As by now you’ve realized, I’ve been moving the last two weeks and am surrounded by a mountain of boxes and my own exhausted tears. But I wanted to offer two more very gay cents on what is happening over at AfterEllen right now. A week after the last original posts under the old AfterEllen were published Sept. 21, a new post has sprung up from one of the site’s relatively newer freelance writers explaining “Why I’m Still Here.” It is well-written and no doubt heartfelt. And I sympathize with the writer’s desire to not lose something so very important to our collective histories as queer women. AfterEllen has born witness to our culture for the past 14 years, often when no one else would.
But right now, to be brutally honest, I’d rather AfterEllen shutdown all together than become a rotting zombie corpse of itself buoyed by the occasional “evergreen” lesbian-ish clickbait lists and coasting on the enduring strength of its archives.
This is a site I, we, all cared deeply about. It had its flaws as all sites do. But since its inception it was edited, managed, curated and cultivated by gay women - period. To hire random freelancers and have some random Evolve editor try to recreate that is ludicrous.
What the company did to Trish and our readers (not to mention us writers) was shameful. The site – any editorial site – cannot run without an editor who understands its mission and vision. It cannot run without writers who buy into that mission and vision. It can not run without a community who supports that mission and vision.
Look, I understand everyone needs to pay her bills. I am not criticizing the writer’s decision. This change will be a big hit to what has been a steady income for me for pretty much 10 years. And I understand the desire to cling to the vestiges of AE. It has also been my home for more than a decade and I would absolutely not be the person I am today without it. But this is why I’m leaving. Until the people who own AfterEllen can prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that whatever they try to build out of this festering rubble is a real, genuine and sincere attempt at creating engaging/educational/entertaining content for and by queer women – I am out.
We built this together and it matters. We dictate our own history and our own future. Happy weekend, all.
p.s. As previously announced, I’ve climbed on board with the fine folks at Autostraddle where I will be blissfully rejoining my friend Heather Hogan. So look for my writing there in the near future.