Lately, I have become a complete blog addict. If I dont get my fix of gay news....lets just say its not pretty. One Blog of note that I read as often as possible is "Pams House Blend" which is a cooperative blog covering important news and events for the GLBTQ community and the fight for marriage equality. Recently the author or Pams House Blend, Pam Spaulding, was asked to write an article for the Huffington post about grass roots online activism. That article made me sit up and take notice as it spoke directly to What Jay and I do Here and on Youtube...
From the article:
The LGBT community has always been an early adopter of Internet and the opportunities it presented for personal and professional activism. In fact, it was a necessity for a slice of the American public faced with few legal rights that faced hostility and violence just for being who they were.
In the 1990s, when AOL ruled the roost of online communication, there were bustling chat rooms. While many were geared to the novelty of hooking up online (as it was for the straight world), for many LGBTs in padlocked closets who lived in remote, extremely anti-gay small towns, it was their first time making any kind of social connection to others who shared their pain and their dreams of equality. These were not connections to LGBT advocacy organizations led by cosmopolitan power gays; this was the germination of grassroots activism online.
Fast forward to today. With web sites, blogs, and social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook, the online LGBT community has emerged as an example of both leadership and rabble-rousing success. It is a community shaping the equality agenda, by using just a few clicks of the mouse, diligence and taking advantage of the speed of the Internet that confounds, perplexes and often frustrates offline establishment LGBT advocacy organizations.
When Prop 8 passed we watched the whole campaign play out and wondered why our side always to not know what they were doing. They were supposed to be experts at this kind of campaign, or so they said. Yet they always seemed to be reacting to what the other guys said instead of laying out the truth. It seemed in many ways like this was their first foray into politics and they had decided that taking the high road meant not calling out the anti gay crowd for being the lying, hypocritical, bullies that they are. Not once in any of our ads did we see the face of a real gay person...and not one gay family. It was like they were to scared to alienate people by showing us for who we really are. It was all a day late and a dollar short...and so, we lost. All that money spent, all those ads to no avail. Jay and I were angry as hell and sad beyond words. Gay inc didn't seem able to do a thing about it.
Jay went online to do a search for "gay families" and found next to nothing. That alone was shocking. Were was everybody? You could find articles an all facets of gay life, most especially hooking up,...but hardly any family stories and certainly no ones pictures. Nothing on Youtube either. There was no one out there with whom we could share our anger over prop 8, or learn from as a same sex family. It was and still is a huge vacuum in the landscape of online gay life.
So with this in mind Jay grabbed our little digital camera and filmed us around the dinner table one night. It was just us introducing ourselves and talking a little bit about who anti gay marriage legislation really hurts. I had some MAJOR reservations about doing this, I am introverted to a fault, but I trusted Jay. One video led to another. We got great feedback and our videos seemed to be helping people. Then we got a reason to make more videos, other states began accepting gay marriage! So this whole process grew, first from our movies, now to supporting a modest websight and blog.
It's a headless monster in many ways -- digital activists in this world are frequently not Big Gay insiders...You mean I'm not an A gay? Dam! My dreams have just been crushed. ...oh well, I'm over it.
The irony is that traditional LGBT organizations want desperately to replicate the success and speed of online grassroots activists. But their very structure -- non-profits built on top-down management decision-making that is always beholden to influential donors -- cripples them in ways the independent LGBT Netroots never have to be concerned about.
Just because you look like a dinasaur and act like a dinosaur, doesnt mean you are one. They could just as easily hire one of us "online activists" to connect them to the wonder that is the internet. I mean really...If i can do anyone can. I had no back round in building a website or starting a blog...zip, zilch, nada. All it took was time, and a little google searching, and gallons of coffee. Then its a matter of becoming that blog addict I mentioned. Believe me, its not hard and Stuff happens lightning fast online. Its posted/facebooked/tweeted even before the cops show up and the fires out. So get with it hrc...you too can put up a 10 minute video on youtube. Your blog reads like the phonebook...snooooozzze. If us everyday people can do it, don't you think these huge organizations can work it out? And if they can't...if they aren't infact lobbying for whats important to the everyday gay person, Then what are they doing?
So here I am...Star wars geek...devoted Dad...and now online activist. I guess we really never stop coming out.
Find the original article here: www.huffingtonpost.com
Become a blog addict like me and follow Pam here: www.pamshouseblend.com