Editors' Note: Monica Helms is a frequent guest blogger and trans activist. She shares a sense of humor with contributor Don Sherfick, but her style is all her own.
I finally decided to write an exposé specifically about the inner workings of The Bilerico Project from the viewpoint of a "Guest Blogger." Many of you love to just comment and others have probably submitted articles in vain, so you may not be aware of all the secrets and wild parties that happen behind the scenes in this most beloved LGBTQ blog. Only a Guest Blogger would know these things. This article will reveal some of those hidden secrets The Bilerico Project has kept from the public for so long.
Even though I'm not quite a "resident" of the Bilerico family home, I have used the "guest bedroom" enough that I have my own separate sheets and pillows. Bil tells me I'm "special," but I get the feeling it's to try and keep me quiet on what goes on behind the scenes. I have to admit I really love my pink sheets, but people have to know what I know.
Keep in mind, a Guest Blogger only gets to stay at the Big House and is not allowed to venture inside the famous 156 story Bilerico Towers, located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. To even open the doors, you have to have a secret clearance that would make a KGB agent shiver. Only contributors are allowed in the Bilerico Towers and their movements are restricted.
Some may ask, "What is the process to become a Guest Blogger?" I think the biggest thing they look for is the ability to string a series of English words into a coherent sentence. Yes, I know, that can be tough at times. I fail quite often. Beyond the sentences, you have to have a coherent subject matter, or the individual sentences become meaningless. I remember one time starting off talking about ENDA and ended up ranting about HRC. Come to think of it, that is a coherent subject matter. Never mind.
The next step after writing the article, you have to submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who don't know, the submission will go directly to Alex Blaze. Those of you who don't submit articles know Alex as this wonderfully intelligent and attractive man, but I have seen his dark side. Alex has such a great grasp of the English language that his decision on who gets the coveted "Guest Blogger" award and who doesn't can seem devastating to your ego at times. When he rejects my articles, I feel like some evil Kung-Fu master bent on world domination has snatched my heart from my chest and handed it to me still beating. (Ok, so I exaggerated a bit.)
Then comes those rare times when he accepts your article and it makes you feel like you've just been given the Miss America crown. For me, I float on Cloud 9 and I can't stop giggling. The world seems brighter and food even tastes better though I have noticed that women don't find me any more attractive. Can't they tell I'm a "Guest Blogger" on the world famous Bilerico Project? I'm thinking Alex has a hand in that.
Once I see my article appear on the top of the TBP page, I constantly check to see if I get any comments. I heard through the grapevine that Bil and the editorial team get upset when a person posts an article, but doesn't respond to the comments. They call that, "Post and Run." Contributors have been warned about posting and running and have been told that they will have do dishes and have trash duty for a whole month in the Big House if caught doing that. One can only wonder what their punishment is at the Bilerico Towers. The penalty for Guest Bloggers who Post and Run is that they will not get to post again for two full years and their comments are heavily monitored. This is why I comment a lot so I can stay in practice. Otherwise, I'd miss those pink sheets.
Getting a chance to spend time in the guest bedroom has its advantages and disadvantages. You get to share one meal with the residents, but you don't get to pick the meal. Breakfast is not so much fun. Let me warn you ahead of time, you don't want to run into Becky Juro before she's had her first cup of coffee. Jason from the Halloween movies is a sweetheart in comparison. During school time, Sara Whitman wants the Guest Bloggers to help make school lunches for all the Bilerico kids. Hey, I don't mind. "PB&J, y'all?" I always get a glare from Sara when I ask that. "Okay, let's break out the grits." That makes Monica Roberts smile.
One of the things I have noticed is that being a Guest Blogger and getting a chance to occasionally stay at the Big House is that you develop a sense of respect for the house. You feel compelled to ensure unwanted interlopers are rooted out and dispensed with properly. Even though the Guest Bloggers are not full-time residents, we still feel the Bilerico Big House is our home away from home. We try to respect it like our own homes, even when we comment. Okay, so I mess up occasionally and get my comments deleted. I guess it's the price I pay for being an egotistical, arrogant loud-mouth. (I just put that sentence in here to placate those who actually think of me that way. We all know I'm sooooo sweet and lovable.)
The biggest disadvantage is when you're trying to go to sleep in the guest bedroom and you hear the residents laughing and having a good time. You don't get to party with them. Oh, sure, they treat you well, and you get to enter contests they can't, but . . . For those who keep trying and keep getting better with their writing, they may one day find themselves laughing and having a good time with the rest of them. For now, I will be satisfied with the occasional chance to see my name in the Bilerico lights, even if it will just say "Guest Blogger."
It's time for me to don a disguise. After reading this, Waymon has put a price on my head ($2.50) and the Bilerico hit woman, Serena, plans on coming over to my place and taking my lesbian toaster oven away from me. Damn. I reheat cold pizza with that.