This site has always been a labor of love. It’s all effort and expense, with no financial reward whatever. But there’s a lot more to life than financial reward.
The site currently is nothing more than the personal blog of its primary founder, Dennis Stone. It was started in 2013 as a more comprehensive site by Dennis and Andy Nemec, both of whom were long time readers and commenters at the terrific and late lamented site named “AfterElton.” Dennis had begun writing controversial pieces for “AfterElton” (with his most prominent piece reprinted by “LGBTQ Nation”). Shortly thereafter the site changed its name to “The Backlot” and went in a much more exclusively entertainment news direction. Dennis and Andy decided to create a new site that would promote the idea of the “new millennial gay experience."
Joining Andy and Dennis at the beginning was Paul Johnson, a high school student with an interesting writing style and a quintessentially new millennial lifestyle. The three of them pumped out as many pieces as their busy work and school schedules permitted. But the perfect world of internet commentary couldn’t last. Paul drifted away as he approached college and basically had said all he had to say. Andy, who had written some great gay history pieces, then dropped out of sight somewhat mysteriously.
Dennis recruited new writers, with the following three becoming regulars:
Dback - Dback is a teacher and writer, and was also a frequent commenter on “AfterElton.” He has been published by The Backlot and wrote a YA novel that at last connection he was shopping.
Lane Forsman - Lane was a graduate student, athlete, budding social worker and Christian, living and studying in Florida. While writing for this site he also had a well-received article published by OutSports.
Farid-ul-Haq - Farid was a graduate student living in Lahore, Pakistan. He provided a valuable and insightful look at the gay Muslim experience. He is the author of the "Somerville Mysteries" series of YA novels.
The pressures of a demanding job in addition to writing for and editing the site eventually caught up to Dennis, and he had to put the site on hiatus. He tried an unsuccessful comeback, but again went on hiatus. Late in 2015 he began writing again on a semi-regular basis, and has been relatively consistent in putting out new writing and keeping the new millennial idea alive.
Being gay in 2013 is a very different experience for millions of people than it was in the past. And the attitudes of many gay people are changing as a result. We’ve coined a phrase for the emerging new wave of gay people we’ve observed: the “new millennial gay experience”.
We have identified five distinct attributes of the new millennial gay experience:
1. Our sexuality has become just one of the many traits that make us who we are and give us our sense of identity. It is important, of course, but it is no longer the one dominant characteristic that dwarfs all others.
2. The fact that we are gay does not interfere with our living open and free lives. It does not hold us back, it does not provide special challenges, it does not generate significant social problems. In other words, we live our lives like straight people live theirs.
3. Gay people of the past often found themselves living cloistered, segregated lives where their only significant relationships were with fellow gays. This was of necessity in a world where there was so little straight acceptance. But gays in many parts of the world no longer feel the need to forge separate communities.
4. In dealing with straight people, it is no longer “us vs. them”. To gays who embrace the new millennial outlook, straight people are our friends, not our enemies.
5. Throughout history one of the most dominant characteristics of the gay experience was a sense of victimhood, always lurking, always weighing us down. How could it have been different? But today many of us simply feel no sense of that.
It is important to stress that the new millennial gay experience is not a factor of age. Many young gays aren’t in a position to live that type of life. And there are large numbers of older gays, those who lived through the dark ages of the previous century, who have embraced the new attitudes and outlooks.
Our goal with this site is twofold. First, we want to give expression to this new way of looking at our gay lives. Second, we want to challenge people to think in new ways. The “Commentary” section will include our efforts to do those two things. And the “Student Life” section will display the musings of a high school student and a graduate student living the new millennial gay lifestyle.
Some people think that the “modern” gay outlook includes a lack of appreciation for what older generations have done to bring us to where we are today. And they also think that the “new wave” doesn’t care about social justice or the issues that still face us. Some may not care about those things, but in our experience most do. To that end we have our “Gay History Lesson” section where we recount stories and people from our past.
Not everyone will appreciate these outlooks and this approach to the gay life. That’s fine, there are more than enough sites for them. But for those who do appreciate the new outlooks I hope we can reflect their lives and give them something to think about.