surf's up: queer and loathing in cyberspace

JUST IN CASE YOU HADN'T NOTICED, THE NET IS TURNING PINK. FORGET DODGY PICK-UP BARS AND GO CRUISING BY COMPUTER

SOME OF the most fragrant and flagrant groups on the Net belong to the gay community. Though most sites deal with particular gay issues - the fight against homophobia, gay parenting, gay dating - there are also sites for gay sports, gay music, and there's even a Web site for gay Trekkies at http://ccnet.ccnet.com/gaytrek. Much of this information is US-oriented, but it's not too great a problem for those in the UK, as most of the sites have useful information for gays anywhere. If you are after queer pages of a peculiarly British nature there are two Web addresses to try: http://www.deom.co.uk/world/ukgay/index.html and http://phymat.bham.ac.uk/LGB. Otherwise, for gay sites worldwide, you could start at one of the many ''cyberqueer" directories on the Web, such as The Queer Resource Directory at http://www.qrd.org/QRD or The CyberQueer Lounge at http://www.cyberzine.org/ html/GLAIDS/welcome.html. And there's always the trusty Yahoo, with its sexuality list at: http://www.yahoo.com/Society-and-Culture/Gay-Lesbian-and-Bisexual-Resources.

Much queer stuff on the Web concerns gay politics. Freedom on the Net is a big issue, with censorship threatened by the Communications Decency Act in the US, and gays feel particularly under threat: ultra-right activists like Rush Limbaugh nightly bait the white and right into a feeding frenzy on US TV. Almost every gay site has information on campaigns against homophobia in the media, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) home page is a good place for activists to start, (http://www.datalounge.com/glaad/glaad.html). There are links to pages where you can e-mail Rush directly - as if he'd listen - though you'll have plenty of opportunity to do battle with prejudice: Usenet, famous for attracting users who come just to engage in vicious verbal combat, is riddled with bigotry and bile. But at least gays have an equal chance of access and can shout just as loud even if this means that newsgroups such as alt.homosexual and alt.politics.homosexual get choked up with flame fights between bigots and those attempting to educate them.

Sadly, a lot of the polemical pyrotechnics on Gay Usenet newsgroups are caused by in-fighting. Gays accuse bisexuals of "jumping on the queer bandwagon", of not having the guts to be gay and of being unfaithful to the queer cause. All shades and flavours of sexual preference squabble over the label of ''queer" and membership of the queer community.

It's not all serious and sad though. Usenet is a good place for shy guys to search for partners. Many of these postings come from the anonymous remailing services in Finland. These take the information from the top of an e-mail message that shows who and where the message has come from and replaces them with an anonymous address - a bit like a P.O. box number.

For free-flowing, uninhibited queer, bi-, whatever, interaction, go to one of the many talkers on the Net. Paradox, is a steaming bath-house of a talker, which you can access via the Web at: http://cssun7.vassar.edu/ ancolli/paradox.html (you'll need a Telnet application to connect). This virtual space for gays and the gay-friendly offers an opportunity to converse in almost real-time.

The virtual environment of Paradox consists of a number of rooms: some public, others ''private". All have a description and are set aside for a particular purpose or for a particular group. There is a gym; there's even a pillow-fighting room - definitely one for the frolicsome who like a little rough and tumble with their chat. And for cruisers, there is the Cruisers' Den "the place where men who cruise the Net cruise each other. The lights are low, the music is exotic and the mood is perfect". Flirting is okay here, but for hot sex, users are requested to use the "back room". When you enter the back room you are seduced with a description of the sultry decor and atmosphere: "This is a large room with pillows, a large sofa, and the most enormous waterbed you've ever seen ... along the wall next to the stereo, bar and entertainment centre you see a cabinet with all the safe sex toys and technology you could ever dream of." Safe sex? Surely virtual sex is safe enough as it is ... a way of fantasising about all those things that are too dangerous to do in real life?

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Customer Support Technician

    £15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Waterlooville based softwa...

    Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

    Recruitment Genius: Associate Sales Consultant

    £16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Associate Sales Consultant i...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established and expanding ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot