A summary,

In 2008, 3 separate "nonheterocentric" groups were started. None of them had a different agenda or different demographics from the others. The "Gay Atheist" group was actually started by a Lesbian, so it was clearly not designated as just for gay men. The "Gaytheist" group never really got off the ground. Despite the more inclusive name, the "GLBT" group did not attract as many members as the "Gay Atheist" group.

Meanwhile, all three of the group originators went AWOL, and did not respond to multiple repeated emails, and quit contributing to the groups that they formed. That meant, the appearance of the front page, and the number of discussions that appear on the front page, could not be changed. Any added features that we might want, or that might make the group more attractive, could not be added. There was no one designated to welcome new members. There was no one designated to monitor discussions for safety (ie, trolling) and to try to build community.

As stated elsewhere, over the past 7 months, I spent a significant amount of effort to see if we could consolidate the groups into one. We can't, on our own, designate that one of the existing groups go to one sub-community, and another to another subcommunity. Each of those efforts would take a new submission for a new group. So if we want a group just for the Lesbian community, fine, it can be submitted - just has to go thorough the approval process. Same with, if gay men want their own group, or transgendered people, or Intersex people, or bears, or drag community, or guppies.

Since there was substantial effort involved, and interest appeared to wane, I took it upon myself to work toward getting the umbrella group consolidated. Without that, I don't think we would ahve gotten this far, although anyone is free to disagree. That process is underway. My personal goal is to make it easier for people to communicate in a larger group, make it more interesting, more active, and hopefully build more community, than was the case before. I would like to help keep people informed, have interesting conversations, and make online friends. I don't get paid, I don't get kudos or symbolic pat on the back, and I don't get anything else positive. Despite one person's comment ("I know what your doing" - I mean, what the fuck does that mean?), this is my entire motivation for efforts so far.

The plan, so that is is explicitly seen by all, is as follows:

1. Encourage the members of the non-moderated groups to join into one group. This group was selected as by far the largest. Some functions (comment wall) of the other groups have been removed, and the logos greyed out, to remind people that one group is the active one. It was too confusing otherwise, and even with encouraging posting in one group, new members kept coming into atheist nexus, and joining groups without knowing that they needed to join all 3 in order to gat all of the information.

2. Once people have a reasonable chance (I'm thinking mid November), to migrate to one group, the others will be closed. That will avoid confusion. In fact, that was the consensus of active members when members were polled earlier this year, with months to provide input.

3. Once the group is merged into one group, the name can be changed to whatever the consensus is. I think that I can put in a poll that is compatible with the Ning software, so that everyone who wants a vote, will have a vote. I will avoid, from this point forward, stating anything about my own preference for a group name. I will continue to encourage people to give input regarding their preference, and I hope that we get a broad base of ideas. My own intent is to change the name to whatever is chosen by the majority on the poll, based on names that have been submitted. Even those submitted names are up to the group members. If I can get a poll going, it will be in mid November after the other groups are closed.

4. Once the other groups are closed, and this is the umbrella group for "GLBTQI..." persons (whatever name we give it), then I will submit to the group, the preference for group administrator. If other members have a strong preference to do so, and that is what the group decides, that is fine with me and I will quit that role. I am not aware of any other group on A|N that has a democratic process - there are over 500 groups so I may be way off base here. The efforts here are the most democratic for group name, group member input, and administrator, and content.

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Replies to This Discussion

I'll do whatever is asked for the greater good - with the exception of converting to Christianity - I mean there are limits...
As you know, there are was huge flap in the 60s during post-Stonewall polemical writing about "copping out" by calling oneself "bi" because, as Gore Vidal put it, "There is no such thing as a bisexual; there are only uncommitted homosexuals." I do not and cannot feel comfortable with the word "gay" because it is categorical and those practical teachings of Buddhism to which I attempt to adhere suggest that categories are inherently hurtful. When a person's sexuality is reduced to a category, the person is trivialized. What do you call a person who enjoys both sexes? I think the problem was summed up in Stanley Kubrick's film of the Dalton Trumbo script of Spartacus where nobleman Laurence Olivier (who was bi) said to slave Tony Curtis, "Which do you like, oysters or snails," and when slave Curtis says, "Oysters, master," Olivier says: "I like both oysters and snails." So did Julius Caesar, but that is another story.....
Just out of curiosity, when did the words "bi" or "bisexual" first appear in the queer community?
Excellent comment, James. My life is testament to the fact that sexual preference is a continuum, very few are at the extreme ends. I, too, resist identifying as strictly gay or straight. I prefer bisexual. Those who demand I choose one or the other label are no better than those who say that atheists are just mad at god or want to live sinful lives, thus deny his existence. Nonsense. I have a satisfying life that includes no gods and has included some wonderful relationships with both men and women.

Still, the gay part of my personality encourages me to identify with and support gay causes when the topic is politics, religion or society. So I would be inclined to support whatever final form this group evolves into. Count me in.
You know, its only been over the passed couple of years that I discovered this bias. I'm not sure if it's just my general age group, or the goth community up here, but most of the people I've socialized with have been bisexual. Hell, I recently found out that people like me are being relabeled as "pan" or "omni", seems like a bit much, but if people want to label everything you might as well let them.
James, you speak of this "huge flap in the 60s," but I don't think this was only during the 60s. When I first went to college in the early 80s, which was when I was first introduced to the word bisexual, I truly thought anybody who said they were bi were actually gays still sitting on the fence.

But by the early 90s I came to realize that there really were bisexuals out there. A few of my friends and housemates were bi. They usually said things like they were 60 percent gay or lesbian and 40 percent straight. One lesbian broke up with her partner of (I think it was either 4 or 6 years) solely because her partner insisted she really was bi, but only 40% of herself was that way.

In fact, earlier this week I got an email from a friend on the opposite side of my home state saying that actually he's been bi all along when I always thought he was gay, it was only this month that he finally decided he preferred to find a gay boyfriend and life partner. He said that he had both sex with girls and also had a gay boyfriend. Since he had a harder time deciding, I'm guessing he must be closer to 50% gay and 50% straight rather than 60% gay and 40% straight like most of the other bisexuals I have met so far, but I haven't asked him that yet. In any case I was surprised.

So now as a result of all the bisexuals I've met so far, I do believe that bisexuals really do exist.

In the latter half of the 90s I came across an article in a newspaper in DC, I think it was the local gay paper the Washington Blade but it could have been the Washington Post, I can't really remember anymore, that said that according to experimental evidence there is in reality no such thing as a 100% gay or 100% straight person. Their definition was that if it happens even only once in a person's entire life, then that person counts as technically bi, and 100% of the population fits that. What happens next is that either the person can't fit that experience into how they see themselves and so that experience is eventually forgotten, or the person has never seen other people around that person talk about it in a way that gives them a vocabulary for thinking or discussing it. Because they don't know how to think or talk about it they eventually forget it ever happened. The experience either way doesn't get really woven into their memories or sense of themselves.

If we're all technically bi by the definition used by these research scientists, by the social definition of bi I'm definitely gay. So if any of us can't technically call ourselves 100% gay anymore, fine, I'm going to think of myself as 99.999% gay.
It has been known since the Masters and Johnson studies in the 1950's that just about everyone is somewhere on the continuum of bisexuality, having experienced at some time in their lives a sexual response to members of both sexes. To complicate matters further, there is the emotional response, which can occasionally be different from the sexual response.

So I think it is unrealistic to try to firmly categorize with a name that everyone is expected to accept. If someone wishes to identify as "gay" - implying exclusively homosexual, presumably sexual response, that's their business. But the language we commonly apply, both by ourselves and the world around us, masks the fact that we are nearly all "bi" to some degree.

So what to call this group? The word "bisexual" may be more technically correct, given what we know of human sexuality, but it is frowned upon by gay subculture, which at times can be surprisingly chauvinistic towards non-homosexuals. Even the sanitized phrase, "sexual minorities" - which includes transgendered, transsexuals, and the intersexed - also is misleading. What is considered a "sexual minority" in the case of bisexuals, is actually part of the majority, strictly speaking.

This is clear evidence of the fact that the implications of Masters and Johnson's work, and the subsequent work of the Kinsey folks among others has yet to filter into the larger culture. If it had, we would all realize that being "bi" is normal, and that the number of people out there who are exclusively heterosexual or homosexual are truly tiny minorities indeed.

So maybe the answer is to call this group "the sexually persecuted." That's about the only descriptive phrase that I can come up with that is really, truly accurate.
Sounds like a winner!
I'm in.
All of these comments are very much arppreciated. Looks like this is a reasonable path.
Thanks for your efforts.
Sounds solid to me.



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