Thursday, May 14, 2009
I was originally looking for Michael Fierman music but what I suddenly found was this whole online discussion from men who through their blogs were discussing and meeting and caring and giving a shit and not a giving a shit and seemingly having a great time doing it all. I was hooked!
I had been searching for this community for a long time. Where were the activists? The voices of our time? Where was the whole big gay discussion going on? And here it was like a treasure chest beneath the sand.
This isn't to say that Joe.My.God is the gay blogging community. He's not, by far, and I realize that there is a vast spectrum of LGBT blogs who represent all the colors of the blah blah blah.... but he was my first! He popped my blogging one and zero and through following him I realized that the activism and conversation, the yearning and caring and need, the community gathering it was all still happening. It never disappeared and in it's own way seemed to be just beginning.
Now two years later I'm sure of that...
Last night Wayne and I went to hear Joe speak at The Center on the topic of "Queering the Blogosphere." Joe and Bradford (founder of Queerty) and Oriol from Poz and Erin Mulrooney a, Research and Planning Associate at NYC’s LGBT Center sat around and talked about how they got involved in blogging and what their experience has been like and the role gay blogging plays in today's community.
During the discussion somebody used the word "pedestrian" to make a case about facebook. Actually the person was saying that she felt Facebook was too pedestrian now that everyone feels like they have a voice or thinks they're funny or has the next best thing but it dawned on me that in the end it's that "pedestrianness" which might be the catalyst that dissolves closet doors all over this country.
We're all walking on a digital highway these days. Make no bones about it. If you're on facebook or read blogs or simply sign in you're getting a feed to everything, what everyone is doing- now. Facebook and blogs especially. Signing in is lacing up your shows and being in is walking down the sidewalk with everyone in that community. No longer does that isolated person in North Dakota not see ("on the street") a gay person. It's inevitable. Personal collisions are almost unavoidable these days, even if it is online. If you want to seek something or someone out you can and will and even if you don't want to seek something or someone out you can and will!
The chances that we collide and see one another "on the street" is becoming greater and greater and soon, if not already, we'll be able to gather in moments. At the drop of a hat. On the hit of publish. Sooner, not later, we'll be unstoppable.
The future is literally ours - we're making it right now.
In the 1980's ACT UP used phone trees to call members and friends about the where and when of their latest action. In a few day's time they would be able to assemble 500 or a 1000 people at most. Now, using the Prop 8 Protests as an example, which could be considered the first massive digitally organized protest rally in history, we know that with the right push we can organize 10's of thousands of people in a few days if not a few hours.
It was the afternoon of Saturday Nov. 8th when Corey Johnson alerted me to the Facebook Event Page for the NYC Prop 8 rally. When I clicked "attending" the numbers were still in the double digits. Then the bloggers got the word out and by the time I went to bed that night there were 300 people attending. The next day the facebook status updates began - by Wednesday night we had 12,000 people (young, older, male, female, black, white, Asian, Latin, straight) marching from Lincoln Square to Columbus Circle.
Think about the iPod for a moment. It began as a hunky, clunky heavy iPod and went to an all encompassing, everything in your hand iPhone in what - Six? Seven years? Now apply that rate of growth, that speed in technology, that change of culture to blogging, social network sites and what this means for the gay community. It's only now that we seem to be uncovering the hugeness of what this all is.
The playing field has completely changed. We're limitless and it's only just the beginning. We're here and we're in numbers and we're not going to be silenced nor ask for your permission any longer.
And by the way, there's a rally this Sunday.