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Reclaiming Online Space: .gay Comes Out with Safer Internet for LGBTQ Communities

Reclaiming Online Space: .gay Comes Out with Safer Internet for LGBTQ Communities

.gay domain
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Generations of LGBTQ people have been coming out and working together towards their common goal: make the world a safe place for LGBTQ people to exist. In today’s increasingly online world, even websites can “come out” by using the new .gay top-level domain extension. With donations that support the LGBTQ community and policies that prohibit hate, the .gay namespace is taking a groundbreaking approach to making the internet — and the physical world — a safer and more welcoming place for all LGBTQ people.

“Gay is Good”

The Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 in New York City is typically identified as the catalyst that galvanized the modern movement for LGBTQ liberty. In 1970, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Stonewall, LGBTQ communities in New York organized the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, creating the blueprint for the modern Pride Parade.

While the LGBTQ liberation movement started with people taking those first steps “out of the bars and into the streets,” soon, the internet would create a whole new frontier of social, cultural, and political opportunity for LGBTQ people. For decades now, the internet has been a place of genuine connection and an invaluable source of information, particularly for LGBTQ youth growing up in areas disconnected from welcoming LGBTQ communities.

No Place for Hate

Despite the internet’s potential for openness, accessibility, and acceptance, it can also harbor prejudice, racism, lies, and hate. For as long as LGBTQ people have been using the internet to spread the message that “Gay is good,” trolls and extremists have used the internet’s anonymity to attack LGBTQ individuals and communities. For the most part, technology platforms refuse to take any action against hate unless they are required to by a court order.

It is .gay’s position that this broken status quo has got to go. The .gay Rights Protections Policy discourages homophobic, anti-LGBTQ usage and provides specific, enforceable remedies for domains that intentionally use .gay to malign or harm LGBTQ individuals or groups. The policy also bans recognized hate groups from using .gay domains and requires websites with forums to have moderation capabilities to remove unacceptable content. Violations of this policy will be investigated, and offending websites will be taken down. In other words, if any troll out there tries to misuse a .gay domain, first, they will have to make a contribution to pro-LGBTQ charities via the registration fee, and then their website will be removed from the internet!

Doing Good Offline Too

Twenty percent of the revenue from all new .gay domain registrations is donated to LGBTQ organizations. The inaugural beneficiary partners of .gay’s giving program are GLAAD and CenterLink. CenterLink is an umbrella organization for over 250 LGBTQ centers in the United States and around the world. These community centers provide safe physical spaces that empower and support LGBTQ people and their families. GLAAD’s legacy is rooted in fighting against misrepresentation and hate in the media. The GLAAD Media Guide is central to .gay’s policies and inclusive ethos.

While .gay’s donations contribute to the wellbeing of LGBTQ communities via established organizations, the .gay Community Resource Program makes .gay accessible at the grassroots level to anyone with a great idea and the determination to bring it to life. Issues like COVID-19, systemic racism, health care, housing, and job security disproportionately affect members of the LGBTQ population — and those effects are even more pronounced for people with intersectional LGBTQ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) identities. LGBTQ organizations, community groups, individuals, or small businesses looking for ways to digitally foster LGBTQ spaces and services can apply to the .gay Community Resource Program to receive a free .gay domain name.

.gay is Open for All

While not all LGBTQ people will identify with or feel represented by the word “gay,” the .gay namespace is intentionally designed to be a place where everyone is welcome and proudly stands with all LGBTQ communities.

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We created The Library, and it’s companion micro-series, The Dictionary, with the intention of it being a gay “library” where anyone can visit and learn, in bite-size portions, about topics like identity, gender, coming out, terminology, and the meaning of LGBTQ pride.

Each episode contains fascinating and diverse perspectives, from a myriad of lived experiences, about LGBTQ history, vocabulary, and the cultivation of authentic self-expression and love.

We’re Here; We’re Queer

The cumulative social effect of LGBTQ people coming out is greater visibility, which leads to greater acceptance, which leads to greater safety. A wide range of LGBTQ individuals, organizations, businesses, and legendary icons have already “come out” online by adopting a .gay domain. As more and more of life, commerce, education, activism, and socializing takes place online, .gay is proud to be a virtual Pride flag, signaling to everyone that LGBTQ people are valued, welcomed, and loved in this virtual space.

By day, David Gold works on the .gay team to help make the internet a safer and more expressive place. By night, he creates inclusive nightlife events for the LGBTQ community in his home base of Portland, OR. He is also a burgeoning plant daddy. To see how the internet is getting even gayer — and register your very own .gay domain name — check out OhHey.gay.

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