Bil Browning

What kind of blog is Bilerico Project? open thread

Filed By Bil Browning | April 28, 2008 8:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: African-American, black blogs, blog readers, gay blogs, prejudice, race relations, trans blogs, transgender, TransGriot

Monica Roberts has an interesting post on Transgriot about white flight that directly mentions TBP and some of the things people have been saying about us.

I'm also seeing and hearing the same whispers on other GLBT oriented lists that I peruse that Bilerico is 'too Black' or 'too transgender'. Is that your code word or whatever the frack excuse you're using for not only not wanting to read the posts of people that don't look like you, but don't want to engage in the frank discussions we have on various issues on the Project?

If that's your opinion, you're entitled to it. But basing those comments on a small portion of the generated comment of the Project being authored by African-American GLBT people is bigoted and asinine.

That just begs today's open thread question... What kind of blog do you think Bilerico Project is? When you think of us, what's the first word that pops in your head? Poll after the jump so you can vote on whether we are too [insert group here].

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Karen Collett | April 28, 2008 8:48 AM

For me, TBP is a queer group blog, plain and simple.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | April 28, 2008 8:58 AM

this would be hilarious if it was not so disturbing (and common) . It all sounds like code for "diverse" (as a dirty word) to me. As a white lesbian who posts here, I think the diversity is what I find most appealing, that a space has been intentionally created (by a white guy - egads!) that goes the extra mile to give voice to people of color, transgender people and allow sophisticated conversation as well as fun interaction about a wide variety of issues.

Or as Monica said - bigoted and asanine.

Ideas don't have color, gender, or gender identity. The page is white, the words are black. Black and white in harmony, expressing opinions of people of all "races"(the concept of "race" is an inaccurate and inconsistent method of categorizing people to determine who is worthy of privilege and who is not) and gender fluidity. (the gender binary is another myth used to dispense privilege)

Bilerico is open to all people. Regardless of their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, or their gender identity.

The whole world should be more like Bilerico

Larry Rockwell | April 28, 2008 9:07 AM

I think that once someone starts to complain that a blog is "too black" or "two transgender" they are really saying, "I'm only interested in reading about things that are exactly like me. Since I'm not _____ I feel like it's too ______. The one reason I make Bilerico required reading every day is that the variety of the authors present a very wide variety of issues and opinions. Having said that, I will admit that not every topic appeals to me, not every author appeals to me. The simple answer - skip over that posting. It's not rocket science folks. I am particularly tired of the "my presidentaial candidate rocks and yours is a dodo" postings, so I simply pass over that author unless he/she has something else to say.

Like a great buffet... keep presenting a wide variety of choices and let the reader choose what he or she wants to put on their plate.

And yet I notice that someone has already voted "Yes" to "Is the Bilerico Project 'too transgender?'" That's the one I hear more often than not - the black one threw me for a loop. I wonder how much Storm's cartoon series has to do with that... Damn shame some folks are being educated, eh?

I would say it's a good blog.

Maybe, just maybe, the issue that LGBT People of Color and transgender people are dominating the blog is that we are getting screwed more by the straight community and some (not all) of the straight-passing white LGB people. If a person has a hunky-dorie life, then there's nothing to write/bitch about.

When the controversy around Rev. Wright's comments broke out, I talked about it with a co-worker of mine and we both came to the same conclusion: What got Wright into trouble wasn't that he said anything that wasn't true. It was that he said things that you can't say to most white folks, and in a way that you can't say it to them.

No one likes to be reminded of their privilege — whether it's white privilege, heterosexual privilege, male privilege, or class privilege — because acknowledging that privilege commutes responsibility for that privilege, and the day-by-day, moment-to-moment decision to perpetuate that privilege or know — while knowing the consequences it imposes on others.

That makes us responsible, if we chose not to perpetuate our privilege and its injustice, for changing how we are in the world. It's easier to just pretend our privilege doesn't exist. But that's impossible when we have to hear the voices who can confirm its existence because they do not have that privilege, and live with the daily consequences of its existence.

Hearing those voices can be irritating, because we all enjoy some of those priviledges at the same time we suffer the consequences of not having others.

The lack of one masks the existence of the other. But it doesn't make it less real, and it doesn't absolve us of changing it.

Perpetuating privilege requires that pretending that it doesn't exist. Hearing the voices of those who do not have the privileges we enjoy makes it impossible to do that, at the same time that it reminds us of our responsibility for either perpetuating it or changing it.

That's infuriating, if we believe that we're more burdened than privileged. But it doesn't change that we are both burdened and privileged and that former is unlikely to change unless we change the latter, by doing the hard and never-ending work of changing how we are in the world.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 28, 2008 10:40 AM

What kind of Blog is Bilerico project? Hmmmm. For me it has been an opportunity to reconnect with my inner Gay man. I have spent most of my life since college being in a relationship, being in the business world, being a community based organizer on drug and gang issues, that I was always openly Gay AND... My sexuality was not the first thing I told anyone about, because it was not the first question I asked anyone else about.

Unless it was about Aids fund raising and "Gift For Life" which was a wonderful program the industry I worked in for so many years began for AIDS victim benefit my public life (what little time there was for it) revolved around keeping a lid on people, in my neighborhood in Chicago, with guns who would kill one another.

Yeah,we could have lived in a better neighborhood, but we were two blocks from where my partner's mother lived, and one block from the grade school he attended. After living in the neighborhood for a year and knowing the people who lived there, this crusade became my life. They were poorer people who appreciated that we cared. There were no banquets, no fundraisers, certainly no black tie events, little infighting and no particular support unless I kept showing my face to the alderman. We were home grown and worked with other people who cared about keeping streets, playgrounds and parks safe.

Sorry,I am off subject, Bilerico "connects" people. We share ideas, we swap experiences and we support one another, or more importantly, we challenge one another. Progress in Life only occurs when we are uncomfortable with things as they are. Bil, this is coming from a pagan, but you have an angel on your shoulder. In my community in Chicago we had a saying: "You get the quality of neighborhood you will tolerate." It is just the same about Gay issues.

Hmm to me it has a bit of every thing the to black part comes from the fact during black History month opps you had articles about Black History not just once and be done with it but every issue! omy Black History Articles every day? Guess that was to much for some folks being a fan of histoy I loved it then my default tv channel is the History Channel.

Hmm To Trans true several of your posters here are Trans and then so am I.What I love about this place its not just a Gay only Black only or even Lesbian Bi or just Trans only it covers everybody.There is a saying and it is" LGBT the T is not silent". Our trans folk here are most deffently not silent.

So keep up the good work Bil and include eveyone even points of view the majority of folks might not want to hear.

Carry on Caty

It's funny, because when we starting inviting contributors (we was Bil and me) last year, we didn't even discuss whether we'd seek contributors of color, trans folk, people working in a variety of fields, etc. It was just assumed between the two of us that we'd try our best to make the contributors here come from a cross-section of the community, and not just in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and gender expression, but also geographic location, profession, politics (except Republicans), relationships, writing style, etc.

We were trying to go for the "something for everybody to love," but sometimes I worry that we put together a "something for everybody to hate." Then again, I just think it takes a certain amount of maturity to be able to either read or acknowledge and scroll past something you don't like. That's probably why we have such cool commenters on this site.

Wow, well, as a cisgender gay white man, I find TBP to be the sort of place I'm constantly striving for in my real life social circle but never quite achieving. The sort of place where people of different backgrounds and experiences can share in a (usually) respectful way.

On the other hand, how much would have to change for TPB to earn the labels "too Asian" or "too Hispanic" or "too Native American" or "too Multiracial"? Heck, when will TPB be "Asian enough" "Hispanic enough" etc.?

Eric Georgantes | April 28, 2008 1:02 PM

According to the banner at the top of the blog, it is "daily experiments in LGBTQ." How a blog that purports to include "T" could be "too T" is simply beyond me. There are contributors to the Bilerico Project who are transgender, and I suspect that transgender issues are often important to them. I even bet that sometimes they like to talk about these issues with other people - sometimes they might even write columns about it - on this very blog, no less!


As a matter of personal interest, issues which are more specific to transgender people tend to interest me somewhat less (childish egocentrism or something going on there), but I read what looks interesting, and ignore what doesn't interest me.

As for the "too black" aspect, well, I suspect that there are black contributors, too (there are, I saw!). I bet that there are issues relating to LGBT issues within the black community which are different from in the dominant culture. Perhaps they would like to discuss those differences or something.

Short version: Complainants need to shut the hell up and deal with the fact that contributors bring differing values and perspectives to what they write, and they can simply ignore those contributors who focus on things that they are uninterested in.

Now here's a cat sleeping on a bunny to show how everyone can get along. (yay)


I would describe TBP as intellectual and inclusive. Many of those who contribute seem to be driven by a strong desire for social/political/cultural change. As such, I doubt TBP will ever be wildly popular. I mean just look at your list of most popular posts: Hannah Montana? Lindsay Lohan? Big Brother? What does that tell you?

Also, TBP seems oddly "chaste", compared to other aggregations, don't you think? I'm not quite sure why that is. I wonder if it might be possible to "heat it up" without sacrificing its high intellectual standard. A photo of a naked Eric Leven on his skateboard would help...

Too T? That's funny. I am trans, I have had one guest blogger post and it was about Day of Silence, not trans.

What is Bilerico? To me it is the very nature of diversity. I love a lot of Monica Roberts' postings on racial issues in LGBT, so much so that I have become a regular reader of TransGriot, because it challenges some of the conventional worldview that I may have absorbed without really thinking about it. I read blogs because I WANT to think about these things. I WANT to be informed, and informed by people with different opinions. If I wanted pablum, I'd just watch TV news. The point of reading blogs is that it isn't TV news!

Bil, follow your heart. Everything needs to change, evolve, and grow with time to stay vibrant and relevant. But always err on the side of challenging people. It is only when we challenge ourselves that we have an opportunity to learn and grow.

A.G. Casebeer | April 28, 2008 2:11 PM

Lessee, I've looked back a ways, and I see, maybe 4 people of color (I can only judge through the columnists' pictures) among the various columnists. Hardly black-dominated.

I certainly find Bilerico much more trans-friendly than, say, Queerty. I can't judge whether that would be perceived as good and bad.

Monica's a very good long-time friend - she was a bridesmaid in my wedding (and MC at the reception).
She's considered a pillar of our local T community, and is liked by people of color and not, alike. She is writing to provoke thought, because she realizes that not everyone has her background and experiences. I listen when she speaks.

Part of what gives the T community the rep it has is the fact that many T people do not wish to remain silent anymore - so many of us spent so much of our pasts in silence that we refuse to go quietly into the night, as a certain organizations and a particular congressman from Mass might want us to do. Monica's going to continue to tell the truth as she sees it. Our community needs to hear it, whether it realizes it or wants to admit it.

And, finally, if there is a columnist you don't like on Bilerico, you can always bypass their column.

Q: What kind of blog is Bilerico Project?

A: A damn good one.

James Baldridge | April 28, 2008 4:09 PM

I think the page is too white, the photos too gray and the background of posts is waaay too light green! HA! We laugh so we do not cry. Why must anything be "too" anything?

Terrance, you hit the nail on the head!

For me, TBP is an opportunity to work on behalf of my community even though I'm not "gay for pay" anymore.

Can we get some more Latin and Asian folks up on this blog, por favor? We're diverse, yes. But I don't think we're diverse enough.

Intellectual, inclusive and incisive.

Part of what appeals to me about reading Bilerico (and writing for it, the one time that I did) is precisely that it does publish and attract a wide variety of folks within the LBGT spectrum. (Though I agree with Serena that Latin and Asian folks are a bit scarce.)

Chaste photo-wise is fine by me - I like to have it "work-safe".

TBP has a good balance now. Don't pay attention to the "too black, too T" folks.

Terrence did indeed "nail it" in Comment #8, Serena, but there's a bit more that I think needs to be said about Rev. Wright.

His most incendiary set of remarks, to white political America, was when he said that 9/11 represented America's "chickens coming home to roost." And as Terrence pointed out, it was not only his content but also his style that generated the reaction that it did. This arrogant white sensibility is white America's remnant psychological core of racism at its darkest and deepest: "You actually gonna let a darkie get away with talking to you like that?".

I saw Bill Moyer's interview with Wright aired on PBS this past weekend, and until now I didn't fully "get it" about what Rev. Wright was saying, which I now think is this:

White European America took the North American lands away from the Native Americans via various forms of fraud and outright terrorism, they instituted and maintained slavery via terrorism, they (we?) put our own Japanese citizens in interment camps during WWII --- more terrorism --- and we have resisted the black race from enjoying the full benefits of their citizenship via various forms of vigilantism (a.k.a. terrorism), lynchings (a.k.a. terrorism), and KKK intimidations (a.k.a. terrorism). Not to mention what the U.S. and Britian toghether did to the African continent itself during its "colonization" and apartheid (a.k.a. you guessed it). Our interrogation practices involve torture and terrorism. We practice clandestine forms of terrorism, both military and economic, again and again throughout the world. And after we create a world where terrorism is the modus operandi, we are shocked and self-righteously wrap ourselves in our own Old Glory when we ourselves become the target of some horrible act of terrorism. But it is we ourselves who have helped create a world full of terrorism.

And that is the content of Rev. Wright's message regarding 9/11. It is a re-wording of Jesus telling Peter "He who takes the sword shall perish by the sword." As a political message, it is practically suicidal. As a spiritual message, it is absolutely correct.

Add to this very harsh message the preaching tradition of the black church, an element of dramatic oratory unforgivingly repetitive at 90 decibels and testing the boundaries of bombast, and you can bet that many white voters will blow a few fusses.

Asking white America to search its soul is hard enough, too many of us think along the lines of "My country, right or wrong" ... not realizing, the theists among us, that that is a form of idolatry, where we raise the unquestionability, the unchallengeability, of our government up to the level of God. (The atheists among us are left to deal with this issue as they each see fit --- but I will play the faith card here, and point out that most American voters are not atheists.) So, the American voter wants leaders who are patriotic, and who have that wonderful thing called "faith", but they reject leaders who dare to point out that extreme, chauvinistic patriotism confuses nationalism with a corrupt form of "faith", since millions of voters cannot tell the difference between "God" and "country". And confront many white voters on this point, again, at 90 decibels and you can count on a few more of them blowing their fuses.

There is no way that Rev. Wright will get this message across to America successfully using the strategies that he now employs, but he seems dogged-determined to try. My fear is that his own Calvary lies just ahead, because he is being demonized by white America for the message itself, and he might end up demonized by Black America for risking the electability of the first African-American president.

I'm thankful to have an LGBT-friendly, woman-friendly, diversity-friendly,thinking-friendly, dissent-friendly place to go when I feel like commenting to the world on anything that moves me enough to write 600 or 800 words. My comments have covered everything from women's history and the election to sports, religion, Wall Street and the election, and are not limited to LGBT subjects, and I'm delighted that I can vary my subjects that way.

In my opinion, the growing readership of Bilerico comes to us to find that creative diversity that we're developing.

Notice that I mentioned both "diversity" and "dissent." Both are critical to the life and health of a community. You can't have real diversity without the freedom to disagree. If LGBT blogging didn't exist, we'd have to invent it, because the fact is -- most of the gay print media have gotten too arthritic and narrow to allow much in the way of yeasty commentary. There are magazines that I used to write for, where I'm persona non grata today, because questioning and dissent isn't welcome. I'm sure some other Bilerico bloggers have had similar experiences.

So Bilerico is filling a space and a need that has existed for some years.

I agree with comment number 1 because I believe it summarizes Bilerico very succinctly.
I do have an issue with comment number 22 because the phrase about "chickens coming home to roost," was a direct quotation from the Iraqi ambassador, and not Reverend Wright's own words.

In the 1960's, Eldridge Cleaver wrote the important book, "Soul on Ice." There is a famous quotation in it that appears to be appropriate here: "If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

Bilerico is definitely part of the solution to the issue of ongoing and institutionalized oppression. As long as African-Americans or Asian-Americans or LGBT Americans are being oppressed, we can count on Bilerico, its contributors, and its readers to speak up and say loudly and clearly, "Hell, no. We aren't going to take it any more."

I think that's a good thing that we do so collectively as a community.

Too much TG and almost zero attention (at least as far as featured contributors) to those of use for whom trans was a temporary state other than when we are dragged back to it.....

I make few comments here because the TG agenda is so clearly the only "proper" viewpoint on trans/intersexed issues.

I do have an issue with comment number 22 because the phrase about "chickens coming home to roost," was a direct quotation from the Iraqi ambassador, and not Reverend Wright's own words.

This is true --- but Rev. Wright clearly took that train of thought and ran with it, putting plenty of his own words around it. So although the point you make is correct, I am not sure how relevant it is.

Ethan Pleshe | April 29, 2008 3:24 PM

I think the Bilerico Project is a great place to have intellectual dialogue about queer issues and news items. It is one of the only places where I actually see the T represented that isn't a "T" only website. Although ethnic and racial diversity topics are discussed here, in my opinion they are not discussed enough.

In response to comment number 26, I believe it is relevant, because the USA has used terrorist tactics in the past. While it was during wartime, what greater act of terrorism was ever committed than the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons of terror.