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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 21, 2005)
January 21. 2005 » j-»t OUt 11
Queer blogs: DIY publishing on the Internet
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by Tori Stratton
Y had something to say about being
a gay American and our right to
full equality,” declares Keith Daly
in stating his inspiration for creat-
«JL» ing the blog “Gay American.”
Daly is one of a handful of queer Portlanders
contributing the fastest-growing form of self
publishing known to date: blogging.
In late December 2003, Daly began musing
on a survey conducted by the American Family
Association, titled “Americas Poll on Homo
sexual Marriage,” because he felt it positioned
the sexual minorities community as a behavior
rather than as a segment of fellow Americans.
Daly’s interest in gay politics was sparked,
and he continued writing, posting daily updates
on national and local issues. “It all comes back
to wanting to voice my opinion that we are all
equal and there is no reason to accept anything
less than full equality,” he says.
The number of bloggers has increased signif
icantly during the past five years. According to
the Internet group Technorati, an estimated
3 million blogs were active last year in the Unit
ed States alone.
Despite the large number of blogs being pub
lished, and a wave of recent media frenzy sur
rounding them, much of the general public has
’no idea what a blog is.
The blog (short for “Web log”) is typically a
personal Web site featuring Internet links and
editorial commentary. Most blogs are a personal
information archive, providing a daily record of
its creator’s thoughts, interests and opinions.
Oftentimes they are organized chronologically
and are part of a larger blog community. This
usually involves a collective list of links featured
on the blog—a format known as Really Simple
RSS allows sites to syndicate news and the
content of newslike sites and personal blogs.
The format solves myriad problems Web masters
commonly face, such as increasing traffic and
gathering and distributing news. RSS saves users
from having to repeatedly visit favorite Web
sites to check for new content or be notified of
updates via e-mail.
Much like the zine revolution of the ’90s,
blogs have become a catalyst for do-it-yourself
self-publishing. In a culture dominated by main
stream media, blogging allows a method of
knowledge production outside that dominant
system, one that puts the power of publishing in .
the hands of anyone with Internet access.
Blogging also has the advantage of allowing
writers to communicate with a worldwide audi
ence. One of the major contributions of the
Internet during the past 10 years has been its
unhindered ability to connect people from
diverse locations through shared interests, and I
blogs continue further online community net
works through their expansive use of links and
commentary on Web-based content. Blogs
offer low production costs and a kind of imme
diacy unique to other forms of publication, as
they can be readily accessed through any Web
browser and updated as frequently as one
Queer blogs have important implications for
the serial minorities community because they
let the writer and reader have both individual
expression as well as the chance to interact (and
create) with larger communities. The Internet
can leave many Web users dumbfounded in
their attempts to search for blogs with specific
content because of the sheer amount of infor
mation. Moreover, affiliations between bloggers
and online sources are often obscure, leaving
most queer blogs virtually invisible.
“Queer Filter” became the first Web-based
directory to feature blogs from the sexual
minorities community. The site, which uses a
method of combined syndication, allows users to
submit their blogs to the directory manually or
through RSS feeds. Its creator, Matt Kingston,
originally began the list to promote the visibili
ty of gay bloggers.
“With so many young people on the Internet
now, I wanted to help them find and read about
the lives of queers and find some positive role
models,” he says. “Recent political events con
vince me that there is still a lot of work to be
done educating the world about the reality of
everyday life for GLBT people. Blogs can pro
vide a window into that life.”
Blogs became explicitly political tools during
the 2004 election when candidates, lawmakers
and citizens began using them as a device for
posting campaign updates, critiques and predic
tions. Both presidential candidates sponsored
blog sites (in addition to the unofficial blogs cre
ated by staffers and other observers). For rhe first
time, bloggers were allowed into the Democrat-
ic and Republican National 'Conventions as
legitimate members of the press.
In Oregon, No on Constitutional Amend
ment 36 began a blog to provide information
regarding same-sex marriage and campaign
updates. Although the blog was short-lived (a
mere 20 entries), it provided a new medium for
information and served as a companion to the
Noon 36 Web site. JFJ
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For a good introduction to WEB LOGS, visit
www.hlogger.com, the most widely used site on the
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TORI S tratton is a Portland free-lance writer.
She does not have a blog of her own.
O ther B logs of I nterest
“Marriage Matters," marriagematters.blogspot.com, created
in early October 2004, continues to be updated with both
kx:al and national information on marriage equality.
“Gay News,” gay_blog.blogspot.com, continues to be one
of the most popular and frequently updated blogs, with a wide
variety of subject matter from politics to thought-provoking
For a lesbian perspective, try sisterstalk.tbiog.com,
authored by Genia Stevens, offering a witty take on politics
and women’s issues.
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