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.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Consultants - OTE up to £35,000

    £15000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Franchise Operations Manager - Midlands or North West

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The position will be home based...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent publishing and...

    Day In a Page

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue