The Queer Issue

Homo History

Queer Issue 2006

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Divorced From Reality

Pride 2006 Events Calendar

The Queer Issue

Queer Issue 2013

The Queer Issue

Ban Heterosexual Complacency

Gay Bathhouse

100,000 BC-1968

Gay Bars

Young

What I know About...

The Delicate Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Having My Cake and Eating It Too

Envy

Amend It to End It

Lesbian Bathhouse

1969

Public Sex

In a 'Star Trek' Outfit

Learning the Ropes

Anger

The Fag-Hag Emancipation Act of 2006

2008

You Go, Gays

1970

Diva Worship

On a Deadline

"Dr. Laura infuriated us," says John Aravosis, the founder of Americablog, explaining the beginning of his web activism—which, over the last few years, has helped change the way gay activists do business, and the way big American corporations from Microsoft to Ford do business. In 2000, Aravosis and some friends launched the website StopDrLaura.com, with the ambitious goal of forcing Paramount Television to cancel Dr. Laura Schlessinger's then-upcoming TV show because of her antigay statements. They succeeded, demonstrating that for gays, the new internet era was going to be about more than just free porn and easy online hookups.

"It was incredibly dangerous what Paramount was doing," Aravosis told me. "They were putting a so-called doctor on TV to say that gays were biological errors. She was a doctor in psychology [actually physiology]—it wasn't the 'knee bone's connected to thigh bone' kind of doctor—but nobody would know that. They'd just hear 'doctor.'

"We were just ticked off and decided to do something, and other people were willing to do something, too. With any online campaign I've done, there's something in your gut that just tells you, 'This is so outrageous,' and that's why you decide to do the campaign. And then people hear this thing and it hits them in their gut, too.

"At first, though, I really just thought it was a fluke. I had started with Timothy McVeigh (not the terrorist)—he was a sailor in the military who was outed by AOL. We sent e-mails, and within a week Tim and I were on ABC. It was this nowhere story and all of a sudden it was huge. Later that year, Matthew Shepard got attacked and I put together a big site about that... people really responded to it. It was a story that just kept getting bigger.

"I'd always hoped the net would be an incredible tool for organizing, particularly gay organizing, but I hadn't had the experience to see it happen. It was with StopDrLaura that I really started to see the power this kind of advocacy could have. I saw that we could replicate this idea and take it to other campaigns and that it would consistently get this kind of response.

"What's really different now is that the political powers-that-be realize there's some power here and are reaching out to it. This is an opportunity for us to work together on some really colossal stuff. A decade ago, you'd launch an internet advocacy campaign, but you'd still want traditional media to write an article, and you'd still want to get a well-known advocacy group to weigh in on the issue. Now you've got those traditional powers actually working with you from the beginning—or even following you."