R E S P E C T

March 29, 2007

Admittedly, this would create a hierarchy of legitimacy; a cast system of sorts and that might not be ideal–certainly not in a free society. But let’s be honest, we don’t live in a free society. And while we work on getting to a free society, we have to get by in the one we live in now. The society where we have to cope with far too many ignorant fundamentalist who are afraid to leave their children in the same room with us because we’re gay (and porn obsessed). The society where we have to deal with web sites being censored by content filters merely for their references to this or that artist or historical figure as being gay, or for mentioning health information that could be vitally important to gay teenagers. Such things are partly the result of the public’s perceived connection between gays and pornography. The .xxx domain would help unplug that connection, and in the process gets us a little more respect.

Advertisements

.XXX

March 29, 2007

In case anyone is interested…

A large portion of what we perceive as the Internet is administered by a non-profit organization called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). As you might guess, they don’t do a very good job at what they are assigned to do, and this is largely the result of their unwillingness to confront controversy. Case in point, their ongoing struggle with the question of whether to establish the .xxx domain. This issue is hot again, as another review of the proposal is scheduled for today (Friday).

The Internet uses a system of domains to divide up the addresses of its computers and users, such as .gov (for government), .com for business (commercial), .mil (for military), and so forth. This is what ICANN does, it decides what to call these domains and how many of them to have. What ICANN is considering is to create a new domain, “.xxx,” to be used by businesses hosting adult content.

Perhaps gays ought to be supporting the creation of the .xxx domain, and here is why.

On two separate occasions, friends (one gay, one straight) have commented about how gays aren’t as respected as they could be because they don’t set clear boundaries between themselves and the sleazier elements within their community. In both cases this was in response to the friend reading over my shoulder and noticing either sex-content or sex-related ads in a mainstream gay publication that I was reading (one printed, one on the Internet).

Many straights make a connection between gays and pornography, and gay publishers appear to have a tolerance (or maybe even a preference) for sexual content that reinforces this perception. In the straight world, publishers have fairly strict standards about what kinds of content can go into a mainstream publication or website; in the gay world, less so. Gays are a tolerant lot and it shows. In a mainstream, publicly distributed, straight publication you will seldom see risqué copy, photos, or ads; in similarly distributed gay publications, such content will be featured predominately. A side effect of this tolerance is the perceived connection between gays and porn.

As currently structured, the Internet domain setup reinforces this association; mainstream sites and adult sites are all lumped into one domain (.com). This isn’t such a such a problem for straights, but for gays, who are already confronting a world of social stigma, would it not be better if people were able to more clearly distinguish between the educational purposes of independentgayforum.com and the explicitly adult purpose of gays4men.com? Moving gays4men to a .xxx domain would accomplish that.

The current ICANN proposal is only a step in that direction though, as it wouldn’t make adoption of the new .xxx domain mandatory. But should it be? Is it not reasonable that any website that requires a “you must be 18” login to enter, also be required to use the .xxx domain? That will likely be a question for Congress and the courts to decide, but only if ICANN first creates the .xxx domain.

In the meantime, the adoption of .xxx could help establish gay sites with .com and .org domains as more legitimate then gay sites with .xxx domains — and in the process help disconnect the public’s association between gays and pornography.

The Cherokees, like the Seminoles in 2000, have voted (with a 76 percent majority!) to renege on their tribe’s 1866 treaty guarantying citizenship to the descendants of their slaves (yes, you read that correctly, their slaves).

It seems that after old Abe said that the Red man couldn’t own the Black man any longer, that they decided to adopt their former property into the tribe so as to retain the wealth. The Red man back then wasn’t exactly flush enough to be letting an investment just evaporate because some White guy said so. 150 years later the tribe is a bit richer, but still just as thrifty. In an effort to ensure that all those gambling profits stay in the real family, the tribe has decided to do a little ethnic cleansing of their own by ignoring their treaty and sending a a couple thousand “unpures” packing.

Seem like maybe all us White folk don’t need to feel so guilty about all that treaty breaking we initiated.