I think I joined AE when I saw a "Ladies' Choice" poll for who women members of the site found to be the hottest gay and bi men. This was when the Hot 100 voting was restricted to men, which I thought was only fair. However, it was made clear to me that women were encouraged to be members of AE. After I joined, I started to make comments about Alles was zaehlt and Verbotene Liebe. I haven't watched the shows for quite some time, but I participated in the fandoms for a while there.
A member started a forum called "MM/Gay romances: Who here reads them?" I had much to say on m/m romances, and participated heavily in that forum. I haven't been reading a lot for a year or more now. That forum was shut down for fear of it becoming unstable, and a new forum, called "Gay Books: What We're Reading in 2012" was started by Octobercountry. I participated some in that. As in the m/m romance forum, there are a few people who seem to just come to make disparaging comments about the romances and women writing about gay men. I'm pretty sure I answered some of those comments earlier on, but I try not to rise to the bait now.
I saw that there were recaps of a show called Glee, and that there seemed to be a heavy interest in that from a lot of AE members. The first episode of that I saw as it aired was "Original Song." It gave me certain expectations about the show, that it had a gay romance like Alles was zaehlt and Verbotene Liebe had. That caught my interest. I got the DVDs of the first two seasons, and watched most of the episodes of the third season as they aired. The only one I missed was "On My Way," as my family took a trip to Florida that day, and I saw a set of grandparents I hadn't seen in several years. I was spoiled for the episode the next day, and watched it when it was unlocked online the next Wednesday. I began to make comments on the recaps of third season episodes, and on other columns and articles that had coverage about Glee.
There are a fair number of AE members who loathe Glee and are very vocal about it. Sometimes their comments hurt my feelings or make me very anxious. There are times I just hope the actors never read those comments. I wonder why some people are watching the show if they hate it so.
I try to focus on the positive comments and interact with the people who like the show. This seems like a healthy way to cope with it.
I also constantly grapple with what my place is when it comes to AE. I consider myself an ally. There are some topics I feel qualified to comment on, and some that I feel it's not my place to, often because I haven't been through the experience myself. The AE staff said a few months ago that 45% of AE members are women, which stunned me. I don't put my gender on my profile, and there are others who don't either, so we probably weren't counted. I notice when there are sexist and/or misogynistic comments from members. Some of the male members of AE stand up for the women, and some of the women stand up for themselves. The staff and moderators are good about attempting to keep a civil tone to discussions, and most of the members do seem to make an effort to be civil.
As I noted in my previous post, I found some of the comments on the 2012 Hot 100 to be sexist and/or hateful. This made me quite anxious. I trust the staff and the moderators, and there are AE members I trust, but I lost a lot of trust in tolerance of my participation there. I don't really have a problem with being cautious in my comments, and refraining from commenting at all in some cases. I still want to participate as a member of AE, but I won't forget that there are some members who hate my presence there.
Note: I put a link to this in my AE feedback on my profile page there.