According to the Communications Decency Act, portions of this magazine would be considered indecent. To many people, the thought of a gay youth webzine is indecent.
If I had decided to publish Oasis traditionally, and it were available in bookstores, with the same or even more risky content, it would be legal.
That's the crux of the CDA, yet another example of people wanting the government to be their kids' baby-sitters. Put chips in the TV so violent shows can be blocked, move gay-themed sitcoms to later time slots and now protect my kids from the Internet. Whatever happened to actually knowing what your kids are doing?
Oasis can not be reached by accident. You either have to type in the URL or click on a link to Oasis from another homepage, where it's usually clearly marked as a gay publication. That is it, there's no secret way to get here. If you are here, you know what you're doing. And if you somehow get here by accident, and don't like it, leave.
I have no fear that gay sites would be targeted as indecent. And it isn't just because of profanity, which Oasis rarely publishes, but because just being pro-queer is considered indecent.
But being a criminal for being a fag isn't a new concept in this country. In many states, homosex is still illegal. So, if the CDA, which is currently on hold until it goes through the courts, is passed, I would be a criminal.
Oasis has no plans to disappear. Although the court case may outlast Oasis' natural life, we will keep being here and queer for quite some time.
An amusing note is that although this bill was passed by Democrats and Republicans, there was no Republican outcry about who would PAY all these court costs. I guess that's only a major issue when they don't like where the money's going.
I started Oasis as the voice I didn't have growing up, the voice I needed to tell me liking your best friend was okay and that gay and happy are intentional synonyms.
In February, over 10,000 readers (not hits, mind you) went through these pages. So, apparently, this is a voice to which other people are responding.
Oasis is letting young minds know that they are okay. Queer youth need to know they can live vital, happy, long lives, and that gay love isn't an oxymoron. Silencing this voice can be deadly, judging by the e-mail I get. And Oasis plans to be here for a long while to provide that voice.
Our existence isn't criminal, preventing it is.
On another note, Oasis needs more regular writers, particularly female and bisexual voices. I get a lot of e-mail commenting that we don't have enough women, bisexuals, queers of color, etc. We're too liberal, too focused on North America, too preachy, etc.
I send the same e-mail to everyone who says these things, so read now and save yourself and me time:
Oasis is here for you. But, we are all volunteers, and each writer writes what they want. If you are a woman who wants more girl voices, write. If you are black and ask why all our writers are white, write. If you are a gay Republican (it can happen), and think we are too liberal, write.
Oasis is a blank canvas each and every month. Columnists write each month, some can't due to their schedules this month. Press releases for the next issue haven't even been written yet. I have little clue who will be on April's cover.
So, be the voice you want to hear. Write for Oasis. I would imagine there are many people who want the same things you do. Although I personally may have opinions, they are not reflected in Oasis. If they are, my name is attached to my words.
Oasis is a resource, not my soapbox or anyone else's. We will be the voice for anyone in the gay community. So, rise to the challenge. Women, try and take over Oasis, write more than the guys. Conservatives unite, shift Oasis to the right a little. Queers of color, tell us about your lives.
I'm less than unpaid, I lose money on this every month. But I donate my words and my time. I cannot go too far out of my way to find writers.
If you are closeted, use a pseudonym. If you're busy, write every other month. If you're shy, we don't need to run a picture. If you're ex-gay, my condolences. If you're HIV+, your voice is vital and necessary to this publication. And if you're able, please try and give something back to our queer youth -- our queer future.
But, most importantly, if you are alone and need support: Keep reading.