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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.

OK, 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 hotlist.

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 and Cuir 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 things.

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.

Happy surfing!

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 or Crosswinds -- no banners, no bullshit.


All content copyright 1999-2006 by the individual authors, where cited, or by Lynna Landstreet where not specifically credited.

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