Friday, July 24, 2009

LIVEBLOGGING - A Room of Your Own 2 - Blogqueers

Session Description - Queer bloggers are in every corner of the blogosphere. Sometimes, but not always, their identities bring many issues to their blogging because they write and live through the lens of being queer. Their community is made up of mommybloggers, lifebloggers, craft bloggers, garden bloggers, foodies, business and marketing SMS pros, political pundits, infertility bloggers, literary bloggers, special topic bloggers and bloggers who feel that they don't fit into any niche.

So let's discuss some of the things that come up when blogging, such as: What is the state of the LBGTQ community? Does it meet your needs? Do you feel accepted by straight bloggers in your niche? Do you feel safe enough to blog out of the closet? Have you experienced backlash, and if so what has helped you respond to it? How have you dealt with your partners' and friends' thirst for privacy? And perhaps most importantly, what support do you need to continue blogging with your fullest passion and truest voice? Join Kathryn Martini, Stacy Jill Jacobs and Liza Barry-Kessler as they discuss with you the answers to these questions.

The session began with an assurance that we're in a safe place, and nothing will be published without the speaker's knowledge and consent.

To follow the discussion on Twitter follow #BHQueer .

Liza welcomed everyone to the Queerosphere and encouraged everyone to participate this morning. Stacy and Kathryn also introduced themselves and their blogs. Stacy is @stacyjill, Liza is @Lizawashere, founded Kathryn is @klmartini.

The audience then introduced themselves and their blogs - Trish from and began. Alicia from Chicago Now was next - Brandy Schumaker of Dianna Mullins from . Deb Roy said we sounded like an AA meeting, and she doesn't want to recover! Plugged the party at Hotel Sax at 8:30. Lori Mayers does PR with general motors. @lkr Laura Roeder. Funky Brown Chick Twanna Hines. - @amberlrhea . @KathrinOutLoud. Zoe Gaymo - Jen Khatchatrian - looking for transgendered children in Chicago - @ecochic .

Kathryn had an e-mail on Tuesday from a woman with a trans child in Portland. Agreed that we have to create ways to find each other. People all over the world e-mail her about coming out. Assured Jen that people are out there with a similar situation. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I lost the middle - I am SO SORRY - this wifi is unreliable. The middle of the talk focused on negative comments and how to deal with them. One blogger requires commenters to register. Another deletes hate comments immediately as they appear. Others allow the discussion to occur. One woman suggested that it depends on whether or not the commenter has a real e-mail address and other identifiers.

A lot of the focus was on diversity within the queer community and how to reach out to everyone as bloggers and as homosexuals.

Stacy uses controversial words all the time, which is confusing to her parents sometimes because "queer" was a slur when they were growing up. Says it's all about educating people, saying "this word is ok." There are a lot of people who are still creeped out by the word "queer."

Kathryn said Portland used the term "keep Portland queer," and sponsors backed out because of the name (a few years ago). For her personally and online, she's careful not to identify someone as a lesbian because that's an assumption. She thinks it's important to not label others.

Polly from Lesbian Dad says that with all writing you define your reading audience by what you're saying, and you also educate your audience. The internet enables people to reach new audiences. She's careful to describe cultural references that people outside the community would not understand. She writes "bilingually."

Polly thinks that by writing in an affirming way, she helps provide more visibility for an invisible community. It opens the door for people who want to have a conversation. She had a conversation with an evangelical straight woman in Mississippi who writes the same way Polly does, and has a genuine desire to connect.

Kathrin writes on the diversity project about being mixed and transnational. She writes about being a lesbian in German. Her language and her context have changed since living in the US. Going back and forth from German to English causes comments asking for explanations of her word choice. Transnational outness is complicated.

Stacy says that it has been amazing, coming out to her family, having grown up in Chicago. They've been great. She's able to educate them through her blog.

Kathryn finds it fascinating when she gets comments from straight men who are regular readers. She got a beautiful letter that went on and on and made her cry, but she wanted to know why he reads her blog.

Polly said that when you read in private it's different from going to a bookstore or a library and getting a book. Privacy allows dimensions of people to be explored.

Liza says you can stumble on something that you wouldn't think to look for and connect with someone.

Polly talked about commonalities between people. She writes about the death of her nephew and it provides a bridge between herself and her readers who may be different. Writing erodes the divisions between people.

Kathryn spoke to someone who was able to embrace two women who came out in his life because he had read her blog.

Twanna said that's beautiful. She did a demographic study of her readers and found that middle aged white men love her site. Blog allows her to give people insight into her world.

Stacy has watched her friends from high school comment and has been surprised that people she would never have expected have been clue.

Sara Dopp from - she started it as PR for the gender queer, basically trying to reach her mother, and now it's a thriving site. She was shocked to find that she was reaching closeted and isolated gender queers who were afraid of coming out in real life. She edits for her mom and reaches the closeted and isolated, and is fulfilled by that.

Amy the mic runner reads a lot of queer blogs because she wants to raise an openminded child.

Zoe started her blog to reach a lesbian community because there isn't one in her town. She found a different group than she expected. A lot of her readers and commenters are men. She wonders how they got to her. She never realized how many straight people thought gays were so different from themselves.

Kathryn said that straight people think gay people are so much more exciting than they really are.

Trish said that afterellen's commenters will straight bash, then the straight women who read it will come out and defend themselves. Wonders if anyone has changed anything they write for a straight audience, or is more conscious of that because they don't want to be perceived as anti-straight.

Kathryn doesn't censor herself. Ever. It has caused issues, but she feels that as a writer she will write about her life. Thinks the community has a problem with bi and straight bashing. Kathryn thinks sexuality is a continuum that we're all on. She thinks that the community needs to address that.

Polly said that she feels that a national lesbian conference is necessary. There's a breakfast at West Egg Cafe - there's a post at - Sunday at 9 am. She has a badge that links to the post on her website - - on the sidebar. Look for BlogHer Mashup with spoons and the skyline on it.

Kathryn and Stacy want to brainstorm a queer blogging conference at brunch. There's also a Queer table at lunch today.

Stacy encouraged people to keep blogging! Liza brought six copies of her book for sale for $30. She has an essay about launching her blog in it.

Stacy plugged the Queerosphere party at the Crimson Lounge tonight at 8:30 pm - Hotel Sax. Encouraged people to use #bhqueer on Twitter.


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