Thanks to decades of work by LGBTQ activists and organizations like GLAAD, plus the communication tools made available by the digital age, there is more exciting news than ever about LGBTQ Pride. And in the past two years alone, we’ve seen some incredible milestones in the effort to create a safer and more affirming world for LGBTQ communities.
The release of the .gay domain name one year ago, in September 2020, was an exciting way for the domain industry and for us to become more involved in online Pride activities than ever before. Importantly, the .gay domain donates 20% of every name registered and bans hateful content from the entire .gay zone.
In the summer of 2020, when Pride events around the world were canceled due to the pandemic, .gay domains partnered with George Takei to give away a limited number of domain names to LGBTQ organizations, community groups, individuals, and small businesses looking for new ways to serve their communities online. The winners were given access to .gay before the general public and the goal was to help LGBTQ nonprofits, small businesses, and independent creators pivot to online models. The giveaway resulted in the launch of websites like www.Coffee.gay, www.thequeensguard.gay, www.Fundraising.gay, www.GamersFor.gay, and www.Ulm.gay.
Later in the year, when headlines about the “Proud Boys” hate group surged in the news, George Takei stepped in with a sly suggestion to the LGBTQ community on Twitter:
To amplify and preserve the viral moment, .gay partnered with George Takei to create the website TheProudBoys.gay which featured LGBTQ couples reclaiming the hashtag in the name of love and acceptance.
In December, George won a Finger Award for “Most Effective Comedy in Advocacy” for the #ProudBoys hashtag campaign and website!
The digital Pride movement is a global one, and the launch of Asia.gay in December of 2020 is helping to provide much-needed information and education in local Asian languages. Because so much LGBTQ information online is in English, non-English speakers are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning about health and safety information. As Yahoo! Life reported, “Asia.gay aims to be the first community-led platform in the immensely diverse Asian region to provide LGBTQ-related news in a variety of local languages apart from English.”
To close out the year, The Ally Coalition did a “talent show” to raise money to support homeless LGBTQ youth. Hosted by Rachel Antonoff and Jack Antonoff of indie-pop bands Bleachers and Fun, the digital show featured performances from musicians Bleachers, St Vincent, Lana Del Rey, and Hayley Williams, comedians Mike Birbiglia, Aidy Bryant, and The Lucas Bros, and chefs Rachael Ray and Alex Hong. The event raised over $350,000!
In May of 2021, .gay’s beneficiary partner GLAAD announced the results of its first Social Media Index report, and it was damning. As USA Today reported, the Index revealed a litany of problems on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok that result in the entire social media sector being “effectively unsafe” for LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities. The flippancy of social media companies with regards to LGBTQ community safety stands in stark contrast to the .gay Rights Protections Policy that protects the .gay zone as a safer online space dedicated to LGBTQ communities.
In addition to its policies against hate and harassment, in Summer 2021 .gay announced that it has donated over $148,000 to its beneficiaries GLAAD and CenterLink based on .gay registrations in 2020. 20% of all new .gay registration revenue (not just profit!) is donated to LGBTQ organizations to help address key issues facing these communities. GLAAD and CenterLink each offer vital tools and life-saving services to LGBTQ communities. CenterLink is an umbrella organization for over 250 LGBTQ centers across the US and around the world, providing safe physical spaces that liberate, dignify, and empower LGBTQ lives, love, and families. GLAAD’s preeminent legacy and continued work is rooted in fighting against misrepresentation and hate in the media.
Most recently, we’re excited for the September 16th, 2021 premiere of season 2 of The Library, a web series that explores the diversity of LGBTQ people and celebrates their lived experiences through humor, storytelling, and community education. Topics explored this new season include gay bars, dating, healthcare, the internet, travel, LGBTQ elders, media and pop culture, aging, religion and spirituality, queer visibility, and more. Watch the series at TheLibrary.gay.