Before I say anything else, let me say loudly:
The blog started with me basically begging my gay Facebook friends for submissions (and about 6,000 page views on Wednesday night), to now 240,000+ page views! In just 7 short days, the response has been astounding - like, of TSUNAMI proportions! That's why I had to close off the submissions for a few days. It was overwhelming, to say the least!
"Born This Way" has been covered by Dan Savage, OMG! Blog, Towleroad, The Dallas Voice, World Of Wonder, The Advocate, Gay List Daily, and it got picked up on Yahoo News and countless other blog links and Facebook and Twitter postings. To say this blog has gone "viral" is like saying water is wet! It is all CRAZY, but beyond amazing!
The true beauty of this blog, is it's not about ME - it's about all of YOU!
I'm simply the vessel through which all of you get to share yourselves with the world. And while the pictures are obviously a big part of why people are responding, it's WAY MORE about your personal stories. People from all over the world are seeing themselves in your photos and words.
Some important info on SUBMISSIONS:
I will be opening the submissions page in 24-48 hour blocks, depending on the amount that come in. While I have some extra time to devote to keeping this blog alive, I do have lots of other work I have to attend to on a daily basis. And daddy's got bills to pay with, ahem - real work! :)
SO, here's the deal: If you submit something, you MUST follow the guidelines on the submission page. Meaning, the more you contribute in terms of writing, details, and providing short but thoughtful stories to go with the pic, the better your chances are to be posted up.
I've gotten too many submissions with like one-sentence descriptions, or not even the basic info such as your age in the pic, the date of the pic, or where the pic was shot. Which means I have to recontact that person and ask them for more details. And I just don't have the time to be chasing people down asking for updates or more information.
And I need you to be creative, witty, poignant, silly - and just HONEST.
That's what really resonates.
The blog has also started a flurry of discussion about "nature vs. nurture" and some anger that some of the pix are nothing but stereotypes, or fear that some of the pix of boys in drag just perpetuate the myth that all gay men do drag, etc. Really? Don't we all know that's simply not true? Sheesh...
This is my 2-cents about that: All humans are stereotypes, on some level.
And yes, some gay boys/men have feminine mannerisms, and some gay girls/women have masculine mannerisms. And oh yeah - MANY DON'T!
But trying to pretend those things aren't a part of gay culture is, well - denial? What we reveal of ourselves as children might be vastly different than how we turned out as adults. This is all true for beautiful masculine/femme straight kids, too.
And part of what this blog is about is all of us being able to OWN those things without shame or guilt - even if those are the feelings we had WHEN the photo was taken, or how we felt as kids. And please remember a very important thing about the submissions: There is no right and no wrong for what people choose to say, or what pic they submit.
"Born This Way" is about each person's truth, plain and simple.
And in terms of comments, they will all remain. The only comments I will remove, however, is anything insulting, mean-spirited, or homophobic.
I have no time for hatred or neanderthal homophobes on this site!
OK, now for a few FAQ:
1) When will I post MY pic and story?
It's coming soon! My wonderful sister just scanned a bunch of pix of me and I'm gonna see what little treasure I can find of myself. For now, enjoy this highly-geeky pic of me with wax teeth/lips.
2) Who is the cover boy, in the plaid jumpsuit?
I finally relocated him! His name is Dennis, and he'll be getting an extra-special posting soon, with a 2nd pic of his. As I've stated, just seeing that picture a few years ago was the beginning of this WHOLE idea coming to life for me. So, everyone, please:
Big, gay, round of applause for Dennis! :)
3) What is your background?
I'm a longtime club and radio DJ, first in Boston and in LA since 1988. Most famous (or perhaps infamous) of my club events is Dragstrip 66, which just celebrated its 18th Anniversary. I'm also a longtime music reviews writer. I worked at Warner Bros. Records and managed bands - Porno For Pyros & Extra Fancy - in the 90's. So my background is definitely music related. It's my first and number one passion. I've described myself as a "Promosexual" for over a decade now.
That's all for now. Much more to come, eh?xo - Paul V., LA CA