SHOCK: Large Company (GayCities) Buys “LGBT” Blog (Queerty), Says It’ll Be Different This Time?

GayCities is “the place where gays and lesbians connect with each other and share what’s great about the cities where they live and travel.” See:

BUT NOW GayCities is “the company that bought Queerty!” If you thought Queerty was dead for good, you were wrong! It’s not dead, it’s alive! But with new writers and a new office and a new owner and a new boss and less “predictable snark.” David Hauslib has written a farewell letter, this is some of it. I’ve highlighted a portion that I’m going to discuss with you later:

There is a reason I decided to launch Queerty back in 2006: I saw a void in queer media, with far too many outlets unwilling to challenge institutions, lawmakers, and positions, which were accepted as truth-tellers and hard, unchangeable facts. But I also wanted to see more stories told about LGBT people, from our heroes to our villains, our teens to our seniors, our celebrities to our everyday gays. Queerty accomplished so much it set out to do, but like the news cycle we covered, its mission is never-ending. There is more work to be done. More posts to be published. More fundamental rights to be secured. More kids to celebrate, and more souls to mourn. More songs to scour. More trash to talk, and more sex to scandalize. More acceptance to be had, and more minds to change. And most of all, more gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people to remind and reassure that we’re all in this together…

For a moment it appeared Queerty would fall to the wayside, after a disagreement in strategy with the site’s contracted operators, who decided to change their business focus. The outpouring of support following that announcement showed just how much Queerty’s readers wanted the site to continue, and how it became an irreplaceable resource for so many.

I trust GayCities to carry on Queerty’s mission, which was always to inform and entertain. And the GayCities team recognizes as much as we did that Queerty is nothing without its readers.

… and the new owners have written a hello letter. Here’s some of it:

Bringing GayCities and Queerty together is for me, as co-founder of this company, a kind of content dream come to life, a rare chance to be both politically provocative and entertaining in a way that few media companies have achieved this side of Comedy Central and Gawker.

While we are committed to maintaining the best of Queerty, we also recognize that you have demanded change. In recent months the Queerty patented wit devolved into predictable snark, eviscerating everyone and everything in its path. Some of the comments simply piled on. We will maintain the independent voice at all cost, going after with a vengeance the powerful, the hypocritical and the just plain foolish. But now we’ll also strive for a better sense of journalistic balance and fairness.

In other words we’re going to keep afflicting the comfortable; only now we’ll take care to comfort the afflicted as well.

We’ve been talking a lot about “sustainable business models” and this, ultimately, is usually the chosen path. You give something up — like nearly your entire staff, it seems, in this case — in exchange for sustainability and security. In the tricky world of online media, that’s a trade-off many other sites are quick to make, because what’s the use of autonomy if you end up not existing at all?

the new queerty

So who is this big Kahuna rescuing Queerty? What is Gaycities, this “number one destination for gay and lesbian travel”? Well, Gaycities, which brings in traffic levels similar to this website, describes itself as “a gay yelp” and its media kit defines its demographic as 84% gay men with 76% of users described as “affluent gay men (no children) with the majority earning over the average annual income.” The travel events listed are either events for all queer people or events for just gay men —

Okay.

I’m sorry.

I have to rant for a minute here, if you’ll bear with me. First, a picture of some very nice looking men:

Team Queerty

 

So, I try to stay away from any less-than-positive endorsements of other websites or publications — it’s just too easy, and when people do it to us it hurts my feelings and then I start crying and throwing things and then I ruin my girlfriend’s evening. I’m not gonna say anything negative about the editorial content at either of these sites.

But honestly this is sort of an overarching situation that happens all the time in the whole wide world. Dudes! COME ON. Can you imagine Autostraddle claiming to cover gay male media in our masthead? That would be ridiculous. Can you imagine me waxing poetic about wanting to tell YOUR stories? But because women and trans people are already disenfranchised, we sort of let ourselves get tacked on to everything, from the boards of major LGBTQ activist groups to television channels.

But listen: I subscribe to OUT, I read Queerty frequently, I’ve seen many of your movies and your TV shows, I over-analyze some of your people. We cover stories which include gay men sometimes and you cover stories which include gay women sometimes because those stories are relevant to the entire community — but that doesn’t make us a gay male website. We talk about Adam Lambert like it’s our job when it’s clearly not our job, but that doesn’t make us a gay male website; that makes us a lesbian website who really loves Adam Lambert. The word “gay” is also used to describe lesbians or all homos, so indeed we use it all the time — but the word “lesbian” is never used to describe gay men. Yet YOU use it pretty freely.

We have plenty of gay male readers and we love them (HELLO GAY MALE READERS WE LOVE YOU) but we wouldn’t throw your gender on our masthead and expect to get away with it. You know what kind of site we are, and you’re here because we all like each other anyhow.

At this stage in the game — and this applies to every aspect of queer life — we’re fine with being excluded. Seriously, I am! I get it! The gay female market is as shafted as the gay male market is revered. And I understand that adding the illusion of lesbians to a gay brand ultimately pleases advertisers who, despite not knowing the market very well, abstractly feel that they’d also like to enchant some women to use Orbitz for their traveling needs. Basically: if there was a genuine financial benefit to including us, you WOULD include us, instead of just pretending to.

I don’t need you to pretend that your Boy’s Night is Everyone’s Night — if I like the music, I’m gonna show up and dance, and I’m gonna do it knowing and accepting that I’m a queer girl at your gay dance club. I’m gonna read OUT magazine’s Power 100 as a queer girl reading a list catered towards gay men. You don’t need to claim to “include” me to get me to like your shit — if anything, the quasi-pandering turns me off from gay male stuff I’d otherwise happily enjoy.

I don’t watch Queer as Folk for Mel & Lindsay, I watch it for Bryan Fucking Kinney and Emmet Honeycutt. And I don’t watch Logo because I wanna curl up with my Amy’s Organics Burrito and watch Better Than Chocolate at 2AM, I watch it because Jeffery & Cole Casserole is really fucking funny. I love so much of gay male culture because it’s outsider culture, which I obviously relate to, and because it’s cool. Gay men make stuff I like, like Rickie Vasquez. You made him, I like that.

But! If your gay bookstore is gonna be 75% gay male porn PLEASE I beg of you, warn me — a task easily accomplished by not claiming to be an ‘LGBT bookstore.’

Our community has had this problem from the get-go: lesbian exclusion from gay activist groups, and the continued exclusion of trans* people from all activist groups. That’s a whole entire article on its own, so I won’t get into how that’s gotten better in many ways and also where it still needs improvement.

But when it comes to media? If you think you can “include” lesbians without even employing one, then that’s just insulting.  And it got really boring to keep whining about this lack of representation or quality, targeted content, so we just started doin’ it for ourselves. It’s hard, but we’re doing it, and we’re proud of it, and it’s different than how you do it, and we like it. Like I talked about last week with how journalists toss the “T” into a study of LGBs when reporting on it: just don’t take credit for something you didn’t do!

On that note, I hope that the one writer who stayed at Queerty was the Julie & Brandy in Your Box Office fan — it’s good to know that you like our shit as much as we hope to like your makeover.


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Riese

Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2974 articles for us.

49 Comments

  1. My wife says “Doesn’t matter if you’re a gay or straight MALE, you’re still trying to oppress the woman”. In THIS case they are doing it by CLAIMING that they are there for ALL of us queers – but are, in fact, not!!

    I <3 my wife! :)

  2. In the words of SomethingClever: tell it like it is!

    A slightly unrelated sidenote: this whole thing about “gay” meaning gay men and “lesbian” meaning gay women. Isn’t that part of how women are constantly being othered by making male what is normal/neutral and female the marked category? Or have I just been spending too long study my markedness notes for my Spanish exam tomorrow?

    • From the Salvation Army’s website: “Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.”

      http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-dynamic-index/B6F3F4DF3150F5B585257434004C177D?Opendocument

      No way in hell will I ever donate to them or shop with them. Total advertising fail, on both ends!

      Thank you, Riese, for writing about the L/B-who-are-ladies/T exclusion issue.

    • I noticed that too. Basically, fuck that. Groups who oppress our community shouldn’t be getting our money regardless of how much other good they may do. Am I the only one who has this feeling?

      • No, I would never donate to them but I have to admit I do shop at their thrift stores because I am poor. My favourite one happens to be run by a lesbian though so maybe where I live they are less discriminatory.

        • Yeah, my best friend worked at a Salvation Army youth shelter and she said nobody she worked with had any problems with the queers. I think it’s kind of like a case-by-case thing. The overarching organization is explicitly anti-gay because the people who write the rules are homophobes, but the people who do the actual work largely don’t give a fuck. Much like the boy scouts and the armed services, although I think those two tend to be a little more overtly homophobic on the ground than SA.

  3. preach, riese!!!!!! as a queer woman with a trans bf i am always being confronted with this hypocritical nonsense–so many things that claim to be LGBT are really just G, or at their most inclusive G and sort of L and B. agh agh agh. thanks for being awesome and telling it like it is, autostraddle!

  4. I once accidentally subscribed to OUT. Then, it ironically showed up at my door wrapped in a dark brown wrapper so it wouldn’t OUT me to the mail carrier. Then, it was filled with pretty boys. Pretty boys are awesome but I don’t need a whole magazine of them. So, every month, I took the magazine to work for my gay co-worker. The End.

  5. I’ve noticed that with a lot of the free “queer” magazines here in Calgary… They claim to be LGBT-friendly, but most of the ads features men and the articles are also largely written by males. I’ll still read them for the event listings and such, but… there’s definitely a vibe you get that gay = male.

  6. “I don’t watch Queer as Folk for Mel & Lindsay, I watch it for Bryan Fucking Kinney and Emmet Honeycutt.”

    Exactly.

    The word “lesbian” definitely has issues, but then again (and call me a nerd), I kind of like it for the ancient Greek poetical reference…

  7. Our community has had this problem from the get-go: lesbian exclusion from gay activist groups, and the continued exclusion of trans* people from all activist groups. That’s a whole entire article on its own, so I won’t get into how that’s gotten better in many ways and also where it still needs improvement.

    lol @ the exclusion of bisexuals from this paragraph

  8. Not just media; events too. Sydney Mardi Gras was chockful of stuff for gay males and the ones for everyone else seemed like an add-on rather than an integration. Ditto other parties and gettogethers and Aussie websites.

    And yet I’ve had gay male (also white middleclass) folk try and tell me, a female queer migrant minority, that THEY are the most oppressed people in Australia. yeah come on.

  9. thank you for this post. this perfectly articulates how i feel about gay men being disproportionately represented in the queer community. also, self-identifying as a ‘lesbian’ has always irked me. i refuse to use that word to describe myself.

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