This week I talked with Brett Edward Stout, brand manager of Gay.com, the first LGBT social networking site, which has recently revealed a new, hot site design. Brett explained:
Giving our members the ability to congregate around specific communities allows them to make their search for friends and mates as expanded or narrow as they wish. The need for multiple apps to access a specific community is no longer necessary. The new Gay.com provides members a fun and technologically sophisticated environment that meets the numerous needs of our users, whether they're looking for friends, activity partners or their one true love.
I talked to Brett about the next generation of gay social networking and his spin on LGBT issues. When asked how he got involved with Gay.com and social networking in the first place, he said:
Well, I started working for Here Media three years ago, but I've been logged on to Gay.com for a long time. When I was in the Marine Corps, it was really the only place I had to turn to. I served in the Marines from 1997 to 2002, which was under "don't ask, don't tell," which I'm sure your listeners are familiar with, and I really didn't know where else to express myself. I didn't have any sense of community. I didn't have any friends. I was all alone, and it was a place I found where not to be alone. It saved my life in many ways.
Brett joined the Marines at age 18, serving his full tour as a Russian linguist. He returned to his home state of Iowa to earn his degree in Russian studies at the University of Iowa. He is very outspoken about the anti-gay movement in Russia, which, like that in Uganda, has roots in the anti-gay movement in the United States. He has also written numerous articles for Out, The Advocate, ACCESSline Iowa, Watermark Orlando and other publications. His debut novel, Sugar-baby Bridge, was published in 2009 by Breur Media.
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