17 September 2010

It was in a dynamic coalition session on freedom of expression and freedom of the media on the internet that Schubert announced that the domain name, “dot gay” was in the pipeline. The domain name hopes to incorporate all lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer sites under one domain.

Before the serious implication of content regulation hit me, my “problematic-term-mentioned” monitor blipped. I must admit though, it is a finely tuned machine, and jumps at any potential word/term that may be used in a way that seems remotely problematic.

What about the rest of us? Do we get our own domain name sans the “G”? I’m not sure everyone in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer community necessarily identify with the term “gay”. Perhaps we should consider adopting “dot LGBTIQ”, or just risk it and make it “dot queer”? I do understand that dot queer may not be accepted by all, such as the individual from Australia who ambushed me after the session. He stated that “as a gay man, I hate the word queer” – given, some are not comfortable with this term, or do not wish to reclaim it as their own

…but then he went on to comment that: “I don’t really care about the rest” i.e. that he did not consider himself a member, or even in solidarity, with the lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex community. I think the issue here may have been a bit more serious, and spoke to his (un/conscious) disconnection from the overall community. As a lesbian, he is the sort of (anti)queer I avoid. He then sauntered off without giving me an opportunity to respond.

The term queer has been reclaimed by the LGBTIQ community and now it is used as an inclusive and affirmative means to identifying all people who are affected by heterosexism and homophobia. This includes “straight” people who do not subscribe to the heteronormativity of society.

But what are the implications of dot gay?

I understand that Schubert’s intention was that dot gay be a “community application” but what if it is also an application that is employed for discrimination? The risks to the LGBTIQ community may be a lot higher than the benefit of creating a community of LGBTIQ sites. I am concerned that this simply makes the work of regulators a whole lot easier, we’re probably doing their work for them. Really, we’re literally collecting ourselves into one area, and filtering these sites becomes a lot easier. And it makes it easier to trace LGBTIQ activists, and who knows the implications of that. Are we not contributing to our own potential persecution?

dot gay: what are the implications?