The Mission

The mission of the .gay TLD is to create an environment on the Internet that addresses important and primary needs of the Gay Community; safety, visibility and support.

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Philanthropy, the Gay Community and .gay

Since the Gay Community began its coming out and formed human rights (Gay Rights are Human Rights) organizations in the 19th century, the community has known that we were responsible for our own survival.  This means that for over a century the gay community has required funding from the gay community in order to meet social service functions and human rights needs. In most of the world, for most of the global gay community, this remains the case today.

In the same way that the Gay Community needs to provide its own support in physical world, so too on the Internet. The digital freedom and safety of the gay community depends on the support, financial and otherwise, of the Gay Community.  No one is going to fund that for us.  The digital opportunities for the Gay Community are also dependent on the support of the Gay Community.  No one is going to fund that for us!

dotgay LLC has 3 standard application competitors for the .gay top level domain name.  These competitors have little or no relationship with the Gay Community. As investor based organizations, they have ho clear plans to support the gay community as part of their public interest obligations.  Nor can they be expected to serve the Gay Community as they have financial investors they must keep richly fed.

As a community registry applicant, dotgay LLC has put its guarantee in its binding application with ICANN.

Giving Back

The Gay Community is intimately familiar with struggles around funding, often excluded or delayed in accessing resources because of discrimination, non-inclusive policy or lack of statistics. The struggles are widespread in the community and the challenges vary country by country based on governmental and cultural influences. In response, the Gay Community has looked to its own community members to financially support programs and services that emerge as priorities. An example of this is the immediate response of the community to the HIV⁄AIDS crisis in the 1980’s, funding programs and services well before any external support was provided.
dotgay LLC will channel funds back into the Gay Community using two methods. The first is to compensate all Authentication Partners in the community for each confirmed name registration or renewal. Secondly, dotgay LLC has also committed to giving a minimum of 67% of the profits from domain name registrations to the dotgay Foundation for redistribution back into the Gay Community.

When compared, it is obvious that the gay community loses a lot if dotgay LLC does not get a chance to fulfill it promises to the gay community.  The other applicants want  .gay because they plan to acquire a bundle of profits from the indiscriminate sale of .gay second level names. Profits that will not fund the Gay Community. dotgay LLC will use 2/3 of its profits to fund projects in the Gay Community.

#yes2dotgay for funding of Gay Community projects.

The struggle for Gay Community visibility online.

The coming out of the gay community over the last two (2) centuries has been instrumental in the survival of the LGBTQIA individuals who make up that community.   It is good to go back to description in the dotgay LLC application:

While gay individuals have always existed, visibility of these individuals only began in the 19th century. One of the first movements for the human rights of the Gay Community was initiated by Magnus Hirschfeld (Scientific Humanitarian Committee, 1897). In the 20th century a sense of community continued to emerge through the formation of the first incorporated gay rights organization (Chicago Society for Human Rights, 1924). In the ensuing years additional organizations continued to emerge, but it was a watershed event in the streets of New York City that would kick-started what would become known as the modern gay rights movement. At the Stonewall Bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village in June 1969 male and female homosexuals, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed and allied patrons fought back against routine police raids on gay bars in the Village and the events of that evening spiraled into several nights of riots in the streets.  The ensuing mayhem helped not only galvanize the Gay Community and moved many individuals out of the dark bars and into the comparatively brighter streets, but resulted in global media coverage that had the unintended effect of both launching the modern gay rights movement and connecting gay individuals around the world to a larger Gay Community. For those gays living in remote parts not only of the US but of the world, knowledge of an angry mob of gays in New York City gave otherwise isolated individuals a community to finally identify with.

To commemorate the anniversary of Stonewall, three American cities organized “gay pride” demonstrations one year later. At this writing hundreds of gay pride celebrations occur around the world and an international organization of Pride Organizers called InterPride has been created.

Many of the descendants of these and other historical organizations have endorsed dotgay LLC to lead the quest to establish a corner of the Internet where the online gay community can achieve a genuine global visibility that is under the communty’s control.  This will contribute to a global goal of freedom, safety and opportunity for our community.

Together with the giants of gay community visibility on whose shoulders we stand, #yes2dotgay

Further information on the dotgay LLC campaign for gay community visibility.

The new predicatabity as an enabler for innovation within the gay community.

The previous entry discussed the the importance of the new predictability for safety on line.  The new predictability online is important not only in itself but for the opportunity it allows for innovation by the gay community within its online space: innovation in the social network, innovation in travel services, innovation in business services, and innovation that can’t be foreseen before the community TLD .gay is established

In contrast to non community TLDs that auction off all of the most useful names, like center, sport, lawyer, travel, or repair, dotgay LLc will be reserving names like these in order to build a service that allows for bona-fide gay registrant services and businesses to optionally link their domain names to a set indices that identify the services they offer and, also optionally, help to geo-locate that business for customer convenience.  The no-fee optional community index is one of the features that is being planned by dotgay LLC.  If the community name is approved, every registration, such as Jills-emporium.gay would be offered the opportunity to register its service and its customer area in a dotgay LLC database. A gay customer, lets say a couple living in Providence RI, who wanted to find an electrician that could be trusted to come into their home, would be able to use a user friendly application to find the gay community electricians in the Providence area, including a reference to Jill’s Electrical Emporium.

Such an index could be created by any TLD, but could one not being regulated or monitored the gay community gTLD registry and its multistakeholder community advisory board ever be trusted?  Such a service depends on the trust the community gTLD builds with its community. A trust that will never be found within those gTLDs who sell any name to any one who has the money to pay the price.

This is but one of the service innovations that are being contemplated for a safe .gay domain space, one were we can predict gay community safety instead of anti-gay threat and exploitation. There are more ideas cooking, but they are all held in abeyance waiting for the powers-that-be to decide that we are gay enough and community enough for ICANN.

So, #yes2dotgay for a predictably safe space where the gay community can thrive, can be bold and can innovate the creation of new services and ways for us to interact and thrive.

More information on dotgay LLC and its plans.

A new predictability for the gay community online

The gay community world-wide is subject, day in and day out, to a life that is predictably discriminatory and cruel. While there may be some opening up to the gay community is some countries, the majority of the global gay community, whether LGBTQI or A, lives in a world of pain and degradation.  A world where they either hide who they love and who they are, or they are bullied, pursued, tortured or imprisoned.  A handful of us are lucky enough to live in places where the gay community is coming into its own and getting the privileges of every other citizen.  Most live in a word that is predictably unjust and unequal.  Unfortunately the gay community online has been beset by the same problems as the gay community in general society.

dotgay LLC, with the support of over 250 gay organizations from around the world, has applied for the community run top level domain (TLD) .gay in order to build a place on the Internet that can be predictably safe.  ICANN, ostensibly, offered the world a chance to bring communities online, to use a TLD to establish a place where the members of a community would be free to exercise their right of association and peaceful assembly.  By relying on criteria for those who run domains and on public interest commitments guaranteed by contract,  community TLDs, can create online spaces that are predictably safe and accepting of a community.  The dotgay LLC intends to bring this new predictability online for the gay community.

The .gay domain should be a place where a gay community member living under a repressive regime, could go on line to find reliable information and assistance in dispelling the despair of being alone in the world. The .gay domain should be a place where the outreach of a community center could be trusted and not end up a trick for outing someone and making them a target for violent attack.  Even in countries were the repression and abuse has started to recede, a .gay domain should be a place where a member of the gay community could go to find gay friendly businesses.   Even those living in gay accepting countries need such a new predictability.  Anyone who has ever brought a workman into the house who treated a  female couple as damaged and in need of cure, or any of countless other similar incidences, knows the importance of a new predictability that gives us safety online. A .gay domain can only become such a predictably safe space if it is under gay community control.

dotgay LLC is still being reviewed by ICANN’s deputies, the community evaluation panel at the Economist Intelligence Unit, to determine whether it is gay enough and community enough for the straight world. As we wait week by week for the determination of this evaluation, we continue to hope that the dotgay LLC community cause  will be recognized and that they will be allowed to build a corner of the Internet where we can be predictably safe.

More on the new predictability  #yes2dotgay

ABCs of a community .gay

dotgay LLC, and the application for a community run .gay domain name, has been through the wringer in the last years. The ICANN process is challenging for anyone, especially a small team on a limited budget.  The process ICANN built is not easy for small enterprises and is hostile to community applicants.  ICANN built a process, contrary to the policy recommendations, to satisfy the interests of large corporations with buckets of money which put smaller players and communities at a disadvantage.  The dotgay LLC team has persevered, and despite having been cheated once in its effort to get the prized Community designation, appealed that decision, prevailed, and has been given another chance at evaluation.  This second Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) is ongoing and we have every hope that this time they will get it right.

While the second CPE is ongoing, dotgay has initiated a effort to remind ICANN and the community of the work done by the gay community and dotgay LLC together over the last years to establish the .gay gTLD.  In the midst of the struggle with ICANN, some of the promise of dotgay LLC has been pushed into the background.  While this is normal when struggling for survival, it is important to remember the reasons we are trying to survive.

In the series starting this week, which starts with a piece on The Future of .gay, dotgay will “recap the journey and explore some of the unique features a community .GAY offers, starting with the unprecedented opportunity to create a trusted and gay-friendly Internet space for the gay community.

While we continue the struggle to get recognition for the gay community as the authority for its own TLD – its own safe place on the net, let’s remember all the reasons for doing so.

 

Is ICANN failing our community?

This blog has taken a hiatus the last few months.  With recent setbacks in the dotgay community application, concentration switched to how to save the community application for .gay.  A lot has happen in many areas since the last blog entry. In this entry I want to focus on the issue of ICANN’s Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) treatment of the gay community’s application for .gay.

The community application submitted by dotgay LLC was given a failing evaluation.  One I believe was in error. With strong community support, dotgay LLC has filed for a reconsideration of this evaluation.  This reconsideration request  has been supported by a significant segment of the gay community including: ILGA, NGLCC, Gay Games, and IGLTA.   Because of ICANN bylaws, reconsideration can only be based on the process issues.  dotgay LLC has built a very good case against a process replete with errors and omissions that justify overturning the evaluation. As an optimist, I sit here looking forward to an ICANN which in 2015 will use its abilities to right a wrong by declaring a passing evaluation. Anything less will compound the injury that is being done to the gay community.

One of ICANN’s greatest deficiencies is the absence of an appeals mechanism that can adjudicate on the merits of a case.  The Board has long been asked to create such an mechanism and it has been recommended by the Accountability and Transparency Review Team.  The ICANN Board has not yet delivered on this agreed upon goal.

The dotgay LLC case against the ICANN Community Priority Evaluation has merit.

The ICANN CPE judgement argues that the LGBQTIA community overreached when it picked the name .gay. The decision argues that the dictionary says only homosexual men are gay.  The ICANN CPE panel decided that L-BTQIA individuals do not belong to the gay community, even though the LGBTQIA community has identified itself, and been identified by others, as the gay community in so many ways.  The ICANN CPE evaluation ignores the reality of our community. Beyond the ubiquity of the references to the gay community in the world’s press, we speak of anti-gay legislation, gay rights, gay persecution and gay marriage. The ICANN CPE decision ignores the fact that ‘gay’ is the word recognized in many languages beyond English, where it stands for far more than just homosexual men. It is a name of our community – the minority who are outside of society’s prevalent hetero-norms. It is a name we know ourselves by and a name we are known by. It is the name a confused child looking for help, searches on throughout the world. It is a name that should be used to create a safe and secure environment for our community instead of being exploited for all the profit it could bring.

dotgay LLC has a strong case to make on the merits.

In arguing the merits of the gay community’s case, the community could further remind an appeals panel that the community provisions of the recommended TLD policy were for the support of communities not as a way of defending against communities.  The procedures in the Application Guide Book (AGB) that guide every step of the application procedures, did not follow the policy recommendation for support of communities.  Rather, the AGB provided methods for those who want to exploit and profit from communities to attack those very communities.  The rules were perversely written to give advantages to standard applications that focused on profit and nothing but profit. As members of a endangered community trying to create a safe space for the LGBTQIA community on line, we should expect support from global public interest institutions such as ICANN, not roadblocks.

I expect the Board to overturn the ICANN CPE decision based on the current process based reconsideration request. But if the ICANN Board does not do so, I encourage the community to continue arguing along side dotgay LLC on the merits of our community case in any venue where the case can be heard.

Euphoria at United Nations Human Rights Council

Today during the 27th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution Resolution HRC27/L27 on Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity was approved.  This resolution reaffirms the right of the global LGBTQI population to full human rights and calls for further work in documenting good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

This is another step in the right direction by the international community of nations and is something to celebrate. the chair of the meeting had difficulty containing the euphoria in the chamber.


The text:

HRC27/L27/… Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity

       The Human Rights Council,

Recalling the universality, interdependence, indivisibility and interrelatedness of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consequently elaborated in other human rights instruments, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant core human rights instruments,

Recalling also that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,

Recalling further that the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action affirms that all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated, that the international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis, and that while the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, in which the Assembly stated that the Human Rights Council should be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner,

Recalling also all relevant Human Rights Council and General Assembly resolutions on combating all forms of discrimination and violence exercised due to discrimination of any kind, particularly Council resolution 17/19 of 17 June 2011,

Expressing grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,

Welcoming positive developments at the international, regional and national levels in the fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,

Welcoming also the efforts of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the fight against violence and discrimination based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,

  1. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,[1] and the panel discussion held at the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council;
  2. Requests the High Commissioner to update the above-mentioned report1 with a view to sharing existing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination, to present it to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-ninth session, and to report thereon to the Council every two years;
  3. Decides to remain seized of this issue.

                     [1]   A/HRC/19/41.


Note: “remain seized” in the final point is a itieral translation of the French “rester saisi” which “gives the mandate to open up the issue again and do more in the future.”

 


 

Explanation of Vote: Resolution A/HRC/27/L.27 Rev.1 on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

On behalf of the Republic of South Africa, by H.E. Abdul Samad Minty, Permanent Representative of South Africa 
to the United Nations and other International Organisations at Geneva.

 

DATE: 26 SEPTEMBER 2014       

Mr. President

The belief that no person should fear for their safety or be deprived of their dignity because of their sexual orientation or gender identity explains why South Africa led initiatives leading to resolution 17/19 in 2011 and co-chaired a high level panel on the issue with Brazil in 2012. We have also lent our support for similar resolutions in other multilateral fora.

South Africa has therefore voted for Resolution A/HRC/27. The founding principles of the democratic South Africa’s Constitution state clearly that South Africa is a sovereign democracy founded on the basis of human dignity and the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights. Guided by the principle of supremacy of the South African constitution and the rule of law, the South African government, through section 8 of our constitution is enjoined to promote and respect the rights of all people without distinction of any kind. The rights detailed in section 9(3) of the South African constitution lists the rights that the South African government needs to promote and respect. Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is explicitly prohibited in this section of our constitution.

South Africa is therefore compelled by the supreme law of our country to support a resolution that seeks to reduce discrimination and violence on any basis, including in this case, on the basis of sexual orientation or gendered identities.

Our support for the resolution is in sync with our national values shaped on our own history and experience of discrimination. This history and the struggle against all forms of discrimination has therefore made us, as a people and a country, committed to the principle that no person should be subjected to discrimination or violence based on race, class, sex, religion, gender and as is the case with this resolution, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the same value base that guides our stance on fighting for equality between countries and why we shall always make our voices heard about exploitation and oppression of people in any form. This includes the oppression of people in the occupied territories of Palestine and why we are committed to the principles of the right to development and for the reduction of inequalities within and between countries.

Having explained our support and vote for the resolution as presented by the core group, we also need to explain why we did not vote for the proposed amendments that sought to revert to the current listing of rights as found in the international law.

The amendments all sought to remove the explicit mention of the term ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ in favour of more general provisions. We considered all of these proposed amendments carefully but found that they were not relevant in the context of this resolution, which seeks to find agreement around a best practice report on measures to reduce discrimination and violence specifically on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The South African government believes that we as a country will benefit from such a report. Despite our enabling laws, people in our country are still subjected to discrimination and violence based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The scale of the violence has resulted in our Justice Department establishing a hate crimes unit to deal specifically with this kind of discrimination and violence.

The same applies as to why South Africa could not support the proposed paragraph (pp9), which referred to existing national laws, customs or beliefs. This clause is not relevant to a resolution that will look at the development of a best practice report on measures to reduce discrimination and violence, which may have to look at the role that policies, laws, religion and customs may play in the very issue that we are trying to address.

The essence of this resolution is to help us all understand what we can do better to protect the lives and dignity of all our citizens. This resolution is in stark contrast to the unhelpful and divisive use of development aid by some countries as a means to shift policies and laws in a select number of countries.

I thank you

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