Monday, December 8, 2008

Blogger Summit

When big wig Washington DC politico and famous gay republican outer Mike Rogers called me to tell me I had been accepted to the GLBT Blogger Summit in DC I was honored and excited. Even though I applied to the program, checked off boxes, listed my blog, the reasons I choose to blog and described myself in 500 words or less I still didn’t truly understand what I would experience if I got accepted.

As the weekend approached I had learned through email and google searches that The Bilerico Project’s, Bil Browning and Michael Crawford, two men who over the past year I have shared countless emails and correspondence with, were attending and I would finally have the opportunity to meet them face-to-face and shake the very hands they use to post posts and speak their GLBT minds. I also knew that my NYC home boys Father “Farmboyz” Tony and Joe.My.God would be joining me as well. I couldn’t wait. Who else was I going to meet? What would I learn? What an opportunity this was going to be.

In short the GLBT Blogger summit was 50 some odd bloggers from across the nation brought together for a writing, activist and blogging intensive workshop with the intention for us to network with each other and learn how to become better, more self-promoted citizen journalists. There were workshops on everything ranging from “Taking our Place in the Larger Blogosphere” where we learned how to use self promotion and interject ourselves into larger channels of exposure and media, to “Fighting back: Using the web as a power tool in the fight for equality” which I of course salivated over, to a session entitled “So, you want to be a Journalist” and even, “Reviewing Our History, Assessing Our Present and Planning our Future,” an inspiring presentation of gay history over the last 40 years and a projection into where we as GLBT people are headed, all this while, 50 of the most diverse GLBT’ers co-mingled with one another and shared ideas, thoughts and business cards.

Throughout the weekend and during and many of the workshops, mainly those dealing with activism and history I choked back the urge to cry. For me there was something in those rooms, something in those workshops, a static I cannot put my finger on – I don’t know, maybe it was the sense of community or the downright simple feeling of being empowered by teachers, writers, techies and activists but something in that room made me feel as though we were all on our digital surfborads, in this new world of ours, riding the crest of the wave of this new movement. There was something there that made all the writing, ranting, celebrating, urging, screaming, caring, frustration, and excitement seem worth it – like there’s a reason for all of it, a reason to keep writing, a reason to keep shouting and a reason to keep fighting. As someone said in one of the workshops, “All of us in here are a special breed of people, who do what we do because we wake up every morning feeling as though there is something not quite right in this world and we have the ability to change it.”

Thank you Mike Rogers for the invaluable weekend. Thank you Bil Browning and Michael Crawford for cultivating a family and allowing us to write whatever we want from wherever we are and thank you to all who were part of this summit, for being that special breed of people and lastly thank you everyone in the GLBT community for you give me so many reasons, every day to be proud of who I am and the family to which I belong. You don’t have to be part of the GLBT Summit, all of us change this world every day for just being who we are. Never quiet your voice because all of us, in every single way, matter.

Now as I ride my bus from DC back to New York I’m shedding the tears I held back all weekend as I reflect upon the summit, the people I met and as I look onward toward the future.

9 comments:

Sam said...

Hey Eric! I really dug the summit too. We barely met (I'm the new guy editing the ACLU's LGBT Project blog Get Busy. Get Equal.), but I'm checking out everyone else's blogs today.

I think you and I were Tucsonans at the same time - I was there from March 2002 to July 2004. Days like today, when my feet freeze even before they hit the floor of my place in Brooklyn, I miss it.

Anyhoo, I hope to see you at the next one and get to talk to you for real. P.S. Loved your shirt yesterday. ;-)

rptrcub said...

Awww, I love it when you get verklempt.

Indeed, this is an exciting time, when the playing field has been leveled.

I was once a print reporter; so many of my former colleagues are losing jobs and going elsewhere. But I see this as a time for people to control the power of information, and to unleash it further than the narrow corridors of the past.

I wish I could fully pursue independent, online reporting and journalism full-time, but alas, my day job won't necessarily allow for it. If I lose my day job, perhaps I know what I could be doing in the meantime!

Jimbo3DC said...

Good to meet you too, Mr. Ritalin. I'm bummed I had so much going on this weekend, as it sounded like the other events were interesting. As it was I was only able to attend about 1/3 of the seminars.

Mike Rogers is a Republican? He didn't smell like one...

David said...

Jimbo: He meant Mike is an "outer" of gay Republicans.

I envy how you wear your passion on your sleeve. So glad you were able to go to this.

Jeremy said...

Eric,

Thanks for posting about this. It's great for those of us who are just getting started to be able to see what's going on in the upper eschelons. Congrats on getting accepted!

Good As You said...

Eric: Like Sam, I never really got the chance to talk to you. But I have to say that your words capture the feeling very well.

I've been to several gay roundups and events like this -- this one was truly unique and special.

-Jeremy/ Good As You (www.goodasyou.org)

Buffawhat said...

Eric, you really inspirated(NEW WORD!) me last weekend. It was an amazing opportunity for me to meet the LGBT blogosphere and I'm really glad to have met you. Also, my flickr account is better for it. :D

Daimeon said...

Eric, it was a pleasure meeting you, however briefly, but you do an excellent job! And you're cute to boot. Woof.

Michael in Norfolk said...

Eric,

It was great meeting you - as well as the other bloggers at the summit. You are correct that there was something special in the sessions and like you I held back tears at times.

Best of luck to you in the coming year and I hope all of us who attended the summit can forge deeper friendships and work in concert for the LGBT cause.

Michael