Thursday, December 06, 2018

After After AfterEllen

Just a reminder, AfterEllen is terrible. Yes, it was my online home for almost 10 years. It discovered and cultivated some of the brightest queer women’s voices on the internet since its founding in 2002. But since September 2016, when its latest corporate overlord – Evolve Media/TotallyHer – decided it wasn’t profitable enough to run as it had been, it’s been a horror show. And if you’re wondering why nearly all the writers (myself included) quit after that decision, well, this is why.



And, this, too – published just yesterday. Don’t click it. Life is too fucking short and they absolutely do not deserve the views.



That a site I once loved and helped me find myself as a lesbian and member of the LGBTQ community has turned into a wildly transphobic cesspool is beyond disappointing, beyond tragic, beyond rage-inducing. But the thing is, from the moment Evolve backpedaled and kept the site open, instead installing an Editor in Chief whose past support indicated a strong transphobic leanings, we all knew it was going to be bad.

Look, AE was never perfect. It had its blind spots and its weaknesses. Heck, things I’ve written in the past I cringe at today. But I always knew its heart and the mission of its writers was one of inclusivity and equality. We wanted more and better representation, always. Because, you know, visibility matters. We welcomed everyone to come and be part of that community who shared that vision. Did we fight? Fuck yes, sometimes we fought. But that’s what happens in any big, sprawling community.

But now, now I can’t go to the site. Before yesterday, I honestly can’t remember the last time I visited AE. Because it hurts to go there. It really does. And it disgusts me to my core.

Whatever you thought of AE, you can’t argue with its importance as an early online LGBTQ community. For queer women it was at the forefront – and sometimes the only – place to go and find other queer women to talk to about pop culture and life in general. A place to learn about queer female representation in the media. A place to share about the shows, the movies, the music you loved that spoke to you. A place to talk about the things that made you feel less alone.

If I won the lotto tomorrow, one of the first things I would do is buy AfterEllen – split off all the content from after the 2016 ruining to a separate site – and preserve it as an online document of queer women’s history. Or, you know, the current editor and management could just stop being transphobic garbage. You know, as a suggestion.

p.s. I know I still have a link to my past AE work up here. I wrestle with it often. On the one hand, that's almost a decade of work. A career in queer media. On the other hand, that site is terrible and should not get any clicks. Like I said, I wrestle with it.

34 comments:

Unknown said...

Go fuck yourself, whats wrong with a lesbian not liking dick? Thats what a lesbian is. Jesus no wonder so many lesbians end up being bi, trying to defend there love of dick. I guess rape culture is totally fine if a man calls himself a trans lesbian and tries to force women to like it and tells every women who won't do that there an evil bigot terf and a transphobe. Not everyone is pansexual, just everybody writing or talking about being a lesbian online. Nobody actually really wants to date these ugly fucks most of the women defending this will end up with cis men instead. Its bad and evil for people to trick or coerce people into sex unless your "trans" then everybody who won't date you is it bigot. Why are they gun ho on lesbians? There are 50 times as many bisexual women. Why don't they date each other? Oh wait there straight men so they themselves don't dick. Wow imagine that. Why are they so focused on the 0.50 percent of the population that really won't do dick? And why are we giving such a huge platform the tiny 0.60 that they are to be evil little shits? Your a really terrible person, this whole movement is disgusting. I hope everybody who backs this who's behind it suffers. Funny most straight cis people agree with me its the queer fluid movement that doesn't. I suppose aftellen should go back to writing about how fluid women are and how lesbians should be taking straight men dick like they used to? Its a shame this the hill the now incredibly fucked LGBT community wants to die on. I'm so done with this shit and I already clicked earlier and I'll keep clicking again if it'll piss you off. All your doing is giving them more of platform for people to click, you know that right? Cotton ceiling same as conversion therapy you don't until you tried not my dick my dick is special you'll learn to like male body parts just gotta get past the smell warm up about it everyones fluid. Its widely documented that trans women maintain the same crime rate as men, you know why? Because there still biologically men and nothing will ever change that. Trans women send to women's prison? Rapes the shit out of the girls there. Trans women kills lesbian couple and adopted kids? Total silence from everybody in this shit hole community. Trans women kills wife with piano wire and rape's women? Its fine and she should be forgiven according to auto straddle everybody makes mistake after all. Trans lesbian feels rejected after dating app fail? Brings an axe to work and starts chopping. Trans woman rapes toddler in home bathroom. More than 50 percent of trans women are in jail for a violent crime. Heckler of Rose mcgowan? sexual predator. the guy woman thing from tegan and saras special gender fluid music video? serial rapist. Message to women who've been raped in the past who are lesbians and don't want to interact with penis on tumblr? Go fuck yourself evil transphobe take some god damn dick and learn to like it. That other trans woman band member who turned out to be a serial rapist. Kiddy and sissy porn trannies all over tumblr. Seriously go fuck yourself. 2018s message nobodies really gay we're all pan men are women lesbians don't exist so suck our dicks. Sorry afterellen isn't writing the dick sucking tips you we're hoping for maybe if you scroll through there old archives of "i'm a lesbian but i'm attracted to men" you'll find what your looking for you worthless sack of shit. Or try penis straddle

Anonymous said...

And on a more sane note, thank you always for doing what you do DS. It was always lovely reading you and other writers over at AE, but I completely understand why you guys left. And transphobia, NOT ok.

Jay said...

Yo, "unknown commentor number 1", I tried to read you post, but maybe five sentences in I decided life is too short to read stupid shit like that.
So let me break this down for you:
I am a lesbian, always have been, always will be. I am even married to a woman. I never had the desire to sleep with a man. I do not find the male physique attractive.
So, now that we've established that I am probably as "lesbian as a lesbian can be": I have trans friends. They are women. They are not trying to date you (Being hatefull makes a person unattractive btw.). Most of them had sex reassignment surgery, so there are not "dicks" you have to be afraid of (but again: They wouldn't hit on you. They have class.)
Why don't you crawl back to your little hate group at AE and leave Mrs. Snarker (and anyone with some brains really) alone? You are not speaking for this lesbian or any lesbian that I know for that matter. Class dismissed.

Lyn said...

I'm a gold star who, like Jay, will never be anything but "lesbian as a lesbian can be."
I also quit reading the first commentator because the post was ill-written and, to me, unreadable. I think Ms. Snarker beautifully demonstrates how to make a point without personal attacks. If commentator one had taken the time to condense their thoughts, lay them out in a logical manner, and avoid personal attacks, I would have read something that helped me understand why they were so angry, and whether or not I agreed with them. As it is, I learned nothing, except to expect offensive posts written to me about my post.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, commenter 1 lives in a sad, dark, fearful place I do not envy. Bummer about AfterEllen; I read every article every day when I was coming out to myself and it made a huge difference; helped me get past internalized homophobia and the terror and being queer in rural America. I stopped reading in late 2016 because of the shift in content and the insane amount of pop up ads. Kind of frightening it's turning into a place akin to a hate group reddit, using people's trained discomfort to create fear to create clicks and ultimately to influence people to be horrible in real life. See commenter 1. There's a lot of that going around these days.

But you rock. I check this blog first thing every morning. Hell of a lot better way to start my day than reading the news first thing. Thanks for your thoughts and occassional silliness and constant appreciation of queer women and allies.

Sue Winter said...

Um, first poster... what the hell??

Carmen SanDiego said...

AfterEllen Was huge in my formative years and introduced me to you and Heather Hogan and ScribeGirl and a bunch of other writers I love. You should leave the AfterEllen link up, in my opinion, as to not forget where we came from.

Carmen SanDiego said...

And first commenter, WTF is the matter with you

Anonymous said...

Had no idea After Ellen was sold. Ive been reading it for over10 years and honestly have not noticed a change. And just my two cents but not all lesbians like trans, bi women or men. As far as I'm concerned I hang with lesbians.

Anonymous said...

I should add the site is better with Memoree as Editor in Chief.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't understand why this is such an argument. Over the years, lots of people have turned me down for lots of reasons. It feels bad, but I move on and don't think poorly of the person because we all have our preferences in both body type and personality. Do we no longer live in a world where we can simply say "no thanks, not interested" without hurling slurs back and forth at each other in the process?

Anonymous said...

The people who used to work and run After Ellen have been whining for years. Get over it! Move on with your lives! Get new jobs. Things change especially in digital media. Develop a new better After Ellen instead of whining about something from 5 years ago. Peace out !!

TEKgirl said...

Maybe it's not a bad thing to have a site so unabashedly unashamed of being a lesbian outpost.

For years I have not only complained that the Original AE and even this site pandered to babies and coddled them to no F-N end.

Granted that even my virtually unknown blog was at times in been the cross-hairs of the Lasbinazis on AE, I can honestly agree that I am also NOT into Dick of any persuasion. meaning that while I support a person's right to transition, I am goinf not to celebrate it on my blog.

Anonymous said...

There's not much money to be made in digital content thats the issue at hand. Blogs and obscure digital web sites dont pay the bills as I found out the hard way. Facing homelessness, I went back to work for the evil big bad white man working at a bank with benefits and a 401k. I'm happy to be able to put food on my table. While you people argue about TERFs and lesbianazis and some obscure lesbian separation fantasties I read on After Ellen I just sit back and eat popcorn!

Anonymous said...

Wow. AE was the first place I found where I could be myself and not feel like a sinner since I grew up in an uber religious household. I learned that there were others like me and that they were happy and not alone in the world. After Sarah Warn sold it I was hesitant to keep going to the site but it wasn’t too terrible of a transition. However, I haven’t been to the site in several years. Probably because I grew up and got married and now I have a happy life so I don’t feel the same need for an online community. But at a time when I needed it most, the site was there. It’s so sad to see how it has devolved. Being a gold star lesbian myself, I echo the sentiment of others here. I am not transphobic. I am not scared of girls with dicks hitting on me. There is space for everyone in this world, and everyone, no matter their physical attributes or gender identity, deserves to find love and acceptance.

Anonymous said...

The article on AE was so loooooong and I quit after six over-written paragraphs. If the article exaggerates a threat that is not at all substantial, then to publish it was a mistake, but I frequently feel that lesbians are getting it from the left and the right. The right hates us for wanting women, and the left hates us for not wanting every variation on women: trans as well as non-binary. I would expect a writer like DS to understand desire and the specific feel of a biological woman desiring the essence of another biological woman. That is not to say that there is not an equally deep element to desire for a transwoman or for someone who considers themselves non-binary. Some of us though only have that desire for one category. Why should we be called upon to apologize or change? If AE is trying to articulate this specific desire they have my support.

Skyler said...

Why do lesbians over-process everything? Just sleep with who you want to. Anyone who really cares what grown adults do in their own bedrooms has a problem. And those people don't deserve your attention anyway. If you don't like trans people just ignore them. I'm a trans man and don't encounter crap like this in the gay male community.

Hannah said...

Wow I do not understand what the first commenter is trying to accomplish by sharing all the sadness and hate in their life. Dorothy Snarker I check your blog almost daily and I follow you because I enjoyed your writing on After Ellen. Like a lot of people commenting here, that site was so amazing for me when I first came out. I dealt with realizing I was gay by consuming all the lesbian media I could, and AE, being THE lesbian pop culture website, was the most fantastic and perfect place for me. I was sad to see it go but am thankful for what it brought me.

Nici75 said...

First commenter's the very reason that the Ban Hammer was invented. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Que bueno que dejé de leer este blog...no GP!

Helena said...

Always thankful that I discovered your writing and so many good things on AE. Was so sorry when I realised the road they were taking and that I had to leave the site. Understand your feelings about your work still on the site , but leave it as it might mean a lot to another person just discovering it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lesbian and I don't like having sex with someone who has a dick. That said, I support all members of the lgbtq+ community and I truly believe that your gender should be defined by what you feel in your heart and not by your bodyparts. What people like the 1st commenter don't seem to understand is that accepting or actually liking another person doesn't automatically mean that you have to fuck them. Like for example welcoming transgender people into your life/community/etc. doesn't mean you have to have sex with them. How somebody can not understand this simple truth is beyond me. Well, basically I can't fathom the whole radical and hateful ideology that AE seems to stand for these days. I've kept my distance since HHogan left the site and I'll sure as hell keep my distance in the future. Thanks DS for your honest words.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:28, I completely agree with you! I just don’t get why people can be so down on trans folk, especially within the lgbt community. It doesn’t make sense to me because we understand what homophobia feels like so why would we turn around and discriminate against someone else? It has nothing to do with who you want to date or choose to sleep with, it’s just about not being a jerk to another person.

Anonymous said...

I think it does a disservice to not acknowledge the coercive environment lesbians are facing online and IRL these days. The plain fact is-- the current trans ideology DOES tell lesbians they are not allowed to say no to someone on the basis of simply not being attracted to their body. It DOES call them an invented slur, which comes with implicit threats of violence (all those baseball bats at pride marches aren't very subtle) and that slur IS used in virtually the same way that straight men call women who won't sleep with them sluts and similar pejoratives meant to punish those who aren't giving them what they want.

It's also true that much of current trans activism is in the form of people who live as men in body, dress and spirit and yet expect the rights not only of women but TO women. To pretend otherwise is simply to ignore the experiences of women who are facing this kind of coercion and sometimes physical threats.

Yes, "not all trans" just like "not all men" engage in this activity, but in both cases the rights and protection of those facing the physical threats should be at least a marginal priority rather than being swept under the rug.

There is a current ideology that says anyone is anything they want to be.....UNLESS what you want to be is a woman who is only attracted to biological females, in which case you're an evil bigot and there are messages virtually all over social media and which are faced by women who have dared to say such a thing publicly which threaten violence, rape and even death. I've heard more than one young lesbian anonymously plead online for how they can explain to their friends that they simply aren't attracted to a trans person without being ostracized from their community. Such at thing should not be necessary. The story of the girl involved with a trans desperate for a way to actually enjoy sex because she has been convinced her sexual orientation is bigotry.

How in the world did it come to this? Because people with online voices like DS ignore it and attack anyone who points it out like this the effort to be inclusive to all....except women who aren't interested in any sex which involves a penis under any circumstances. I started to say people, but let's be real, straight men don't face the kind of coercive rhetoric we do.

Maybe DS would like to allow someone else to define her own personal boundaries and sexual partners for her as well, since it's okay to do that to lesbians now?

Yes people are angry and that anger is sometimes not expressed as carefully and eloquently as it should be. But people fighting for the right to define their own personal boundaries, who are then told they do not actually have that right (this IS HAPPENING) are of course going to be angry, hurt and defensive. The anger from the other side are largely people frustrated because they do not have access to the sexual partners they want and it's not hard to see where the lines of conflict between those two groups comes from. That someone like DS sides with the latter is honestly disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Dorothy Snarker frequently makes anti-male comments on her blog. Why can't I as a lesbian be anti trans ? Its a total double standard and I'm sick of the shaming being done in certain lesbian circles. Sorry not sorry.

Anonymous said...

People on both sides of this aren't listening to each other. Even this article by Dorothy doesn't actually address any of the points made in the video and article, it simply condemns them for existing, because nothing is allowed to question trans ideology.

The vast majority of the women currently being labeled terfs and attacked have said nothing more than they have the right to define the sexual boundaries of their own body. That's it. That will get someone attacked these days.

If your response is well of course every woman has the right to do that, no one is questioning that then you're willfully ignoring the more distasteful element of the current online discourse. Yes, there are jerks on the fringes of every movement, but at the end of the day 'I have the right to say no' should not be a controversial statement. And that is all most women are saying.

Sexual orientation is exclusionary by nature because what we are all attracted to is personally determined by each of us for our own reasons, and we will all come across far more people we don't want to have sex with than those we do. Those lines are personal and the right of every one of us to define for ourselves. That's all the video and article said, underneath it all. And if Dorothy has a problem with that argument, then either she's being disingenuous, willfully ignorant, or she really believes women do not have the right to say no to anyone they choose for any reason. I don't even know which one of those to wish for, but I hope at some point sanity and communication will become the norm once again.

If you're saying trans don't say that, then take a foray onto social media and I believe you'll find you are completely wrong. That is exactly what they are saying. Not all, but enough to warrant the type of discussion brought up by AE. Because it's not only misogynistic, it's also homophobic to suggest single sex attraction is bigotry.

Anonymous said...

I know plenty of other commenters have already dragged the first commenter's hate-fueled word salad of a post, but I'd just thought I'd point in particular the first commenters incredulity of trans women dating each other (because we're all secretly straight men, y'see)--uh, dude, do you actually *know* any trans women? Or even glanced at the trans communities on Twitter? The *vast* majority of sapphic trans women hook up with other trans women. It's virtually a cliche at this point.

Anonymous said...

You're not some 16-year-old teenage girl. You're older. You should know better. I don't understand how you can't see how viciously homophobic and misogynistic the trans movement is. Like, is it because you live in an echo chamber? Is it because you'll get fired from Autostraddle if you denounce the trans cult? What's in it for you? I don't get it. And you know what? In 10, 20 years when there are lawsuits initiated by kids who were sterilized because they were a bit too feminine or a bit too masculine for their parents liking, when the whole trans movement is seen as the awful nonsense that it is, you know who they'll blame? Feminists. And lesbians. We'll be blamed for this crap even though some of us (radfems or just women with a brain) fought against it. So well done. Thanks for nothing.

Anonymous said...

My god, all the gaslighting thrown at the first commenter. All she says is true but of course handmaidens dismiss her. Typical cult mentality. I support you 1st commenter! It's so sad that so many lesbians harbour so much internalized homophobia. Also as women we are socialized to have empathy and to put the needs of others (in this case: fetishy males) above our own. This is what's happening here. Fucking sad and rage-inducing.

Anonymous said...

As a transman I take GREAT offense to being called "fetishy" by the previous posterm. My only interaction with a TERF came at a gathering at a poetry reading. She suggested I was betraying women for transitioning, hinted at internalized mysogeny and suggested conversion therapy. That about tells me all I need to know about this terrible movement that is fracturing lesbians.

Anonymous said...

The trans cult is sexist and homophobic. Afterellen is very brave to stand up to it.

Anonymous said...

Taking "great offense" at an argument is not argument. As usual, feelings trump facts with "trans" people. It's especially sad when it comes from trans-identified females. Yes women who delude themselves to think they're men should really examine their internalized misogyny because it's massive. Transition IS conversion therapy. A way for women who hate their bodies (not surprising in a patriarchal society) to think they can "escape" femininity, that they can "escape" sexism and oppression. But they can't. Theyre still women. The solution is to abolish gender, not reinforce it. Masculine women aren't men. Feminine men aren't women. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

I kept reading 11:18's comment as "feisty males."
At least I got a laugh out of this not-funny-at-all debate.
Don't follow AE much, but it's looking like the site has been resurrected and has an important role to play as what it means to be a lesbian is splintering or kind of, sort of appears to be splintering. I hope they have the talent to clarify what's going on or not going on.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments make me incredibly sad and frustrated. This feels like the 1970s all over again for gays and lesbians but now its trans folks.