When I first started writing “The New Civil Rights Movement,” this blog on marriage equality, politics, and civil rights, I had a deep desire to make a positive impact for my community. Prop 8 had passed literally days before, and this blog was my response to the deep voice inside me that said at any and all costs, I can no longer stand by and do little to nothing to help achieve equality. Like so many, I was compelled to take action, and I did so in the best way I knew how: creating a blog and writing, all day, every day. All told, I think I’ve helped strengthen and educate our community.
Along the way, I’ve met many wonderful writers and activists, I’ve learned, been inspired, and hopefully have given back at least as much as I’ve received. There have been some small victories and successes, including my creation, and, along with a great many people, our establishment of “The Great Nationwide Kiss-In,” a fifty-five city event that we held last August, and FireFoxx, our Facebook group dedicated at first to replacing Rep. Virginia Foxx, now dedicated to replacing all anti-gay politicians.
I will confess, too, when I began writing I secretly hoped that one day, a blog I admired and read often, would someday notice my work and invite me to join.
That day happened almost a year ago. I was asked to do a guest post, then another, and finally, after writing “LGBTQ Leadership: Going The Way Of America’s Automakers,” and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Has The Promise Of Obama Been Broken For Now, Or Forever?,” Bil Browning, the founder of the iconic “The Bilerico Project,” invited me to join, as he put it, “the Bilerico family” as a regular contributor.
Anyone who has interviewed for a job at the company of their dreams — and gets an offer to join — knows how I felt. Ecstatic!
Along the way, I wrote a dozen more pieces for Bilerico. Some well-received, some controversial, but from each post I learned a great deal. I hope others did as well.
But also along the way, I noticed the tone of the content at Bilerico started to change. In my mind, and, perhaps ignorantly, I had viewed The Bilerico Project as a big “think tank” that generated ideas, discussion, passion, and worked to help us gain equality, educate, and improve how LGBTQs are perceived, both within and outside our community.
(Those of you who have read my writing know that to me, perception is very important, as it is one part of helping us achieve our goals. I’m fully expecting cries of “assimilationist!” from some, and that’s fine, if you choose to see it that way. I, by the way, do not.)
I recognize the need to “pay the bills,” and sadly, I understand that “Prince William’s penis pictures,” “First all Israeli gay porn movie,” and even “Top 10 Stores to Pick Up Gay Men” (three of the top-ten most popular posts on The Bilerico Project) may serve that purpose, but as a journalist, I have to believe that these are the easy way out, and, just as I wouldn’t expect to see that type of content coming from a think tank, or mainstream journalism site, I don’t expect to see it coming from what I thought Bilerico was. And perhaps that was my mistake.
I also recognize that other LGBTQ sites do offer pornography-as-content, but others do not. Via Twitter and a poll on this blog Wednesday night, I asked what folks thought of pornography-as-content. I’d say most were against it, but many were fine with it. It’s a personal choice, neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong.
My writing and my activism is my work. My work is to help the LGBTQ community achieve full equality, both under the law and in the hearts and minds of our neighbors, family-members, friends, co-workers, and society in general. And so I view Bilerico and my own blog as my place of work. And, after twenty-five years of working in corporate America, I don’t believe pornography has a place in the workplace.
I’ve had this conversation, and others, with Bil. I understand his point. And most importantly, Bilerico is his home, and his business. Bilerico is an amazing institution, one that has taught me more than I expected, and one that has contributed a great deal to the LGBTQ community. I know Bil and all the Bilerico contributors will continue to do that fine work, to help open doors for our community, and help move the national conversation forward.
All that said, however, I have to add that Wednesday was the end of the line for me. The post, “Hot Mormon missionary boys masturbating,” in which Bil writes,
“I bring you pictures of hot Mormon missionary boys masturbating. They’re from the porn site Mormonboyz.com, but I’ve deliberately used ones where you can only see their cocks through their magical Mormon underwear…”
was just too much for me. I am not especially prude. That content has its place on the Internet, but to my mind, not on a site — not in a think tank — that is working to achieve equality. (And, given our community’s current challenges with the LDS Church, I feel it was an especially short-sighted choice.)
I do not see my work and pornography as compatible or even being able to share the same home. And I do not think that that type of content here helps us in our battle to win the hearts and minds of those who might choose to help us.
(Yes, our civil rights are “unalienable,” but, as I’ve learned, we still have to win hearts and minds to win at the ballot box, in the legislatures, and even in the courts. Our rights should never be put up to a vote, but, sadly, we have let it come to that.)
Adding insult to injury, Bil wrote, “you can’t be a proper Bilerico unless you’re both political and perverted.” Well, once more, and with all due respect to Bil, I think comments like that do not serve our community well. Am I “political?” Absolutely. Am I “perverted?” Absolutely not. And so I guess that means that I can’t be a “proper Bilerico.”
Like I said, Bilerico is Bil’s home and business, and I respect his right to run it in any fashion he chooses. I have the utmost respect for Bil and all he’s accomplished. Last year, during the Ronald Gold debacle, I gained even more respect for Bil, not from his editorial decision to run, “‘No’ to the notion of transgender,” but for how he handled the response the piece generated. Bil put his writers and readers first, and was on top of the situation quickly and competently. I went from debating to resign in protest over Bil’s decision to run the piece, to writing, “No To The Notion Of Irresponsibility. Yes To Embracing Our Past And Our Future,” in response against the piece but also in support of Bil and all he’s worked so hard to achieve.
So, it’s not the the intellectual content at Bilerico, but the lapse of it that forces me to say goodbye there.
I will continue fighting for our equality, for marriage, for civil rights, and work to educate here at The New Civil Rights Movement, and along any other avenue I find is compatible with my personal and professional beliefs.
I want to thank Bil, the entire Bilerico family, and all Bilerico readers for the support they have given me. I know they will all continue working to make our community stronger and the lives of our members better. I thank them for giving me the chance to contribute there to that goal.
Again, I am fully committed to The New Civil Rights Movement, and have many ideas on how I’d like to see it grow, so, I am not going away! I hope you’ll continue to visit here daily.
I welcome your thoughts, too. How do you feel about pornography-as-content?
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