First-ever Internet Survey
Of Queer And Questioning Youth Launched
OutProud!, the National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
and Transgender Youth and Oasis Magazine have announced the first-ever survey of queer and questioning youth on the Internet. The 150-question online survey runs through Oct. 31, 1997 and is designed to provide insight into the multitude of issues facing queer youth today.
The survey is designed to probe many areas of these young men's and women's lives, including: Who is today's queer teen? Are they out to their family? Friends? At school? How has their sexual orientation affected their self-acceptance and self-esteem? Where do they find other queer youth? Do they date? How often? Are they sexually active? What is their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and safer sex? Are they harassed or discriminated against at school? What role does spirituality play in their life? What issues have they faced in reconciling their religious beliefs with their sexuality? What role has the Internet played in accepting their sexuality and finding community?
"Queer youth have found the online world to be a supportive environment," said Christopher Kryzan, Executive Director of !OutProud! "The Internet and America Online have played a crucial role in helping this generation of queer youth to acknowledge and accept their sexual orientation. With this survey, we hope to provide them with a powerful voice."
Oasis magazine is read by over 35,000 people each month. !OutProud!'s resources, which include the QueerAmerica online and Lambda Youth Network referral services, are used by more than 100,000 unique individuals each year.
Joining this effort are co-sponsors the American Civil Liberties Union, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the XY magazine. In addition, an advisory panel of experts, including Dr. Michael Walker and Dr. Katherine Fordham of the University of San Francisco, Dr. Anthony D'Augelli of The Pennsylvania State University, and Warren J. Blumenfeld of The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, have provided specific guidance in the design and analysis of this research.
"Our long-time and extensive presence on the Internet puts Oasis and !OutProud! in a unique position to reach queer youth as never before," said Jeff Walsh, Editor and Publisher of Oasis magazine. "Each month we hear from countless teens as they are finding their way to self-acceptance and becoming a member of the greater queer community. Now, we intend to bring their issues to the mainstream."
The survey takes approximately thirty minutes to complete, and is delivered electronically via a special Web site at http://www.oasismag.com/survey/. A report on the data will be published in January 1998.
Two Gay Businessmen Announce Plan
For World's First Gay & Lesbian Bank
During a news conference at its
operations center in
Jonesboro, AK recently, Steven Dunlap, founder and chairman of the G& L Bank announced the formation of the world's first gay and lesbian Internet bank.
Dunlap, along with vice chairman and co-founder, Keith Cotham, outlined the concept of the bank, how it will operate as well as providing a time-line regarding G & L Bank's opening of branches over the next few years.
"G & L will officially open for business pending all regulatory approvals via the Internet late fall '97/spring '98," said Dunlap. "The concept of G & L Bank is to provide a high standard of customer service, combined with the latest in personal banking services that G & L customers can take advantage of for the security of their home or business," he added.
Keith Cotham reinforced the importance of customer service. "G & L will provide and maintain the highest levels in customer service at all times," he stated. "The bank will offer traditional banking services such as checking and savings accounts, commercial and personal loans, ATM and credit cards, and electronic bill paying," Cotham added.
When asked if G & L Bank is specifically targeting gays and lesbians, Dunlap answered, "Yes and no. G & L Bank is designed to meet the unique financial, mortgage, and insurance needs of the gay and lesbian community, but all potential bank customers will be solicited and welcomed, regardless of race, gender, creed, color, ethnicity, or sexual orientation."
G & L Bank is currently in the regulatory approval process, and Dunlap reemphasized the seriousness of the bank's mission. "Money is very serious business, and I want to emphatically state that G& L Bank will treat each customer's finances in a serious and professional manner at all times." Dunlap has met with various high ranking individual in banking circles in recent weeks, and has been pleased with the response. "These individuals have made comments such as 'brilliant idea' and 'this will set a new precedent in banking' when I've told them of our plans for G & L Bank," he said.
"Their reactions have been overwhelming positive...which is very gratifying coming from the traditionally conservative world of finance and banking," Dunlap commented.
Cotham also spoke briefly on the importance of security safeguards that G & L Bank will utilize at all times. "Several layers to ensure confidentiality will be in place at all times, including Netscape's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol and 128 key encryption," Cotham said. "This is the same level used by government agencies to provide privacy between the browser and the bank server," he added. Other security measures include filtering routers and firewalls.
According to G & L's founders, within 24 to 36 months of its opening, G & L Bank will begin opening physical branches in the top 30 gay-lesbian friendly cities across the U.S., like Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago, to name a few.
Cotham went on to explain some of G & L's unique aspects. "For example, G & L Bank will offer a six month "try us out" trial account. This means what it says, except that we offer a money back guarantee. If you are not 150% satisfied, G & L will refund any account fees, without question, period," he said. Other G & L special services include "Gray Gay Days" and "Restart Credit Program."
"Since our web site opened in late July of this year, we've been amazed at the number of "hits" over 1000). People are overwhelmingly positive about G & L Bank and I've been thrilled with the response," Dunlap said. "Our demographic survey has received a great deal of attention and I encourage everyone to visit the site, so that we can take advantage of their comments," he added.
G & L Bank's information center can be found at www.g-lbank.com. Dunlap and Cotham invite all visitors to explore the G & L Bank philosophy, products and services to be offered, employment opportunities, and to learn more about the bank's founders. "Banking on ourselves is our future," states Dunlap and Cotham.
Darren Nye Named
Gay Life Guide
At The Mining Company
In a move to help Web surfers find
the best gay content and community on the Internet, while avoiding the clutter, Darren Nye, of Princeton, New Jersey, has joined The Mining Company as the Gay Life Guide. Darren was hand-picked to be a Guide for his expertise, passion, and personality. As PlanetOut's first staff member and former MSN Lesbian & Gay Forum Producer, he was perfect for the job! He joins the hundreds of other Guides all over the world also working with The Mining Company.
Darren and his team will be responsible for mining the Web for the gay "gems"-the most relevant and timely information, valuable links, and lively conversations-and presenting them in a clear, concise way at the site-http://gaylife.miningco.com. In addition to presenting members of The Mining Company with links to the best gay content, Darren's team will also be writing unique weekly features concerning multiple aspects of gay life. They are also gearing up to provide the coolest online gay community, initially featuring online chat, message boards, civic partners, and a gay bookstore.
"The Mining Company is taking the Net back from the mechanical, chaotic and frustrating place it has become," said Scott Kurnit, founder of The Mining Company. "The gay community has always been one of the most active online, and we expect Darren to help guide people through the wealth of information that exists on the Net."
Guides, who are the heart and soul of The Mining Company, mine the Web for the most relevant and timely information, sorting through other Internet Web sites, discussion groups, and chat areas to find the most valuable links and lively conversations. They present these "gems" in a clear and concise way, continually highlight the pages that are noteworthy, and sift out information that is dated, wrong, or boring.
Guides are individuals from all over the globe with a passion for a topic who have the skills to use the Internet to share that real-life passion with other people around the world. Guides have intimate knowledge of their subject matter-either through formal training or life experience. Guides at The Mining Company are real people ranging from medical doctors and journalists to soap-opera fans and graphic designers.
Guides offer unique perspectives on their topics through clear and engaging regular features. They also initiate timely discussions with visitors to their site, keep abreast of important developments in their fields, and conduct special events.
The World Wide Web is an amazing resource, yet many users find it increasingly frustrating. That's no surprise. Forrester Research now estimates there are more than 75 million pages of material on the Web. The Internet Archive, a non-profit group, says that in the two-and-a-half month period ending in mid-February, the Web doubled in size. The Web now has two-thirds the information included in all the books in a public branch library. But unlike a library, there's no card catalogue, and the "books" aren't shelved in any logical order.
"If you search for 'gay' at a popular search engine, you receive 170,857 documents," said Nye. "Visit the Gay Life site at The Mining Company at http://gaylife.miningco.com and you'll be greeted by fun yet professional team which has already gone out and found the most relevant links and areas that you'll need."
The Mining Company is a division of General Internet Inc. The Mining Company's goal is to rescue frustrated consumers by offering a network of people-powered, special-interest sites with a consistent "look and feel," and to meet the needs and amplify the talents of independent Web producers throughout the world. The Mining Company, headquartered one block from the United Nations in New York City, was founded by Scott Kurnit and a team of experienced Internet professionals. You can find them on the Web at http://www.miningco.com or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. General Internet Inc. can be found at http://www.generalinternet.com.