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social sciences

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Political Blogs  
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There are several hundred glbtq political blogs of varying degrees of influence. Taken cumulatively, glbtq political blogs offer an amazingly diverse range of opinion, while also providing the opportunity for individuals to engage in participatory journalism both as bloggers and as commenters on blogs.

Because so many glbtq political blogs are linked to each other, the gay blogosphere has become an echoing chamber in which blogs have the potential to reach large audiences and sometimes to make local stories into national ones. A story posted on one blog often goes "viral" when it is picked up by other blogs and reposted on still more.

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The power of the glbtq blogosphere to mobilize direct action quickly was illustrated powerfully at the end of 2008, when Amy Balliett and Willow Witte on their blog issued a call on November 7 to protest the passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. The call, which spread like wildfire through the Internet, was answered dramatically. On November 15, demonstrations in support of glbtq equality were held in over 300 American cities.

Similarly, local stories frequently become national stories once they enter the glbtq blogosphere. For example, in June 2009, the hosts of a small Sacramento, California radio program made disparaging comments about transgender children, seemingly advocating violence against them. The reaction in glbtq communities was both swift and resolute. Quickly spreading through the blogosphere, the story led to threatened boycotts of the show's sponsors and the withdrawal of sponsorship by many of the radio station's advertisers. After initially refusing to apologize, the radio DJs ultimately issued a complete apology and even hosted a show with transgender advocates.

Also in June 2009, the raid of a gay bar by the Fort Worth Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Stonewall, in which a young man was seriously injured and other patrons hurt, harassed, and humiliated, also attracted national attention as the result of the outrage that spread through the blogosphere. When the Fort Worth Police Chief attempted to excuse the brutality of the officers and the agents by claiming that they had been groped by the patrons of the bar, the anger of the glbtq communities exploded. In his popular Savage Love blog (, gay journalist Dan Savage pointed out that the police chief had invoked the classic "Gay Panic Defense."

The spread of the story from blog to blog resulted in very bad publicity for Fort Worth, including stories in the New York Times and other mainstream media, as well as thousands of letters and e-mails protesting the raid. The Police Chief quickly changed his tactic of blaming the victims, and multiple investigations of the incident were launched.

The new technology is particularly potent because it makes possible both instant communication and vivid imagery. Videos, in particular, are able to convey events with an immediacy that mere descriptions usually cannot.

For example, in August 2009, after the El Paso, Texas City Council voted to provide benefits to the domestic partners of city employees, some twenty-five pastors, churchgoers, and "angry citizens" showed up at a city council meeting to denounce the new policy as an "abomination" and "a slap in the face of God." Following their rants, an elderly woman, Ms. Lisa Turner, stood up to condemn the preaching of hate and was roundly heckled for doing so. The encounter might have merited a paragraph or two in a local El Paso newspaper, but someone videotaped the meeting. When the video was posted on gay political blogs, Ms. Turner became an instant hero and the religious protestors were exposed for their lack of civility.

Glbtq political blogs are as various as political blogs in general. Some of them are focused on a particular issue, such as marriage equality, while others are focused more widely; some present a particular ideology, while others consciously seek a wide range of perspectives.

There are far too many glbtq political blogs and bloggers to mention them all in this brief survey, and the ones that are mentioned are intended to be representative rather than necessarily the best of the gay political blogs, but they may be categorized in a number of ways. For example, some bloggers post on their own sites, while others post on larger sites, such as glbtq news sites or general sites that include glbtq perspectives. Some bloggers comment on glbtq news generally, while others limit themselves to particular interests or specialties.

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