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Autostraddle Acquired by Queer Wellness Company For Them

Autostraddle Acquired by Queer Wellness Company For Them

<p>Autostraddle Acquired by Queer Wellness Company For Them</p>

The queer online magazine will now be known as Autostraddle by For Them.


Iconic queer online magazine Autostraddle has been acquired by wellness company For Them, the companies announced Tuesday. The site will now become Autostraddle by For Them.

Autostraddle, which emerged in the late 2000s as the successor to an L Word blog, has become a leading lesbian-focused online outlet that has expanded its focus in recent years to be a community for LGBTQ+ and nonbinary people. Founded by Rises Bernard and Alexandra Vega, Autostraddle describes itself as “the internet’s most popular, and oldest independently-owned, website for lesbian culture that’s inclusive of trans and nonbinary people and all queer women.”

The site sees more than 2.5 million views per month, according to the companies. It also won the 26th Annual GLAAD Award for “Outstanding Blog” in 2015.

In May of last year, Bernard, who is the current CEO of Autostraddle, announced that due to budget constraints, they had to suspend a search for a new art director and also terminate the contracts of their subject editors, who were freelancers.

The acquisition is an all-equity deal, according to a news release.

For Them’s CEO Kylo Freeman will lead Autostraddle by For Them with Bernard staying on in an editorial and development capacity. Freeman will become Autostraddle’s first Black CEO. For Them’s CMO Em Chadwick will head the brand merger. Current Autostraddle editor in chief Carmen Phillips and the site’s managing editor Kayla Kumari will both stay on, as will all full-time staff.

“Autostraddle began as a spin-off of my personal blog and true labor of love — just me and my friends trying to fill what I saw as a void in the lesbian media landscape,” said Bernard in the release. “I wanted a publication that covered a full breadth of topics for a queer audience, to normalize being weird and gay, and to build a thriving community of confident, empowered, hungry queer people. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done, but after bootstrapping this business for fourteen years – especially in a climate where independent media publications are shuttering and downsizing every day – I’m looking forward to handing over the reins to Kylo and For Them to preserve and maintain Autostraddle’s legacy.”

Freeman and Bernard have been in discussions since late last year. For Them, which initially began as a company selling chest binders, has grown into a company with a gender-tech focus. It also has a membership subscription similar to Autostraddle’s A+ that the company says works to help people explore their gender and identity while also connecting people.

Freeman told The Advocate that Autostraddle had a major impact on them when they were growing up in Liverpool, U.K.

“Riece's work specifically really started to help me feel less alone,” Freeman said, adding that the content on the original blog and then on Autostraddle helped them also start to understand themselves better — both about their sexuality and then later their gender.

They continue: “I am a real fanboy of Autostraddle, [but] from a professional note, at For Them, we are trying to serve the queer and all things to make them feel authentically well. Content is an absolutely huge part of that.”

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