Untitled by Thomas C. Waters

It is always exciting to celebrate a bogiversary, and I want to say congratulations to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents for all the fine work done! I am humbled by the offer to write a guest blog, and I want to write about a topic, I know is of importance to Sue Kerr and add my spin on it: The need to increase gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer voices in the blogosphere.

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that voices of out GLBTQ people are not common in many traditional media, outside of the gay papers and magazines. That has been changing over time, with the inclusion of folks like Rachel Maddow, Ellen Degeneres, and Michaelangelo Signorele, but even as out voices grow, they are still too few and can not represent the vast diversity of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. In fact, it could be argued (although that isn’t my purpose today) that one reason that so many of us have been so invisible to the mainstream for so long is because there have been enough voices, nor the diversity of voices needed. The blogoshpere offers a solution to that problem, since anyone can begin a blog and share their ideas and opinions quickly and easily.

A blog is, first and foremost, a dialogue between the person writing and those reading and commenting, and dialogue is something we have far too little of, especially given the huge tasks before us when it comes to the struggle for equality. By adding dialogues, or voices to the growing number of dialogues, two things happen. We do a better job of representing the wide diversity of the GLBTQ community more than ever before, and we provide an opportunity for readers to broaden their understandings of the ideas and issues being discussed. 

Blogging has a few other real advantages too. For the blogger, it offers a method to refine your ideas and thinking. The more I blog, the more I realize how I feel about issues, and why I feel the way that I do. It prompts me to ask questions and consider alternative ideas and weigh the various sides of an issue, and I leave the process smarter or better informed,, than when I started. It also allows a person to feel heard by others. Too many of us have often felt ignored or silenced, and we are angry about that. Once we have an outlet for our voice, we stop being so angry about being silenced, and we filter those emotions towards creating change. Blogging is also a great way to increase the visibility of the GLBTQ communities. It becomes harder for our opponents and decision makers to ignore us when our voices are louder and more plentiful.

On the other hand, simply adding voices doesn’t in and of itself create change. More and move voices can also simply produce more noise, so it is critical that there is listening, reply, and then thoughtful action. Adding voices is simply the beginning and not the end goal itself.

I’ve heard people claim that they have nothing worth writing about, but in reality, it is precisely these voices and experiences that we need to see out in the blogosphere. Real people, with real ideas, about how they live their daily lives and the issues and ideas that are important to them.

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Thomas blogs at http://thomascwaters.com/ covering a range of LGBT issues.  We met sometime last spring through mutual advocacy efforts; Thomas is a tireless advocate for the community and has been involved in multiple LGBT projects. His nuanced suggestions for using social media to engage are worth rereading.
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