Bil Browning

New Site Assistance: That Old Bilerico Flavor

Filed By Bil Browning | May 10, 2011 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: new design, new site update

Note from Bil: I've bumped this back up to the top to continue the conversation. There've been quite a few good critiques/suggestions on how/what Bilerico has morphed into in it's current iteration over the past few years. Tell us how you see the site and our contributors and community.

We're about a week away from re-launching the site with our new design. All the folks that volunteered to help do bug checks and tweaks will be working their butts off this week!

I'm working on a project right now that could use some assistance from Projectors. When you think of Bilerico, what do you think of? Is there a general vibe you get from the site? SunChips Jalapeño Jack Flavored Multigrain Snacks All NaturalWere there any big stories that have helped define us? Any events in your interactions with us?

Who do you think of? Don't just limit yourself to editors or contributors, but there's several folks from the comments section who've been here longer than a lot of contributors. They are "Bilerico" too.

We're ditching the "Daily Experiments in LGBTQ" tagline for this iteration. I suggested replacing with "Goring Sacred Cows Since 2004" but Jerame and Alex insisted that it was too negative for a prominent theme and we compromised on "Queering Conventional Wisdom Since 2004." It doesn't have quite the same ring to it though and I thought maybe y'all would like to chip in on this one.

What tagline would you give to our motley group of scribes and scribblers? How does it describe the Bilerico vibe as you feel it? (img src)

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When I think of Bilerico, I think of the variety of topics and diversity of writers and commenters that come up, so I'd suggest something like the following tagline: "LGBTQ: A through Z"

Eric Payne | May 9, 2011 9:22 PM

And when I think of Bilerico, I think of almost entirely the opposite. There may be a number of contributors to the site, but it seems all the material published to the site is of the same viewpoint, with dissent not being tolerated (or, more specifically, not being tolerated for very long).

Bilerico was, for quite some period of time, part of my daily reading. A year ago, after the elevation of a regular contributor to an editorship position, I ceased visiting the site. In the last three months or so, I noticed the site was being linked to less and less by Towleroad, Joe My God, Americablog Gay and Queerty. A week or so ago, I revisited the site and saw why - that disconnect I felt a year ago had only grown; every single item published the day I re-visited concerned that small subset of the "community." Other blogs had no problem filling themselves, that day, with news and political manueverings - Bilerico did not have a single "cover story" in which a homosexually oriented male or female was the subject.

So... how about...

"Bilerico. We cover our own beat. If you don't like it... oh, well!"

these are my thoughts exactly. I don't think Bilerico offers a wide spectrum of viewpoints. Instead, it seems very focused on anti-corporate, anti-conservative left-wing viewpoints. That's fine, of course, as Bilerico is free to be whatever it wants. But I actually find some of the editors and contributors to be quite hostile to differing viewpoints, so I would caution against saying that Bilerico represents the community from A to Z.

And the conservative, pro-gay viewpoint would be.... what, Danny?

Eric Payne | May 10, 2011 3:56 PM

Well, for starters, a "conservative gay" viewpoint might be to limit transsexual "news" as separate items and, rather than publishing those "me, too!" essays individually, direct those persons to add their experiences as a comment to the headlined item. I know the transsexual community faces discrimination; we all do, but does it really require four different "headlines" in a single day to tell one story - that of the McDonald's patron beaten by two teen-age girls?

One other suggestion (since, Bil, you changed this thread into a "give us suggestions, please!" thread): find a person to be a regular poster who is simply living a life with their partner, for whom the party scene is non-relevant and for whom it has become almost depressing to see unseasoned youth taking the forefront of so many gay news and opinion blogs.

Yes, Prince(s) Harry and William are attractive, but, really... shirtless pics? Who gives a damn? And, yes, Glee is fun to watch, but who hangs on its every episode like Moses standing beside blazing hibiscus? There are those of us who wake up every morning, have a cup of coffee, kiss the husband, send them off to work, spend the day reading news, cleaning and prepping dinner, going to the store, etc. (Oh, geez, I make myself sound like Carol Brady). We get active when we need to - in many ways, as Larry Kramer recently pointed out - we picked up the gauntlet after Stonewall and ran with it. It was our generation of activism that got the government to cave on AIDS project(s) research and development - how many of the young gay voices that have taken over would even be here if it weren't for the previous generation literally dying to save their lives?

It was the previous generation who began the fight to have our relationships recognized, not just as some marriage "equivalency," but as a marriage... it is the current generation who seem to be sliding toward a "civil union" separate-but-inequal compromise.

Is was my generation that helped make the election of the current President possible. It is also my generation that is turning their back, collectively, on "Our Fierce Advocate" for lying to our faces one too many times.

It is this generation that is, seemingly, hanging on to the President as if he were some Messiah to the gay community, and we should feel honored just to touch his sport coat.

They say: "Look, he repealed DADTDP!"

No, he didn't. He helped get passed a politically expedient bill that requires some "ratification" process by other persons associated with the Armed Forces, and that ratification must be unanimous - a convenient out for OFA to say "Hey, look, it's not my fault!" when just one of those persons has a change of heart, and decides DADTDP served a legitimate function.

And for those who don't believe the DOJ is not just a political stunt aimed to get our donation dollars (first observation: look at the timing of the announcement; the very same action could have been taken six months or a year ago... or the DOJ could have just not appealed the lower court decision), you need a second cup of coffee and might want to go have your annual eye examination.

Tony is the closest voice you've published to representing that point of view, but he gets, it seems, two posts a week.

Perhaps you could create a publication schedule similar to newspapers: On Monday, so-and-so(s) are published, on Tuesday, a different set of so-and-so(s), with weekend pages continuing as a "week in review" wrap-up?

Last time I looked, your generation (of which I'm also reluctantly a member) has a wide variety of diverse political viewpoints, not to mention races, social/class perspectives, gender identities, queer identities, homosexualities, etc. Sorry, no one appointed you our leader and spokesperson.

"Towleroad, Joe My God, Americablog Gay and Queerty (you forgot After Elton)" already exist and we don't need another one. Their stories overlap to a remarkable extent as do their smug perspectives (even though I think Joe My God is far superior to the others). So what if they don't link to Bilerico... that just shows Bilerico is covering stories they aren't... which is a good thing. You're bored with trans-related stories, well imagine how bored some of us are reading about Prop 8, DADT, HRC Fundraisers, Parties in Palm Springs, Elton John's offspring, GaGa and the dreck on Logo?

Not to mention that running unpaid blogs is NOTHING like running newspapers (even if the latter sometimes look and operate like the former, these days). If Bil, Alex, and Jerame actually depended on all of us - who each have multiple lives to live and various livings to make and life stuff to deal with on top of all that - to contribute according to some kind of schedule, you wouldn't see much here.

I've said it once and I'll say it again. This. Is. A. Blog. People. If you want it to work like a newspaper, fund it accordingly.

"moses standing beside burning hibiscus".

do you have any idea how gloriously that would work as a subject for the black velvet painting i someday hope to mount next to my elvis?

Eric Payne | May 11, 2011 11:42 AM

Not to nitpick, but the actual quote if "blazing" and not "burning," but that's not important.

Go for it. Black Velvet artwork's gotten a bad rap by some hoity-toity are "experts," but in terms over overall popularity, how may Picassos does one find in the average mobile home park?

i suppose if i also had a virgin guadalupe on black velvet that the holy trinity of such paintings would be complete...and then i could go to my maker truly content.

Psychotropic since 2004

Rick Sutton | May 9, 2011 8:56 PM

I'm not sure I've got a sufficiently smart-ass tagline, but someone will surely come up with one.

When I read this blog, I expect equal parts: brains, compassion, activism, well-placed humor and thought-provoking essays.

And an occasional royal penis. Which fits the "humor" category, huh?

Google psychotrophic and perhaps you will see why I suggested it as the perfect fit.

I think of the diversity of the community and the fact that we see a lot of stories that are not the sacred cows of Gay Inc.

I might get pummelled for this, but here goes: I'd rather you leave 'queer' or 'queering' out of it. Here's why: While I'm very comfortable with the term queer and all of it's permutations, the truth is I post about 10% of your stuff to my facebook page where about 65% of my 'friends' are straight - many of them only recently evolving into 'gay friendly' or 'gay sympathetic' mindsets. I think the term 'queer' might seem radical and off-putting and/or confusing to many of these small-town folks ages 50+. As is, I'm gratified that I get positive feedback for many of these postings from folks for whom I'm often the only out gay that they know. I'd hate for any of them to eschew clicking on the links because they fear being drawn into something 'in your face' rather than something offering simply a different viewpoint. Bilerico is certainly a site for sophisticated, urbane gays seeking provocation and re-affirmation - members of the club, so to speak. But as you have grown in influence and audience I think there are untold thousands who peruse your stuff even though they aren't 'family'. What about; 'Illuminating the LGBTQ experience since 2004'?

Bil in the last year or so it seems like that old special something that made Bilerico what it is to me has taken a hike.I like reading a lot of the stories put out by LGB projectors. I can't for the life of me understand when Joe and Alex both put out stories about the Iowa Gop Platform they get less comments than the typical trans catfights.The Gop State Platforms affect all of us in that they show what their agenda is and how they plan to impliment them.Honestly I can't blame any LGB person that is sick of all the transgender stories. Seriously I hope Bilerico can find its LGB voice again. I think you should set a certain amount of space aside for lesbian,gay and bisexual sories. As for the word transgender it is supposed to be an umbrella term where are the stories from the perspectives of the different groups under the umbrella? I can't ever recall reading a story on bilerico written by a crossdresser. Or how about one written by a drag queen? Its always transsexuals pushing whatever transgender agenda they have and speaking for the other groups. I think its time to let the other groups under the umbrella have a chance to voice their opinions about their wants and needs. Its also surprising that all the transgender leaders I've ever heard of are post-op where are the other groups under the umbrella's leaders? Or on transsexuals stories where are the ones dealing with whats happening with heterosexual post-op marriage in Texas? Or about Nikki Araguz who's at center stage in that fight and doesn't want to be called transgender by the media or the LGBT? Lots of good stories about people and issues are being missed that shouldn't be. I'm caught up in my own transgender bathroom nightmare right now as soon as I get a handle on it I plan on submitting hopefully a couple stories from a different T perspective in a way I hope is widely received by LGB readers. I think you need to find more projectors from the T but limit the amount of T stories.Might step on some toes but oh well you have a blog to run. So as I've been getting at you need more variety and a return to focussing a little more on the LGB side and covering the T side more as an umbrella and less as an identity.So I would recomend "Bilerico covering all things LGB and T." I think putting a little distance between the LGB and T will help you show a committment to focussing more on the LGB side and to show that being T is not the same as being LGB even though some T's are LGB. Also I think by covering the T more as an umbrella you'd be showing a committment to all the different T groups and perspectives.

Correction: Lena Dahlstrom, who is a crossdresser, has been a contributor at Bilerico.

hey, amy...don't forget that one of the beauties of web publishing is that space here is not limited; my suspicion, although i can't speak for the ed team, is that a limited number of a story representing a particular point of view might often simply represent a lack of stories from writers representing that point of view.

(insert smiley faces and such here.)

I really do like Goring Sacred Cows... I think you could go with it, although not evocative of queerness.

But I'll work with your suggestion and tweak it to "Creating Queer Wisdom since 2004".

When I think of Bilerico, I think of the people who are the driving force of it. I'm afraid that doesn't lend itself to a tag line.

I kind of like Goring Sacred Cows but PETA and the Hindu community might object. Not to mention Cows.

How about "Goring Sacred Power Bottoms since 2004" ...

Oh ... maybe not ... still needs work ...

One of the reasons I first hit "subscribe" for the site was the word "daily" in the tagline. Although it might sound simpleminded, it reinforced my first impression of timely, frequent postings. That word has value.

As a media professional for over 25 years, I'm constantly frustrated with how we progressives tend to want our magazines, shows and news sites to be all things to all people. As the web has matured, there is a natural broadening of voices and perspectives. How boring it would be for all sites to cover all issues from the same politically correct perspective - and worse, as some have suggested, with a "weighting" of topics - a quota, of you will.

I personally don't love the "goring" tagline very much, but it is, in fact, the only one that comes close to reflecting the typical tone of the site. It's not a google news feed of all things queer; it's not a mouthpiece for HRC; it's fresh, it's kind of young, it's irreverent and I know it's not going to just rehash the same stories the other LGBT sites cover. And that's a good thing.

Is there room for a queer Huffington Post? I guess so. Do you want to be that? I doubt it - and hope not.

Gurus make me tired. But I think Seth Godin has a lot to say about this - about building a tribe. Your tribe has to be built out of interesting people writing interesting things about what catches their attention or that they think is important to share. Only if you can inspire some people to say "that's not for me" will you ever inspire any people to say "that's for me."

I know the question was not about critiquing the site per se - but that's what the thread has devolved to, and that's the reason I wanted to put my two cents in on that topic.

How about - "Every Organization is Evil, Always."

Ok, I might be oversimplifying, but there's a pretty strong trend as of late.

Bo, you're definitely on the right track ... How about "Every Organization is Preoccupied by Self-perpetuation ... Always" ... not as kurt as your suggestion, but gets closer to the core of the problem ... I think.

A.J. I was being sarcastic. The tone of this blog and of many out there has become that every organization is evil. I disagree, and I believe the constant bitching and whining is a detriment.

Oh yes... Gore the sacred cows. Queer the conventional wisdom. Trans my gender, I am everything they are afraid of. Please be on my side, as we ALL dig for equality, respect, a place to live our boringly normal lives... Queer...isn't

An observation and a suggestion:

It amazes me to see how many comments deteriorate into a matter of semantics, even this series of comments. I think we miss main points when we argue over blades and can't see the lawn.

That brings me to my suggestion: I'd love to see some series of articles about success stories. I know they are out there, because I have one.

Love Bilerico, Bil, Jerame and Alex! Not a day goes by that I don't check in to find out what's hot, who's not, and what's brewing in the fine minds of our many generations. So, how about:
Daily Queer Hots, Nots and Knots: Read It and Leap!

I love "queering conventional wisdom" because that's what you do and that's what we need right now.

I also think it'd be great to get rid of the shirtless pics.

Eruc Payne | May 10, 2011 7:33 PM

I didn't forget "After Elton (or After Ellen)" because I don't read it. Unlike a lot of people, I dom't consider Elton John yo be a gay "hero." A closet case who made a lot of money off the gay community, yes; hero, no.

Yes, Joe My God and Towleroad frequently overlap (and, like you, Gina, I prefer Joe over Andy), but Andy and Joe are personal friends, with a distinct New York perspective. Bil could find someone (if not himself) from Indians, Iowa, non-Chicago Illinois, Ohio, or Pennsylvania who can provide a "heartlands" perspective. Imagine a series written by someone for whom any day of their life could be the violent end of their life if they should say the wrong thing to the wrong person.

And yes, Gina, I'm aware that is the lot in lifr of transsexuals, even in our most cosmopolitan centers. I'm not trying to minimalize that risk at all... But a 12 to 17 year old homosexually oriented person, who believes they don't reflect anything, physically, that would single themselves out as anything but straight, i.e. normal, might have a problem relating to a transsexual's plight.

They might also feel a disconnect to all the "It Gets Better" videos, since a great many of them, in the message, indicate life got better once they left home and relocated to some urban area. Some are just never going to have that chance and - like it or not - they are going to spend their entire lives in the same physical locations prospering the family business/farm for one more generation.

Currently, I know of no gay blog that offers a voice for the Middle America perspective. I'd think Bil would recognize that possible need

When I was 17, my only friends were gay kids (closeted, natch, as it was Oklahoma in the early 90s), and not only did I not mind reading news that was important to them, they read anything trans-related they came across in an effort to understand what I was going through, without my asking. You're vastly underestimating young people's curiosity and capacity for empathy.

Oddly enough, my friends also immediately got that I was nothing like a drag queen, never called me a tranny, and never treated me like I was abnormal. Funny how that works.

" Bil could find someone (if not himself) from Indians, Iowa, non-Chicago Illinois, Ohio, or Pennsylvania who can provide a "heartlands" perspective. Imagine a series written by someone for whom any day of their life could be the violent end of their life if they should say the wrong thing to the wrong person."

I agree with you about the importance of a heartland/small town perspective. But why does that perspective not exist online... because it doesn't bring in money, nor provide activist power nor is it "sexy." So it's invisible. Welcome to the world of the trans community which, for decades, was/is similarly ignored (which is why some trans people might seem 'loud' to you... we're sick of being ignored). You think 'It Gets Better' doesn't work for the young heartland gay person... well overwhelmingly 'It Gets Better' videos don't even have a trans person in them. Invisibility.

Really, I think this is not the place for the audience you're talking about. They should have their own youth generated blog/site with their own content, not from a bunch of people who are 30+. More likely though, they're just on Facebook linking up with peers that way. For most kids, blogs are old school.

GayHermit | May 10, 2011 7:55 PM

I think everyone here has been doing a wonderful job at keeping this site diverse and interesting. You are making attempts to show aspects of the entire tribe and trying to cover deficiencies as they are pointed out to you. As far as I am concerned, keep up the good work.

As far as a site tag line, well, I am in a mood, so I am going to make some suggestions.
Some of them are going to be wildly inappropriate. Feel free to use them if you want to. ;-)

“Doing our best to represent the QITBLG alphabet soup without choking on it since 2004.”

“Effort made daily to strengthen our LGBTIQ tribal power and influence.”

“Making a daily attempt to strengthen our LGBTIQ community power and influence since 2004.”

“Making a daily effort to deal with the whiners, trolls and bitchy snark-fest that is our reality. (And that is just from our commentators.)”

“Spreading our Evil and Corruption on a daily basis.”

“Trying every day since 2004 to get our community to open their minds more than their legs.”

“Making a daily effort to turn SSDD into a positive.”

“Daily experiments in frightening the mainstream.”

“(Oh, Who cares. Like you freaking read our tagline anyway.)”

“Getting our QITBLG freak on since 2004.”

“Thinking with the wrong head since 2004.”

“Destroying the American Way, (Hatred, Greed, Corruption, Etc..) since 2004.”

“Messing with our detractors minds daily, in every way possible, since 2004.”

“Spreading the Gospel since 2004.”

“Pissing people off since 2004.”

“We Rule. You Suck. Bite Me. Since 2004.”

"Sense of Humor Required since 2004."

i have the tagline:

"All the Queer that's fit to print."