. Think of all the incredible work Autostraddle has done over the last few months alone: Horror So Gay, Diner Week, all of our coverage of A League of Their Own. These things don’t happen without your financial support. I hate to sound like a PBS fundraiser, but we can’t create our great content without Viewers Like You. Your financial support means I can continue to help a generation of queer mothers find their community. Your support today means that someone out there right now who has Googled “am I gay,” “outed later in life,” or “fisting 101” will find Autostraddle because of it. Know that your financial support has enabled queer women, transgender people and non-binary people to find their community. Be aware that by donating to Autostraddle you are changing lives.
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