What is it about that phrase “apply for membership” that is simultaneously repugnant and intriguing? It’s like my personality splits instantly; one-half goes “urgh” and walks away, the other is halfway through typing an application form detailing why it is I would be great for this club and frantically trying to find ‘cool’ photos to upload to Instagram.
But those clubs make money from being exclusive; “Gay Twitter™”, however, does and should not.
So why, oh why, are gays still trying to syphon themselves off from the rest of life? Why do people include an ACTUAL TRADEMARK after ‘Gay Twitter’? These are all questions I ask myself as I scroll through my Twitter feed each morning.
My issue is with some of the influential members of ‘Gay Twitter’ and the damage I feel they’re doing to what we strive to keep an open, encompassing community.
But, still, my issue isn’t with the idea of the name ‘Gay Twitter’ itself; that’s just the title for a demographic of Twitter users, really. My issue is with some of the influential members of ‘Gay Twitter’ and the damage I feel they’re doing to what we strive to keep an open, encompassing community.
Looking for inspiration, guidance and I’ll be honest some networking opportunities, I started following a few of the editors, sub-editors, contributors etc of certain successful flagship LGBT+ publications on Twitter. While I was expecting to be inspired as a wannabe-editor, I’m continually disappointed by what I can see is just one big clique. “Unfollow them!” you say? Why? I’d have nothing to write about.
I watch these intelligent, prominent writers spend all day @ing each other in tweets; usually about an in joke and/or anal sex. And when their followers try to chime in? Oh, don’t expect a response unless you’re someone they have/want to/are going to shag. Didn’t we grow out of that somewhere after GCSEs? Haven’t we gays all had enough of feeling left out of a social group when we were at school?
What upsets me the most is that some of these are the people running the publications that I looked up to when I was desperate to get out of small town life and be one of them. For example, Gay Times has a print readership of 170,000 people; 869,411 web page views and a social media following reaching into the millions*.
That’s millions of people in their sphere of influence that they’re either peacocking in front of or ignoring completely.
Now don’t get me wrong, the beauty of Twitter is that it’s an unfiltered stream of consciousness and it’s your own personal account but they cannot deny that they’re in the public eye (hello? You have a big blue tick next to your handle!) These guys are writers after all; write something that young gays will look up to! When there’s so much out there with the potential to damage young minds and yet, even more, channels for them to reach out through, how about show the next generation how to be dignified LGBT+ people by tweeting something that doesn’t involve you being a bitch? How about using your high profile for charitable good, or to highlight issues from the community? I’d love to hear a voice that isn’t just cynicism and sycophantism.
‘Gay Twitter’ needs a wakeup call: engage, inspire, broaden some knowledge – because the elitism is hurtful.
The private members’ clubs I get: being exclusive is literally their business, it’s in the title. But ‘Gay Twitter’ needs a wakeup call: engage, inspire, broaden some knowledge – because the elitism is hurtful.
While I’m at it, dear publishing Lords, give me a man topless on the cover of a gay lifestyle magazine who doesn’t have abs! But that rant is for another day when I haven’t eaten a Five Guys straight after the gym.
*Gay Times Publishers Statement July 2015
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you’d like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.
James is a London-based LGBT+ journalist who’s written for Dear Boy, Pink News, Esquire UK and the Brixton Bugle
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.