The Many Voices of the LGBT World: Celebrating Six Months of Poliglot

Six months ago today, as the hearings for the nomination of then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court got under way, my editors and I launched Poliglot. The political blog of Metro Weekly, the space was intended to serve — as its tag line attests — as “a queer spin on politics.”

The title — though an invention of Sean Bugg’s — is one that I have come to love. “Polyglot” is an adjective referencing something “containing, composed of, or written in several languages.” Poliglot, it seems to me, is the perfect name for a political blog based in a city where the same set of facts can result in many totally different stories — and where people often appear to be speaking in different languages.

In the brief six months that Poliglot has been around, we’ve seen the confirmation of Kagan; federal court rulings finding that Proposition 8, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and part of the Defense of Marriage Act are unconstitutional; Republicans take back the House in the mid-term elections; and the passage and signing into law of the DADT Repeal Act in the waning days of the 111th Congress.

We’ve also seen real signs of the polyglot nature of “the gay community,” or, more commonly now, the LGBT community. It is a diverse group of people who have an end goal of equality — but have different ways of getting there and, at times, even different definitions of success.

In the year that I’ve been covering this world for Metro Weekly, there have been many examples of why “Poliglot” is such an apt name for this space. The gay conservatives — from GOProud and their media-intensive efforts to change the conversation to Log Cabin Republicans and their slow-burning lawsuit against DADT — have shown that the LGBT community is not one community. The activists — from Get Equal and other state or city groups across the country to the American Foundation for Equal Rights — have shown that everyone doesn’t accept the same strategy for the path forward as a group like the Human Rights Campaign or Lambda Legal does.

At the signing ceremony for the DADT Repeal Act on Dec. 22, the overwhelming number of those people within the privileged crew who found themselves invited to such a ceremony were white men. Veterans like Autumn Sandeen, a trans woman; Anthony Woods, a gay, black man who ran for Congress; and Dan Choi, a gay man whose parents are Korean immigrants, stood out. Those voices and others, also, must be included — and heard — in order to understand the full range of the LGBT experience.

Too often the voice of the LGBT community is not seen as it should be — the many voices of the LGBT world.

As we move into the new year, there will be continued focus on the implementation of the DADT Repeal Act, the court cases and the administration and Congress. But, as I have strived to do in the past, this space — and LGBT media more broadly — needs to be about both informing the community and providing it a space for its members to share their voices.

As 2010 comes to a close, I hope that Poliglot — and Metro Weekly generally — will continue to provide an outlet for the many voices of the LGBT world in 2011.

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Finally, though it can’t be embedded, here’s the best moment in “polyglot” TV! (Thanks, Nat!)

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