One of the best parts as a queer person is finding a place, either physical or online, that you can go and feel like a part of a community. For years, AfterEllen was that place for queer women.
AfterEllen provided content that queer women were looking for. On this major website, they could find out the latest news, check out interviews, find suggestions or recaps about their favorite shows, about, by and for queer women. After years of this type of contribution to the queer community, it has just been effectively shut down.
Former Editor in Chief Trish Bendix broke the news of the shut down on her personal Tumblr earlier this week. Bendix explained in her post that Evolve Media had purchased AfterEllen two years ago and has determined that the site wasn't as profitable as they wanted.
"I posted the Tumblr because I just wanted the readers to know what was happening," said Bendix. "We've always been transparent with them through any site change."
According to the publisher, Bendix created a "false rumor", and the website won't be shut down. Essentially, the lack of increased audience or advertiser support wasn't enough to have the website continue to produce and function at the level it was at.
Evolve Media claims that Bendix misrepresented the truth, and she revealed that, instead of having a few more days in her position and the severance offer she was given, she was fired immediately and lost the promised three weeks' of pay.
While the website is still existent, the amount of content people were so used to getting is no more. The website will not have editors in any capacity and will occasionally post content from freelance writers, but the names people have associated with the website are mostly gone.
Shortly after Bendix's post, queer women around the world took their voices to social media to voice their frustrations about #AfterEllen.
After Ellen was started in 2002; while focusing on pop culture, it brought together a community reporting on the queer women in media. It provided a constant presence on the Internet for queer women to go, giving them a community they might not have had easy access to within their own lives.
After Ellen is one of many places being shut down for queer women. There are fewer and fewer places for queer women to go to and feel like they're part of a community. While there are outlets like The Advocate, Towleroad, HuffPost Queer, Mic and Buzzfeed, AfterEllen was one of two media sources that was by and for queer women.
"After Ellen is just one of the homes lesbian, bisexual and queer women will have lost in the last decade," said Bendix. "It was a refuge, a community, a virtual church for so many. I'm not sure that some people outside of us can really ever understand that."