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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Account Manager / Membership Manager

    £35 - 38k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager ...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

    £350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

    Recruitment Genius: Electrician

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A qualified electrician require...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Researcher

    £14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks