New Coming Out Website Launches For Holidays
Closeted gays and puzzled parents now have a new resource. AllTogether.com
(http://www.AllTogether.com), on Dec. 15, became the first free, non-profit,
e-commerce website aimed solely at providing safe, confidential coming out answers and resources.
The website launches in time for the holiday season, often a trying time for families dealing with coming out issues. It is supported with wide acclaim from actors Judith Light and Danny Pintauro, as well as from ten of the nation's leading gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations.
"I have talked to parents who have had no place to go where their anonymity would be respected and their feelings would be responded to," said actress Judith Light. "That's why I'm delighted with the advent of AllTogether.com."
Actor Danny Pintauro, who played Judith Light's son in the hit TV show Who's The Boss, said "When I first came out, I had trouble finding help, especially when I told my parents. AllTogether.com helps people find confidential answers to their own questions, and allows straight people to ask a lot of the 'dumb' questions they're afraid to ask of their gay children, friends, parents, or co-workers."
Light added, "When Danny was threatened with being 'outed,' I felt as much for him as I would if I were actually his mother. For some parents, the coming out of their child can be a confusing and lonely time."
Sensitive to the many fears and concerns of parents and closeted gays, AllTogether.com uses "intelligent agent" technology to let people ask questions in their own words. Visitors to the site can pick personal guides such as gay priest, straight parents, a lesbian teen, or a Chinese professor, among many others. Jeffrey Seiff, who designed the site while at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, said that AllTogether.com is the first coming out website to offer help in such a targeted and user-friendly way. It provides not only recommendations but also tools to use right at the moment when a person comes out.
Seiff stressed that web-based information is much more effective when tailored to each individual's needs. "AllTogether.com doesn't assume that everyone has the same coming out issues. We affirm the diversity of our community by offering resources tailored to various issues such as sexuality, race, religion or gender."
AllTogether.com is supported by some of the nation's leading gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations, including: Boston Gay Lesbian Bisexual Speakers Bureau; Community United Against Violence (CUAV); Digital Queers; Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Gill Foundation; Log Cabin Republicans; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF); Parents Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); PlanetOut; and, Tzabaco Catalogs.
Six Features of AllTogether.com are: 1) Non-Threatening, Customized Q&A - Visitors can ask questions in their own words, and therefore receive information only as they request it. For example, one might ask, "How do I know if I am gay?"; 2) Culture-Sensitive Guides - Visitors also get to appoint their own personal "guides," such as gay priest, Jewish teenager, Chinese professor, heterosexual parents with gay children, and others. The chosen guides then offer answers; 3) Virtual Bookshelf - For each question, the website searches its database and suggests context-sensitive books, films, online articles and Internet links. The non-profit site also enables those without access to gay bookstores to purchase with secured credit card ordering; 4) Resource Compendium - For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, the site offers resource recommendations sorted by ethnicity, religion and issue area. Many publishers have granted AllTogether.com permission to reprint excerpts from helpful works of fiction and non-fiction; 5) Pro & Con - Potential straight allies can feel alienated if they don't find their own views represented. AllTogether.com offers both sides of the debate on issues such as gay marriage, adoption, and gays in the military. AllTogether hopes to make known that pro-gay pieces are usually supported by scientific evidence while the opposing views are largely editorial; and, 6) Bulletin Board - Finally, users may browse and share their own feelings on a bulletin board discussion of themes such as "My Parents Won't Listen!" or "Is This the Right Time?"
AllTogether.com is powered by PlanetOut, the world's premier gay and lesbian online community. PlanetOut also lent their Internet expertise to help design AllTogether.com. To link to AllTogether.com or suggest resource listings, users should access the site at http://www.AllTogether.com.