About a year and a half ago Bil, Jerame, and I were talking about taking Indiana's premier LGBT blog, Bilerico, national. After hammering out how it would work, the big details and the mindless details (if you knew how many emails went back and forth just about the rounded edges on the blockquote boxes, you'd understand), we got the whole thing together for a beta week and then an official relaunch one year ago today.
It's bizarre to think of what exactly we're doing here in this corner of the internet. I got into blogging mainly because I was dissatisfied with what I saw as a dominant image of gay men in the media - tame, clean, begging to get married - as well as angry at negative representations of the whole LGBT community being cynically used to get votes for the Republican Party to help expand the gap between the rich and the poor. I knew that I wasn't alone, that there were other queer people outside me and my circle of friends who felt like they could take a side in the greater war because they didn't really look like anyone the media cared about.
Over all this time that Bil and I have been working on this project, though, I've found that pretty much everyone is someone outside of those two dominant images of queerness.
It's amazing to be working with a diverse body of contributors like the ones on this site, who are intelligent, creative, passionate, and dedicated to a variety of causes to help LGBT people. The different ways they each approach various subjects is a constant challenge to anyone who reads this site fully everyday.
It's an immense body of work, and I keep on coming back to the question of what we're doing here.
Pam Spaulding says that she was driven to blog by the 2004 election cycle. That's where a lot of people start out in blogging who stick with it - they think that there's an opinion out there that isn't being adequately represented.
What I took issue with, personally, was the gap between our culture, our academia, our life styles (homosexual or otherwise), and our religious convictions on the one side, and our representations and activisms on the other. What I saw The Bilerico Project as being able to do, if properly implemented, was to bring those voices together into one spot, to bridge the space between theory and praxis, to make sure that we're moving forward in a way that represents all segments of our community and has a full understanding of what we've done before and how that worked.
What ended up happening was pretty much that. We sought out a bunch of people that we'd read or heard of or knew or contacted us and asked them to join this conversation. And readers found this site through a variety of sources and joined the conversation in the comments section. While we're not always serious here, I can't help but come away from this work with a better understanding of the work that people are doing and who their politics and activisms work with the politics and activisms of others.
I did worry that having so many contributors on one site who were here because they shared a part of their identity, not their politics, would give everyone something to hate, not something to love. People don't like to be challenged, and when they are, they usually shut down.
But one year later, after getting to know some amazing and open minded people in the comments who challenge and push me as well as enlighten and educate me, I've found that there definitely is an audience for such a community journal.
So here's to another year. Here's to hoping that we'll engage more people in LGBT politics who weren't involved before, that everyone will learn a little, and that people will examine what they're doing from a different angle.
And electronic pink cupcakes for everyone!