Atlanta, GA. -- Any lesbian, gay man, bisexual, or transgendered person with a connection to the Internet and browser software can now find live conversation, news, features, and community resources 24 hours a day with the launch of QWorld, a new location on the World Wide Web. The address is http://www.qworld.org.
QWorld is one of the first sites on the Web to offer interactive chat, much like that found on proprietary online services such as America Online and CompuServe. Visitors can chat in any of three lounges: Sappho’s, the Gay Bistro, or the Rainbow Lounge -- or open their own room. A crew of trained chat hosts, online from 9 PM - 1 AM Eastern/6-10 PM Pacific Time, ensures a welcoming and pleasant environment.
"Our experience with managing and facilitating online interactivity through chat sets us apart on the Web because it lets us establish realtime community -- something missing from the Web until now," says Dr. Becky Boone, QWorld president. "QWorld has created a community with chat, games, workshops, and guest speakers. It fills a growing need because those of us who love to talk online need an alternative to the $2.95 an hour the commercial services charge." Users are not charged an hourly fee to visit QWorld: they simply pay their Internet service provider, most of which offer unlimited hours for a flat fee.
In addition to interactive chat, the QWorld Web site also features two online magazines, QZine, which offers monthly articles, fiction, and cartoons by established and new authors, and Visibilities, a lesbian magazine published in Israel by an international staff.
Other elements of the QWorld Web site include a very active message board area, regional listings of lesbian and gay professionals, a software library, a vendor area where subscribers can browse and order products and services from gay- and lesbian-owned businesses. The site lists many links to other gay and lesbian locations on the Internet.
From The Net magazine's review of QWorld: "QWorld is a well-organized forum for the queer community......has the potential to be a bustling virtual town square for digital queers."
"Lesbians and gays constitute far more than 10% of all Internet users," says Boone, a psychologist, lesbian activist, and president of SIS, Inc., which manages QWorld. "For those of us who are out, Internet services such as the QWorld Web site are an extraordinary resource for activism, making it possible to disseminate news and information instantly to the thousands of grassroots organizations and community activists, as well as to the worldwide gay community. And for those lesbians and gays who live closeted lives out of necessity, Internet resources can provide a life-line to community." Boone and SIS successfully launched three forums on Apple’s eWorld online service and have now expanded their efforts to the Web.
QWorld is supported by advertisers who recognize the purchasing power of the lesbigay community. Companies and individuals interested in advertising on QWorld, and merchants and professionals who want to list their products or services, can send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to P.O. Box 49088, Atlanta, GA 30359.