Online Queer Culture & Communities
A number of online social websites for gay men have been established. Initially, these concentrated on sexual contact or titillation; typically, users were afforded a profile page, access to other members’ pages, member-to-member messaging and instant-message chat. Smaller, more densely connected websites concentrating on social networking without a focus on sexual contact have been established. Some forbid all explicit sexual content; others do not. A gay-oriented retail online couponing site has also been established.
Online learning in social communities exists which cater to all learning styles, all skill sets and personalities, native abilities and educational needs. Of course, there are still reasons to participate in classroom training. But Nonetheless, this world is seeing the beginnings of an online social movement which will enhance traditional classroom education and breathe new life into the world of work.
Gay men in particular, who used to frighten the horses with flamboyant displays of sexual outlawry, gender treason and fabulousness, have supposedly dropped their insignia of tribal belonging and joined the mainstream. And yet gay culture is not just a superficial affectation. It is an expression of difference through style — a way of carving out space for an alternate way of life. And that means carving out space in opposition to straight society.
Historical homosexuality is deeply rooted in the culture to which it belongs. In each of these societies the act of homosexuality was understood as extramarital and therefore was not associated with marriage but as pleasure. It was also more common among those of upper-class status than those who were “pheasants”. (See Bruce Thornton’s research to learn more) In addition, it was not practiced among women as it was men. It was a much rarer phenomenon among women as they were expected to exercise restraint and exude class as a representative of the family unit.
As with gay men, lesbian culture includes elements from the larger LGBTQIA culture, as well as those specific to the lesbian community. Primarily associated with lesbians in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, they include large, predominantly lesbian events. Lesbian culture since the late 20th century has been entwined with the evolution of feminism. Lesbian separatism is an example of a lesbian theory and practice identifying specifically lesbian interests and ideas and promoting a specific lesbian culture. Lesbian culture has its own icons, such as Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang (butch), Ellen DeGeneres (androgynous) and Portia de Rossi (femme).
Older stereotypes of lesbian women stressed a dichotomy between “butch” women, or dykes (who present masculine) and “femmes”, or lipstick lesbians (who present feminine), and considered a stereotypical lesbian couple a butch-femme pair. While some lesbian women are still either “butch” or “femme,” these categories are less definite (and common) as lesbianism becomes normalized. Androgyny, while not new in lesbian culture, has been gaining momentum since the 80s punk scene through youth subcultures such as grunge, riot grrrl, emo, and most recently hipster.
Many bisexual, fluid and pansexual people consider themselves to be part of the LGBTQIA or queer community, despite any discrimination they may face. Western bisexual, pansexual, and fluid cultures also have their own touchstones, such as the books Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out (edited by Lani Ka’ahumanu and Loraine Hutchins), Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution (by Shiri Eisner), and Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World (edited by Robyn Ochs); the British science fiction television series Torchwood and personalities (such as British singer and activist Tom Robinson, The Black Eyed Peas member Fergie, Scottish actor Alan Cumming and American performance artist and activist Lady Gaga.
The bisexual pride flag was designed by Michael Page in 1998 to give the community its own symbol, comparable to the gay pride flag of the mainstream LGBTQIA community. The deep pink (or rose) stripe at the top of the flag represents same-gender attraction; the royal blue stripe at the bottom of the flag represents different-gender attraction. The stripes overlap in the central fifth of the flag to form a deep shade of lavender (or purple), representing attraction anywhere along the gender spectrum.
But let’s set aside whether the rumors of the death of gay culture are really true or greatly exaggerated. Why is it so important, particularly at this moment, that gay culture is pronounced, if not dead, then on its way out? Does the possibility of a distinct gay culture express the notion, now scandalous, that gay men might be different from other people? Does it challenge the myths of gay assimilation and gay ordinariness?
Yes, all of the above. Gay men who play by the rules of straight society and conventional masculinity, and who don’t aspire to belong to any other way of life, are more acceptable, to themselves and to others. The last obstacle to complete social integration is no longer gay sex or gay identity, but gay culture.
The rainbow flag, commonly known as the gay pride flag or LGBT pride flag, is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements. … The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.
Harvey Milk—then a city supervisor for San Francisco and California’s first openly gay politician—was encouraging the gay community to come out, and Barker hoped the flag would amplify his friend’s call. “A flag really fit that mission, because that’s a way of proclaiming your visibility, or saying, ‘This is who I am!,’” said Baker in a 2015 interview with Fisher.
Baker and his friends flew the flag for the first time on June 25, 1978, in San Francisco’s United Nations plaza. “We picked the birthplace very carefully,” he remembered. “Even in those days, my vision and the vision of so many of us was that this was a global struggle and a global human rights issue.”
Today, per Baker’s hopes, it is an international symbol for the LGBTQ+ community and its continued fight for equality.
LGBT culture is a culture shared by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals It is sometimes referred to as queer culture. When Baker introduced the rainbow flag in 1978, he didn’t trademark it, as many designers and corporations do with logos and brand identities. Instead of restricting its use, he wanted his community to brandish the flag freely, whether at protests or flapping behind cars, bikes, or out of apartment-building windows.
The flag’s bold color scheme and simple layout also served to spread the symbol and its message. Both were easily replicable, whether with strips of colored fabric or a simple marker or paint pack. And it became even simpler several years later, when Baker reduced the flag from eight to six colors. During the Sexual Revolution, the different-sex sexual ideal became completely separated from procreation, yet at the same time was distanced from same-sex sexuality. Many people viewed this freeing of different-sex sexuality as leading to more freedom for same-sex sexuality.