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From Irish Gaelic to Energy Orgasms
A queer introduction to the World Wide Web
Copyright 1996 by Lynna Landstreet. This column
originally appeared in Xtra
magazine. Published by Pink Triangle Press, 491 Church Street, 2nd Floor,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y 2C6.
Note: this column was written in 1996, and the
web being what it is, many of the sites mentioned have either moved
or disappeared since then. Check the Calyx
Web Reviews for more up-to-date information.
so we've all heard the scandal stories about the Internet being riddled
with pornography and indecency, a hangout for perverts and deviants
of all varieties, right? Well, the good news is: it's all true.
Well, OK, maybe not all of it. I mean, there's quite a lot out there
that doesn't have to do with sex, and I have personally been known to
use the Net for everything from learning Irish Gaelic to identifying
birds' nests to researching sustainable forestry, but if your interests
do lean toward the prurient, I'm happy to announce that there are a
lot of sexy sites out there, many of them quite queer, or at least queer-positive.
And for those of you who like to mix some politics with your sex, there's
plenty of that too...
There are a number of excellent starting points, if you want a mile-long
list of queer World Wide Web sites, newsgroups, and so on. Queerweb
is an excellent list of resources compiled by Danielle Ni Dhighe, a
transsexual dyke in Seattle. Adult
Children of Heterosexuals, "a sex-positive, queer cultural
visitation-point," not only lists so many sites it would take you
a lifetime to visit them all, but also periodically singles out a "Fab
Top Three" queer sites for special attention.
My personal all-time favourite web site would have to be Annie
Sprinkle's Web Page. It features step-by-step instructions for
having "energy orgasms" or conducting a "Yoni Massage
Ritual," samples from Annie's Pleasure Activist Playing Cards (featuring
everyone from Susie Bright to Lydia Lunch, and the famed Public Cervix
Announcement (if you have to ask, you don't want to know).
Another good one is Challenging
Material, a site devoted to queer articles and essays that express
extreme opinions, test the boundaries of good taste, or simply deal
with controversial issues. Last I checked, offerings ranged from The
Dead Boyfriends Society -- a piece of very black humour by a gay man
on the rising death toll among his former lovers -- to The Other Side
of the Pink Triangle: Still a Pink Triangle, an incisive essay critiquing
an author who claims that rather than being persecuted in Nazi Germany,
gay men were actually among the Nazi elite.
Quite a number of queer magazines and fanzines have made their way onto
the net. Girlfriends:
The Magazine of Lesbian Enjoyment hosts an excellent site where
you can not only read the current issue of the magazine, but also parts
of the upcoming issue. Libido:
The Journal of Sex and Sensibility, while not exclusively queer,
is always interesting. And Giant
Ass Publishing, creators of Hothead Paisan and Strange-Looking
Exile, also have a site now, which deserves a special place on anyone's
Not to be missed is Holy
Titclamps, one of the longest-standing homocore zines. This
site includes full copies of most of the early, out-of-print issues
of the zine, as well as online versions of editor Larry-Bob's other
ventures, Queer Zine Explosion and Queer Music Explosion. But the most
amusing feature has to be the list of weird criteria people have entered
into various web search engines that have resulted in this site being
listed -- they range from "bodily fluids" to "self mutilation"
to "sex scenes of girls and mens" (someone was definitely
barking up the wrong tree with that one!).
The diversity of the queer community is well reflected on the Net: Bisexuals
can choose from online versions of the magazines Anything
That Moves and Slippery
When Wet, among many other sites. Transexuals are also very
well represented on the web, with choices like Gender
3: Devoted to Ending to Two Sex System, and In
Your Face: Political Activism Against Gender Oppression. The
S/M crowd have LeatherWeb
Underground, as well as a host of newsgroups.
For those who are cruising the web with credit card in hand, there are
also some fine sites for online shopping, including the legendary Good
Vibrations, and the less well known but equally fabulous Blowfish,
both of which offer a wide variety of sex toys, books, and other fun
On the other hand, if you'd rather bypass such blatant capitalism and
learn how to organize a demonstration instead, check out the Lesbian
Avengers site, which includes an online version of their handbook
on organizing actions. The Encyclopedia
of Direct Action, though geared toward environmentalists, also
has a lot if information of potential interest to queer activists.
And if all this has gotten you excited enough to want to stake your
very own claim in cyberspace, Geocities
offers free personal home pages in a "virtual community" divided
into neighbourhoods based on your interests. These include Soho,
for artists and writers; Capitol
Hill for political activists; the Rain
Forest, for environmentalists; and -- yes -- even West
Hollywood (should've been San Francisco, I say) for gays and
lesbians. It's completely free, and there's lots of online help to assist
you in getting your site set up.
Postscript: Given the incessant plague
of pop-up ads, watermarks, contentious Terms of Service and the like
that GeoCitizens have had to put up with over the last few years, I
no longer recommend them. If you want a free site, check out DrakNet
-- no banners, no bullshit.
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