Guest Blogger

Why We Honor the Bloggers

Filed By Guest Blogger | November 05, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Site News
Tags: Joe.My.God, LGBT, pams' house blend, towleroad, violence

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.

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Congratulations, and so much more than congratulations. I remember first encountering this little funky blog on Indiana politics with graphics that looked like the old Monopoly game, and its insistence on covering LGBT issues. And I thought, Indiana? LGBT? Do those two things even go together? And despite myself being intrigued by the quality of the writing and finding myself nodding in tempo to the sentences. Making a few comments here and there, feeling like an outsider. And then the blog going national, and then the contributors of all stripes and shapes and sizes, a kind of Seussian explosion of characters. And despite myself, getting drawn in to issues that I didn't know much about, starting to learn about and care about a wider LGBT range of issues and thoughts and opinions, some marvelous and shiny, some alien and shocking, and always surprisingly delightful and intriguing.

Bil, you and Jerame have created an amazing community, and I am grateful in so many ways.

"Community" being the operative word. Bilerico is ALMOST like a social network, isn't it? You start to talk to the other bloggers, you talk to Bil, Jerame, you start all tweeting one another, facebooking one another... its a pretty good time!

Thanks for the kind words, Jillian and Phil.

I'm honored to be accepting the award on behalf of Bilerico Project - which includes all of our bloggers and not just me.

(Which is good because I've never won an award where they've gotten my name correct. At least if it goes to Bilerico, I stand a chance...) *grins*

Congratulations to all these sites for the well-deserved awards.

I guess it's the rabble-rouser in me who insists on pointing out that three of the four blogs are run by white men. Bilerico mitigates this by having a wide spectrum of contributors, which is admirable. However, I think it's important to have constant reminders that our online world still consists of a fairly narrow range of the universe of LGBT people. I believe there are many out there who have less education, less literacy, less access to the Internet, less time and energy after work, and vastly different ethnic and socio-economic experiences than the majority here. Among this marginalized group, there are those who are further marginalized, and I see few of them here.

Just as the gay white male culture is often generalized as the overall gay culture, we run the risk of treating online communities as if they are widely representative. Let's have the courage to continue these conversations out in the real world, involving those who have never heard of an awards dinner, let alone been able to afford a ticket.

Awesome, just frakking awesome. I'm just proud as hell to be a part of it. There's just no better place to experience the true diversity of LGBT thought on the important issues of our time. And yeah, while Bil and Jerame are white guys, they're also the most proactively diverse LGBT-relevant publishers out there in any format that I know of.

Congrats to's well-deserved.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | November 6, 2009 6:04 PM

Congratulations to all of the blogs receiving awards!Its a testament to the growing strength and influence of the queerroots.