December 29, is our ‘blogiversary’ – we set up this shop on December 29, 2005 from the attic of our home. 14 years later, we’ve been promoted to the sofa in the living room. Click here to see our first seven years archive in its original format thanks to the magic of html.
My first five posts were a test, a little introduction to the blogosphere, a shout-out for OUTrageous Bingo, an announcement about radio talk host John McIntire, and the birth of our eldest nibling on December 30, 2005.
Other interesting things have happened along the way. In no particular order:
- I’m very proud of the #AMPLIFY LGBTQ archive – now boasting 313 contributions and still ready to accept yours.
- We’ve had some amazing guest bloggers over the past 14 years. Heather Arnet, Kevin Acklin, Jeanne Clark, Tiffany Harkelrod, Maria Lupinacci, David DeAngelo, Bram Reichbaum, Billy Hileman, Cindy Shaffer, John Chamberlin, Becky Willis, Tereneh Idia, Joe Wos, Jason Togyer, Christopher Whitlatch, Rayden Sorock, E! The Dragnificent, Anne Lynch, Mark S. King, and other wonderful folks. Here are some of their contributions.
- Being invited by Most Wanted Fine Art to be a blogging artist in residence was life-changing for me on multiple levels. Aside from Ledcat, no one has ever believed in me the way that Nina Gibbs did. She helped me change the way I saw my work and myself.
- Being invited to join the Pittsburgh Current when they launched their alt-paper in 2018 was absolutely a highlight and I’m pleased with the pieces I had published.
- A feature from the early days was a round-up of ‘Letters to the Editor’ to various local publications. I’ve stopped doing that as we’ve run out of publications, but it was an important slice of life to understand. One of the letter writers contacted me years later to explain how they came to see life differently after their child came out. That was the sort of outcome that happens very rarely for bloggers.
- Being invited to the LGBTQ Summit in December 2008 in Washington, DC. Another life changing experience that introduced me to many fabulous folks.
- This not something I take lightly, but it is important to acknowledge – my ‘In Memoriam’ series documenting the lives and deaths of transgender neighbors whose lives are lost to violence. I was also asked to submit an essay to PublicSource on this very topic in 2017.
- My very first contribution to Huffington Post, co-written with Ian Awesome on the topic of sexual assault and rape culture as LGBTQ issues in 2013.
- Using the blog to challenge illegal dumping in our Northside neighborhood in 2006.
- Co-writing an editorial for the Post-Gazette with Ledcat about James Harrison’s homophobia. He has gone on to prove us right over and over again.
- This was on my bucket list – a profile by one of my journalist heroes, Tony Norman, in the Post-Gazette this very year (2019).
- Blogging about my 2018 hysterectomy and anxiety and trauma has been hard, but the response takes my breath away – so many people are urgently seeking these types of stories to resist the isolation they experience.
- Of course, it has been nice to win awards – Best Local Blog/Blogger from the Pittsburgh City Paper in 2016 and 2019, then being named OUTstanding Blog in the GLAAD 2019 LGBTQ Media Awards. It is humbling and rewarding and so forth. I’m especially proud that these came so much later in my blogging career – we aren’t irrelevant yet. Then later in the year, we learned that our site had been added to the Library of Congress LGBTQ+ archive.
- Ten people have become monthly sustaining investors in this blog through Patreon and PayPal. One is for $10, the others $5 and $1. I can’t emphasize enough how grateful I feel that people do this – I have spent thousands of dollars out of my pocket on webhosting, site maintenance, software, and the parking, event fees, travel, etc. We run ads that do help, but not nearly enough to cover the true costs of publishing this blog. It feels comforting and encouraging to have other people chipping in to those costs. Investing in me. It feels … it fills me with hope.
- I’m opting for ‘one to grow on’ – and I choose my Q&A’s. We’ve published over 550 since 2013 and they are by far my favorite type of blog post. From AMPLIFY to creator Q&A’s to our LGBTQ&A’s, I appreciate the chance to immerse myself in other perspectives and signal boost their stories in their own voices. Please reach out if you have a suggestion of someone we should interview via a Q&A.
Ending on a light and wry note, I’ve started using the hashtag #OkayBlogger this past month. I try to be very clear that I am not a journalist by trade or craft, but I also feel that blogs should not be dragged into the muck when someone wants to insult a website they feel is abusing journalistic standards. Use your words.
Blogging may be waning in the public eye, but it plays an important role as a tool of resistance. LGBTQ blogs in particular have this unique lifespan – Mombian was founded in 2005, TransGriot was established in January 2006, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters launched in September 2006. My Fabulous Disease joined us in 2008. The Feast of Fun podcast also launched in 2005. And there are certainly many others, some of whom have joined our LGBTQ Bloggers Facebook Group.
In this era of fading mainstream media, we need a vibrant blogosphere (Burghosphere) to ensure that lots of voices are part of the conversation. I have some interesting projects lined up for 2020 – more on that in the coming days. But 2019 has been very good to us and I’m grateful for each moment.
Here’s to year 15. There’s no telling what it might bring … Happy Blogiversary!
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Congrats on 14 years! You are an inspiration that there are people out there that start something and stick to it!