I don't know where I would be without the web.
I think people forget how important the Web and the Internet are important to people, and this includes our demographic: queer youth.
I mean, you are reading this, you are reading my words, I am in Nova Scotia, and I have no idea where you are, and you know what? That doesn't matter. Location has no bearing.
Reference has no bearing.
Welcome to the web.
The web is a complex resource of information, available to many people, the numbers growing exponentially daily, as more and more people become wired. It is a place where people can communicate their ideas, their thoughts, their realities.
But what I find most interesting about the web is this:
It is anarchy. It is chaos. It is democracy. And it works, even though it encompasses all these diverse things. It is a post-modern society.
And what I mean by this, is that the dynamics of the web demand that all points of reference to the real world are cut off, yet the objects that come from that are still there. Think of it in terms like this: You go to a website, where a person has included an image by a famous artist, let's say Gustav Klimt or Monet. These people are great masters, and there work has been used by someone who is relatively unknown (even if they are a minor or major web celebrity), and yet, it works.
The reason why is this: the world is our oyster ("our" as in the wired generation). Such images hold great weight, but the whole point of their usage is simple: we want people to look at what we have done, and to examine it, and if we have to give them a point of reference for them to grab onto what we have to say, we'll use anything we can, because we can.
Now, what does this have to do with gay youth?
The web has been our way of communicating. Isolated youths have a way to communicate with people around the world. I myself live in a small community in rural Nova Scotia, yet I have been able to secure myself a small, but tidy place in webspace. But this isn't the exciting thing.
I have stated that the web is a resource of information, it is a place where people can express what they want, when they want, a democracy right? Well, the web is much more interesting than that. Since there are so many people who collaborate on such a grand scale to the proliferation of information and the size of the web, some of these people will of course, turn out to be artists, journalists, writers, photographers, and now, web designers. We are that generation. The web may have been a resource of information, but in my mind, it has become, and is becoming more and more, a resource of creativity. People can express themselves in any way they see fit.
This is where queer youth can come in. I, a queer 21 year old (young) man have used Oasis as a way for me to communicate with the outside world in a way that is true to me. Now, I have created two websites which showcase my work, and I have an online journal, which is an experiment onto itself. I can take it offline whenever I want, I can add anything (including a hidden part, which I have), but it is mine.
As such, I have been working on a special collaboration with Oasis, in which I will present my work to the wired world. Last month, I submitted an essay on the body to Oasis as an HTML essay, or rather, an experimental essay. I received a decent amount of mail, and was excited, so I decided to put up another essay. This one speaks directly about sexuality and the dynamics of love, sex and friendship. Next month, I will put up my manifesto, in two parts, one in March, the other in April. It is my manifesto on why I write, and why I create.
This month's work is dedicated to Edmund White. It is because of him that I write, and it is through him that I found a love for Jean Genet. So this is for him:
by Simon Thibault
(WARNING: This Web essay contains images of artistic nudity)