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.