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Saudi Arabia are homophobic fuckwits, but .gay is a dumb idea too

Interesting news on the BBC News website…

Opposition to the creation of the internet address ending .gay has been voiced by Saudi Arabia.

Its Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said the action would be “offensive” to some societies and cultures.

So, I don’t really need to say this but: Saudi Arabia are a bunch of homophobic fuckwit fundamentalists who should shut the fuck up. If the mere existence of gay people is something you find offensive, I have a very simple suggestion for you: go fuck yourself. Actually, no, fucking yourself can be fun and pleasurable if done properly.

Instead, I’d suggest what the Saudi Arabians should do is dissolve themselves in hydrochloric acid. Or perhaps go juggling with paving slabs. I dunno. Anything really. I’m not fussy.

Anyway, Saudi Arabia being a bunch of homophobic fucks isn’t really news. The news is people are pushing to try and make .gay a gTLD. I have a long-standing objection to new gTLDs. I can at least see the comedy potential of a .gay gTLD. Like, registering “tedhaggardiscompletelyheterosexualandnotintheslighestbit.gay” or “glennbecklovesteh.gay” etc.

But… the Lesbian and Gay Foundation have much more pious uses for such a gTLD.

“Sites under .gay would be carefully regulated and would not ‘promote homosexuality’ but offer crucial support,” said a spokeswoman from The Lesbian and Gay Foundation.

“Arguably it is even more important for people living in countries such as Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is illegal and sometimes punishable by death to access this crucial support and lifeline.”

Who could be opposed to support for LGBT people? No sane person, obviously. But the LGF are conflating a gTLD with provision of support sites. It’s absolutely unnecessary to have an LGBT-specific gTLD to provide support sites for LGBT people. They exist already, damnit. See? Here! And here. And many more.

Why have a .gay gTLD? Vanity, basically. ‘Cos it’d be cool. That’s pretty much the only reason to have new gTLDs. As we’ve seen with .xxx, it’s not like you can mandate people shunt their stuff over to .xxx.

If .gay happens, moving all or a majority of LGBT support sites over to it actually makes them easier to censor not harder. Currently, there are LGBT-friendly support sites all across the web, on different domains, hosted in different countries. There are bloody porn sites that have support forums hidden away inside them. There’s IRC channels, there’s all sorts of places where people who need an anonymous shoulder to cry on or a friend to lean on for support in all matters gay can go.

And inside tyrannical regimes, whether that’s countries like Saudi Arabia or the individual homes of kids whose parents subscribe to the doctrines of some brain-dead fundamentalist cult, those who need the help tend to be watched by hawks. If some homophobic asshole is peeking through your history and sees “supportwebsite.gay” they can make a whole load of inferences that they might not necessarily be able to make if they see lots of clicking around on Reddit. In closet-land, plausible deniability is king.

If you need support, putting a big rainbow flag and a honking great big “.gay” gTLD around it ain’t going to help. People already filter the living crap out of sexual health sites and LGBT support sites on the basis that they are all “porn”.

Much as I’m out and proud and shaking my tambourine, I just don’t see a need for a .gay gTLD, and there is great possibility for harm if people start using it as a way to try and lock down access to support websites more than they already are.

Andy Wasley, from Stonewall, added: “Saudi Arabia already prevents its 1.9 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people from visiting community websites, like Stonewall’s, that offer support and information. It’s disappointing that it now wants to censor the internet for 420 million gay people worldwide.”

Again, I agree with the overall message: Saudi Arabia are homophobic assholes. But they aren’t “censoring” the Internet for gay people. If the .gay gTLD doesn’t happen, whether on the basis of principled, reasoned objections or homophobic bullshit objections like those of the Saudi Arabians, no website which you currently can access will no longer be available.

Now, I should point out one small proviso. While I’m generally opposed to new gTLDs without really good reasoning (I have yet to see one I approve of), I’m a pragmatist. If we have to have .gay, I’d rather it was managed by some reasonable, sensible organisation like the LGF or Stonewall than farmed out to some money-grubbing hucksters. I’d question whether running such a gTLD is a valuable use of anyone’s time or money, but that’s the responsibility of groups like the LGF to worry about.

Now, can we please stop the gTLD bandwagon? The whole thing is utterly stupid. ICANN need to be destroyed. I mean, the fact that the fucking Saudi Arabians get to vote on this rather than Internet users tells you everything you need to know about how useless a bunch of bureaucratic queens ICANN are.