Editors' note: Sharon Stapel is the executive director of the NYC Anti Violence Project.
The New York City Anti-Violence Project is honoring four LGBT Blogs - Bilerico, Joe.My.God, Pam's House Blend, and Towleroad - at our 13th Annual Courage Awards on Monday November 9. AVP's Courage Awards honor those who have made a tremendous impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual (LGBT) and HIV-affected people here in New York City and across the nation. This year we acknowledge and celebrate the significant contributions that LGBT blogs have made to raising awareness about anti-LGBT violence.
As has become clear over the past few years, blogs provide journalists and activists an opportunity to effectively report on issues that mainstream and print media do not cover. This online commentary not only raises awareness and visibility to issues important to our communities but also allows more nuanced and deeper reporting on these often complex and difficult issues.
And for marginalized people, who rarely see themselves represented in the media or who live in places without strong LGBT communities, these blogs create a community for us. Blogs function as a modern day town crier, bringing us together regardless of where we live or who we know, to share information and knowledge. Blogs provide a forum where we can report, debate, consider and call our communities to action.
The information imparted over blogs - both with the citizen journalists writing about issues important to the community and readers whose comments add texture to the stories - has engendered an ability for online organizing and activism like no other media. Blogs can deliver news to millions of people as that news is unfolding, engaging us as participants instead of passive readers. Often the blogs are where news begins. Blogs encourage the grassroots activism that have happened for decades in our local communities and allow for this activism to happen on a national stage.
The four blogs that AVP will honor at the Courage Awards - all finalists in the 2008 Weblog Awards for "Best LGBT Blog" - have taken on the issue of violence against and within the LGBT communities in a way that allows for us to have a national conversation about this violence. They have reported on the intimate partner violence that so many of us experience in our relationships, the record increases in bias-motivated murders of LGBT people and the way that anti-LGBT policies, such as DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell and legalized discrimination across the country, has created a culture that perpetuates violence against LGBT people. These blogs have given us a space to think and talk about these issues and have armed us with the information and knowledge necessary to fully engage in the struggle to end violence in and against our communities.