This is the sixth time I have hosted Blawg Review from Australia (I previously hosted Blawg Review #85, #136, #178, #196 and #266). For those who don't know, the Blawg Review is a weekly round-up of posts from around the blawgosphere, and I am once again honoured to be able to host Blawg Review from the the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, where I am a senior lecturer in law.
Every other time I've hosted Blawg Review, I've usually begun with a self-serving little summary of me and my blog, but I figure that as I've done this a few times now, I can skip that and instead launch into my whip around the blawgosphere this week. Besides, the theme of this Blawg Review is also a little more personal for me and does not fall into my usual areas of teaching, writing or blogging. This is because today is not just Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day in Canada, it is also National Coming Out Day:
As someone who understands how difficult it is for many in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community to come out, I wanted to focus on this day, as well as other GLBT issues, in this Blawg Review.
National Coming Out Day was founded by Robert Eichberg, a founder of The Experience workshop, and National Gay Rights Advocates head Jean O'Leary during a 1988 meeting of LGBT activists as a day to celebrate coming out. The date of October 11 was chosen to mark the anniversary of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which had taken place four months earlier. National Coming Out Day is marked by events all over America, as well as in many other countries around the world, any countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. You can learn all about National Coming Out Day here, and can show your support for this cause with the Coming Out Day Facebook app and by tweeting your support with the hashtag #NCOD. Indeed, the internet has been buzzing in soliditary all day.
Even though Coming Out can be hard, and it is very much a personal journey, rest assured that even if there is no-one else, there is a vibrant online GLBT community that can support you no matter what you are going through. One of the most amazing and enriching things about the internet that I have observed are the extraordinary connections and friendships that can develop online. These connections and friendships, from likeminded people all over the world, can be from people that have never have necessarily met or will even ever meet, but they can still be there for you when you need them most, with a generosity of spirit and a sense of compassion and humour that is genuinely moving. I know in my own journey that some of the people I met through Twitter have helped me more than some of my oldest and dearest friends. It is easy to make fun of the web and the myriad of social networks that exist online but it can also be a source of strength and support when people need it the most. And remember this simple message: it gets better.
The "It's Gets Better" message received quite a bit of attention last week (including this speech from Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett) because of a series of tragic suicides from young GLBT youth. The most prominent of which was that of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student, who jumped to his death after his college roommate used a hidden webcam to stream a sexual encounter between Clementi and another man online. In a podcast at the May It Please The Court Weblog, J Craig Williams and guests discusses who is responsible for Clementi's death. Simple Justice also discussed this sensitive topic in a detailed post on cyberbullying. Elie Mystal, Scott Greenfield, Daniel Solove, Mike Cernovich and Colin Samuels also made thoughtful contributions to the discussion of this issue.
GLBT issues canvassed in the blogosphere this week include gay adoption (Adoption Approved for Gay Man in Florida), discrimination (Lawsuit of the Day: Gay Skydiving Instructor Sues Over Firing) and gay marriage (Gay Marriage).
(Be warned, this video is not safe for work.)
Before I go, I thought I should highlight a few excellent GLBT blawgs that post far more frequently and eloquently on this topic than I ever could:
- Gender & Sexuality Law Blog;
- Gay Rights;
- Old Gay Lawyer Ramblings;
- Sexual Orientation and the Law Blog;
- Transgender Workplace Diversity;
- buggery.org; and
- Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog.
And that is a wrap for Blawg Review #285. My apologies for the abbreviated nature of Blawg Review this week but my teaching and marking commitments at the moment are extensive. Nonetheless, I still wanted to make a small contribution to National Coming Out Day, and so I appreciate your patience.
Finally, it has been a pleasure to host Blawg Review again for National Coming Out Day. While we may not have reached this happy utopia yet, I am confident that our message of tolerance and understanding is spreading.
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.