Bil Browning

Leaving Indiana: What does it mean for Bilerico?

Filed By Bil Browning | August 17, 2010 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Site News
Tags: Indiana Stonewall Democrats, Jerame Davis, National Stonewall Dems, upcoming changes

I announced yesterday afternoon that Jerame has taken a job with the National Stonewall Democrats and that means there will be some big changes in our lives. The biggest change for both of us is that we'll be moving out of state. We're leaving Indiana.

how-to-pose.pngDozens of you have e-mailed since that post went live asking what the big move will mean for Bilerico Project. One of our selling points has always been that we're not a blog from the East Coast or West Coast. We're based out of Indiana and, while we have contributors from all over the world, the site has kept its Midwestern common sense and pragmatism.

While there will obviously be some changes soon - including our about-to-launch redesign - put together all of the transformations will result in a much better site. Thankfully, my job can go anywhere and being able to be where the action is will be a big plus. It'll help with some of the more personal connections that only happen at conventions or by flying around the country currently.

One thing that won't change though is my criticism of the Democratic Party. More on that after the jump...

It's always funny to me that depending on whom you're talking to, I'm either a Democratic apologist or a raving liberal determined to punish our best political friends. As the old saying goes, I'm not doing my job unless I'm pissing someone off so I guess that the dichotomy suits me.

With Friends Like These...

Especially in Indiana, I'm no darling of the state party. The party establishment has never been effectual in harnessing the power of bloggers since most of us are more liberal than the entrenched leadership. While I'm the only Hoosier blogger on the Huffington Post - and therefore able to get candidates national attention - the state party is always reluctant to engage me because those candidates usually aren't good on LGBT issues.

Instead, they can't figure out why I'd be upset when our Senator makes AIDS jokes, state LGBT-positive legislation never goes anywhere, the leadership uses dirty tricks to handpick a conservative politician with a poor record on LGBT issues to run for Senate, or the state party pays for anti-gay mailers during the election cycle. These things seem like no-brainers to me, but the state party has always wanted blind allegiance from its members instead of constructive criticism.

Worship is for the religious and faith is for those who have to believe because they can't see for themselves. I don't have faith in the Democrats as they currently operate.

The Democrats are the type of friend who comes over for dinner, eats all the food while complaining about the cooking, seduces your partner while you're doing dishes, takes a big crap in the middle of the living room floor, and then asks you not to tell anyone about it as they steal $100 from your wallet. At the end of the dinner, they feel very pleased with themselves while you feel stupid for inviting them over again in the first place. Still, they seem like a nice enough person, so maybe you'll give them another chance next week.

The Republicans, however, don't even seem like nice people. To use the same analogy, the Republicans are the type of person who shows up for dinner, knocks you out and stabs all the other guests to death, steals all your stuff, rapes you, and then props you up naked in the middle of the floor with the bloody knife in one hand and a crack pipe in the other while they call 911 to report that "some perverted homo on drugs" has killed a bunch of people and encourages them to send the SWAT team before you strike again.

You get the point.

Some Things Are More Important Than Politics

Neither of our political parties are fantastic on LGBT issues; that's my gig and the focus of Bilerico Project - LGBT issues. Indiana's democratic leadership had to get used to the idea that I'm not a loyal Democrat; I'm dedicated to LGBT equality and I'd like to see the Democrats show some commitment to us.

I have the luxury of being an independent writer who's not beholden to any corporate or political overlords. Our readers pay the bills and while it's not lavish, it's enough to keep the lights on. It gives me the ability to say exactly what I think without worrying about who I'm pissing off.

Thankfully, with so many contributors now, I'm not the only blogger on TBP; I'm just one of many who post throughout the day. We focus on LGBT issues on the site. We're not cheerleaders for any political party. In fact, we're often critical of our own movement and organizations and I don't see that changing one whit.

While the site's voice is generally slightly schizophrenic in the diversity of main page opinion posts, I've noticed that the site retains it's air of political pragmatism balanced with progressive ideals. Our contributors may be from all over the world now, but a certain earnest Midwestern yearning for a progressive chimera tempered with a huge streak of practicality imbues the community at Bilerico.

The entire Bilerico editorial team has worked hard to build Bilerico Project into an authoritative source for modern LGBT political thought, entertainment, and movement building and we've succeeded far beyond our original dreams. Combine the move to DC with the new design re-launch and it all seems to perfectly flow together.

I'll continue to hold our political allies and enemies accountable to the community. I'm sure I'll irritate National Stonewall Democrats eventually, but thankfully Jerame and I already have a structure in place about my blogging and his work with the local Stonewall chapter and the state party. We plan on using the same formula in DC.

So will our move to DC change the tone of the blog? Probably a little bit, but I think the true strength of Bilerico is that's it grown to be a lot more than my blog. It's taken on a life of its own.

Change is a part of life. The diversity of voices at Bilerico Project will only continue to increase as we move into the next phase of the site. New contributors will join us and current writers will continue to share their evolving thoughts with us.

Your voice, of course, is always welcome too.


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Congratulations! Sounds very exciting

OK, this is like Davy Crockett goes to Washington D.C. Those folks have forgotten what a baar looks like and and couldn't skin a rabbit if they were about to starve. My best wishes go with you both.

I'm not sure what it means that you just compared me to Davey Crockett. Didn't he go down at the Alamo? *gulps*

Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic. You can find some nice neighborhoods in the Baltimore area. It would be nice to have you as a neighbor.

I couldn't agree w/U more! LOVE Baltimore! Housing price wise is great, the gay "scene" is SO fun and a TOTAL thumbs up for Baltimore.

I did 5yrs around the Beltway... my pick at the time was Annapolis. LOVED IT. Only an hour and half from Rehomo [[Rehobeth Beach, DE]] and 20mins. to either DC or Baltimore. 4hrs. to NYC.

It was a no hands down win for me in Annapolis. Loved it there.

Good luck w/the move Bil & Jerame, you are in the BIG times now. It's an "ugly business", stay away from the rum.

I'm glad that your critical analysis of the Dems will remain and as for moving you will still be the same guy at the heart of things. Have a nice and pleasant move.

As a Midwesterner who fled to the left coast, let me ease your mind. You will always be a Midwesterner, even if you happen to live in DC. The only difference is now you get to go to better restaurants, better gay bars, more exciting press briefings, and your network of friends will grow.

I'm very excited for both of you, and for the evolving community here at Bilerico. I'm proud to be a member of the team and am eager to see how it grows.

*Waves hand from the rural midwest* Worry not, Bill. I'll hold down the fort.

I'm glad you're coming to DC because now I'll get to see you more often.

Welcome to DC! Dr. Weiss, didn't know you were in DC. Would love to have a welcome event here. Hope everything goes smoothly for you during your move!

I was going to disagree with you about the huff po thing, but then I realized that I'm not even a traveling hoosier, but just not a hoosier. I went to school there (wasn't born there) and all my high school friends have moved away from the state. Then I moved back in my early 20's and made friends with new people who, now that you and j are leaving, are all gone again. My brother and sister both moved away from indiana when they could. There are just my parents.

It's weird, but that state has a way of scaring people away. It's not just that it's conservative - other conservative states have a better time keeping people. There's a certain hopelessness to indiana, a certain, je ne sais quoi, the fact that they hate both pleasure and living and happiness, that just drives people away.

I have fun thinking up mottos for indiana, like "Indiana: Trying is hard" and "Where hope goes to die," but nothing really gets at how the state isn't terrible, but that even "terrible" would be more exciting than Indiana.

K, I'm thru making fun of the state where you still live. But seriously it's a weird state and I'm not surprised that since I know only cool people, that everyone I know leaves that state.

I am so excited about Jerame's new post! You two will do great things out there in DC. We will miss you here in the Hoosier state.

I will personally miss you both and hope to see you at events outside the "flyover states". Oh... don't go chaining yourself to the White House gates ;)

You know... Not all Republicans are like that. With conservatives like GOProud, Gov. Schwarzenegger, Ann Coulter, former VP Dick Cheney, and (OMG!) Glenn Beck stepping out in favor of Judge Walker's Prop8 ruling... is it fair to throw them all under the bus? Does it cut off any chance of reaching conservatives who could be strong supporters of FULL Equality for LGBTers? Even though it made me laugh, actually choked on my coffee, I found your dinner party analogy a little offensive and can see how others could feel the same. By a little I mean more than normal ;)

To be fair not all Democrats are like the picture you're painting either. In fact, isn't there a Democrat Congressman who is a really strong LGBT ally, maybe even Fierce Advocate, here in Indiana?

But both parties fail us a party. But it's on us. We have the power to put people who support LGBT Equality in office of governance. Instead we just pull a lever or punch a chad. Whether R,D or I... Demand upfront and public support for our community's struggle for civil rights and then followed up with legitimate legislative action.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | August 20, 2010 2:52 PM

First, I join lots of other folks either from/in/to/etc/ or not connected with Hoosierdom in congratulating Bil and Jerame and wishing them nothing but the best in their move and new venture.

Alex says:

"But seriously..[Indiana is] a weird state and I'm not surprised that since I know only cool people, that everyone I know leaves that state."

Hmmmmmmm......

At the risk of self-declaring myself utterly un-cool ahd not knowing "weird" when I see it, I'm happy to have been born here, raised here, stayed here, and not all that discontent to want to spend the rest of my life somewhere else. The pure codginess of being 70-plus, I guess. I suspect there are any number of Hoosier Bilerico readers, young and old, who feel generally the same way, despite all the challanges the right-wing nutcases here pose.

Bil,

I've been pretty busy lately so I'm a little behind the times and I just learned of your relocation. [from Aaron Renn(www.urbanophile.com)]

You will truly be missed in Indiana and I wish both you and Jerame the greatest success.

When Jason and I first moved to Indianapolis, from Chicago, I was nervous that Indianapolis would not be as welcoming as other cities that I had lived. However, what I found here was a vibrant, thriving, and diverse city. Sites like gayindy.org and your blog have really helped me transition to a place that I can easily call home....actually a place in which I have become the biggest fan.

It has been a lot of fun watching Bilerico grow to become a national media source for LGBT issues. I was proud to say that it was all happening in my back yard!

While Indy (and more so Indiana) still has some growing to do, you are leaving at an appropriate time. I think we have grown to a point where equality is inevitable!

Thank you for everything you have done for me and for Indianapolis!