Once again, a decision by Compuserve has led to uproar in the gay community. The online service shut down a gay youth homepage located on its server because of the use of "Inappropriate Images and Language."
The "Kuckucksei" homepage, named after a Duesseldorf (Germany) based gay youth group, featured information for gay youth, i.e. information on how to come out, about gay culture and about how to protect from AIDS. A site with addresses from other youth groups in Germany rounded up the broad range of information.
According to Compuserve spokesman Hilary Rosenhand, Compuserve, which provides 1 MB of free homepage to its members, censors its pages according to the same rules the program "Cyber Patrol" uses to stop children's access from certain Internet sites.
These regulations forbid nudity. One "Kuckucksei" page meant to illustrate Aids prevention had shown a nude male back. But the regulations go further, forbidding sexual acts described in pictures and texts, making it impossible for Compuserve users to even publish the works of Shakespeare on their homepages.
Some "Kuckucksei" pages, for example a coming out story with some sentences related to sexual acts cannot be published under these new rules.
But the restrictions still go further, i.e. forbidding Compuserve members to explain "condom use, the correct way to wear a condom and how to put a condom in place."
With this hard restrictions in the way, the "Kuckucksei" Homepage is not able to achieve its goal, which is to give support to questioning gay youth in Germany, on the Compuserve server. The homepage will move to a new address. It had the chance to get back on the Compuserve server, but only if dropping all the places not fitting to the new regulations.
Protest can be send to Hilary Rosenhand from Compuserve at 76711,email@example.com. The people from "Kuckucksei" can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.