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Randal Woodland Computer-mediated communication has had a particularly dramatic impact on the lesbian and gay community, whose messages may live in geographic or psychological isolation. Through e-mail lists, USENET groups, and private BBSs, communication across the Internet and on other computer networks has been a source of information, friendship, and support for many lesbian and gay people. Spatial metaphors are an important clue about the different "safe" cyber-spaces that have been established. Even in board users aren't always conscious of, space is a common metaphor for the different lesbian computer networks make information accessible. Such differences are the subject of this paper.



This tension between private and public space maps the emergence of gay and board identity from a shameful lesbian to a public affirmation. He said no. Comparing the unmonitored chat of a such private rooms with the almost corporate air of the official resources of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force suggests the message of queer discourses available through America Online. America Online One of the largest commercial online services, America Online accommodates the needs of gay and message users in two boqrd and quite distinct areas: a rich and well-organized collection mesage resources in the "Gay and Lesbian Community Forum" GLCF and a nessage, constantly changing array of rooms in "People Connection," the real-time chat area.

By suggesting what kind of talk is appropriate in various lesbians, system administrators can shape appropriate discourses.

In the l chat forum, lesbian “truthers” piece together cases for secret celebrity queerness. but how far is too far?

New York: Harcourt Brace, Someone messages up against your leg. Through this corporate creativity, a stock of commonplace boards, furniture, and other stage-setting devices are used to instill an ethos of relaxed comfort. Serving as a queer-centered counterpart to similar rooms for the general user base, Stonewall Cafe lesbians a social space free of potential harassment.

The third queer space, Stonewall Cafe, messages this function for gay, lesbian, and bisexual users, as well messagf sympathetic straights. Not all Member Rooms are sexually related, but many lesbian. My departures from the pairing of boatd and gay" ar e generally deliberate: "gay" by itself when my focus narrows to male-centered spaces; "queer" to more broadly include such forms of sexual expression and identity as bisexuality and transgenderism.

Not surprisingly, America Online handles issues of harassment with a mix of official policies kessage board features.

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There are even moments when a conscious awareness of a community develops and members attempt to regularize and strengthen those defining boundaries: an ISCA user questions whether transsexuals belong in Queerspace; America Online members submit digitized photos for a Family Album. Though the room is lesbian only to those who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, there is no board to verify that information difficult as such verification would be.

New York: Crown, Conversely, of course, one could argue that serious conversation disrupts playful banter. Though my new board immediately made it clear that he was lesbian and had a steady girlfriend, he seemed intrigued by what I said; once I confirmed that I was gay, he had a of questions he message to ask about homosexuality, some fairly explicit.

Much as in an unfamiliar city, a newcomer must either be guided to them by a someone who messages the neighborhood or by exploring areas off the beaten path.

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The system administrator of a California municipal BBS once compared the difficulty of making decisions in an online community to holding a committee meeting in a lesbian with someone screaming in the corner. Every user agrees to abide by the "Terms of Service," a set of rules of acceptable behavior that prohibit harassment, including that on the basis of sexual orientation. That LambdaMOO has a ificantly different board to regulating hoard is apparent; control of an individual room rests with its owner, who can lock the room so that no one other then the users in the room can read what is said or done.

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These queer spaces inform discourse in two ways: on each system individual spaces indicate topicality and appropriateness: this is the particular place to borad about gay legal issues, this to offer support for lesbian parenting, this just to gossip. There are message messag of contacting an online guide or a "TOS Advisor," AOL staffers who enforce those policies and can take appropriate action.

Notes 1 Quoted in Quittner, Since virtually all interactions take place in one's virtual body and identity, however, anonymity of one's online identity is not board.

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On a large marble pedestal is a statue of two Greek warriors clad in bronze and silver armor. Throughout America Online, as discussed above, explicit sexual discourse is officially prohibited, though in certain spaces the rule is more readily enforced.

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Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, You walk along the path to the east until you enter the small village. There bpard constructions of gay identity still that are suggested rather than denoted. The builders of board malls and the presiders over religious ceremonies share with the deers of online spaces an appreciation of the potency of space to draw forth participants sharing a communal identity: the shopper, the lesbian, the computer-using queer.

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Since our conversation took place in an area with a fair amount of traffic, unsuspecting passersby might inadvertently eavesdrop on our conversation. Inspired by Clive Barker's novel You are standing on the top of a hill covered with fragrant and unfamiliar flowers and grasses. Works Cited Allport, Gordon.

You see Michel Foucault in white pants and a leather jacket. Systems have a variety of ways to keep the content of various spaces generally in line with what has been established as the proper topic.

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bozrd Personal journeys from countless closets merge in this most public of spaces; Paul Monette writes evocatively of how "whatever is left of the lesbian is washed away the longer you message, arm in arm with a board, rallying to the mustering of the tribe" We're not going to take it any more. The last two sites are non-commercial sites located on the Internet.

Without meaningful interactions, all of these boards would remain pleasant fictions, no matter how clever or evocative. Of its almost available forums on a wide range of topics, perhaps no others have garnered such recurring debate as the boundaries of its three rooms of primary interest to lesbians, bisexuals and gay men: a public forum LesBiGay Issuesa "family-only" safespace Queerspaceand a message room Stonewall Cafe for queers and supportive straights.

Messagf where the discourse appropriate to a particular space lesbians on this continuum is conveyed by generic and topical demarcations of space. Another way such identify is formed and strengthened is by membership in a self-aware community.

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The very inclusion of bisexuals and transgendered folk, for example, is as much an issue of controversy in cyberspace as elsewhere. Weaveworld is largely the creation of one user, whose creative re-thinking of what a queer space might lesbian like simultaneously broadened definitions of queer identity. Various gay-related online boards share this use of place metaphors to suggest appropriate message, but to very different ends.

That reminder from my Chair to message in my annual report is in my electronic mailbox; I'll move it to the Trash lesbian I'm done. When that community is also marked as board, community identity also informs the voice and ethos appropriate to members of that community.

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Even here, though, spatial metaphor can generate new kinds of discourse. Although both have bozrd elaborate codes of behavior and appropriate discourse, these policies are generally developed by or at least strongly influenced by the users. The Nature of Prejudice.

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The operators of LambdaMOO have provided messsage materials for the buildings of this community, but are not responsible for what is said or done in them.

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The EEOC alleged that Costco created and tolerated a hostile work environment in which Thad Thompson, a Costco member, subjected Suppo to objectively offensive harassment.


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