2009: The year that was (or wasn’t)


Another year has come and gone. Since I began blogging, first on Blogger, then my own hosted blog and then here at InterstateQ.com, I’ve always done a year-end recap of my biggest stories of the year.

This year’s rewind is kind of sad, to be honest with you. As the economy continued to falter and challenges mounted up for print media across the nation, we felt our own sting at my day job. My friends and fellow staff at QNotes managed to hold our own, but responsibilities there led to a decline in my frequency of writing here.

Regardless, I managed to pull off some good stories here although many weren’t the “breaking news” I used to publish before I made the leap from blogger to “traditional media” gig.

So, in a way it was the “year that wasn’t” here at InterstateQ.com. Regardless, catch my Best of 2009 after the jump…

(P.S. — Be sure to check out my “The defining decade of my youth” at Bilerico Project.)

OutGayLife’s copyright infringement

In January, I reported in-depth on a gay news network’s alleged infringement of other LGBT news-publications’, bloggers’ and mainstream news sources’ copyrighted content.

OutGayLife.com owner Eric Wood had been based in Edina, Minn., before making the move to San Francisco, Calif., later this year. After the first round of copyright infringement allegations, Wood seemed to have stopped his probably illegal, definitely unethical and intellectually dishonest behavior. That didn’t last.

In November, I noticed more stolen content on OutGayLife’s network. I tried contacting Wood again, but he offered no comment. I went ahead with a second, in-depth piece on the infringements.

It seems Wood’s hosting provider did what dozens of complaints couldn’t. As the year came to a close, OutGayLife was taken down. Visiting Wood’s sites now reveal a sparkling “Account Suspended” message. Usually, it is a message no one wants to see. In this case, let’s call it justice.

Charlotte protests ‘Love Won Out’

Although I didn’t do much posting about it at the time, I was pleased and humbled to work with dozens of Charlotte, N.C., area community members, the Human Rights Campaign and Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out to protest and an offer an alternative message to Focus on the Family’s anti-gay and “ex-gay” “Love Won Out” conference, held here on Feb. 21 — the same day as the HRC Carolinas Gala. The almost week-long series of events, including a forum and presentation with Besen, a well-attended press conference and day-of protest outside the anti-gay conference was a success. I reserved the most coverage of the events for the pages of QNotes. A lot of great LGBT events rolled into town this February. It was exciting and exhilarating. Some photos and video here.

No to DOMA challenge

In March, Boston’s Bay Windows reported on Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ decision to take out a legal challenge of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I thought the move came at a bad time, and wrote a guest commentary which was published in the paper.

Fessing Up

Through April and May, InterstateQ.com published its first, real special series: “Fessing Up: exploring the ‘dirty little secrets’ of the gay community.” Michigan journo Todd Heywood and writer/dancer Devon Hunter contributed. You can view an archive of the series introduction and five pieces here.

Needless to say, “Fessing Up” garnered at least a little bit of controversy. The most read and commented was the installment on “Promiscuity & Unsafe Sex.” Never meant to be a condemnation of “promiscuity” (such a horrible word, by the way), this particular installment was, nonetheless, interpreted as such. Looking back, the title of the piece was misleading and poorly chosen. Regardless, the text and message of the installment is something with which I still agree.

All that counts…

On May 30, QNotes published its first-ever “Sex Issue.” The cover story profiled the relationship of four polyamorous gay youth in Charlotte. Two days later on June 1, I participated in the annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day and reflected on my time interviewing the youth, writing the piece and my thoughts. In the end, I came to a conclusion: “Family is really all that counts” — no matter the shape, size or make-up.

Five Alternatives

In the summer, veteran activists Cleve Jones and David Mixner jointly called for a another LGBT march on Washington. Their call was received with mixed reaction, although most national LGBT organizations, activists, bloggers and others initially rejected the idea. In June, I offered five alternatives to the Jones-Mixner march. In October, the national march was held and about 250,000 LGBT and straight ally folks traveled to D.C.

Religious militancy

In July, the annual Pride Charlotte festival was slated to present its largest event yet. Organizers pulled through and anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 LGBT and straight ally Charlotteans and folks from the metro area rallied together in Uptown Charlotte for a day of community organizing, entertainment and fun. The event, of course, didn’t come without controversy. Charlotte area religious leaders teamed up with militant anti-gay activists to counter Pride Charlotte with a “God Has a Better Way” rally. InterstateQ.com published its first-ever “Special Report.” The seemingly book-length piece, “On the Edge: Religious Militancy in the Queen City,” took a deep and much-needed look into the violent and extremist religious rhetoric of area pastor Dr. Michael Brown and his relationship with Lou Engle of TheCall.

The piece prompted criticism from Brown and his supporters. A few days later I appeared on Brown’s radio show, “Line of Fire,” to explain my opposition to his use of violent rhetoric.


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