No one cares about queer people as much as queer people
Thanks to an outpouring of support, we reached our fundraising goal in JUST FIVE DAYS!!! Thank you if you are an A+ member or have made a donation. This support means that Autostraddle can survive until January, so far so good. But as we look to a rather scary 2023, we have to recognize that we need more. monthly A+ members on our side in order to continue to bring this space to life. Many of our amazing writers and team members have written articles for the fundraiser, and we’ll be posting them until the 12th, during our monthly A+ Member Drive campaign. If you sign up for the $6/month tier or higher as a monthly member before midnight PST on November 12, you will also receive a bonus pack of 4 stickers, in addition to the usual benefits. So what are you saying? Will you join?
The very first thing I got paid to write for the internet was in 2012 for an LGBTQ+ website, and it was an article about Once upon a time. “But Valerie,” I hear you protest. “Once upon a time was not yet queer in 2012. And you would be right to say so! But canon LGBTQ+ characters were so limited that queer media websites had to fill their homepage with whatever they could find. This included very popular non-cannon ships like Swan Queen.
Going back even further, the way I started writing about TV was on my personal blog. I had started to write Joy summaries because I couldn’t find the ones I liked. Google search for Joy recaps was useless because it was so popular that the only results came from mainstream websites. (And it kept me from finding Autostraddle earlier! Rude.) These websites flattered Rachel and Finn or shipped Quinn and Puck. No one saw the spark between Rachel and Quinn. Most glaringly, no one seemed to pay ALMOST enough attention to the one, only, Santana Lopez and her right-hand man, Brittany S. Pierce. So I wrote mine. Heather Hogan actually pulled me out of those silly little recaps and helped me work out a pitch to submit to the aforementioned website. (We ended up writing there together before coming to Autostraddle, separately but maybe inevitably.) And I finally got to write about canon queer characters, on shows like black orphan, Rookie Blueand even Once upon a time when he finally came out as gay.
Over the past decade, a lot has changed. Now we have so many canon LGBTQ+ characters that we have an entire TV crew at Autostraddle. And we can barely keep up with all the shows and storylines! Queer fans had to create their own hashtags (like #clonesbians) to find each other. No one was talking about the same characters as us in the main hashtag! And now we have shows where the main cast promotes our queer ships on their Twitter feeds.
But some things haven’t changed. It’s always hard to find journalists who watch TV like you and me.. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t care so much about the lore of the totems the team has to collect and cares more about whether Sara and Ava are ever going to admit their feelings for each other. I’ve been spoiled, I admit, by working in queer media for as long as I have, that sometimes I forget that fact. But then I’ll come back to reality. When I looked black sails, Eleanor Guthrie was the main character. His relationship with Max and Max’s relationship with Anne Bonney was paramount to the story, pretty much the whole point of the show. But after a HUGE episode of Eleanor, the creators barely mentioned Eleanor in an interview about it. It was just about the explosions they set off and the “journey” of the male characters. Again I remembered: not everyone watches tv like us.
Some people complain about how easily younger generations have it. Like how our parents walked to school in the snow uphill both ways. But not me. I’m glad Gen Z doesn’t have to wait until sweeps week to even start hoping for two girls to kiss. I’m relieved that anyone exploring their sexuality doesn’t have to search YouTube for “lesbian kissing compilation”, go to the description for timestamps and show names, and then watch this show on Megavideo 72 minutes at a time. I’m glad you don’t have to wait three days for an episode of lost girl To download. I’m so glad you don’t have to watch a show just because it’s gay, that you have a choice of shows. I am ecstatic Autostraddle exists so you can open a streaming guide and find something you find interesting. Even if you don’t agree with the opinions of those who reviewed the latest queer TV show or movie, they will have paid attention to the same characters and relationships as you. (And then, on top of that, the comments section is, more often than not, a place for debate and discussion, not a village of trolls smashing everything in sight.)
Autostraddle is a special place, but it’s also a rare place. There aren’t many places that are for us and by us. Have you ever attended a comic con panel for a show whose weird subplot isn’t part of the main plot? If not, it goes like this: you and your friends sit down together, and when the weird characters are first mentioned, you’ll all “woo!” with the enthusiasm one has when one assumes the whole room is going to “woo!” But then… not all of them are “courting!” Only you and your friends ‘woo!’ And that’s when you’ll realize that no one is as invested in our stories as we are. No one will celebrate and criticize them with the care that we take.
Mainstream sites will write cookie-cutter reviews that have no opinion, no interest in the content, all written in the same voiceless tone. Meanwhile, we could ask each member of the Autostraddle TV team to write a review from the same outlet and get vastly different opinions, interpretations, and writing styles. Do you know how many mainstream sites wrote more about Mon-El than Lena in their super girl Comments? I haven’t mentioned his name in most of my recaps. And my editors not only supported it, they encouraged it. On mainstream site, white cis writer will say he ‘didn’t connect’ with queer characters of color like he used to Never Wanted. That’s why Autostraddle had to make ours TV awards! No matter how many jaw-dropping, picture-perfect queer shows there are, one thing has always been true: the mainstream media will never care about us as much as we care about each other.
I want Autostraddle to remain a place where people can come together and enjoy shows and movies like we do. I want us to keep falling apart The L Word frame-by-frame trailers. I want us to keep lightly roasted shows while celebrating their oddly placed queer B plot. I want us to be obsessed with the shows together to the point that we make buying guides and quiz about them.
So, while things are slowly but surely moving in the right direction, I can’t tell you how quickly things will roll back without independent queer media. Too many networks don’t spend as much money advertising their queer shows as they do their bigger properties. It’s up to us to spread the word, to make noise on social media, to remind the general public that we are here, that we are queer and that we want to see our stories on screen. And without sites like Autostraddle, that job will become exponentially more difficult. Because, as I said before, no one cares about queer people as much as queer people. We must do what we can to support each other and make our voices heard. Together we can be strong enough to be heard. And the best way to ensure a sustainable future is to subscribe to a monthly A+ subscription; A+ members are the foundation on which Autostraddle is built, and the more members we have, the stronger we will be. And unlike your streaming service subscriptions, we never bury a gay man or cancel your favorite show. In fact, we’ll still be talking about those canceled shows long after they’ve left, keeping their memories alive. Would you like to join other members of the Autostraddle community in supporting our fundraising by join A+ as a monthly member? Every person matters so much when it comes to running a freelance outlet like this.
And also, today is the last day to sign up for A+ monthly membership at the $6 per month or higher level and receive a special fundraising sticker pack (pictured below) as an added special bonus . Register today?