Like many queer people, I love comic books (especially because they so eloquently mirror the challenges, burdens, and loneliness queer people often find themselves facing), but I've always hated origin stories. I never want to wade through the backstory of how someone discovered that she had fully functioning gills or why a hunky alien left his tiny, chilly planet; I just want to get straight to the walking through walls and regenerating spinal cords and assorted perilous rescue attempts. So, today, on HuffPost Gay Voices' one-year birthday, I'm not going to bore you with the tale of how we came to be. (If you really want to know, you can read the blog I wrote exactly one year ago). Instead, let's look at what's made the site so totally kick-ass.
1. We're number one.
From the first month out of the gate, HuffPost Gay Voices has consistently been ranked the number-one lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender news/culture website on the Internet by comScore. We're incredibly proud of the diverse content we've offered and equally thrilled and humbled by the emails, tweets, and comments we've received that say Gay Voices has become a favorite website for many of you. Our hope has always been that when you come to Gay Voices, you'll get a comprehensive snapshot of what's going on in the LGBT world at any given moment, and that you'll walk away from your computer prepped for any queer pop quiz or LGBT cocktail party that might suddenly be thrust upon you. But if you feel that there's something missing, we want to hear about it (more about that below).
2. The Huffington Post is the only mainstream news organization with an entire vertical dedicated specifically to LGBT news.
What does that mean? It means that HuffPost believes that stories about our lives are important and worthy of being covered, explored, and shared, and that's pretty excellent in and of itself (thanks, Arianna!). But it also means that we have a lot of straight and non-transgender people reading our stories every day, and anytime you raise the level of visibility of LGBT issues, you have the opportunity to not only inform people but also change their minds. We don't think of ourselves as an activist or advocacy site, but we do believe that the more we share our stories and shine a light on both the beautiful and despicable things that LGBT people face on a daily basis, the more we can all learn from each other, and the greater the potential for transformation.
3. We've created an amazing community.
From our roster of brilliant bloggers -- which includes everyone from rock stars to politicians to activists to "everyday people," all of whom are truly the lifeblood of the site -- to our incredible readers -- who leave comments, offer suggestions, participate in our Twitter talkbacks, share photos of their families, and sound off on HuffPost Live -- it would be an understatement to say that we couldn't do any of this without all of you. Although what's happening in the news may be the reason that you come to the site, that's often just the starting point. With your help, we're able to push stories beyond mere facts and quotations to conversations about larger issues and what's really at stake for LGBT people. So keep the tips, comments, corrections, photos, tweets, ideas, and blog pitches coming!
4. We're still growing.
This is an exciting time for LGBT people. There is obviously much that still needs to be done, but it was thrilling to see President Obama publicly state his support for marriage equality, and just weeks ago we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." More and more people -- like Anderson Cooper, Jim Parsons, and Frank Ocean -- are coming out and making less and less of a big deal about it. And as things continue to swell in the LGBT community, so does Gay Voices. Since we launched last October we've continued to gain momentum -- new Twitter and Facebook followers, more clicks, more comments, new features and campaigns, and more interviews -- and we're looking toward an even bigger and better second year.
Finally, I just want to take a moment to say "thank you" to the Gay Voices team: Editor-at-Large Michelangelo Signorile, Associate Editor Curtis Wong, Gay Voices Reporter Lila Shapiro, Blog Editor Clay Chiles, and Multicultural Community Editor Lucette Jefferson. These folks go above and beyond the call of duty every single day, and I am continually blown away by their dedication to the site.
While Gay Voices may not have ever been bitten by a radioactive spider and, much to our chagrin, we still can't teleport, the last year has made us feel like we've got super powers, and we can't wait to see what's in store for us in the next 12 months. We thank you for being a part of the history we've made, and we're hoping you'll stick around and help us make some more.
Follow Noah Michelson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NoahMichelson