The response to Oasis has been overwhelming. Each day of December, I would invariably get e-mail thanking me for investing my time to provide this resource online for youth. Most were younger readers, sending one-line messages of thanks.
The truth is, Oasis is an interactive resource. It was my idea, but without the all-unpaid, all-volunteer staff, there'd be little to read. And without Jase, it wouldn't look as great as it does. (Jase and I are unpaid volunteers, as well, by the way.)
Many people wrote to say they would like to see more poetry or more coming out stories. This issue, for example, has no coming out stories. There seems to be a misconception that we are like a regular magazine that appears each month and controls its own content.
We aren't and we don't.
The only way there will be coming out stories next month is if I happen to find one on some of the many newsgroups I read, mail the author, and get permission to reprint it. Barring that, people have to submit their stories.
Oasis starts with a blueprint each month. I know I will write this letter, a Profile and a cover story. I also have regular writers whom I hope will write something, and I also organize the news section. Beyond that, everything that appears is unplanned.
If you're an openly queer person reading Oasis, I would urge you to share your coming out story in a future issue. Every coming out story is helpful to our teenaged readers. It doesn't have to be marred in tragedy or filled with humorous anecdotes. If you are out, how you accepted your sexuality and how you told other people can help a teen in a similar situation. Write your story. Your words can help a closeted teen feel less alone.
If you write poetry, share it. If you have a favorite book that helped you accept your sexuality, write a review of it, which can point other people to a source that may in turn help them. If you like k.d. lang, write a review of her new album.
In other news, Oasis' first month only had two problems. The first was our unknowingly choosing to launch on Dec. 1, which was observed as A Day Without Graphics net-wide to mark World AIDS Day. The second problem was with an opinion piece written by Gloria Klein, which readers informed me was racist. In the rush to put out the first issue, I didn't give Klein's piece the proper read-through it deserved. It didn't require much editing, so I glossed over the more hateful portion of her article. When I was informed of the problem, I read the piece, agreed with its critics and immediately removed it from Oasis. It will not appear in Oasis' back issues, either. Oasis is supposed to be a loving resource for younger readers, and I apologize to anyone who read that piece, was offended, but didn't tell me.
Another problem which has been remedied was the lack of female voices in our personal columns. We still have, to my knowledge, a lack of queers of color writing. We welcome all such submissions.
If you are a queer teen or twentysomething, Oasis is here to be your voice. In February or March, I am planning to add an anonymous feature called "The View from Queer" (title pending), in which people can write little vignettes about what happens in their life; from closeted teens writing about funny things people say to them not knowing their sexuality to openly gay people telling humorous stories about people dealing with their sexuality.
So, enjoy the second issue. If you like what you see, let us know. If you don't, let us know. But realize, Oasis is what each of us makes it. Hopefully, I made a difference by deciding to create it. Jase made a difference by making it visually pleasing, and you can make a difference by writing. If you can't write for us yet, then at least spread the word so people find us.
We're all in this together.